Things to Do in London - page 5
The most exclusive shopping street in London, Bond Street is where you’ll find flagship stores for brands like Burberry, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. Running through the heart of Mayfair, the famous street dates back to the 1680s and is split into two sections—Old Bond Street in the south and New Bond Street in the north.
A striking example of Palladian architecture with its imposing Corinthian columns and regal façade, the Mansion House makes a fitting residence for the Lord Mayor of London. The official residence and head office of the Lord Mayor since 1752, the house remains an important political center, hosting numerous civic meetings, fundraising events, receptions and dinners throughout the year.
The Mansion House is open to the public for guided tours (weekly or by appointment), allowing visitors to admire the opulent drawing rooms, peek into the Old Ballroom and marvel over the Egyptian Hall, actually designed in a classical Roman style. Highlights of a visit include the 18th-century Hallkeeper's Chair; the glittering crystal chandeliers in the Salon; and the Harold Samuel art collection, which features notable paintings and sculptures by 17th-century Dutch and Flemish artists.
West London’s Portobello Road is home to one of London’s most famous street markets. It spans two miles (3 kilometers) and includes more than 2,000 dealers offering vintage clothes, handcrafted accessories, retro items and furniture, and many antiques that locals and visitors love to browse and buy.
The City of London—often called London’s Square Mile or simply the City—is not only the geographic heart of the capital but also one of the world’s most important financial centers. Denoted as a separate county with its own governance and police force, the City is also home to historic landmarks and impressive skyscrapers.
Leave the bustling streets behind as you explore Kensington Gardens, one of the city’s most famous green spaces. Discover landmarks including the Albert Memorial, Kensington Palace, and Serpentine River; pick up practical gardening tips in the Allotment; or simply absorb the atmosphere at one of the park’s many cafés.
One of the largest wholesale meat markets in Europe, Smithfield Market—also known as London Central Markets—is frequented by chefs, butchers, and curious tourists. Located in the oldest part of London, the area has hosted livestock markets for close to a millennia and was also site of bloody public executions in the Middle Ages.
The official home of Chelsea Football Club since 1905, Stamford Bridge has a long legacy. Watching a match at the iconic stadium is a popular choice for football (soccer) fans visiting London, and the on-site museum offers a look back at the team’s history.
The Clink’s dark past reaches back as far as the 12th century. Over its 600 years of operation, the prison was notorious for its poor conditions, famous inmates, and regular rebellions. Today, interactive exhibits reveal the harsh realities of crime and punishment in medieval London.
Established at the turn of the 15th century, east London’s Spitalfields attracts visitors with its diverse stores and trendy vibes. Equidistant from Shoreditch and Whitechapel, the area is home to an array of vintage stores and the iconic Spitalfields Market, making it a top spot in which to experience local London life.
A quick stroll from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, Knightsbridge is one of London’s most affluent neighborhoods. If the department stores (including the storied Harrods), designer boutiques, and elegant hotels don’t tip you off, the supercars might: Make a game of spotting Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis as you wander.
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A small, rural village on the southern edge of the Cotswolds in Wiltshire County, Lacock is famous for its historic feel and big-screen appearances. It has been featured in several film and television productions, including Pride and Prejudice, Emma and most recently, Harry Potter.
Sights include the medieval Lacock Abbey, with its expansive English gardens, stable house and Fox Talbot Museum, a photography exhibition named after the inventor of the negative/positive photographic process (a Lacock resident in the 1800s.)
Many visitors enjoy the two-mile walk that circles the surrounding countryside and offers views of the town and its abbey.
London’s most famous fictional detective is brought to life at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, located at 221b Baker Street, the legendary address from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, where Holmes and his famous sidekick, Dr. Watson, lived between 1881 and 1904.
For over 250 years, the Royal Academy of Arts has championed Britain’s visual art scene. The Mayfair mansion is home to a world-renowned permanent collection, and features works by artists such as Constable, Turner, and Emin. Its annual exhibitions also draw critical acclaim, showcasing contemporary art from around the world.
Strolling the halls of the National Portrait Gallery is like taking a walk through British history, as you pass images of royals, politicians, and pop culture icons. When it opened in 1856, the gallery was the first of its kind. Now it houses the world’s biggest portrait collection, featuring more than 11,000 works.
The home of London’s working class during Victorian times, the birthplace of Cockney Rhyming Slang, and the stomping ground of Jack the Ripper—the East End has long represented the grittier side of the capital. Today, it’s shed its rough image to become one of the city’s coolest, most diverse, and ever-evolving areas.
Once reserved exclusively for England’s royals, this 410-acre (166-hectare) park is now public, and one of London’s prettiest patches of green. As well as a boating lake, sports facilities, a rose garden, fountains, statues, and several playgrounds, Regent’s Park is also home to the 20,000 or so creatures of the London Zoo.
Interactive galleries, science demonstrations, and an IMAX 3D theater help make London’s Science Museum one of the city’s most engaging attractions for all ages. Use virtual reality to experience space travel, do experiments in the Wonder Lab, and see how math and science connect to everyday activities.
As home to Arsenal Football Club, one of England’s most renowned football teams, and the country’s third-largest football stadium after Wembley and Old Trafford, Emirates Stadium is a top choice for those looking to soak up the atmosphere of a British football (soccer) match.
The largest stadium in the United Kingdom and the second largest in Europe, Wembley Stadium is an iconic London landmark. Since the remodeled stadium opened in 2007, it has hosted the annual FA Cup final, the 2012 Olympic Games finals, and the UEFA Champions League Finals, and also serves as a venue for world-renowned musicians.
Part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Queen’s House is widely regarded as an architectural marvel. Commissioned by Queen Anne of Denmark in 1616, it was designed by architect Inigo Jones and was the first classical building in Britain. Today, the palace houses a gallery of artistic masterpieces.
Stretching north from the high-rise office blocks of Liverpool Street and the City, Shoreditch is the buzzing center of London’s East End. An eclectic, cosmopolitan, and ever-changing neighborhood favored by artists, students, and fashionistas; it’s known for its lively markets, bold street art, and nonstop nightlife.
One of Central London’s primary bridges, Blackfriars Bridge is both a busy thoroughfare and a historical monument. The landmark dates to the 19th century, was dedicated by Queen Victoria, and is distinctive for its red-and-white paint and pulpit-shaped pillars. You can cross Blackfriars Bridge either as a pedestrian or in a vehicle.
Please note: Theatre Royal Drury Lane is currently closed for renovation. The reopening is scheduled for fall 2020.
Dating to the 17th century, Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of London’s oldest theaters. It's hosted performances ranging from Shakespeare to Monty Python for more than 350 years. Today, the venue is a West End institution, known for hosting musical productions by greats such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Ivor Novello, and Noël Coward.
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