London for Free- Free Things to do and see in London - Free London Summer Highlights 2012
Things to do in London for free - museums, galleries, parks, pagentry, street markets, church music, walks and more.
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Get your tickets ahead of time and stroll right in when you arrive. The Tower was built to awe, subdue and terrify Londoners and to deter foreign invaders. It's an iconic symbol of London and Britain and one of the world's "must visit" tourist attractions. Take the Beefeater tour and you'll be amazed, appalled and amused by the tales of passion, treachery and torture delivered with a smile and a swagger. Click here
Changing of the Guards. Photo courtesy of FreeFoto.comFREE THIS MONTH

Free London Summer Highlights 2012
by Shophound Alexia

Heritage and pageantry highlights, the Royal Parks, Church music, festivals, free art exhibitions and museums in and around London.

Royal Heritage & Pageantry

The Queen's Guard is taken from one of five Household Guard Regiments, (Coldstream, Grenadier, Scots, Irish or Welsh Guards). They are responsible for ceremonial guard duty at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle as well as on other royal ceremonial occasions.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place daily during the summer months, and on alternate days in winter, at 11.30am in an impressive brass band ceremony lasting 30 minutes. The ceremony is likely to be cancelled in very wet weather.
Detachments can be seen on guard duty at St. James's Palace, Clarence House, Tower of London's White Tower.
Beware the constant nuisance of child and adult pickpockets outside the Palace gates.
Date: Daily 11.30am June/July/Aug. Alternate days in winter months. Check website for winter schedules.
Venue: Buckingham Palace Forecourt, Westminster, SW1A 1AA
London Transport: Nearest Tubes. Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria mainline rail terminus
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets; Yes nearby in St. James's Park.
Photography: Excellent opportunities at Buckingham Palace gates.

The colourful mounted Guard Changing ceremony at Horse Guards takes place each weekday on Horse Guards Parade at 11:00am and at 10:00am on Sundays. Mounted sentries change every hour thereafter and are on duty each day from 10:00am until 4:00pm at the entrance in Whitehall.
The guard is provided by the Household Cavalry made up of The Life Guards, (red tunics and white plumed helmets), and The Blues and Royals, (blue tunics and red plumed helmets). The Life Guards have mounted guard here at since the Restoration of the monarchy with King Charles II in 1660.
The mounted Life Guards in ceremonial dress escort the monarch to and from Buckingham Palace on state occasions such as the annual State Opening of Parliament; State Visits; Trooping the Colour, (June); The guard squadrons can be seen each day riding to and from their Horse Guards duties and Knightsbridge Barracks in Hyde Park.
Date: Daily 11.00am weekdays, 10.00am Sundays.
Venue: Buckingham Palace Forecourt, Westminster, SW1A 1AA
London Transport: Nearest Tubes. Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria mainline rail terminus
Photography: Excellent opportunities at Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall entrance, and Hyde Park Corner.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes nearby in St. James's Park.

The Ceremony of the Keys is the traditional locking up of the Tower of London and has taken place on each and every night, without fail, for at least 700 years. The Yeoman Warders, (the famous Beefeaters), in their royal livery, and military guard, lock the outer gates of the Tower of London and deliver the keys to the Governor of the Tower, (always a retired General), who resides in the Tudor Queen's House overlooking the infamous scaffold site within the walls. The importance of securing this fortress for the night is still relevant because, although the Monarch no longer resides at this royal palace, the Crown Jewels, including the Coronation Regalia and many other historic valuables, still do in the 1035 year old White Tower, and felonious attempts have been made to steal them! Check Historic Royal Palaces for daily opening times, etc., for the Tower, Crown Jewels, etc.
Date: Ongoing. Daily. 9.30pm.
Venue: Tower of London, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB
Tickets: Complimentary tickets are obtainable on application in writing. Check the official website Ceremony of the Keys for details.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Tower Hill.

London's Royal Parks & Walks

The Royal Parks play an important and popular role in the Londoner's Diary, providing a varied and unrivalled monthly programme of free and ticketed events, guided walks and popular concerts, as well as providing a safe family environment for recreation and relaxation in colourful surroundings of remarkable bio-diversity. Deckchairs can be hired by the hour or day.

London's Royal and municipal parks are superbly kept with seasonally planted flower beds, flowering shrubs, trees, beautiful lakes and fountains, and a teeming, people-friendly, wildlife. They also provide a unique and interesting repository for historical monumental statuary and heritage sites commemorating monarchs, illustrious heroes and episodes in the long history of London and its royal heritage.

Birdlife is remarkably abundant with some 144 species of woodland bird, raptor and wild and ornamental waterfowl recorded. Many of these breed in the avian-friendly surroundings. Both Regent's Park and Battersea Park support flourishing breeding heronries.

