Month: January 2016
The George Inn, is a public house established in the medieval period on Borough High Street on the south side of the River Thames near London Bridge. Currently owned and leased by the National Trust, it is the only surviving galleried London coaching inn and is by far the oldest pub in London.. The first map of Southwark circa 1543 clearly shows it marked as ‘George’. It was formerly known as the ‘George and Dragon’, named after the legend of Saint George slaying the Dragon. In 1677, the George was rebuilt after a serious fire that destroyed most of medieval Southwark.
The George was one of the many famous coaching inns in the days of Charles Dickens. Dickens in fact visited the George and referred to it in his novel ‘Little Dorrit’. It is thought that the Galleried Inns were the inspiration of the original theatres, that the Players were on a dais in the Courtyard with the standing audience next to them and that those paying a premium would be in the Galleries with a better view.
Those in need of liquid refreshment can relax in various sections of the building, including The Old Bar, once a waiting room for passengers and The Middle Room, where Charles Dickens used to drink. The former bedrooms were upstairs in the galleried part of the building. The upstairs was converted and is now a restaurant with exposed beams, tapestries, old maps and portraits of characters such as David Beaton, the Archbishop of St. Andrews from 1539-1546, and Shakespeare both former guests.
Steeped in mystery and tales from bygone eras, you can almost hear the horse drawn coaches rolling in and out of the Inn.
For further details go to www.george-southwark.co.uk/
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london.
Visitors arriving in or leaving London by the train connection with mainland Europe will use the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International on the Euston Road. Widely known for its Victorian architecture, the original station was designed by William Henry Barlow and was opened in 1868 by the Midland Railway as the southern terminus of its main line which connected London with the East Midlands and Yorkshire. At that time the arched Barlow train shed was the largest single-span roof in the world.
The station was damaged by a bomb in May 1941 during The Blitz and the 20th century did not serve the station well. By the 1960s, St Pancras had come to be seen as redundant, and several attempts were made to close it and demolish the hotel. These attempts provoked strong and successful opposition, with the campaign led by the later Poet Laureate, John Betjeman.
After escaping planned demolition in the 1960s, the St Pancras Station complex was renovated and expanded from 2001 to 2007. The rebuilding cost was in the region of £800 million. St Pancras was officially re-opened as St Pancras International on 6 November 2007 by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and the High Speed 1 service was launched.
The Champagne Bar is one of the showpieces of the restored station, occupying a central position in the Upper Concourse. It is reputably the longest champagne bar in Europe. An extensive range of champagnes is on offer, along with a selection of light and main meals, seafood and bar snacks.
The frontage of the station is formed by the former Midland Grand Hotel designed by George Gilbert Scott. An example of Victorian Gothic architecture, it is now occupied by the five-star Renaissance London Hotel and apartments. Inside the hotel a notable feature is Gilbert Scott’s staircase. The hotel held its grand opening on 5 May 2011, exactly 138 years after its original opening in 1873.
For further information go to stpancras.com
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london.
by Harley Nott
Ten reasons to come to London this summer, with Coach House Rentals
1. Exchange rate. At US$/£1.43 the current exchange rate is the most favourable it has been for 8 years; the Pound has not been so cheap since May 2009.
2. Why use Coach House Rentals? Because we’ve been looking after our guests since 2001. Operating in London, New York and Rome (same great service), we have many thousands of satisfied customers – read the testimonials with each property listing. Many have agreed to act as a reference – you just have to ask and we’ll put you in touch.
3. Excellent value for money. We haven’t increased our prices for 4 years, so our London vacation rentals are great value for money, especially for a party of 3 or more.
4. “Live like a local” in a hand-picked real home. You get a whole apartment or house to yourself (no sharing) and much more space and freedom to do what you want than in a cramped hotel room.
5. Flexible renting. Any day to any day with a minimum stay of 5, not 7, nights.
6. Real people to help you choose. You don’t need to rely just on a web listing. If you can’t find the answer to your question on our faqs, we are here to respond to your emailed queries or you can talk to us on the phone.
7. Safe and secure booking process. When you enter your card details on our secure https payments page, the information goes directly to our in-house servers before being manually processed. There is no risk of being scammed – as does sometimes happen when using the mass market listing sites.
8. Concierge service. We can arrange a car to meet you at the airport. When you arrive at your rental all will be ready for you, we’ll be there to check you in, hand over the keys, show you how everything works and answer any questions you may have.
9. We have a 24/7 help line in case of any further questions or problems.
The spring and summer is booking up fast so book now to get the vacation rental of your choice. Join the many 1,000’s of satisfied guests we’ve looked after since 2001.
by Harley Nott
We’ve made some changes to our web site and we’d like to know what you think of them!
By popular request we’ve added the functionality to view all properties and their basic details on a single map.
We’ve also made the web site tablet and smart phone friendly.
Have a good look round and let us know what you think of it using the Contact Form with “New Web Site” in the Subject field. We’ll send a US$50 Amazon.com gift voucher to a person chosen randomly from all who give us their opinion.
by Harley Nott
Whatever turns you on – history, art, theatre, cinema, classical music, jazz, pubs, clubs, antiques, high fashion, nature, food and drink, shopping or plain old sightseeing – there’s something for everyone here in – “151 Things to do in London”.
We recommend The London Pass, save both time and money!
- British Museum Explore the many galleries exhibiting a vast range of ancient artefacts including Egyptian mummies, items from Ancient Babylon, The Rosetta Stone, Greek, Roman and Anglo-Saxon treasures and even Clocks & Watches.Great Russell Street, WC1 (Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road) – more details.
- Downing Street For 200 years ‘Number 10’ has been the official residence of the Prime Minister and Number 11 the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The street was built by and named after Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet (1632-1689). Downing was a soldier and diplomat who served under Oliver Cromwell and King Charles II. For security reasons access into this small street is barred to the general public.(Tube Station: Westminster) – more details.
- Green’s Restaurant Founded in 1982 and situated in the heart of St. James’s, it is considered by many to be a great British institution. The restaurant combines the intimacy of a club with the elegance of St. James’s, for a dining experience that is faultless and memorable.
The menu offers British food, prepared well- fresh fish, meat and seasonal game. Naturally, a range of fresh native and rock oysters are available, according to the season. The Oyster bar also boasts an inspired wine, beer, cocktails and spirits selection. Its guests have included Diana, Princess of Wales, while Baroness Thatcher is reputed to have enjoyed her last meal out at Green’s.36 Duke Street, St. James’s (Tube Stations: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus) – more details.
- National Army Museum Discover the impact the British Army has had on the story of Britain, Europe and the world, and see how the actions of a few can affect the futures of many. The Great Escape Café offers fresh, seasonal food and healthy kids’ meals at value-for-money prices.Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea SW3 (Tube Station: Sloane Square) – more details.
- Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837. Visit the State Rooms August and September only), the Royal Mews, or The Queen’s Gallery (a collection of art and treasures) or visit all three!(Tube stations: Hyde Park Corner, Green Park or Victoria) – more details.
- Clarence House Clarence House is the official residence of the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and was previously the home of the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Tour the 5 ground floor rooms and see Queen Elizabeth’s famous art collection, including outstanding 20th-century paintings such as important works by John Piper, Graham Sutherland, W.S. Sickert and Augustus John. There are also superb examples of Fabergé, English porcelain and silver.The Mall (Tube stations: Green Park or St James’s Park) – more details.
- St Martin-in-the-Fields Visit this lovely church and go to a concert. Free lunchtime concerts normally take place on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, doors open at 12.30pm for a 1.00pm start. Evening “Concerts by Candlelight” start at 7.30pm with admission is by ticket only.Trafalgar Square, WC2 (Tube Station: Charing Cross) – more details.
- Chessington World of Adventure Take the kids to this theme park, which offers a variety of stomach churning rides and a zoo.(Train: Waterloo to Chessington South – 30 minutes and then approximately 10 minutes walk to the Park). – more details.
