Sunday in the City of London

The 'square mile' of the City of London is home to half a million workers during the week.  On Sundays however it is relatively quiet; allowing you to discover the deserted streets and secluded spaces.   The juxtaposition of old and new architecture creates some interesting photographs.  Here are a few from a recent visit.

Guide to Belgravia – and its pubs! (Part 1)

A short history of Belgravia Belgravia is an area in the south west of London known for its concentration of large mansions, wealthy residents and foreign embassies. However, less than 200 years ago the area was a marshy wasteland frequented by vagrants and criminals. How did it make this transformation? In 1677, the 200 acre [...]

London’s last great ducal residence

Syon House, near Brentford, is home of the Percys, Dukes of Northumberland.   It sits in a 200 acre estate on the River Thames in Middlesex. The house we see today was built by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset in 1547, refurbished and enhanced by the Scottish architect Robert Adam in the 1760's and refaced in [...]

Charles Dickens’ London home – birthplace of his early novels

At the age of 25, Charles Dickens rented (as was normal practice of the day) a large home in Doughty Street, London.  He did this, just as his writing career (under the pseudonym of ‘Boz’) was taking off.  Dickens lived here happily with his wife, Catherine, and their three children. Charles and Catherine would go [...]

London’s first professional football club

Arsenal was the first football team to turn professional in London.  That was back in 1893, playing as Woolwich Arsenal.  The team holds 43 honours, more than any other London side.  But why is the club called Arsenal - and where is Woolwich? I went on a bit of a pilgrimage recently. Although I’ve lived [...]

The ghosts of Tower Hill

Tower Hill is an open area of raised land just north of the Tower of London.   During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was the execution site for those incarcerated in the Tower in London.  It's believed around 125 people were executed, mostly by beheading.   At this time, only a few people (with Royal or [...]

Hidden alleyways in the City of London

In the very heart of the City of London (the historic ‘square mile’) is a labyrinth of hidden alleyways connecting coffee houses, wine lodges, restaurants and churches.    If you’re visiting London, it’s a must-see! This short guide will direct you through the area.    You might lose your bearings but it’s relatively compact - [...]

Where the Rolling Stones first rehearsed

This record shop in Soho has a special legendary status, not because of the range of vinyl (impressive though it is), but because this is where the Rolling Stones first rehearsed between March and April 1962. The shop on the corner of Broadwick Street (off Wardour Street) and Duck Lane used to be a pub [...]

Political landmarks in Westminster

The Parliament of the United Kingdom is renowned world-wide as being the 'mother of all parliaments'  This post is a self-guided walk through the heart of political Westminster. The walk starts in Smith Square, Westminster, home to party HQ's, lobbyists and political associations and ends in Trafalgar Square.  It will take you around three hours, [...]

Normandy’s D-Day beaches, Bayeux and Caen

In this 75th anniversary year of D-Day my brother and I made a short trip to Normandy to visit the D-Day landing beaches, museums and memorials.  We also visited the Bayeux Tapestry (depicting the Norman invasion of England in 1066) and the burial tomb of King William I in Caen.  It was a faced-paced visit [...]