Handel and Hendrix in London

Handel and Hendrix in London

In Brook Street, Mayfair there is an extraordinary couple of houses - turned into a museum.   Numbers 23 and 25 were homes to two musicians 200 years apart; Jimi Hendrix in London and the house of George Frideric Handel! Handel House G F Handel was born in Germany in 1685.   He moved to London age [...]

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 Wallace Collection – an opulent townhouse and museum of art

The Wallace Collection – an opulent townhouse and museum of art

Hertford House The Wallace Collection is a national museum of fine art.  It is based in Hertford House, an original London townhouse from the 18th century and one of the best art museums in London, off the beaten track.  The museum is situated in Manchester Square, just north of Oxford Street and has a stunning [...]

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 [...]

The Royal Hospital Chelsea – historical buildings and the finest gardens

The Royal Hospital Chelsea – historical buildings and the finest gardens

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home to around 300 veterans of the British Army.    Located on a large site in Chelsea, it offers fabulous walks in the gardens, beautiful art and architecture and an intimate view into the retired lives of the service men and women who live there.    These former [...]

American art and literature in Tite Street, Chelsea

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

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 [...]

London’s most fascinating district – Whitechapel

London’s most fascinating district – Whitechapel

Following the previous post on Spitalfields, we explore the neighbouring area of Whitechapel – starting with one of its most notorious characters. The Whitechapel Murders These murders, assumed to be the horrific deeds of ‘Jack the Ripper’ shocked London and the world.   The murders happened over three months in the autumn of 1888.   And today, [...]

A weekend in medieval Girona

A weekend in medieval Girona

Girona is an historic city in Catalonia in north eastern Spain, close to the Costa Brava and Barcelona.   It has a warm climate, a fascinating history and fine restaurants.   And the city is served by an international airport with frequent, quick and inexpensive flights from London.   All these factors make it ideal for a short [...]

London’s best preserved seventeenth century country house

London’s best preserved seventeenth century country house

Ham House was built on land owned by King James I in 1610.   The lease of the house transferred between several royal courtiers until it was granted to William Murray in 1626 - during the reign of King Charles I.   Murray was granted the freehold ten years later.   Murray, a Scotsman, was a close friend [...]