Hampton Court Palace – home of England’s most famous king

Hampton Court Palace – home of England’s most famous king

Hampton Court Palace was the home of England's most famous king from 1529 until his death in 1547.   With sixty acres of gardens and 750 acres of parkland, it was King Henry VIII's weekend and summer retreat from London.    The palace was occupied by monarch's of the Stuart and Hanoverian Royal Houses up until 1737. [...]

Style and grandeur at Chiswick House

Style and grandeur at Chiswick House

One of London’s finest country homes is only a few miles west of central London.   Chiswick House was the centre of highly select gatherings of the Earl of Burlington’s family and friends in the 1730’s.   And around fifty years later it served the same purpose for the Duke of Devonshire and his sparkling (very ‘modern’) [...]

A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

Spitalfields is in the east end of London and very close to the City of London.   Its been the traditional first stop in Britain for immigrants, going back to the 1600’s, and has had its share of poverty and destitution.   Today, however, the area is a melting pot of the creative industries, street art and [...]

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 [...]

London’s last great ducal residence

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 [...]

Political landmarks in Westminster

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, [...]

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 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 [...]

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 [...]