A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

Spitalfields is an historic area to the east of the City of London.   Since the 1660's, it has been the traditional first stop for immigrants arriving in London - and has suffered its share of poverty and destitution.   Today, however, the area is a melting pot of the creative industries, street art and bohemian residents.  [...]

Little Venice and the Grand Union Canal

Little Venice is the name given (by Browning or Byron, no one knows) to the intersection of two canals in west London.  These are the Grand Union Canal and Regent's Canal.  The former was completed in 1814 and the later 1820 - both key to London's industrial infrastructure, before (and after) railways arrived in London [...]

A Mayfair pub walk

A Mayfair pub walk

Like me, you're probably hoping we get on the other side of this global pandemic soon!  Once we do, here is a pub-walk through one of London's most historical and well-heeled residential areas. Mayfair, named after its raucous annual fair, was purpose-built during the mid to late-1700's.   Many wealthly residents moved here from Soho - [...]

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral

More than three hundred years after its completion, St Paul's Catherdral dominates the skyline on Ludgate Hill in the City of London.  Seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the British Commonwealth, it is the second largest domed church in the world (after St Peter's in Rome). The work of Sir [...]

The must-see exhibits at the British Museum (part 2)

The must-see exhibits at the British Museum (part 2)

Welcome to part two of the ‘Must-see exhibits at the British Museum'!    Part one, published recently, explored the ground floor galleries.    Part two starts in Room 61 and will work clockwise around the entire first floor. Room 61   Here we find artefacts from the tomb of a senior (and very successful!) ‘financial [...]

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’) [...]

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 [...]