A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

Spitalfields is in the east end of London and very close to the City of London (financial district).   Its been the traditional first stop in Britain for immigrants, going back to the 1600’s and has had its share of poverty and destitution.   However, today the area is a melting pot of the creative industries, street [...]

London’s second ‘City’ – Canary Wharf in Docklands

Canary Wharf is the name of the second financial district for London.   It is situated about three miles to the east of the ‘City of London’ in the former London Docklands.   The addition of Canary Wharf was to provide additional capacity for the ‘City’ – a top-ten world economy, if it were a country in [...]

The Virginia Quay Settlers Monument in London

The Virginia Quay Settlers Monument, on the north shore of the River Thames, marks the embarkation point of the first English settlers of North America.  This was where Captains Christopher Newport and John Smith set sail in December 1606 - some 14 years before the Mayflower set sail two miles further upstream.  There were three ships [...]

3 American bars in London you won’t want to miss!

American Bar at the Savoy Hotel We’ll start with arguably the most famous of the American bars in London. And one of the earliest to sell ‘American-style’ cocktails to the British public. As you enter the front reception lounge, turn left and head upstairs to the bar. It’s been frequented by all the great and [...]

M&M’s World and the LEGO Store in London – payback time for the kids!

Granted, this website is about 'cultural and historical' sights - but I think the occasional exception is okay - particularly for the sake of family harmony!  Last weekend I took my gorgeous nieces to two of London's most professional temples to consumerism.  That's M&M's World and the LEGO Store. Both are situated on the north [...]

The Blitz of London – after the ‘Darkest Hour’

The ‘Darkest Hour’; directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill is an account of Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister, machinations in 'Whitehall' and the Dunkirk evacuation.  The film is set over one month in May 1940.  It concludes with success at Dunkirk and Britain resolved to stand strong over Nazi [...]

12 portraits at the National Portrait Gallery for Americans

Here is self-guided tour of 12 key portraits at the National Portrait Gallery for Americans in London.   The National Portrait Gallery (NP)G is a haven of peace compared to its next door neighbour; the National Gallery.  It also has a rather nice rooftop cocktail bar with views over London!   Both galleries are on [...]

5 must-see American historical sites in London

Here are five must-see American historical sites that you can visit in London today.  They are not in any order or category, but having said that, we should start from where the Mayflower set sail in the first place! 1 The Mayflower Pub Back in 1620, the Mayflower started its journey from here to the [...]

World’s first tunnel under a river – by the former Chief Engineer of New York!

It may not look much on the outside, but this is authentic, world first London!  The building in the photograph houses the entrance to the first tunnel known to have been constructed successfully underneath a navigable river.  It connects Rotherhithe with Wapping in London, is still in use and you can visit it.  Descend the Victorian [...]

Wellington and the special relationship

This is a painting of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington by Sir Thomas Lawrence. It is an oil on canvas painted in 1829. In this portrait, Wellington’s commanding gaze evokes his resolve in defeating his critics, of which there were many at this time. His troops called him ‘old nosey’ and he called them [...]