Most Royal Parks were originally royal hunting grounds adjoining London palaces or were palace gardens. They reflect their royal heritage in their layout and abundant historic statuary. Hyde Park and Richmond Park remain popular equestrian venues, while herds of deer, now safe from royal Tudor crossbow, still graze and breed at Richmond and Greenwich.

There are excellent refreshment points and restaurants, sporting facilities, specialist garden and planting areas within the park enclosures. Hyde Park and Greenwich Park are Olympic Games venues and Hyde Park is an increasingly popular venue for major ticketed musical events, festivals and fairs, as is the beautiful Battersea Park.

Check out the schedule of free and ticketed events and guided walks in the Royal Parks.

Alexia's tip:
The Princess Diana Memorial Walk. Make a point of seeing the four Royal Parks in central London by taking the Princess Diana Memorial Walk; a seven mile figure-eight walkway with its hub at Hyde Park Corner, (the best starting and finishing point). The fascinating walkway is marked by 70 plaques set into the ground and passes a number of places with which Diana was associated in her life - and death. Break the walk into at least two parts unless you have legs and stamina for a marathon. Do the Green Park and St. James's Park stretch on one day, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens section on another. Be sure to wear sensible shoes and take your time to pause and see all the places of interest.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes. There are restrooms and refreshment points in St. James's Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

Daffodils, St. James Park. Photo by Ian MacWatt
This is London's oldest park and, although open to the public, is historically within the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Bounded by the Palace on the west, by historic St. James's Palace, Clarence House and the Royal Mall on the north, Admiralty Arch and Horse Guard's Parade on the east, Wellington Barracks and Birdcage Walk on the south, it lies at the very heart of London's Royal heritage and pageantry. The beautiful ornamental lake overlooked by the Palace is stocked with fifteen species of exotic waterfowl including Pelicans and Black Swans, and the shady walks are bordered by superbly planted seasonal flowerbeds and flowering shrubs.

As well as Buckingham Palace, Horse Guard's Parade and Admiralty Arch, pause to see the Queen Victoria Memorial with its marble statue of Victoria and glittering figures of Victory, Courage and Constancy, bordered by the ornamental gates given by Britain's former Dominions; Australia Gate, South Africa Gate and Canada Gate. See also in the Mall, the superb new memorial bronzes of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and her husband George VI.
Pelican feeding time, (2.30pm daily), is a popular time for both Pelicans and spectators!
There is now a flourishing organic allotment and chicken enclosure open to volunteers, schools, and community groups, (9.30am-4pm).
Opening Times; Daily. 6am-dusk.
Refreshment Points Inn at the Park restaurant, 3 refreshment kiosks.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: St. James's Park.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets: Yes.

Lancaster House
Originally called, appropriately, 'Upper St. James's Park' this green open space to the north of Buckingham Palace was a once popular dueling spot. In Regency times there was a small sanitized dairy farmhouse here, where fashionable ladies of the haut monde could pay an afternoon visit and play at being milkmaids. The park is now a peaceful grassland devoid of rapier wielding and pistol toting duelists and bucolic bovine attractions. Its mature tree'd open space is much enjoyed by Londoners in February and March for its picturesque sea of daffodils and in summer as a picnic and sunbathing spot. Few events take place here, other than the firing of a Royal Salute on the occasion of a State Visit by a foreign Head of State.
The Park is bordered in the north by Hyde Park Corner with its Apsley House and Wellington Arch museums, and the fine houses lining Piccadilly; in the east by leafy Queen's Walk overlooked by the imposing Ritz Hotel, Spencer House and Lancaster House; and in the south by Buckingham Palace's walled gardens.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. No. Nearest toilets in St. James's Park and Hyde Park.
Alexia's tip: Wander down Queen's Walk after Tea at the Ritz on your way to the Canada Memorial and the Canada Gates facing Buckingham Palace and pause to admire the superb Palladian facade of Spencer House, onetime ancestral London residence of Princess Diana's family and open to the public.
At Hyde Park Corner see Decimus Burton's 1828 triumphal Wellington Arch, (an English Heritage Museum); Burton's imposing Ionic Screen, (1825) and his charming little neo-Classical lodge next to it, (now an excellent tourist information office staffed by very helpful assistants). Note also the Greek Revival frontage of the Lanesborough Hotel, (William Wilkins, 1827); the neo-Classical frontage of Apsley House,, London home of the Duke of Wellington, (architect Benjamin Wyatt, 1828/9; now an English Heritage Museum).
The Ritz Hotel at the northeastern corner of Green Park and the Lanesborough Hotel at Hyde Park Corner are civilized though expensive venues for Afternoon Tea. Advance booking is essential.
Opening Times: Daily. 5am-midnight.
Refreshment Points 2 refreshment kiosks.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Green Park, Hyde Park Corner.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Spring in Hyde Park.
Onetime private Royal hunting ground, opened to the public in 1637 by Charles I. Site of the 1851 Great Exhibition Crystal Palace; Speaker's Corner; the annual Prince's Trust open-air concert; Last Night of the Proms Concert; the setting for the 2012 Olympics Open Water Swimming and Triathlon; and the 300 year old bridleway Rotten Row, England's most famous equestrian venue where kings, consorts and courtesans once paraded in style each morning and where smartly accoutred ladies and their squires exercise their mounts. For more about this historic site read my Spring in Rotten Row. The carpets of crocus in early spring and later sea of daffodils are well worth seeing, as is the rose garden near Hyde Park Corner.
Among many famous landmarks, be sure to see: Decimus Burton's Ionic Screen, (1825), marking the Park's S.E. entrance at Hyde Park Corner; the controversial Diana Memorial Fountain, (2004). Sir John Nash's triumphal Marble Arch, (1828), originally designed as the entrance to Buckingham Palace and now marking the Park's N.E. entrance near the site of the infamous Tyburn gallows and the famous Speaker's Corner. There are a number of monuments and bronzes in the Park near Hyde Park Corner, notably the impressive bronze of Hercules; St. George and the Dragon; the understated Holocaust Memorial and the newly dedicated memorial to the victims of London's 7/7 bombings four years ago.
Opening Times: Daily. 5am-midnight.
London Transport: Nearest Tubes. Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Lancaster Gate.