- Windsor Castle Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, encapsulates 900 years of British History. Visit the State Rooms and St Georges Chapel (check as there are dates when either or both may be closed to the public). (Train: Waterloo to Windsor approx one hour) – more details.
- Old Bailey Named after the street in which it was located (just off Newgate Street and the former Newgate Prison) it is more formally known as the Central Criminal Court. Many murder trials are held here. Witness the drama of a big case. The public is welcome to visit; a notice by the front door gives details of forthcoming trials.(Tube Station: St Paul’s) – more details.
- Sherlock Holmes Museum According to the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson lived at 221b Baker Street from 1881 to 1904. The house was last used as a lodging house in 1936 and the famous 1st floor study overlooking Baker Street is still faithfully maintained as it was kept in Victorian times.(Tube Station: Baker Street) – more details.
- Bibendum Restaurant The restaurant is located in an exuberant, stylistic, Art Nouveau building, which was commissioned by the Michelin Tyre Company Limited in 1909 as their first permanent British headquarters – a favourite London landmark for many years. Treat yourself to oysters and champagne in the oyster bar.Michelin House, 81 Fulham Rd, (Tube Station: South Kensington) – more details.
- Oxford Street Shop in London’s premier shopping street with some 300 outlets including several major department stores.(Tube Stations: Marble Arch, Bond Street or Tottenham Court Road) – more details.
- Book a Show Boasting 44 major theatres, London can offer a wide choice of musicals, classic plays including Shakespeare, modern drama and comedy – more details.
- The Mall Walk the ceremonial route used for all State Visits. Flanked by Green Park and St James’s Park, this broad avenue leads from Trafalgar Square through Admiralty Arch to the Queen Victoria Memorial immediately before the gates of Buckingham Palace. (Tube Station: Charing Cross)
- Little Angel Theatre Watch a puppet show – a must if you have younger children! Founded by John Wright in 1961, the theatre is regarded as the “Home of British Puppetry”. See details of the current show on line.14 Dagmar Passage, Islington N1 (Tube station: Angel) – more details.
- Tower of London In the early 1080s, William the Conqueror began to build a massive stone tower at the centre of his London fortress. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. It subsequently played an important role in English history for centuries to come. Many famous executions took place in its precincts. It is now one of the iconic symbols of London. Explore some of that history and see the display of the British Crown Jewels.Tower Hill (Tube Station: Tower Hill) – more details.
- Kensington Palace Of great historical importance, Kensington Palace was the favourite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760. It was also the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria and it is still a working Royal Residence. Visit the historic parts of Kensington Palace, which are open to the public. Kensington Palace also houses the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, with items of royal, ceremonial and court dress dating from the 18th century to the present day. Kensington Gardens W8 (Tube Station: Queensway) – more details.19.
- The Royal Museums Greenwich comprise the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, The Queen’s House and the Cutty Sark. The Maritime museum houses a wide and varied collection of exhibits relating to Britain’s extensive naval heritage; with over two million items in its collection from ships’ anchors to royal rowing barges, from naval uniforms to paintings of naval heroes and explorers. At the same time you can also visit the Royal Observatory and stand on the Prime Meridian (Greenwich Mean Time), and discover what life was like on board the legendary sailing ship Cutty Sark, the world’s sole surviving tea clipper, and fastest ship of her time. You can take a river cruise to get there!Romney Road, Greenwich SE10 Travel; DLR from Bank to Cutty Sark) – more details.
- Coram’s Fields Let kids take charge! All adults have to be accompanied by a child at this park which boasts sandpits, a football pitch, basketball court, climbing frames and café plus several sheep, goats and rabbits.93 Guilford Street WC1 (Tube Station: Russell Square) – more details.
- Westminster Cathedral Hear angels sing in this Roman Catholic Cathedral, which has some of the best choristers in the world singing daily at mass. Victoria Street SW1 (Tube Station: Victoria) – more details.
- Chelsea Physic Garden Discover a true secret garden in the city; public opening hours are restricted.66 Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 (Tube Station: Sloane Square) – more details.
- Banqueting House The original building, designed by the architect Inigo Jones, was partly destroyed by fire. It is perhaps most famous as the place where King Charles 1 was beheaded in 1649. Steeped in history, it is now used as a concert venue and for private functions. See the Rubens ceiling, which survived the fire, and the wonderful Palladium architecture. Whitehall (Tube Stations: Westminster or Embankment) – more details.
- Kew Palace Built in 1631 by a rich Flemish merchant, it was acquired by King George II and Queen Caroline in 1729 as a home for their three eldest daughters. The palace contains many items belonging to the royal family. See especially the superb dolls’ house built for the daughter of King George III.Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (Tube Station: Kew Gardens) – more details.
- Science Museum The Science Museum was founded in 1857 and today it is world renowned for its historic collections, awe-inspiring galleries and inspirational exhibitions It is especially child friendly.Exhibition Road, South Kensington SW7 (Tube Station: South Kensington) – more details.
- Victoria & Albert Museum (The V&A) The V&A is the greatest museum of art and design, a world treasure house with collections of fabulous scope and diversity. The Museum holds over 3000 years worth of artefacts from many of the world’s richest cultures.Cromwell Road SW7 (Tube Station: South Kensington) – more details.
- Covent Garden The Covent Garden Piazza was the site of a flower, fruit and vegetable market from the 1500’s until 1974. Covent Garden has now reinvented itself as a continental style pedestrian piazza complete with pavement cafés and market stalls. It is famous for its lively shopping area and performances by street entertainers and buskers.(Tube Station: Covent Garden)
- Battersea Park The park is home to a small zoo, sporting facilities including tennis courts, a running track and football pitches; a boating lake, as well as being the site of the Japanese Peace Pagoda.Battersea Park, SW11 (Rail: Victoria to Battersea Park – 5 minutes) – more details.
- Natural History Museum Being very child friendly, the museum is always an attraction for families. Use the Cromwell Road entrance for dinosaurs, creepy-crawlies and the blue whale or the Exhibition Road entrance for volcanoes, earthquakes and the giant Earth model.Cromwell Road SW7 (Tube Station: South Kensington) – more details.
- Wallace Collection Most famous for its old master paintings and 18th century French porcelain and furniture, the collection also includes the finest collection of princely arms and armour in Britain as well as gold boxes, miniatures, sculpture and medieval and renaissance works of art such as Maiolica ceramics, glass and Limoges enamels.Hertford House, Manchester Square W1. (Tube Stations: Bond Street or Baker Street) – more details.
- China Town Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown, which is located in the cosmopolitan area of Soho. Lion and dragon teams perform traditional dances and there are, of course, fireworks displays (lunchtime and 5pm). It all takes place in late January/early February with the exact date depending on the lunar calendar.Gerrard Street W1 (Leicester Square tube)
- Hampstead Heath Check out the city from the crest of Parliament Hill, which is best visited at sunrise or sunset. If you fancy a lunchtime or evening drink, there are one or two well known pubs close by. Try the Spaniards Inn or The White Horse. (Tube Station: Hampstead)
- Ivy Restaurant The Ivy boasts its position as London’s favourite theatre restaurant. If you’re not an A-list celebrity, don’t despair. Call the automated service and listen out for the option ‘for today’s lunch availability, dial 3’. As every ‘luvvie’ knows, lunch is the only way to do the Ivy.1 West Street, WC2 (Tube Station: Leicester Squares) – more details.
- Richmond Park Richmond Park is the largest of the Royal Parks in London. Get up close to the deer, which roam freely. The park covers almost 2,500 acres and is Europe’s largest urban walled park. It contains the Isabella Plantation, an important and attractive woodland garden and a major visitor attraction in its own right. There is a protected view from King Henry VIII’s Mound of St Paul’s Cathedral, which is 12 miles away. The Royal Ballet School has been based for many years in the park at White Lodge. Have afternoon tea at Pembroke Lodge, which stands within the park in its own gardens and which was originally a home of 1st Earl Russell.Richmond, Surrey (Tube Station: Richmond) – more details.
