A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

Spitalfields is in the east end of London and very close to the City of London (financial district).   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.   However, today the area is a melting pot of the creative industries, street [...]

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 [...]

Red House – The Arts and Crafts home of William Morris

William Morris was an influential designer and one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement - that started in Britain before becoming a world-wide phenomenon.  This is the house where the movement started!   'Arts and Crafts' rejected plain mass produced household furniture and fittings in favour of ambitious, creative and bespoke designs [...]

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 [...]

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, North 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 [...]

Kensington Palace – a history of Prince Harry and Meghan’s home

We're not going to let the major Royal event of 2018 go without a mention!  Referring of course to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the 19 May at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle.  Once married, the couple will live together in the second largest apartment of Kensington Palace - moving out [...]

Mozart in London – see where he wrote his first symphony, age eight!

The European Tour A short walk from Victoria Railway Station is the smart, cosmopolitan Orange Square in Pimlico. This is the former neighbourhood of the eight year old Mozart in London.  In the square there is a small statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart commemorating this.  In 1764, this was an open area with sheep and donkeys [...]

5 must-see American historical sites in London

Here are five must-see American historical sites that you can visit in London today.  They are not in any order or category, but having said that, we should start from where the Mayflower set sail in the first place! 1 The Mayflower Pub Back in 1620, the Mayflower started its journey from here to the [...]

How to visit Buckingham Palace all year!

Think you can only visit the interior of Buckingham Palace during the summer months?   Wrong...   You can visit The Queen's Gallery all year round!  It may not have the magnificence of the State Rooms, but it's actually inside the Palace and shows artworks from the Queen's vast 'Royal Collection'!  Yes, it's a privately [...]

The London ancestral home of Princess Diana

We took a tour last week of Spencer House in central London.   Spencer House was built by John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer; an ancestor of Princess Diana!   The family still own the freehold, but the meticulous refurbishment is down to Jacob, Lord Rothschild, of the banking dynasty, undertaken during the 1980’s.   If you’re after seeing [...]