Alexia's Diary:
The Grosvenor House Hotel, with its charming Park Room overlooking Park Lane and Hyde Park is a perfect place to relax and enjoy Anna's Afternoon Tea. Note, in passing, the high distinction of this hotel's 1930s towered frontage by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Peter Pan, Kensington Park
Originally part of Hyde Park, the gardens were laid out with formal avenues of magnificent trees, shrubs and ornamental flower beds as a setting for Kensington Palace, (Sir Christopher Wren 1689-1702); birthplace of Queen Victoria who later commissioned the beautiful, peaceful Italian Gardens at the head of the Serpentine Lake and later still the Albert Memorial, (Sir Gilbert Scott 1863-72), facing the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington Gore. The Memorial is a brilliant example of the best of Victorian craftsmanship, designed like a medieval reliquary shrine built on a monumental scale.
Children, (and parents), will love the whimsical bronze statue of Peter Pan commissioned by the novelist J.M.Barrie, (Sir George Frampton,1912), set in a leafy glade bordering the Serpentine Lake; the Elfin Oak carved with fairies, goblins and animals; and the fabulous Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground with its Captain Hook's pirate galleon. Pause to admire the Palace's stately south frontage and the water lilies and sunken garden created by Edward VII on the Palace's east wing on your way to take tea in the Orangery, (Nicholas Hawksmoor, 1704-05). Note the statue of Queen Victoria outside the Palace, sculpted by her gifted daughter Louise to celebrate her Golden Jubilee, 1857.
Opening Times: Daily. 5am-midnight.
London Transport: Nearest tube. High Street, Kensington.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.
Alexia's Diary There are no events in the park for April.

The Regent's Park, 166 hectares (410 acres), is a masterpiece of landscape design and town planning. It includes stunning rose gardens with more than 30,000 roses of 400 varieties. The Park is the largest outdoor sports area in London with 'The Hub' a community sports pavilion and sports pitches, nearly 100 acres available for sports fans of all abilities. Henry VIII appropriated what was then known as Mary Bourne Park for use as a hunting ground, which he considered to be an invigorating ride from Whitehall Palace. It remained a royal chase until 1646.
John Nash, architect to the crown and to the Prince Regent developed the Park as part of his patron's grandiose design for central London extending from Piccadilly Circus up Regent's Street and ending in a vast rounded park surrounded by palatial terraces, a lake, a canal, 56 planned villas (only 8 were ever built) and a summer palace for the Prince Regent, which was never built because the Prince Regent turned his attention and money to creating Buckingham Palace. It wasn't until 1835, after the Prince Regent ascended the throne as King George IV, that the general public were actually allowed into the sections of the Park and this was only for two days of the week. The Park later became the home of the Zoological Society and the London Zoo.
The celebrated Queen Mary's Gardens, (the Rose Gardens, named after the Queen Consort of King George V), and the now famous annual summer open air theatre season draw Londoners and visitors alike to this most northern of London's Royal Parks. The park's lake is notable for London's largest heronry and is much loved by film makers for location work. Relax at the Garden Cafe at the Rose Garden.
Opening Times: Daily. 5am - dusk.
London Transport: Nearest tube. Baker Street.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.
There are no events in the park for April.

