London has some of the most famous landmarks in the world seen the world over through advertising - movies & television. When I watch the news from the BBC the images are instantly recognisable but look out for the less familiar sights & slightly off the beaten path. Walk around London away from the tourist lines and you may surprise yourself with what you can find.
Fondest memory: Every time I visit London my favourite thing changes depending on where I go & what I do. I loved this building with its Curly Chimney Pots and quaint "Olde Worldy" architecture, it is the Liberty, a famous London store built in 1925 of mock tudor design. I loved seeing the shining ship perched high on the buildings roof (see second picture)
As well as all the pomp & ceremonies of London look out for the fun side of life! It maybe just another pub - but would you expect to see this gentleman in any other city? I wonder what Shakespear would think of London today? A city far removed from its dirt & squaller but just as busy with people & traffic - both now of a different nature.
Fondest memory: The people of London won't give you a second glance - far too busy - but if you start to laugh at things you see - BINGO - you have their attention - if only to see what could possibly amuse you!
In the beginning of the 20th century plans were made to erect a new building at the place of Whitehall Gardens. After a national competition it was architect M. E. Vincent Harris who got assigned.
World Wars and the depression of the 30ties put a halt to the construction works.
The Georgian houses in Whitehall had to be demolished to make room for this new modern building but five rooms got dismantled and obtained a place within the new building serving as conference rooms. Nowadays they are called the “historical rooms” and are situated at the 3rd and 4th floor. They are the rooms who were original in the Pembroke House; the Cromwell House and the Cadogan House.
On request of Queen Mary also the original Wine Cellar of the Whitehall Palace got preserved. It was the only part remaining after a fire in 1698. The whole cellar needed to be relocated some 9 feet westward and 19 feet deeper then originally.
By 1951 the New Government Offices were made available for the Board of Trade.
Sir Charles Wheeler provided them with statues of Earth and Water at the Northern door. Air and Fire statues, meant to be put at the Southern end were never realised because the building got handed over to the Air Ministry late fifties.
In 1964, a supplementary large building got erected because of the merger of the three Service Ministries and the formation of the unified Ministry of Defence.
It soon became the main building of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Fondest memory: In front you can see the golden eagle statue. It is the RAF Monument, dedicated to the Flyers who lost their lives in both World Wars.
One of my favorite things was that there were endless choices of things to see and do ... limited only by your time and stamina.
For example, one afternoon we decided to put off a "must see" visit to V & A museum to the next day, and just walk around the Covent Garden area. We wanted to go into the theater museum in the area, but it was closed that day, so we ended up going into the London Transport Museum.
It ended up being fascinating, with old street cars (horse drawn and electric), buses, tube cars on display, telling the history of transportation in London from the 1800s. There were touch screens, interpretive panels, etc. One section about how they dug out the underground (very dangerous work) was very interesting.
(more info on-line www.ltmuseum.co.uk)
Fondest memory: Anyway, I really miss the feeling that wherever you turn is something worth seeing and doing. London's a great place for a travelor.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901).
She lost her father, Edward, the Duke of Kent, when she was a baby and at the age of 18 she became queen of England. She married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. They had four sons and five daughters: Victoria, Bertie, Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold, and Beatrice.
Queen Victoria wanted to be kept informed about what was going on in the political world. The Reform Act of 1832 had shifted the legislative authority towards the House of Lords, with executive authority by a cabinet existing out of members of the House of Commons. She had a good cooperation with Lord Melbourne (Prime Minister in the early years of her reign) and England grew as well socially as economically.
Her German husband was not much loved by the English population and it is said that all of Victoria’s decisions had to be approved by Albert first.
When he died, she was so much indulged in self-pity and isolated herself until she got back in the spotlight due to be crowned empress of India in 1876 and the Golden Jubilee of her 50th year reign as Queen of England.
Fondest memory: "do you recognize that lady?" Azer asked me and I looked from afar towards the angel.
so I said "to me it looks like an angel?"
but no... it was not the golden angel he pointed at, it was the lady underneath the angel: Queen Victoria!
How to get there:
Tube: Green Park, St James Park. Rail: Charing Cross, Victoria. Bus: 2B, 3, 9, 14, 16, 19, 22, 25, 30, 36, 38, 52, 73, 74, 82, 137, 509, 510.
Green Park; St. James's Park; Victoria Station
The contrast between the old and historical, and the new and modern. This was evident everywhere, at the most popular tourist attractions, in London architecture and most of all walking down any city street in London.
Fondest memory: One of the things I miss is the feeling of getting up in the morning and knowing I have a whole day in front of me in which to explore more facets of London.
This is the armpit of London. Frequented by entry-level tourists only - things NOT to do in Leicester square:
1. do not buy a pizza slice from a small stand at the side of the street as it's been there for 3 days (and probably stored in the attendents underpants over night)
2. Do not buy a hot dog from a man pushing a silver toilet cubicle around with a hatch to serve "meat based" products. It is quite literally dog meat, and that's in the best-case scenario.
3. do not buy any of the usual London memorabilia like a beefeater figurine or a red telephone box. This is cheap rubbish. Spend the money on a tube ticket to St. Pauls cathedral, walk to and over the millenium bridge and go to the Tate Modern gallery instead - admission is free - this will make you remember London.