- Regents Park Open Air Theatre As the oldest professional outdoor theatre in Britain, it has been presenting Shakespeare plays for over 75 years. The open-air theatre in Regent’s Park is perfect in the summer for Shakespearean romps, they tend to be popular so book well in advance.Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 (Tube Station: Baker Street) – more details.
- Sir John Soane’s Museum Soane was born in 1753, the son of a bricklayer, and died in 1837 after a long and distinguished career as an architect. He designed this house to live in, but also as a setting for his antiquities and his works of art. This is an eclectic and fascinating collection of sculptures, paintings, antiquities, jewellery and other bits and pieces collected by him. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2 (Tube Station: Holborn) – more details.
- Hampton Court Palace In 1528 Cardinal Wolsey gave Hampton Court Palace to King Henry VIII in a vain attempt to appease the king, who was incensed that Wolsey could not negotiate his divorce. The palace on the River Thames is a magnificent example of Tudor architecture although in the 1690’s a more ‘modern’ wing was added – also worth visiting. It is the site of the annual Hampton Court Flower Show. Explore the world-famous Hampton Court Maze.(Train: Waterloo to Hampton Court -30 minutes) – more details.
- St Clement Danes Church The original Wren building was badly damaged by enemy bombs in 1941. It was rebuilt and became the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. St Clement Danes is said to have given rise to the nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’ (though others including St Clement Eastcheap claim the same). The bells ring out the tune at 9am, noon, 3pm and 6pm on Monday to Saturday.The Strand, WC2 (Tube Station: Temple) – more details.
- HMS Belfast This ship is an Edinburgh-class Royal Navy light cruiser, which had a speed of 32-knots and was armed with 6-inch guns. The Navy’s heaviest ever cruiser, she served in World War II. Now a museum ship she is berthed on the River Thames near Tower Bridge.Morgan’s Lane, Tooley Street, London SE1 2JH (Tube Station: London Bridge) – more details.
- Imax Cinema Watching a film at the BFI IMAX is the ultimate experience. The 485 seat cinema has the UK’s biggest cinema screen, which is more than 20 metres high and 26 metres wide, and an 11,600-watt digital surround-sound system. Viewers literally feel like they are in the picture!1 Charlie Chaplin Walk, South Bank, Waterloo SE1 (Tube station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Dulwich Picture Gallery The oldest public art gallery in England houses one of the world’s most important collections of European old master paintings of the 1600s and 1700s with masterpieces by Rembrandt, Poussin, Watteau, Rubens, Canaletto, Gainsborough, and more. It also features international loan exhibitions.Gallery Road, Dulwich SE21 (Train Victoria to West Dulwich – 10 minutes plus a 10 minute walk) – more details.
- Kew Gardens The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, usually referred to simply as Kew Gardens, are located in West London, Covering 300 acres with, amongst other building, three huge glasshouses, Kew remains one of the most comprehensive plant collections in Britain with specimens from all over the world. A perfect day out when the weather is fine.
(Tube Station: Kew Gardens) – more details.
- London Zoo Situated at the northern end of Regent’s Park, London Zoo was the world’s first scientific zoo. It was opened in 1828, and was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. It is managed by the Zoological Society of London. Today it houses more than 650 different species of animals.Regent’s Park, NW1 (Tube Station: Camden Town) – more details.
- Hyde Park Visit the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, which has the form of a large oval stream bed surrounded by a lush grassy field. It is laid out on a gently sloping portion of the park so that water pumped to the top flows down either side. The two sides were intended to show the two sides of Diana’s life, both happy times and turmoil. Also you can row on the Serpentine. Rent one of the 110 boats and pedalos (available from March to October) and have fun messing about on the oldest boating lake in the capital. (Tube Station: Hyde Park Corner)
- Wimbledon Tennis If you are in London at the end of June / beginning July, visit the All England Lawn Tennis Club to watch the world’s finest player compete in The Championships – the world’s only grass court Grand Slam. Alternatively you can visit The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which is open throughout the year.Church Road, Wimbledon SW19 (Tube Station: Southfields) – more details.
- Millennium Bridge The first pedestrian river crossing over the Thames in central London for more than a century, the Millennium Bridge opened in 2000 is a 330m steel bridge linking the City of London at St. Paul’s Cathedral with the Tate Modern Gallery at Bankside. (Tube Stations: Mansion House or St Paul’s) – more details.
- Kenwood House Set in tranquil parkland with panoramic views over London, Kenwood House boasts sumptuous interiors and important paintings by many great artists. Brewing magnate, Edward Cecil Guinness, first Earl of Iveagh, bought Kenwood House in 1925. Thanks to him, you can see masterpieces by Rembrandt, Turner, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Vermeer. Admire the Suffolk Collection, with its magnificent full-length Elizabethan portraits and stunning costume details. Or walk in parkland influenced by the great English landscape gardener, Humphry Repton. There are lakeside walks and meandering woodland paths to explore.Hampstead Lane NW3 (Tube Stations: Archway or Golders Green, then 210 bus) – more details.
- St Paul’s Cathedral The cathedral is built of Portland stone and its impressive dome, which was inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, rises 365 feet (108 metres) to the cross at its summit, i.e. one foot for each day of the year. A famous London landmark, it houses special monuments to Lord Nelson in the south transept and to the Duke of Wellington in the north aisle; both are buried here. Also remembered are many poets and painters(Tube Station: St Paul’s) – more details.
- London Eye Erected specially for the Millennium, the London Eye has become an iconic symbol of London. At the summit – a height of some 440 feet – you can enjoy panoramic views of the capital and its landmarks. The Eye takes 30 minutes to make one complete revolution. Pre-book to avoid long queues.Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road SE1 (Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Madam Tussauds Madame Tussaud’s wax museum has grown to become a major tourist attraction in London. Today’s wax figures include world leaders, historical and royal figures, film and sporting stars. In the Spirit of London Ride you hop into one of London’s famous black cabs and take a journey through the capital’s history witnessing the historical and cultural events that have shaped London into one of the greatest cities in the world. In the Chamber of Horrors you will find figures of famous murderers. Baker Street (Tube Station: Baker Street) – more details.
- Open Top Bus Tour Take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour with many, many stops at all major London places of interest. Tickets are valid for 48 hours. Live commentary in English and recorded commentaries in 8 other languages.- more details here and here.
- London Transport Museum The Museum’s collections are the most comprehensive of their type in the world totalling some 375,000 items. These include an extensive variety of London Transport vehicles, signs, photographs, posters, uniforms and architectural material. Also included is the social history of transport, with collections of games, models and other smaller items.Covent Garden Piazza WC2 (Tube Station: Covent Garden) – more details.
- Apsley House Home of the first Duke of Wellington and his descendants, it stands right in the heart of London at Hyde Park Corner. For over 200 years, this great metropolitan mansion has been known colloquially as ‘Number 1 London’, because it was the first house encountered after passing the tollgates at the top of Knightsbridge. Inside Apsley House you will see many aspects of the first duke’s life and work, outstandingly his amazing art collection.(Tube Station: Hyde Park Corner) – more details.
- Canary Wharf This is a large and iconic development on the Isle of Dogs centred on the old West India Docks in the London Docklands. The name comes from the fact that tomatoes and bananas were once landed here from the Canary Islands, whose name in turn comes from the Latin for dogs (canis).Canary Wharf towers 800ft above the Isle of Dogs and has the UK’s three tallest buildings. There are also more than 200 shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.(Tube Station: Canary Wharf) – more details.
- Royal Albert Hall One of the most famous performing arts venues in the world holding some 330 events every year, the Royal Albert Hall is the home of the annual Promenade Concerts (The Proms) held between the end of July and the beginning of September. There are also daytime tours, a shop and a restaurant.Kensington Gore, SW7 (Tube Stations: High Street Kensington or South Kensington)
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- Globe Theatre Founded by the American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, the Globe is a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s original theatre, which burned down in 1613. As well as seeing plays in the ’round’, there is a permanent exhibition which includes a tour of the theatre.New Globe Walk, Bankside SE1 (Tube Station: London Bridge) – more details.