Together with Richmond Park, Greenwich is the oldest of the Royal Parks, with a Royal history stretching back to mediaeval times. Situated on top of a hill, the park provides visitors with sweeping views across the River Thames to St Paul's Cathedral and beyond and is home to a small herd of fallow and red deer, reminders of a bygone era when this was a royal hunting ground.
The park is now part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site, host to the Prime Meridian Line and the old Royal Observatory, as well as having the National Maritime Museum, built on the site of the old Tudor Palace of Placentia, as a neighbour. King Henry VIII was born and spent much of his early time here before transferring his affections to Hampton Court Palace.
We can thank the 17th century Stuart monarchs, however, for the park as we see it today. They transformed it from a Tudor hunting ground, demolishing the decaying old Tudor palace of Placentia and jousting lists, embarking upon a magnificent era of building that has given us the exquisite Classical Queen's House, (Inigo Jones, completed 1635), and Wren's superb Baroque waterfront palace completed for Charles II in 1702 as a Royal Naval Hospital. Together with the Queen's House it is now the National Maritime Museum. Charles II also commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build the Royal Observatory in the park. All are open FREE to the public. The Queen's House is a popular venue for wedding and civil commitment ceremonies.
The park is best approached from the river, (regular service from Westminster and Tower quays). For a full description of the palace, Free entry particulars, etc., see Burlington Bertie's Royal Greenwich
There are no Free events listed for April in Greenwich Park.
Opening Times: Daily. 6am, pedestrians. 7am for traffic.
London Transport: Riverboat to Greenwich pier; North Greenwich tube then 188 bus to Greenwich Park Gate.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Battersea Park Buddhist temple. Photo by Ian MacWatt
While not a Royal Park, Battersea deserves mention and has historic royal connections. Battersea Park is a 200 acre green riverside gem with beautiful planting, quiet boating lake and delightful Thameside walks. Managed by a forward looking and energetic Wandworth Borough Council Parks Service, it is much loved by the local residents but relatively unknown to visitors despite its full programme of events, fairs, exhibitions and cultural festivals throughout the year. It is also notable for its beautiful Buddhist Peace Temple overlooking the Thames.
Once marshy land notorious as a venue for dualists, (the Duke of Wellington and Lord Winchilsea famously fought a dual here over a matter of honour), the Park was landscaped with one million cubic yards of soil, dug out during the construction of Victoria Docks and shipped upriver. Queen Victoria opened it in 1858. The park is now an oasis of peace; one of London's finest recreation amenities lying on the south bank of the Thames opposite the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners.
The charming boating lake is home to a flourishing heronry and many species of waterfowl. Expect to see chick hatchlings paddling frantically behind proud parents on the lake. Note the Barbara Hepworth sculpture, the Henry Moore sculpture and the Australian War Memorial bordering the lake. The lakeside Victorian pump house has been converted into a contemporary visual art gallery,(entrance FREE).
A delightfully conceived Children's Zoo, (ticketed entrance fee), is a popular family destination, while adults enjoy the many sporting facilities in the 200 acre park; all weather sports ground with floodlit tennis courts, running tracks, bowling green, cricket, football pitches, etc.
The kilometre-long riverside Walk between the Chelsea and Albert Bridges is a stretch of incomparable beauty. Of particular note is the Buddhist Peace Pagoda overlooking the river at the centre of the Walk.
Wandsworth Borough make the most of their beautifully kept and run Thames-side park to host a wide variety of events there throughout the year. Expect ticketed annual fashion shows, art exhibitions and antiques fairs, horticultural displays and competitions, firework displays and sporting events. Summer events include BT River of Music: Asia Stage, (21-22 July, FREE), and a commercially organised Foodies Festival, (17-19 August, ticketed).
Opening Times: Daily. 8am-dusk, (subject to special events).
London Transport: Rail. Battersea Park. Four car parks.
Refreshment Points Lakeside La Gondola al Parco cafe. The Prince Albert Pub, 85 Albert Bridge Road provides an admirable pit stop for good pub food and drink, just across the road from the park. The Butcher and Grill, 39-41 Parkgate Road, is an informal culinary gem just down the road from the Prince Albert, offering meat from it's very own butcher's shop, along with soups and salads. There is also a casual bar that serves coffee and patisserie in the morning, and sandwiches in the afternoon. Strongly recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.
Map: Featuring all facilities and car parks.

The former palace of Somerset House is now a major arts and cultural centre with an ongoing program of contemporary art and design exhibitions, free displays, family workshops and guided tours. During summer months, 55 fountains dance in the courtyard which becomes a popular skating rink in winter.
The onetime 16th century Tudor palace has a fascinating royal history that is reflected in its impressive architecture. The original Thames waterfront palace was given a Renaissance makeover by Inigo Jones in 1625 for Charles I and further redecorated and embellished by Christopher Wren for Charles II.
Tickets for a free guided tour, (recommended), is available at the information desk in the Seamen's Hall.
Venue: Somerset House, Strand. WC2R 1LA. Tel: 020 7845 4600.
Access: 7.30am-11pm daily.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus. Carparking and Congestion Charge payment: Trafalgar/Spring Gardens.
Refreshment Points: Michelin starred dining at Tom's Terrace; Tom's Deli; Fernandez & Wells Restaurant; Courtauld Gallery Cafe.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted Toilets: Yes.

