Things to Do in London - page 5
West London’s Portobello Road is home to one of London’s most famous street markets. It spans two miles (3 kilometers) and includes more than 2,000 dealers offering vintage clothes, handcrafted accessories, retro items and furniture, and many antiques that locals and visitors love to browse and buy.
The National Maritime Museum explores the naval and maritime history of Britain, which was for centuries one of the world’s leading sea powers. The exhibitions showcase everything from real-life vessels and model ships to nautical instruments, objects, manuscripts, and maritime-themed artworks from the likes of J.M.W. Turner.
The vast grounds and imposing stadiums that once hosted athletes from all over the world during the 2012 London Olympics have now been transformed into one of East London’s most impressive green spaces—Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
A highlight of London’s vibrant South Bank, the Royal Festival Hall has been a cultural powerhouse since its debut in 1951, and is considered one of the world’s leading performance venues. Housed in a Grade I–listed building overlooking the Thames, the 2,700-seat auditorium hosts a regular program of concerts and other events.
The Clink’s dark past reaches back as far as the 12th century. Over its 600 years of operation, the prison was notorious for its poor conditions, famous inmates, and regular rebellions. Today, interactive exhibits reveal the harsh realities of crime and punishment in medieval London.
With 326 acres (121 hectares) of exotic plants, woodland trails, and lily ponds, plus 30,000-plus plant species, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew offer an idyllic escape for Londoners. As well as being one of London’s most visited outdoor attractions, the gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and house one of the oldest and most significant botanical collections in the world.
London’s most famous fictional detective is brought to life at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, located at 221b Baker Street, the legendary address from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, where Holmes and his famous sidekick, Dr. Watson, lived between 1881 and 1904.
The most exclusive shopping street in London, Bond Street is where you’ll find flagship stores for brands like Burberry, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. Running through the heart of Mayfair, the famous street dates back to the 1680s and is split into two sections—Old Bond Street in the south and New Bond Street in the north.
Dating back to the 14th century, Whitechapel has long been associated with London’s criminal underworld, as it’s the location of Jack the Ripper’s murders and many of the Kray brothers’ offenses. Today, the trendy district proudly boasts an architectural, artistic, and culinary heritage that reflects the capital’s cultural diversity.
The official home of Chelsea Football Club since 1905, Stamford Bridge has a long legacy. Watching a match at the iconic stadium is a popular choice for football (soccer) fans visiting London, and the on-site museum offers a look back at the team’s history.
More Things to Do in London
Established at the turn of the 15th century, east London’s Spitalfields attracts visitors with its diverse stores and trendy vibes. Equidistant from Shoreditch and Whitechapel, the area is home to an array of vintage stores and the iconic Spitalfields Market, making it a top spot in which to experience local London life.
For over 250 years, the Royal Academy of Arts has championed Britain’s visual art scene. The Mayfair mansion is home to a world-renowned permanent collection, and features works by artists such as Constable, Turner, and Emin. Its annual exhibitions also draw critical acclaim, showcasing contemporary art from around the world.
The home of London’s working class during Victorian times, the birthplace of Cockney Rhyming Slang, and the stomping ground of Jack the Ripper—the East End has long represented the grittier side of the capital. Today, it’s shed its rough image to become one of the city’s coolest, most diverse, and ever-evolving areas.
Strolling the halls of the National Portrait Gallery is like taking a walk through British history, as you pass images of royals, politicians, and pop culture icons. When it opened in 1856, the gallery was the first of its kind. Now it houses the world’s biggest portrait collection, featuring more than 11,000 works.
Part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Queen’s House is widely regarded as an architectural marvel. Commissioned by Queen Anne of Denmark in 1616, it was designed by architect Inigo Jones and was the first classical building in Britain. Today, the palace houses a gallery of artistic masterpieces.
Tate Britain is an art gallery in Pimlico, London. It contains the largest collection of British art in the world and is one of four Tate museums across the UK. Visitors come to see priceless works by painters from the last 500 years, including JMW Turner, Lucian Freud, and David Hockney.
The largest stadium in the United Kingdom and the second largest in Europe, Wembley Stadium is an iconic London landmark. Since the remodeled stadium opened in 2007, it has hosted the annual FA Cup final, the 2012 Olympic Games finals, and the UEFA Champions League Finals, and also serves as a venue for world-renowned musicians.
Please note: Theatre Royal Drury Lane is currently closed for renovation. The reopening is scheduled for fall 2020.
Dating to the 17th century, Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of London’s oldest theaters. It's hosted performances ranging from Shakespeare to Monty Python for more than 350 years. Today, the venue is a West End institution, known for hosting musical productions by greats such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Ivor Novello, and Noël Coward.
Lambeth Palace, built in the 13th century, has been the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his family for 800 years. Today it is also the center of his ministry, an events venue, and home to the Lambeth Palace Library, which is the second-largest religious library in the world after the Vatican.
One of Central London’s primary bridges, Blackfriars Bridge is both a busy thoroughfare and a historical monument. The landmark dates to the 19th century, was dedicated by Queen Victoria, and is distinctive for its red-and-white paint and pulpit-shaped pillars. You can cross Blackfriars Bridge either as a pedestrian or in a vehicle.
Located in an upscale neighborhood near central London, Holland Park is a favorite spot for weekend strolls. As well as woods, tennis courts, and various gardens—including the Japanese-style Kyoto Garden—the park is also home to what’s left of the once-sprawling 17th-century Holland House, and a muster of resident peacocks.
Once reserved exclusively for England’s royals, this 410-acre (166-hectare) park is now public, and one of London’s prettiest patches of green. As well as a boating lake, sports facilities, a rose garden, fountains, statues, and several playgrounds, Regent’s Park is also home to the 20,000 or so creatures of the London Zoo.
Housed in the historic vaults beneath the iconic arches of London Bridge, the London Bridge Experience takes you on an interactive, theatrical journey through the British capital, with an equal focus on history and horror. For terror come to life, test your nerves in the adjoining London Tombs where the walls drip with blood.
One of Central London’s major thoroughfares, bustling Baker Street is best known for its association with one Sherlock Holmes. According to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, the fictional detective resided at number 221B. Today, the Sherlock Holmes Museum commemorates the area’s literary legacy and draws crowds throughout the year.
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