- Horse Guards Parade Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground off Whitehall. It was formerly the site of the Palace of Whitehall’s tilt-yard, where jousting tournaments were held in the time of Henry VIII. The annual Trooping the Colour ceremony in honour of the Queen’s birthday is held here. Horse Guards Parade will host the beach volleyball competition of the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London.Whitehall (Tube Stations: Westminster or Charing Cross) – more details.
- Lambeth Palace Lambeth Palace is one of the most recognisable sights on the bank of the River Thames with its Tudor brick gatehouse built by Cardinal Morton in 1495. It has been the official London residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury since 1200AD. Lambeth Palace is not open to the general public though tours can be arranged by writing to the bookings department.Lambeth Palace Road SE1 (Tube Station: Westminster) more details.
- London Silver Vaults The world famous Silver Vaults is home to the world’s largest retail collection of fine antique silver. It is the finest centre for silver in the world today and no customer is too small! It is an unusual, interesting and exciting place to explore if you just want to look around.53 – 64 Chancery Lane, WC2 (Tube Station: Chancery Lane) – more details.
- Wimbledon Stadium Watch stock car and banger racing on the stadium’s oval circuit. It is also home to greyhound and speedway racing.Plough Lane, SW17 (Tube Station: Tooting Broadway plus bus) – more details here and here.
- The River Café. Serving artisanal Italian delicacies, The River Cafe enjoys its legacy as one of London’s most sought-after dining spots. Boasting a long-held Michelin star, the tranquil, leafy surroundings are offset by a bustling open kitchen. The River Cafe menu changes twice daily for optimum freshness. Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, W6. (Tube Station: Hammersmith) – more details.
- Courtauld Institute The Courtauld Institute of Art is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the history and conservation of art and architecture, and its gallery houses one of Britain’s best-loved collections containing iconic impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces, as well as numerous other important paintings from the renaissance through to the 20th century.Somerset House, Strand, WC2 (Tube Stations: Temple or Charing Cross) – more details.
- Wembley Stadium The home of English football, the new stadium was completed in 2007. It can be closed with a movable roof and is dominated by a 133 metre high arch, which can be seen for miles. Apart from hosting all England home international matches and the FA Cup Final, the stadium is also used for the Rugby League Challenge Cup final. Subject to availability (pre-book) 90 minute tours are available.Wembley Stadium HA9 (Tube Station: Wembley Park) – more details.
- Tower Bridge Explore the most famous bridge in the world and visit the Tower Bridge Exhibition. The walkways offer fantastic views of many of London’s most well known sights and the Victorian Engine Rooms house the original steam engines, awesome machines whose immense power once raised the bascules of the bridge. A “virtual bridge lift” shows how the bascules still rise today to let ships pass beneath the Walkways.(Tube Stations: Tower Hill or London Bridge) – more details.
- Albert Memorial Kensington Gardens is arguably the most beautiful of all the royal parks in London with its avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds. It is located immediately to the west of Hyde Park. The Albert Memorial is situated in Kensington Gardens, directly to the north of the Royal Albert Hall. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha who died of typhoid in 1861, and was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic revival style.Kensington Gore, SW7 (Tube Stations: High Street Kensington or South Kensington)
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- Thames Barrier The barrier, which was completed in 1982, was designed to protect the capital from flooding until the year 2030. It is an impressive construction and is the worlds’ largest movable flood barrier, spanning 520 metres across the Thames at Woolwich. The Barrier can be reached by road, or river boat from Westminster or Greenwich, if you wish to view the barrier visitors centre then the road option is necessary. The barrier is raised (tested) every month – a fine site. The schedule is on the web site.
– more details.
- Museum of London Step inside and find historic objects that tell the story of the capital’s turbulent past. Discover prehistoric London, see how the city changed under Roman rule, and wonder at the grandeur of medieval London.London Wall EC2 (Tube Station: Barbican) – more details.
- Spencer House London’s only great eighteenth-century private palace to survive intact, Spencer House was built in 1756-66 for John, first Earl Spencer, an ancestor of the late Princess Diana. Guided tours every Sunday except during January and August. 27 St James’s Place, London SW1 (Tube Station: Green Park) – more details.
- National Gallery The National Gallery houses one of the finest collections of Western European paintings in the world with medieval works through to the French Impressionists. Every major European painter is represented.Trafalgar Square (Tube Station: Leicester Square) – more details.
- Twickenham Rugby Stadium This is the headquarters of the Rugby Football Union and the ground where all England home international matches are played. Stadium tours are available on most days of the week. Visit the World Rugby Museum, which chronicles the history of the game across the globe.(Train: Waterloo to Twickenham – 30 minutes ) – more details.
- The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben Following a fire in 1834 the Palace of Westminster was rebuilt to the design of architect Charles Barry. Included in the new design is the most famous clock tower in the world – Big Ben. Westminster Hall, which survived the fire, was built in 1097 and is considered to be one of Europe’s finest medieval buildings. Overseas visitors can attend parliamentary debates throughout the year but guided tours are only possible during the summer recess in August and. September. See website for details.Parliament Square, SW1 (Tube Station: Westminster) – more details.
- London Duck Tours These amphibious craft were originally used in World War II to carry supplies from ships to points on land and they remained in service with the British and other armies into the 1970’s. Ducks offer more than just a sightseeing tour; it’s an exciting road and river adventure appealing to visitors of all ages. The tour departs from Chicheley Street approximately 100 yards to the rear of the London Eye. Book on-line.(Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Imperial War Museum Chronicling the history of conflict from the First World War to the present day, the museum’s vast collections range from tanks and aircraft to photographs and personal letters as well as films, sound recordings and some of the twentieth century’s best-known paintings.Lambeth Road, SE1 (Tube Station: Lambeth North) – more details.
- Monument Designed by Sir Christopher Wren & Dr Robert Hooke, this Doric column with its ‘flaming’ top was completed in 1677 as a memorial to the 1666 Great Fire of London. It is 61 metres high (202 feet) and has a viewing platform near the top. Monument Street (Tube Station: Monument) – more details.
- Tate Modern Tate Modern is Britain’s national museum of international modern and contemporary art. The galleries are housed in the former Bankside Power Station, which was originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. In addition to the permanent collection, there are always special exhibitions taking place. Tate Modern is a great place for lunch, dinner or drinks with cafés and a restaurant & bar, all overlooking the River Thames, St Paul’s and the City of London. Bankside SE1 (Tube Station: Southwark) – more details.
- River Cruise Cruises depart frequently from Westminster Pier, Waterloo (London Eye) Pier, Tower Pier and Greenwich Pier every day. For something special in the evening, you can have a 4 course dinner. The London Showboat is the perfect way to experience a dinner cruise with top quality entertainment both inside and out. Against the night sky you will pass the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the O2 Millennium Dome, the Thames Barrier and many more London landmarks- more details.
- Harrods Established in 1849, Harrods is arguably the most famous department store in the world. The store prides itself on stocking the finest-quality merchandise from men’s and ladies fashion to items for the home and furniture. Visit the magnificent food halls and try the restaurants.Brompton Road (Tube Station: Knightsbridge) – more details.
- Tate Gallery Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art. Amongst the many artists represented, you find works by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable, Hogarth, Turner, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon.Millbank SW1 (Tube Station: Pimlico) – more details.
- Leighton House Museum Leighton House was the home of Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830 – 1896). One of the most remarkable buildings of the 19th century, it was built to designs by George Aitchison. The house was extended and embellished over the next 30 years to create a private palace of art. The Arab Hall houses Leighton’s priceless collection of over 1,000 Syrian tiles. Important works by Leighton and his contemporaries are also on display.12 Holland Park Road W14 (Tube station:High Street Kensington) – more details.
