A medieval castle in Westminster – the Jewel Tower

A medieval castle in Westminster – the Jewel Tower

The Jewel Tower is the sole remaining structure of the medieval Palace of Westminster, still easily accessible to the public on most days. Built for King Edward III in 1366, it was originally designed as the king’s private treasury before becoming a store for parliamentary records in 1600. A channel brought the river to it’s [...]

London’s oldest shopping mall – the Royal Opera Arcade

London’s oldest shopping mall – the Royal Opera Arcade

Completed in 1816, the Royal Opera Arcade predates it’s better known cousin, Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly, by three years. For the wealthy, it symbolised the dawn of shopping as a leisure pursuit - and no longer a chore undertaken by staff. The Regency period shopfronts were designed by one of London’s most famous architects; John [...]

Central London wide-screen showing Wimbledon matches

Central London wide-screen showing Wimbledon matches

If you’re in central London (West End) this week, head to St James’s Market (‘hidden’ between Regent Street St. James’s and Haymarket) to watch live matches televised by the BBC for free. It’s off the beaten track and mainly the preserve of local office workers. Photos (c) Essential London.

Wellington Arch – an historic monument and panoramic roof terrace

Wellington Arch – an historic monument and panoramic roof terrace

Completed in 1830 to commemorate British victory in the Napoleonic Wars and subsequent peace with France, the Wellington Arch stands on a island at the bottom of Park Lane. The monument has a unique roof terrace giving a bird’s-eye view of Buckingham Palace Garden, Green Park, Park Lane and Knightsbridge! Originally, the arch was topped [...]

Temple Church – Jerusalem in London

Temple Church – Jerusalem in London

Temple Church, built by the Knights Templar (whose church in Jerusalem was located where the Temple of Solomon once stood), is one of London’s oldest churches. Of its two parts, the round church (modelled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem) was consecrated in 1185 whilst the chancel was added in 1240. Most [...]

Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum

Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum

There is less than a month remaining to see ‘The world of Stonehenge’ exhibition at the British Museum. It’s a stunning collection of artefacts from across Europe over the period 4000 and 1000 BC. Charting the rise of the Neolithic communities and their rituals, beliefs and worldview to their demise from the rise of warfare [...]

Cast Court, V&A Museum

Cast Court, V&A Museum

Fascinating to visit the refurbished Cast Court at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington. Reopened in 2019 after six years of renovation, but then interrupted by Covid, the Cast Court has displayed plaster copies of renowned sculpture since the 1880s. Owing to being indoors, Trajan’s Column is better preserved than the original in Rome [...]

New City of London garden, Cannon Street

New City of London garden, Cannon Street

A fabulous new City garden has sprung up at 25 Cannon Street. An oasis near Wren’s masterpiece. Bravo to the Corporation of London and developer Pembroke.

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 [...]

Highlights from the V&A Museum, British Galleries

Highlights from the V&A Museum, British Galleries

The Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London is a triumph of Royal patronage, government foresight and public sponsorship spanning back to it’s inception after the Great Exhibition of 1851.  We recommend the V&A for its scale, privacy (in many galleries), great restaurants and the exhibits. The Great Exhibition (in London’s Hyde Park) was such [...]