Burlington Bertie selecting mushrooms.

Street Markets

London's popular street markets provide rich pickings for collectors of antiques, collectibles and vintage clothing as well as foodies looking for something piquant or exotic to wow guests at their dinner parties. Shophound Alexia's favourite hunting grounds for antiques, collectibles and retro are the markets in Camden Town and Portobello Road in Bayswater. For clothes the Dover Street Market in the West End, and Spitalfields Market in London's East End are a must, while the historic Borough Market provides everything for the gourmet. The markets are as much a part of the vibrant London scene as Big Ben and should not be missed.

Once a weekend affair, the Camden Market complex in North London has now become a daily fixture. Camden Lock Market, by the Regent's Canal, began as a craft market back in the 1970s but now has a much wider spectrum of goods on sale. Add to this the Camden Stables Market, (Alternative Fashion); Camden (Buck Street) Market and Inverness Street Market, which are all now trading in parts throughout the week. The markets are liveliest at weekends however, with the Camden Lock Village opening Friday to Sunday and the indoor fashion market at the Electric Ballroom drawing crowds on Sunday.
A colourful mix of pubs catering to a colourful clientele, (Goths only at the Devonshire Arms), as well as ethnic restaurants, offer good and reasonably priced pub grub or neighbourhood nosh. For best value food and drink relax at the Wetherspoons Lloyds Bar on Suffolk Wharf where you can cool your feet in the canal while sampling one of their many unusual guest ales and stouts.
Access: Daily and weekends. Busiest day Sunday.
Venue: Camden Town. NW1.
Transport: Nearest Tube. Camden Town, Chalk Farm.
Refreshment Points 100 eating places/ethnic food stalls within the area plus waterside pubs. Check website for listing.
Wheelchair accessibility: Yes in parts and pubs. Adapted Toilets: Yes.

Every Saturday, this unusual market mix of specialist gourmet food and organics stalls, craft jewelers and cottage industries, designer label and retro fashion takes over the grounds of St. Marylebone Parish Church. This is an interesting addition to the pleasures of Marylebone High Street which boasts a number of excellent gourmet shops in a village atmosphere, making Saturday morning browsing and shopping here such a pleasure.
Venue:St. Marylebone Parish Church grounds, Marylebone Road/High Street, W1.
Access: 11am-5pm Saturdays.
London Transport: Nearest Tubes. Baker Street; Regents Park.
Refreshment Points The Prince Regent Pub 71 Marylebone high Street, excellent traditional pub grub and specialty beers.
Wheelchair Accessibility :Yes.

Over 70 trendy Fashion, Perfumery, Home and Kitchen stalls from around the world show one offs and interesting quirky items in this four story building. Now showing Fall and Winter 2009 Collections. Well worth a visit to enjoy the designer layout and booths as well as buy.
Access: 11am-6pm, Mon-Sat; 11am-7pm, Thurs-Sat. Closed Suns.
Venue: 17/18 Dover Street, W1S 4LT
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Green Park.
Refreshment Points Enjoy a tasty snack at the top floor cafe.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes, on all floors. Adapted Toilets: Yes.

The Portobello Antiques Dealers Association, (PADA), runs what is described as the largest antiques market in the world. The famous Saturday Market starts from around 5.30am with trading between dealers from the UK and overseas. Most stall holders are open to the public by 8.00am and the market is in full swing for the rest of the day, with collectors and visitors from all over the world. The shops and stalls of Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove offer an extraordinary variety of goods and specialist services, with antiques and collectibles ranging in price from a few pounds to several thousands. Be sure to check out the extensive PADA website before your visit.
Access: Saturdays.
Venue: Portobello Road, Westbourne Grove, W11.
London Transport: Nearest Tubes. Notting Hill Gate, Ladbroke Grove.
Refreshment Points The Duke of Wellington Pub, 179 Portobello Road, offers good pub grub in an authentic Victorian atmosphere. Other local pubs: The Sun in Splendour, The Duke of> Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes in parts. Adapted Toilets: Yes,