- Highgate Cemetery Perhaps best known as the final resting place of Karl Marx (the father of Communism), many notable people are buried at Highgate including 18 Royal Academicians, 6 Lord Mayors of London and 48 Fellows of the Royal Society. You will also discover the tombs of many others, such as Rowland Hill (originator of modern postal service), the novelist George Eliot, (Mary Ann Evans), Michael Faraday (electrical pioneer), William Friese-Greene (inventor of cinematography) and Henry Moore (sculptor).Swains Lane, N6 (Tube Station: Archway)
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- National Portrait Gallery As well as the permanent collection of 115,854 portraits of famous people, the gallery holds regular special exhibitions of contemporary photographic works.Trafalgar Square (Tube Station: Leicester Square) – more details.
- Royal Academy of Arts The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by George III in 1768. and is devoted solely to the promotion of the visual arts and to raising the standing of art, artists and architecture. The RA now enjoys an unrivalled reputation as a venue for exhibitions of international importance.Burlington House, Piccadilly W1 (Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus) – more details.
- Ronnie Scott’s In 1959 Ronnie Scott’s club opened in London’s Soho. It is now London’s foremost jazz venue and most of the jazz greats have performed there over the years. Book dinner and enjoy an evening of music.47 Frith St W1 (Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road) – more details.
- Pollock’s Toy Museum Pollock’s Toy Museum occupies two houses joined together in the heart of ‘Fitzrovia’, one 18th century, one 19th. The rooms are small and connected by narrow winding staircases. The whole place exudes atmosphere and evocations of those special times of childhood.1 Scala Street W1 – entrance in Whitfield Street (Tube Station: Goodge Street) – more details.
- Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret Having been hidden for almost a century in the garret of St Thomas’s Church, Britain’s only surviving 19th century operating theatre was rediscovered in 1956, and has been open as a Museum since 1962.9a St Thomas St, SE1 (Tube Station: London Bridge) – more details.
- Planet Hollywood Planet Hollywood is located in the heart of the West End. The venue benefits from a main restaurant and a variety of adjoining semi private function rooms all themed differently, allowing guests to experience a range of genres from the world of movies, these include, the Legends Room, The Horror Room and last but by no means least The Bond room. 13 Coventry Street W1 – more details.
- St Pancras International St Pancras train station was designed by William Barlow in 1863 and on its completion in 1868 it became the largest enclosed space in the world. The station has been redeveloped and restored to become the home of Eurostar, the high speed rail connection with Brussels and Paris. The station now boasts Europe’s longest Champagne Bar. Pancras Road NW1 (Tube Station: Kings Cross/St Pancras) – more details.
- London Dungeon Torture, beheading, plague and murder are the main ‘attractions ‘ at this museum celebrating the deepest, darkest parts of British history; not recommended for those of a nervous disposition or very young children.Tooley Street SE1 (Tube Station: London Bridge) – more details.
- Lord’s Cricket Ground Lord’s has long been seen as the ‘Home of Cricket’ and the game’s spiritual ‘headquarters’. The ground is used by Middlesex for the county’s home matches as well as by England whenever an overseas touring side visits the U.K. Visit the museum and take a tour of the ground.Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord’s Cricket Ground, St John’s Wood, London, NW8 (Tube Station: St John’s Wood) – more details.
- Fortnum & Mason An up market and old fashioned department store particularly famous for the quality of products sold in its food hall. Taking tea at Fortnum’s is an unforgettable experience. In the street watch the clock chime the hour – four foot high mechanical replicas of the original Mr. Fortnum and Mr. Mason emerge and bow to each other to the sound of chimes and authentic 18th century music.181 Piccadilly W1 (Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus) – more details.
- Hunterian Museum The museum offers an insight into the history and practice of the surgeon throughout the ages. There are a good deal of medical texts and instruments on display amongst the large exhibition space.Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2 (Tube Station: Holborn) – more details.
- Churchill Exhibition and War Rooms Troubled by the possibility of enemy air raids on London, the cabinet War Rooms were created in 1938 in the basement of the now Treasury building. After VJ day, the Map Room was left almost exactly as it was when its doors were closed for the final time in August 1945. Such was the importance that Churchill attached to the Map Room his own room is to be found immediately next to it. Here Churchill had his bed, together with a desk and meeting area. Further down the corridor is the Cabinet Room itself. A major museum dedicated to Churchill’s life has also been created.Clive Steps, King Charles Street, SW1 (Tube Station: Westminster) – more details.
- Benares Restaurant Atul Kochhar is at the vanguard of the new Indian cuisine. At this Mayfair Indian Fusion restaurant you’ll find interesting fresh flavours and subtle spices. The décor at Benares is equally striking; a sense of Zen-like calm pervades the restaurant, providing a perfect contrast to the striking flavours and ingredients of the food.Benares Restaurant, 12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1 – more details.
- St Margaret’s Church Westminster Standing as it does between Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, and commonly called “the parish church of the House of Commons”, St Margaret’s has witnessed many important events in the life of this country. The church has been a venue for political and society weddings, Samuel Pepys, the diarist, and Sir Winston Churchill are amongst the famous to be married here – not to mention Harley Nott (founder of Coach House Rentals) to his wife Meena! Broad Sanctuary SW1 (Tube Station: St James’s Park)
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- Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. Kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains are buried or commemorated. The Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history. (Tube Station: St James’s Park) – more details.
- Portobello Road Market Portobello Road is a narrow, winding thoroughfare, in the middle of Notting Hill. A market has been held here since 1837. At the Notting Hill end there are over 2,000 stalls selling antiques, jewellery, paintings, coins, medals, silverware and collectables. All the stallholders here are experts so don’t expect too many bargains. This area also has cafés, bars, restaurants and delicatessens.Portobello Road W11 (Tube Station: Notting Hill Gate)
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- National Theatre Within the National Theatre are three separate theatres, the Olivier, the Lyttelton and the Cottesloe. In addition to seeing a play, a backstage tour at Britain’s largest theatre complex is also possible. Discover the secrets behind bringing the productions to the stage. Restaurants, cafés and bars can be found throughout the building, most with al fresco seating overlooking the vibrant South Bank.South Bank SE1 (Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Royal Festival Hall The Royal Festival Hall was built as the centrepiece of the 1951 Festival of Britain, and is one of Britain’s premier concert halls. With a capacity of nearly 3,000, the venue holds a wide variety of events, from classical concerts and dance performances to academic talks and contemporary musical festivalsBelvedere Road, London SE1 (Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Purcell Room The Purcell Room is the most intimate concert hall venue on the Southbank site, making it especially suitable for chamber music, literature and spoken word events, mime and solo recitals.Belvedere Road SE1 (Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Queen Elizabeth Hall The Queen Elizabeth Hall is the second largest concert hall on the Southbank Centre site, hosting chamber orchestras, quartets, choirs, dance performances and opera.Belvedere Road SE1 (Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Hayward Gallery One of London’s most important spaces for displaying contemporary art, The Hayward is housed in an austere 1968 building that is both equally loved and derided by the majority of Londoners.Belvedere Road SE1 (Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- Hard Rock Café Enjoy American-style bistro food and explore the world famous Rock and Roll Museum where you can admire some of the best rock memorabilia in the U.K.150 Old Park Lane W1 (Tube Station: Green Park) – more details.
- Royal Opera House The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is the home of The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. If you are not lucky enough to get tickets for a performance by either company, there are costume exhibitions, restaurants and bars which can be visited during the day.
Covent Garden WC2 (Tube Station: Covent Garden) – more details.
- Changing of the Guard One of the biggest attractions for visitors to London is to watch this ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Check the website for full information and times.(Tube stations: Hyde Park Corner, Green Park or Victoria) – more details.
- Wigmore Hall One the world’s most important recital venues presenting 400 events a year, which include song, early music, chamber music and jazz.
