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 [...]

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 - [...]

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, [...]

Birthplace of the world’s most famous writer – Stratford-upon-Avon

The centre of Stratford-upon-Avon is packed with Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture and history that recall the life of the world's most famous writer, William Shakespeare.    This article shows you how to spend one day in Stratford-upon-Avon, exploring the town and its connections to the bard. We start the walk in Henley Street near the [...]

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 [...]

A short history of Shakespearean theatre in London

The chances are you’ll come across Shakespeare at least once during your visit to London.  You might even visit the Globe Theatre for a performance.  Here’s a primer on how Shakespearean theatre started in London. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and spent the greatest part of his working life in London - living [...]

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 [...]

The Churchill War Rooms

Among the most popular and famous of sights in London are the Churchill War Rooms.  We visited recently to experience it again, along with the Churchill Museum. Commissioned in the nick of time in August 1939 the War Rooms were the venue for 115 meetings of the War Cabinet during the 'Blitz' of London in [...]