Site of London's historic fruit and vegetable market and now London's best showcase for vibrant examples of handmade British design. More than 200 artists and craftspeople have stalls here on a daily changing roster, with Antiques and Collectibles every Monday. The market itself is lined by specialist boutiques. Folk musicians, budding opera singers and classical musicians, dancers, clowns, jugglers and street entertainers add considerable colour and a vibrant sense of excitement to both the covered market and the Covent Garden piazza overlooked by the historic Royal Opera House facing the famous Punch and Judy pub. A visit to Covent Garden should be on the agenda of every London visitor, particularly at the Christmas time fair.
Venue: Covent Garden, WC2E 9ED.
Access: Daily.
London Transport: Nearest Tubes. Covent Garden. Car Park and Congestion Charge payment: Poland Street.
Refreshment Points There are a number of historic pubs and restaurants in the vicinity. A meal or drink at the Royal Opera Houses Amphitheatre Restaurant and Bar, or the spectacular glass vaulted the Paul Hamlyn Hall Champagne Bar and Balconies Restaurant, (once part of Covent Garden Flower Market), provides an unforgettable experience to your Covent Garden visit. Strongly recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes in some venues. Expect severe crush of people. Adapted Toilets: Yes.

A colorful West End street market that has been going for over 200 years in the heart of Soho specializing in fresh fruit and vegetables, fabrics and some clothes and household items. There are also some excellent stalls selling cheeses, flowers, breads and cheap CDs. Lining the street are many good second-hand shops. This is an entertaining place to visit and mingle with an exotic mix of costermongers, fashion and media types, suits and shady characters
Venue: Berwick Street and Rupert Street, Westminster, London, W1F 8TW
Access: 9am-6pm, Mons - Sats, throughout the year except Bank Holidays.
Refreshment Points The Green Man Pub offers very reasonably priced pub grub in a degree of comfort that is lacking elsewhere in Soho.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Carparking and Congestion Charge payment: Poland Street.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes, but expect to be jostled by the crowds. Adapted Toilets: No.

Nestled in-between Borough High Street, Bedale Street, Stoney Street and Winchester Walk lives "London's Larder", more formally known as Borough Market. This is London's oldest food market; first established on the south bank of the Thames when the Romans built the first London Bridge, it has occupied its present site for 250 years. Borough has a long and distinguished history as a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. On Thursdays through Saturdays it becomes London's spectacular foodie paradise for gourmets and gourmands. Here, under the Victorian wrought-iron roof, you will find a mouth-watering range of fresh food stalls from all over England and Europe; every variety of cheese, fresh fish and seafood, French German and Spanish sausage, French and Eaest European fungi, Mediterranean olive oils, artisan breads, organically grown meat and vegetables, game and much more. Whether you wish to prepare for a gourmet dinner party, (check out Traders before you go), or merely soak up the heady atmosphere and exotic aromas, this is a must!
While in the area visit historic Southwark cathedral overshadowing the market, and the nearby Tabard Inn, from where Chaucer's Canterbury Tales journey begins. The Dickensian George Inn, London's sole surviving coaching inn, (first or last stop on the old Dover Road out of London), is also nearby.
Venue: Southwark Street, Southwark, London, SE1 1TJ .
Access: 11am - 5pm, Thurs; 12-6pm Fris; 8am-5pm Sats.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. London Bridge. Carparking: Union Carpark/53 Southwark Street.
Refreshment Points A number of food stalls offer hot deli snacks. The Market Porter Pub next to the market offers solid pub grub in the restaurant and bar food with a wide variety of specialty ales. Recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes in the market but expect a severe crush of people. Adapted Toilet: Yes.

Well worth your visit to London's East End. Great for hidden gems of fashion and one off designer pieces. Wander around five different local markets and a growing number of interesting shops and oriental restaurants. Markets: Thursday - Antiques & Vintage; Friday - Fashion & Art; All shops and no stalls; Sunday: All shops and all stalls.
Access: Thurs-Sats, 10am-4pm; Suns, 9am-5pm.
Venue: 105 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6BG.
Refreshment Points
London Transport: Nearest Tubes.
Refreshment Points Galvin La Chapelle, the award winning restaurant is worth a visit to Spitalfields in its own right and offers a culinary feast of French bistrot food in a stunning venue. The Galvin brothers' Cafe A Vin and Oyster Aperitivi Bar offers more casual and relaxed dining of similar quality . strongly recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes in parts. Adapted Toilets: Yes, nearby.

Fine Art Collections

Permanent collections in London's public art galleries and museums are entry free. Individually mounted temporary exhibitions within specified rooms of the gallery or museum normally carry a ticket charge however. This is bookable online, (recommended), or at the door if tickets are still available. Check Burlington Bertie's London Diary for current ticketed exhibition highlights.