36 Wigmore Street W1 (Tube Station: Bond Street) – more details.
- Petticoat Lane Market Petticoat Lane is probably the most famous of all London’s street markets, and derives its name from its long history as a centre of the clothing trade. Held on Sundays, the bias is towards clothing, particularly leather coats. There are plenty of fast-food outlets, many selling traditional Jewish food.Middlesex Street and Wentworth Street, London E1 (Tube Station: Aldgate)
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- Burlington Arcade Built in 1819 Burlington Arcade runs down the side of Burlington House, now home of the Royal Academy of Arts. This indoor arcade represents a pleasant haven away from the constant traffic of Piccadilly and is noted for its marvellous selection of expensive, luxury, goods.Piccadilly W1 (Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus)
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- Kew Bridge Steam Museum Built in the 19th century to supply London with water, the museum is now the most important historic collection of steam pumping engines in Britain. Also ride on London’s only steam railway; Open Tuesday to Sunday.Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, Middlesex (Tube Station: Gunnersbury plus bus) – more details.
- Royal Courts of Justice (The High Court) The imposing Victorian Gothic building was opened by Queen Victoria in 1882. These are the nation’s main civil courts. The High Court presides over the most serious civil trials in the country including divorce, libel, civil liability and appeals, whereas criminal cases are handled by the Old Bailey. The public are admitted to all 88 court rooms and can come and go as they please.
Strand WC1 (Tube Station: Temple) – more details.
- Trooping the Colour This impressive display of pageantry takes place in June each year to celebrate the official Birthday of the Sovereign and is carried out by her personal troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade, with the Queen herself attending and taking the salute. Over 1400 officers and men are on parade, together with two hundred horses; over four hundred musicians from ten bands and corps of drums march and play as one.Whitehall (Tube Stations: Westminster or Charing Cross) – more details.
- Arsenal Emirates Stadium In 2006 Arsenal Football Club moved to this large 60,000 capacity stadium – a suitable home for London’s best-supported football team Take a Stadium Tour, which includes a visit to the Arsenal museumAshburton Grove, Islington N7 (Tube Station: Holloway Road) – more details.
- Vinopolis Opened in 1999 this was the brain child of a wine merchant called Duncan Vaughan-Arbuckle who realised that there was considerable interest in the making and enjoyment of wines. Find out about the history of wines through the ages with details of grapes and regions, participate in a wine tasting session or simply eat in the restaurant.1 Bank End SE1 (Tube Station: London Bridge) – more details.
- Charles Dickens Museum The London home of Charles Dickens, now a museum dedicated to the famous 19th century author. Learn about Dickens’ life, or see his manuscripts, paintings, and many items relating to the life of one of the most popular and beloved personalities of the Victorian age.48 Doughty Street WC1 (Tube Station: Russell Square) – more details.
- Pub Crawl What better justification could there be to drink all day than a jaunt round ‘Fitzrovia’ following in the footsteps of the literary greats such as George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, George Bernard Shaw among others, who frequented these pubs:-Grafton Arms: 72 Grafton Way W1King & Queen: 1 Foley Street W1The Hope: 15 Tottenham Street W1One Tun, 58-60 Goodge Street W1Northumberland Arms, 43 Goodge Street W1Fitzroy Tavern, 16 Charlotte Street W1(Tube Station: Goodge St or Tottenham Court Road for all) – further pub crawl details.
- Borough Market A successor to a medieval market held on London Bridge, the buildings of its present location date from 1851. The fruit and vegetable market is augmented on Fridays and Saturdays with additional stalls. Nearby are the ‘Neal’s Yard Dairy’, selling British and Irish farmhouse cheeses, the acclaimed restaurant Fish! and Konditor & Cook, the bakers.Between Bedale Street and Stoney Street SE1 (Tube Station: London Bridge)
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- Camden Gig at KOKO KOKO began life as The Camden Theatre and was opened on Boxing Day 1900 by the famous actress Ellen Terry. After a number of transformations it is now a Mecca for the young and hip.1A Camden High Street, NW1 (Tube Station: Mornington Crescent) – more details.
- British Library The Sir John Ritblat Gallery in the Library’s St Pancras building hosts a permanent display of the greatest treasures. See over 200 beautiful and fascinating items: sacred texts from many faiths, maps and views, early printing, literary, historical, scientific and musical works from over the centuries and around the world. Discover some of the world’s most exciting and significant books, from Magna Carta and the Gutenberg Bible, to Handel and the Beatles. Marvel at the genius behind the Leonardo notebooks, and see the earliest versions of some of the greatest works of English literature, including Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and Shakespeare’s First Folio.96 Euston Road NW1 (Tube Station: King’s Cross) – more details.
- Golden Hinde Between 1577 and 1580 Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe. Visit the full-size replica of Sir Francis Drake’s 16th century galleon, which is now mainly used as a living museum, with guided tours and exhibits. Some 80 sailors lived aboard this tiny vessel.6a Horseshoe Wharf, Clink Street SE1 (Tube Station: London Bridge) – more details.
- Simpson’s in the Strand For a true taste of all that is best in British cuisine there is no finer dining establishment than Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, where you can sample a wide range of classical dishes, including the best roast beef in the country and game in season. Roasts are carved at guests’ tables, from antique silver-domed trolleys by Master Carvers. During World War II, meat rationing interrupted the generous servings of beef at Simpson’s, and regulars overcame the dwindling portions by tipping the Carver to ensure they received their usual sized portions! The tradition of tipping the Carver is still observed to this day,100 Strand WC2 (Tube Station: Charing Cross) – more details.
- Royal Hospital Chelsea Founded in 1682, this is a retirement and nursing home for British soldiers. There are just over 300 ex-soldiers resident in the Royal Hospital, referred to colloquially as ‘Chelsea Pensioners’. The building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and the most interesting parts are open to the general public – take a conducted tour.Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea SW3 (Tube Station: Sloane Square)
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- BFI Southbank The British Film Institute is world-renowned for its archive, cinemas, festivals, films, publications and learning resources. At the Southbank Theatre you can see retrospective viewings of films by outstanding directors and actors from the past.Belvedere Road, South Bank Waterloo SE1 (Tube Station: Waterloo) – more details.
- O2 Arena Constructed to celebrate the Millennium at great cost and amid considerable public controversy, the future of the huge Millennium Dome was in doubt for several years. Now renamed ‘The O2’ it is an entertainment venue for the world’s hottest and most sought after acts on stage; Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Scissor Sisters, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Take That, etc. It also hosts sporting events and will be used for the 2012 Olympics.Peninsula Square SE10 (Tube Station: North Greenwich) – more details.
- Prospect of Whitby Dating from 1543, this is one of the most famous pubs in London. The main bar has a flagstone floor, the long bar counter is built on barrels and has a rare pewter top. There’s a wealth of timber beams and the upright pillars appear to be sections of a ship’s mast. The restaurant upstairs has magnificent river views.57 Wapping Wall E1 (Tube Station: Wapping) – more details.
- Guildhall Situated in the heart of the City of London this magnificent medieval building is still used as the ceremonial and administrative centre of the Corporation of London. It is a grand setting for glittering banquets in honour of visiting heads of state and other dignitaries, royal occasions, and receptions for major historical anniversaries. When not in use, visits are possible so ring prior to your visit to check.Gresham Street EC2 (Tube Station: St Paul’s) – more details.
- Brunel Museum Half the diameter of the dome of St Paul’s, the grand entrance hall of the Thames Tunnel has been opened up for the first time in a hundred and forty years. The museum spans Brunel’s career. Amongst his other achievements, the Thames Tunnel represents the birth of the tube and his Great Eastern steamship was the first modern ocean liner. Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe SE16 (Tube Station: Bermondsey) – more details.
- Fairfield Halls An arts centre in Croydon opened in 1962. It contains a concert hall, the Ashcroft Theatre, the Arnhem Gallery civic hall and an art gallery. The large concert hall is frequently used for BBC recordings. The Halls are the home of the London Mozart Players, whose principal guest conductor is flautist, Sir James Galway.Park Lane, Croydon, Surrey CR9 (Train Victoria to East Croydon – 16 Minutes) – more details.
