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 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 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

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 [...]

Chinatown and Chinese New Year in London

The heart of Chinatown is Gerrard Street.  Here, we have a fusion of Hong Kong and mainland China in the centre of London!    In 2019, Chinese New Year is on 5 February and the main public celebrations will take place on Sunday 10 February.    2019 will be the year of the pig!    [...]

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 [...]

New York City at Christmas

Brits going the other way for this post!   Here are six walks (with various visits and meals along the way) highlighting some of the must-see sights of New York City at Christmas!   Merry Christmas to all our readers and thanks for following 'Americans in Town' in 2018! One: Central Park (Uptown) Two: the Historic Metropolis  [...]

London Jazz Festival 2018

The London Jazz Festival is in full swing!    We took in the world famous Jeff Watts trio with celebrated guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel on Tuesday evening (main photo).   A great evening of free flowing modern jazz and food at Pizza Express in Soho. The festival continues in London to Sunday 25 November.   The big performers [...]

American art and literature in Tite Street, Chelsea

The district of Chelsea in the south west of London is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (royal owing to Kensington Palace). One particular street in Chelsea was almost an American enclave for artists and writers in the late Victorian period .   These included John Singer Sargent (between 1885 and 1925), James [...]

The hidden streets of Barcelona; Raval

Among the most popular of European city breaks is Barcelona.   Its mild climate, vibrant culture and quick (and inexpensive) flights make it a perfect weekend trip from London. Many visitors are familiar with the popular areas of La Rambla, Place de Catalunya, Park Guell and Diagonal.   But visitors shouldn’t miss the historic area around the [...]