4. Do not eat in an Angus or Aberdeen Steakhouse - these places have almost legendary status - as being frequeted by non-Londoners only. Food is so poor it's laughable, you have to pay a table cover charge and remember it's in Leicester Square. If you want the best steak in town, go to Gaucho Grill - Argentinian steak house. 19 Swallow Street, W1. 0207734 4040
5. Do not try "bobbing for meat" in the Mr.Wu's all you can eat (in my experience, as much onion as you can eat) chinese buffet restaurants in and around Leicester square. Instead go to a Wagamama for solid, cheap and taste modern japanese food. Irving Street, WC2H. Most mains around 5-6 quid.
6. The list is too long. Just don't go to this place. Get the TimeOut guide to London, and start exploring...Notting Hill, Brick Lane, Spitlefields, Old Street, Clerkenwell....
Fondest memory: Leaving Leicester Square....it's a feeling I experience any time I'm unfortunate to be in this area....
The main big Tourist Information Centre is located in Regent's Street, there smaller centres elsewhere in London.
BLVC is operated by VisitBritain and is a one-stop shop for visitors to London and Britain. The centre provides free information, travel and destination advice and itinerary planning from the highly trained information staff in at least eight different languages. Visitors can redeem their London Pass vouchers and purchase Transport for London Travelcards. BLVC also offers a range of commercial services such as a travel agent, ticket agent, currency exchange (including VAT refunds) and a souvenir shop. Visitors to the centre can also access the Web in the internet lounge.
Britain and London Visitor Centre (BLVC).
1 Lower Regent St, SW1
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Tel: +44 (0)8701 566 366 (08701 LONDON)
This 18th century church, designed by James Gibbs and consecrated in 1726 is a well known London landmark situated in Trafalgar Square. (There has been a church on this site since Norman times). Tremendous work is done here with many of the city's homeless and Chinese community and there are regular services (the first religious broadcast went over the airwaves from this church!!), concerts, brass rubbing and of course the Cafe in the Crypt where you can get a pre-theatre meal quite reasonably - or just escape the cold for a few moments and have a quiet coffee break during the sight-seeing! Coffee and cake for two will set you back about £5.
Concerts are held here every Mon, Tues and Fri at 1.05pm. Check the website for listings of other free events held here.
St Martin in the Fields
Thus it was that I sought out the Tate Gallery (1st edition) and I determined that, due to its position, a stroll along the historical embankment was called for. This is an activity I can recommend.
Somewhere, at some stage, you will pass something of interest. Unless you're a zombie and that begs the question, "What are you doing here in the first place?". I digress.
Thus it was that I came upon this fine bronze by Enzo Plazzotta called "Jete". Dating from 1973 its location dictates that it stands out dramatically from the off-white background of the building behind. I liked it so much I took a picture!
Favorite thing: This was my first trip to London in peak season (summer) and I was expecting to wait in line everywhere. But we hit the major sights first thing when they opened-Tower of London and Windsor Castle-and the crowds were not to be seen. On the way out of the Tower though I noticed that the crowd for the Beefeater tour was much larger and there was a pretty good line going for the Crown jewels. I also planned those visits for weekdays, I figured that UK travelers and possibly other European weekenders would probably go on the weekend.
Favorite thing: I think, London is a city where it's always too little time to discover everything:) And it doesn't matter that I;ve been there many times, I still haven't seen everything. It still has left lots of places to see and lots of things to discover. For this reason London is really an interesting town where you always would like to come back and continue your personal discover about it.
London is quite large and it isn't cheap. Still, there's plenty to do and see in London that doesn't cost you a penny. Museums and galleries, all the major ones, are free for regular collections. There are plenty of churches that don't charge and have some lovely stained glass, sculpture and history and if Cathedrals are your thing, there's always Westminster Cathedral (the red and white brick one), Southwark Cathedral and St. George's Southwark.
Major museums and galleries that are free:
Victoria and Albert Museum
Natural History and Science Museum
Imperial War Museum
National Portrait Gallery
Sir John Soane's Museum
Museum of London
Tate Britain and Tate Modern
Lots of smaller places as well. Some of the major attractions that do charge, charge quite a lot such as Madam Toussaud's, the Tower of London, the London Eye and even St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey charge admission now but check guide books because some of them have a free evening or discounted admission an hour before closing.
See the website below for a complete listing of galleries, museums, large and small with maps and links to their websites for full information
London Free Stuff
Such a mixture. History, modern, run-down, glorious. All these things come to mind when walking the streets of London.
Fondest memory: This view is of Lambeth Bridge, next one down from Westminster Bridge and looks over to the south side of the Thames where the mobile viewing platform called "The Eye of London" is far and away the most prominent feature.
It travels slowly to give riders the chance to use their cameras to great advantage.
Just check the weather before you board!
The Piccadilly area in general is a
place to visit to see one of London's finest streets,
Jermyn Street, to see St. James
Church with its famous church organ, to walk
St. James Square to admire fine
architecture and the lovely garden with Wm.
IIs huge statue, to check out the art
galleries on King Street, to see an exhibit at
the Royal academy of Art, to view the lobby
of the wonderful Ritz Hotel (must be
dressed appropriately), to take a guided tour of the
Spencer House, to enjoy a stroll in the
ornamental gardens in St. Jame's Park
where you may peruse the lovely flower beds or
take a stroll by the sea. and, of course, to
experience the dazzle of Picadilly Circus.
(Whew....what a sentence!)