- Laban Centre Watch contemporary dance at the largest purpose-built contemporary dance centre in the world or just stand and admire this incredible Herzog & de Meuron-designed building from the outside.Creekside, SE8 (DLR from Monument to Cutty Sark Station) – more details.
- Boat Race The annual Oxford and Cambridge university boat race takes place on the River Thames along a 4.2 mile course between Putney and Chiswick Bridges (late March / early April). – more details.
- Inns of Court There are four Inns of Court: Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray’s Inn. Between them they are responsible for the selection, training and regulation of barristers in England and Wales. The chambers of all prominent English barristers are located in the Inns. Explore the area and take a stroll through the nearby public gardens. Gray’s Inn Gardens WCI (Tube Station: Chancery Lane), Lincoln Inn Fields WC1 (Tube Station: Holborn), The Temple WC1 (Tube Station: Temple)
- Chelsea Flower Show The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a gardening show held each year on five days in May in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. It is the most famous such show in the U.K. and part of London’s summer social season.Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea SW3 (Tube Station: Sloane Square) – more details.
- Rules Restaurant Established in 1798 this is London’s oldest restaurant, which serves traditional English dishes and specialises in classic game cookery, oysters, pies, and puddings.35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden WC2 (Tube Station: Charing Cross) – more details.
- Fulham Palace The estate was owned by the Bishops of London for over 1300 years and the Palace was their country home from at least the 11th century. Today the Palace’s stately rooms house an intriguing museum, a relaxing café-bar within a graceful drawing room which overlooks the extensive botanic gardens; and an elegant gallery space that provides an innovative programme of contemporary art.Bishop’s Avenue SW6 (Tube Station: Putney Bridge) – more details.
- Sadler’s Wells Sadler’s Wells presents an adventurous programme of national and international dance, music theatre and opera. Dance ranges from ballet to hip hop, contemporary dance to flamenco. Located in Islington near Angel since 1683, the site has two theatres; Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Lilian Baylis Studio. The Company also performs at its West End home The Peacock Theatre and at the London Coliseum.Rosebery Avenue EC1 (Tube Station: Angel) – more details.
- City Hall City Hall is home to the Mayor of London, the London Assembly and the GLA, who in July 2002 became tenants of this striking rounded glass building on the south bank of the Thames near Tower Bridge. Members of the public may visit parts of City Hall Monday to Friday.The Queen’s Walk SE1 (Tube Station: London Bridge) – more details.
- London Marathon Starting in Greenwich Park and finishing in The Mall, the London Marathon takes place every year towards the end of April. If you are feeling energetic, apply to take part or you can watch from numerous vantage points. Visit the website for details. – more details.
- St Katherine’s Docks For over a thousand years the site of St Katharine Docks just beyond Tower Bridge has been a focus of commerce and human endeavour. Partly destroyed by bombs during World War II, the docks have been transformed into a yacht marina. Alfresco dining and drinking are enjoyed at the Docks’ several bars and restaurants, whilst a little retail therapy is on offer amongst its shops.Tower Bridge Approach (Tube Station: Tower Hill) – more details.
- Syon House Situated 10 miles from the centre of London, this is the private home of the Duke of Northumberland. Open for public view are the private apartments and bedroom used by Queen Victoria when she was a princess. See the superb Robert Adam interiors. The park houses a garden centre and the London Butterfly House.Syon Park, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 (Train: Waterloo to Syon Lane – 30 minutes) – more details.
- Sherlock Holmes Pub The site of this pub is the address used by Sir Henry Baskerville (The Northumberland Hotel) in the story ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. It is full of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia. There is a roof garden and restaurant upstairs, where there is a replica of a Victorian sitting room.10 – 11 Northumberland Street WC2 (Tube Station: Embankment) –
- Eton If visiting Windsor, it is worth a detour north across the River Thames to see the village of Eton, home of the country’s most famous public school (this term actually means a private school). Eton’s historic half mile High Street, leading from the world famous college towards Windsor has numerous shops selling antiques, books, clothing, gifts as well as pubs and restaurants.
(Rail: Waterloo to Waterloo & Eton Riverside) – more details.
- Barbican The Barbican Centre is the largest multi-arts centre in Europe, featuring art, film, music, theatre, dance and education all under one roof and under one creative direction. The London Symphony is the resident orchestra. There are 3 restaurants on site.
Silk Street EC2 (Tube Station: Barbican) – more details.
- Mansion House The Mansion House is a rare surviving Georgian town palace in London. With its magnificent interiors and elegant furniture, the Mansion House provides the Lord Mayor of the City of London with living, working and entertainment space. Perhaps the most famous events at Mansion House are the dinners and banquets. Tours for groups from 1 to 40 persons in number take place every Tuesday at 2pm meeting at the Walbrook entrance of Mansion House on a first come, first served basis. Alternatively, if you are in London in September, there is an ‘Open House’ weekend. (Tube Station: Mansion House) – more details.
- Christ Church, Spitalfields An Anglican church built between 1714 and 1729 to a design by Nicholas Hawksmoor. Situated, it was one of the first and arguably one of the finest of the so-called “Commissioners’ Churches” built for the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches, which had been established by an Act of Parliament in 1711.Commercial Street E1 (Tube Station: Liverpool Street) – more details.
- Ramsey’s The Chef Gordon Ramsey is well known on both sides of the Atlantic for the television programmes ‘The F Word’ and ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. It’s serious food – at a serious price! Book well in advance.Restaurant Gordon Ramsey, 68 Royal Hospital Road SW3 (Tube Station: Sloane Square) – more details.
- Sotheby’s Founded in 1744, Sotheby’s is one of the world’s foremost fine art auction houses with numerous locations around the world. Attend an auction or just a pre-sale exhibition at the London headquarters34-35 New Bond Street W1 (Tube Station: Bond Street) – more details.
- Tea at the Ritz The London Ritz Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in the UK and afternoon tea at The Ritz is an institution in itself. Served in the spectacular Palm Court, a choice of several varieties of tea, finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones, jam and clotted cream and a range of delicate pastries, combine to make for an unforgettable afternoon. Jeans not permitted.150 Piccadilly W1 (Tube Station: Green Park) – more details.
- Harvey Nichols Established in the 1880s Harvey Nichols is one of the top London department stores. There are a total of eight floors of fashion, beauty and home collections, with the Fifth Floor dedicated to Food and Restaurants.109-125 Knightsbridge London SW1 (Tube Station: Knightsbridge) – more details.
- Chelsea Harbour Design Centre Built in the late 1980’s Chelsea Harbour is a mixed-use development in Central London situated on the north bank of the River Thames. It contains luxury apartments, a deluxe hotel, offices and showrooms, surrounding a small marina. It is now renowned for the Design Centre, which comprises 70 showrooms devoted to fabrics and home-ware.
(Tube Station: Sloane Square and then a bus) – more details.
- Spitalfields Originally a wholesale fruit and vegetable market, Spitalfields has become a covered market offering a wide variety of products: antiques & vintage on Thursdays, fashion & art on Fridays, only shops & no stalls on Saturday. Sunday is the busiest day with all shops and all stalls open.Old Spitalfields Market London E1 (Tube Station: Liverpool Street) – more details.
- St James’s Park With its royal, political and literary associations, St James’s Park is at the very heart of London and covers 23 hectares (58 acres). It contains a lake harbouring ducks, geese and pelicans. If you need a break from sightseeing, relax with a leisurely stroll in the park and take the opportunity to feed the pelicans.(Tube Station: St James’s Park) – more details.
- OXO Tower Restaurant Although a venue for special occasions for most diners, the vibes in the restaurant are pleasantly informal. The views are great, but make sure you book a table that overlooks the river to avoid dining against a backdrop of south London’s tower blocks. Expensive but the food is memorable.OXO Tower Wharf, Barge House Street SE1 (Tube Station: Blackfriars) – more details.
