The former Grand Midland Hotel (below) fronting St Pancras Station in London is open to the public this week for the first time in 60 years. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and completed in 1875, the Grand Midland is the finest and most exuberant expression of the Victorian Gothic Revival in Britain. Under threat of demolition until recently, this many-towered and spired dragon of a building with its damsels-in-distress and knights- in-armour interior is being restored by the architects Margaret and Richard Davies. It may yet become a working hotel again, although that will cost £40m. For £2, the experience of walking through the Grand Midland beats any Dickens-style theme park. For information, call 0171 607 9909.
From next week the recently completed £206m Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, the largest hospital development in Britain and the first NHS teaching hospital to be built in London in 20 years, will be bedecked in paintings and other artworks on loan from the Arts Council. These include works by, among others, Anthony Caro, Barry Flanagan, Lucy Jones, John Hoyland and Michael Craig-Martin. The glistening hospital architecture, designed by Sheppard Robson, has already been enlivened with Allen Jones's colourful and lofty sculpture Acrobat as well as by bright silk banners designed by Patrick Heron. The hospital's energetic Theatre for Health arts project has also been developing a programme of music, plays and other performances. If you fall ill, try to be taken to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, Fulham Road, London SW10. Theatre for Health can be reached on 0181 846 6821.
With a little help from the Millennium Fund, the £60m Lowry Centre, designed by Michael Wilford and the late Sir James Stirling, is planned to open at Salford Quays in the old Manchester-Salford docklands at the turn of the century. The centre will offer a platform to both visual and performing arts and include a 1,650-seat auditorium, a 400-seat theatre, Britain's first "hands-on" gallery for children as well as a gallery displaying over 350 paintings by the Salford artist LS Lowry.