A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

Spitalfields is an historic area to the east of the City of London.   Since the 1660's, it has been the traditional first stop for immigrants arriving in London - and has suffered its share of poverty and destitution.   Today, however, the area is a melting pot of the creative industries, street art and bohemian residents.  [...]

Regent’s Canal to London Docklands

Regent’s Canal to London Docklands

Regent’s Canal was London’s main thoroughfare for heavy freight from the 1820’s – used by horse-drawn barges taking goods from sea-faring vessels on the River Thames into mainland England.   It stretches 13.5 km from Little Venice in the west of London to Limehouse Basin in the east, today’s Docklands.   The canal drops around 30 metres [...]

Little Venice and the Grand Union Canal

Little Venice is the name given (by Browning or Byron, no one knows) to the intersection of two canals in west London.  These are the Grand Union Canal and Regent's Canal.  The former was completed in 1814 and the later 1820 - both key to London's industrial infrastructure, before (and after) railways arrived in London [...]

A Mayfair pub walk

A Mayfair pub walk

Like me, you're probably hoping we get on the other side of this global pandemic soon!  Once we do, here is a pub-walk through one of London's most historical and well-heeled residential areas. Mayfair, named after its raucous annual fair, was purpose-built during the mid to late-1700's.   Many wealthly residents moved here from Soho - [...]

Borough Market at dusk

Borough Market at dusk

Borough Market is one of London’s oldest markets, first mentioned in 1276.  This is owing to its position on the south side of London Bridge - the only bridge across the river until 1750, when Westminster Bridge opened.  Borough Market served travellers arriving or departing London from places to the south east of London, in [...]

Guide to Belgravia – and its pubs! (Part 2)

Guide to Belgravia – and its pubs! (Part 2)

In the previous post we gave an overview of this historical area.  We continue in this post - and take in the next four pubs! Foreign embassy capital Belgrave Square is home to around twenty foreign embassies; among them Norway, Spain, Germany, Austria, Brunei, Portugal, Bahrain, Turkey, Argentina, Mexico and the Ivory Coast.  In the [...]

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

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 [...]

Bermondsey to Rotherhithe

Bermondsey to Rotherhithe

Bermondsey is a thriving business and social area on the south side of the River Thames.  It found prominence as the location of Bermondsey Abbey in the middle ages.   The abbey was dissolved during Tudor times and the area developed into the centre of London's leather processing industry.   Many of the street names bear witness to [...]

The Saatchi Gallery in London’s King’s Road

The Saatchi Gallery in London’s King’s Road

The Saatchi gallery is one of London’s premier contemporary art galleries.   It is based in an impressive Grade 2* listed building opened in 1801 as a school for children of soldiers’ widows.   From 1892 it served as the Duke of York’s Military School and in 1911 was re-named the Duke of York’s Barracks and became [...]

The Spirit of Soho – how it evolved, what to see and where to go

The Spirit of Soho – how it evolved, what to see and where to go

Soho is a well-known district of the City of Westminster in London.   This article will describe how Soho evolved into the epicentre of London’s entertainment scene. Soho is thought to take its name from the hunting cries used when it was a royal hunting park belonging to King Henry VIII, who hunted here with members [...]