One of the most important Art collections in Britain, including world-famous Old Master, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings; an outstanding prints and drawings collection featuring works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Czanne and Turner. The collection includes around 530 paintings, 7000 drawings and 15,000 prints as well as significant holdings of medieval, Renaissance and modern sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, furniture and textiles. The collection has been formed through a series of major gifts and bequests made by some of the leading collectors of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Venue: Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R ORN. Tel: 020 7848 2526
Access: Permanent Collections ongoing.
Tickets: FREE on Mondays 10am-2pm, and to under 18s, registered UK students.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Temple.
Refreshment Points Courtauld Gallery Cafe; Michelin starred dining at Tom's Terrace; Tom's Deli; Fernandez & Wells Restaurant.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Tate has the world's finest collection of British Art 1500 - 2007, presenting an unrivalled picture of its development from the 16th century to present day. Special attention is given to Blake, (1757-1827), Constable, (1776-1837), and Turner, (1775-1851), the three outstanding British artists from the Romantic age who have dedicated spaces within the gallery, while the unique Turner Collection of some 300 paintings and many thousands of watercolours is housed in the specially built Clore Gallery. The gallery also holds rich collections of Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Stubbs, the Pre-Raphaelites, twentieth century artists Stanley Spencer, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and young British Artists of the 1990s. There are free lecture tours of the gallery's various collections daily. An entrance charge is made for some temporary exhibitions which may be mounted in association with other galleries. Check Burlington Bertie's London Diary for details.
The gallery itself is notable as a good example of Edwardian Grand Manner architecture, ( S.R.J.Smith, 1897-1900).
Venue: Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG. Tel: 020 7887 8888.
Access: Daily. 10am-5.40pm.
Refreshment Points Rex Whistler Restaurant offers Tate Britain visitors , set or a la carte lunch and afternoon tea daily and breakfast weekends.
London transport: Nearest Tube: Pimlico.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Britain's national gallery of international Modern Art. A converted power station on the Thames embankment, Tate Modern houses work from the 1900s Fauvists to today's Arte Povera. The collection can be interactively explored online. An entrance charge is made for some temporary exhibitions which may be mounted in association with other galleries or sponsors.
Venue: Bankside, SE1. Tel: 020 7887-8008.
Access: Daily. 10am-5.40pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Embankment.
Refreshment Points Caf 2 at Tate Modern on the riverside and The Espresso Bar on level 4 serve refreshments and light meals from breakfast toevening. The Level 7 Restaurant offers fine dining and comprehensive wine list while you enjoy one of the best views in London.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

The National Gallery houses one of the greatest permanent collections of European painting in the world, suitably catalogued and illustrated on the gallery website. These range from 13th century altar-pieces to the work of modern artists such as Tim Gardner. There are free guided tours and lectures daily. Summer focus is on the paintings by Titian.The National Gallery hosts a number of free evening concerts. See website for details and 2013 events.
Admire the Greek Classical revival facade which faces onto Trafalgar Square, (William Wilkins, 1834-38).
Venue: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Tel: 020 7747 2885.
Access: Daily 10am-6pm. Weds 10am-9pm.
Refreshment Points Gallery Cafe, Espresso Bar and National Dining rooms offers visitors a full range of refreshments from a cup of coffee to gourmet dining.
London transport: Nearest Tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

The National Portrait Gallery has some 92,000 portraits of great and famous British men and women in its unrivalled permanent collection amassed since the Gallery's founding in 1856. Some 51,000 portraits can be researched online. A number of research programmes are ongoing and can be followed online through the website.
A selection of portraits is on permanent display together with others which are shown for shorter periods due to their fragility.
Summer exhibitions for Jubilee Year: The Queen Art & Image, 17 May-21 October. BP Portrait award entries: 21 June-23 September.
Venue: National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin's Place, WC2 0H3. Tel: 020 7312 2463.
Access: 10am-6pm. Thurs/Fri 10am-9pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Charing Cross, Leicester Square.
Refreshment Points This is in the tourist heart of the West End so there are is a multitude of pubs and restaurants in the vicinity. The nearby pub The Marquis, 51-52 Chandos Place, offers very reasonably priced pub lunch in a traditional setting that goes back over 300 years and can count Charles Dickens as an earlier patron. Bar snacks only evenings. Recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

The Saatchi Gallery is an ideal way to view contemporary art in very well proportioned rooms in a 70,000 sq. ft. Building. Jubilee Year summer shows include work from China and Korea; the ten finalists in the Google Photography Prize, 2012; and an exhibition of work by 40 artists in 'Out of Focus: Photography'. The Gallery sponsors a number of Debates and Workshops. Check details online.
i> Venue: Duke of York's HQ, King's Road Chelsea, London, SW3 4SQ, U. K.
Access; Daily, 10am 6pm.
London Transport Nearest Tube. Sloane Square.
Refreshment Points The Saatchi Gallery restaurant and cafe 'The Gallery Mess' offers a range of snacks, light meals and a full restaurant menu in a beautiful setting. Dine outside in fair weather.
Wheelchair accessibility:Parking for the disabled. Wheelchairs available upon request Tel: 0207 811 3085.