- South Bank Walk Although many of the landmarks warrant individual visits, a stroll along the embankment from the Royal Festival Hall to the Borough Market is particularly interesting for a visitor to London. Especially in fine weather it is a vibrant area thronging with people. You will encounter street entertainers and pass many interesting places including the National Theatre, Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, and the Globe Theatre.(Between Tube Stations: Waterloo and London Bridge)
The Horniman Museum is located at Forest Hill, South London. It has extensive collections of anthropology, natural history and musical instruments. The museum also hosts a variety of special exhibitions, concerts, festivals, shows, workshops and activities.
The museum is set in 16 acres (65,000 m²) of gardens, which include the following features:-
- A Grade II listed conservatory from 1894 which was moved from Horniman’s family house in Croydon to the present site in the 1980s.
- A bandstand from 1912
- An enclosure for small animals
- A nature trail
- An ornamental garden
- Plants for materials, medicines; foods and dyes
- A sound garden with large musical instruments for playing
- A new building, the Pavilion, for working on materials that are outside of the collections, such as from the gardens.
The Horniman Museum was commissioned in 1898 by Frederick John Horniman. Frederick had inherited his father’s Horniman’s Tea business, which by 1891 had become the world’s biggest tea trading business. It was designed by Charles Harrison Townsend in the Arts and Crafts style and opened in 1901. The cash from the business allowed Horniman to indulge his lifelong passion for collecting and after extensive travel he had some 30,000 items in his various collections. In 1911 an additional building to the west of the main building, originally containing a lecture hall and library, was donated by Frederick Horniman’s son Emslie Horniman. This was also designed by Townsend.
The Horniman now has a collection of some 350,000 exhibits. The ethnography and music collections have Designated Status meaning that they are of outstanding significance. One of the museum’s most famous collections is that of stuffed animals. It also has a noted aquarium.
On the front facade of the main building is a neoclassical mosaic mural entitled Humanity in the House of Circumstance, designed by Robert Anning Bell and assembled by a group of young women over the course of 210 days. Composed of more than 117,000 individual tesserae, it measures 10 feet by 32 feet and symbolises personal aspirations and limitations.
A 20-foot (6.1 m) red cedar totem pole stands outside the museum’s main entrance. It was carved in 1985 as part of the American Arts Festival by Nathan Jackson, a native Alaskan. The carvings on the pole depict figures from Alaskan legend of a girl who married a bear, with an eagle (Jackson’s clan crest) at the top. The pole is one of only a handful of totem poles in the United Kingdom.
The Horniman Museum contains the CUE building (Centre for Understanding the Environment), which opened in 1996. Designed by local architects Archetype using methods developed by Walter Segal, the building has a grass roof and was constructed from sustainable materials. It also incorporates passive ventilation.
For further information go to www.horniman.ac.uk/
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london.
Located in South East London the current house was built by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in the 1930s on the site of an original palace. The building was designed to be an elaborate home in the Art Deco style. The dramatic Entrance Hall was created by the Swedish designer Rolf Engströmer. However, the outstanding feature is the Great Hall, which is the only remaining part of the original palace and which boasts the third-largest hammerbeam roof in England. The Courtaulds restored the Great Hall adding a minstrels gallery to it.
The original palace was given to Edward II in 1305 by the Bishop of Durham and was in regular use as a royal residence during the 14th to the 16th century. It has a notable history during this period and a young Henry VIII grew up there.
Although the roof of the Great Hall had been badly damaged by a bomb in September 1940, the Courtaulds remained at Eltham until 1944 after which the Royal Army Educational Corps took over the building. The Corps remained there until 1992.
In 1995 English Heritage assumed management of the palace and in 1999, having completed major repairs and restorations of the interiors and gardens, the palace and its garden were opened to the public. A 15th-century bridge still crosses the moat. It has been said that internally the Art Deco house is a masterpiece of modern design. It can be hired for weddings and other functions.
For further information go to www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/eltham-palace-and-gardens/
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london
London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest in the world outside China, will bring Chinatown to riotous life. The festivities will take place on Saturday 14th February with a parade along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. This begins at 10am, with a Dragon and Lion Dance on a stage in the square from noon until 1.00pm, after which there will be Lion Dances throughout Chinatown until about 5pm.
You can expect Chinatown to go crazy for the day, with New Year-themed decorations, special menus and events at the area’s 100-odd restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, as well as all sorts of food and craft stalls colonising the streets. Back in Trafalgar Square, additional entertainment will include dance and music groups visiting from China and the Chen Brothers flying lion dance team.
Chinese New Year’s Day is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. However, based on the internationally used Gregorian calendar, the date differs each year. The start of the New Year is always between January 21th and February 20th. In 2016 it falls on Monday February 8th and marks the start of The Year of the Monkey.
The officially celebration covers seven days, the 7th to the 13th February 2016. It is a public holiday for the Chinese and usually people have seven consecutive days off work from the eve of the Chinese New Year to the sixth day after New Year’s Day. The most important days of celebration are the Chinese New Year’s Eve, which is the day of family reunions and the Chinese New Year’s Day itself, which is reserved for family visits and New Year greetings.
For further information go to www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/event/4733685-chinese-new-year-2016-in-london
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london
by Harley Nott
The Best Bed and Breakfast in London?
Are you thinking of a trip to London next year? Before you book your accommodation check out The Coach House.
What makes it so special?
You have your own little cottage with your own private entrance, all to yourself (no other guests) set in a charming garden.
You are served a delicious breakfast every day in “the big house” by your hosts – saving money by just needing a light snack for lunch.
You have real “contact with the natives”. Your hosts, Harley and Meena while serving you breakfast, are there to chat, answer any questions about London, UK – or anything else and give you an insight into their lives. They also like to hear about you!
It is excellent value for money – for 5 people it works out at £40 / US$60 per person per night. In January and February with low-season rates it is even cheaper!
The Coach House is mentioned in several London guide books and has lovely Trip Advisor reviews.
Already it has several bookings for next year, in January they will become a flood. There’s only one Coach House, so book early if you want to stay there.
Coach House Rentals
Check out the January / February 20% discount on several of our London rental properties for stays of 7 nights or more. With this level of discount 4 can stay in London for as little as £25 (US$38) per person per night – property ref: ETW.
Our most popular rentals always book up very early and we have a significant number of bookings for the summer already. If you want to stay in our best properties – book now.
The Grenadier is a public house in Belgravia, London. It was originally built in 1720 as the officers’ mess for the senior infantry regiment of the British army, The First Royal Regiment of Foot Guards. Consequently it was located in a courtyard of their barracks. It was opened to the public in 1818 as The Guardsman Public House and was subsequently renamed in honour of the Grenadier Guards’ actions in the Battle of Waterloo.
In 1656, the First Royal Regiment of Foot Guards was formed. As a result of the heroism they showed whilst fighting off the French Grenadiers at Waterloo in 1815, they were renamed by Royal Proclamation as the ‘First Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards’, thus becoming the only regiment in the British Army to be named for one of its battle honours.
Tucked away down the exclusive Wilton Mews in a wealthy district of London, the patriotic Grenadier is painted red, white and blue to match the sentry box outside. It is said to have been frequented in the past by the Duke of Wellington and King George IV and it continues to attract an elite clientele such as Madonna and Prince William, and LSE Global Politics students.
It is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a subaltern who had been caught cheating at a game of cards The story goes that his comrades savagely beat him to death as a punishment. An exact date as to when this happened is unknown, but it is presumed that that fateful night was in the month of September, as this is the time of year that The Grenadier receives an onslaught of supernatural and spooky activity Past visitors of the pub have attempted to pay off the subaltern’s debt by attaching money to the ceiling, which in over a century has been totally covered with transatlantic money! The Grenadier is often regarded as one of the country’s most haunted pubs.
For further information go to www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub/grenadier-belgrave-square/c0800/
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london