A controversial group of three galleries showing contemporary art by a number of internationally recognised artists including Tracy Emin, Damian Hirst, Mark Quinn, Gilbert & George, and others. Website details current and future shows. The art is for sale.
Venue: 48 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB/144 152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ/25 26 Mason's Yard, SW1Y 6BU
Access: 10am 6pm, Tues Sat.
Wheelchair accessibility Call: 44 (0) 2079 305373.

The Wallace Collection the finest private collection of art ever assembled by one family. It was bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, widow of Sir Richard Wallace, in 1897, and opened to the public just over three years later on 22 June 1900 as a national museum. Its first visitors were variously delighted, amazed and bemused. In 25 galleries are unsurpassed displays of French 18th century painting, furniture and porcelain with superb Old Master paintings and a world class armoury.
Free general guided tours of the Collection are usually given on each weekday at 1pm, also Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11.30am, and Sundays at 3pm. These are sometimes replaced by specialist gallery talks covering aspects of the Collection in more detail, often given by members of The Wallace Collection staff. the The historic Hertford House is itself worth visiting. A new online database that will eventually contain information on every work of art in the Wallace Bequest.
Special summer exhibition: ' The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in the Renaissance'.
Venue: Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1. Tel: 020-7563-9500
Access: Open daily 10am - 5pm. From 2 January, 2008.
Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. The use of buggies is not permitted within the building.
London Transport:Nearest Tube.Baker Street; Bond Street
Refreshment Points The museum's Wallace Restaurant and Brasserie is set in a stunning courtyard.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Now celebrating its 41st year, the Serpentine is one of London's best loved galleries for modern and contemporary art. The late Diana, Princess of Wales was patron. The2012 summer exhibition is a project by Yoko Ono, together with a pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. Entrance FREE.
Venue:. Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Tel: 020 7402 6065.
Access10am-6pm, Daily.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Knightsbridge; Lancaster Gate.
Refreshment Points Orangery Restaurant; Broadwalk Cafe; 2 refreshment kiosks. There is an excellent restaurant across the road from the park at the Royal Albert Hall.
Wheelchair Accessibility :Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Free Museums

Permanent collections in London's world renowned museums are entry free, providing the visitor with a wealth of historical and cultural interest. Individually mounted temporary exhibitions within specified rooms of a museum normally carry a ticket charge however. This is bookable online, (recommended) or at the door if tickets are still available.

Special exhibition. Olympex Collecting the Olympic Games. Free exhibition of postage stamps and other memorabilia, providing an insight into the history, symbolism and iconography of the Olympic movement from 1896 onward. 25 July-9 September.
Venue:St. Pancras, 96 Euston Road, NW1. Tel: 020 7412-7332.
Opening Times: Mon/Wed/Thurs 9:30am-6pm. Tues 9:30am-8pm, Fri/Sat 9:30am-4:30pm, Closed Sun.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: King's Cross/St. Pancras, Euston and Euston Sq.
Refreshment Points King's Library Restaurant and two cafes and an espresso bar offer a variety of food from breakfast to afternoon tea.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

One of the world's greatest collections of Human History and Culture artefacts dating from the dawn of civilization. Ancient Civilizations, Elgin Marbles, Rosetta Stone, Sutton Hoo Burial, etc. There is so much to see in the many themed rooms that pre-planning your visit is advisable, particularly if you are accompanied by children who find much to stimulate them here if they do not suffer 'overload'.
An entrance charge is made for some temporary exhibitions, which may be mounted in association with other museums.
Don't miss the superb museum shop.
Sir Robert Smirke's main frontage, (1823-47), embodying a giant Ionic colonnade with pedimented portico is London's finest example of early 19th century Greek Classical revival; a fitting entrance for visitors to the Elgin Marbles taken from the Athens Coliseum.
Venue: Great Russell Street, WC1B. Tel: 020 7323 8299.
Opening Times: 10am-5:30pm. Thurs/Fri 10am-8:30pm. Closed 1 January, Good Friday, 24-26 December.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Tottenham Court Road.
Refreshment Points
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Freemasons' Hall has been the center of Freemasonry for 230 years. It is the meeting place of over 1000 Masonic Lodges and is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England, the oldest Grand Lodge in the world.
With sport dominating the news this summer, the Library and Museum's latest exhibition celebrates the many and varied sporting achievements of freemasons over the last 150 years. Many have been actve amateur or professional sportsmen or involved with the administration of all types of sport.
Freemasons' Hall is a Grade II listed Building, by architects, H. V. Ashley, and F. Winton Newman. The interior of the building is richly decorated.
Venue:60 Great Queen St. WC2B 5AZ. Tel: 020 7395 9257.
Access: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. Check by phone or online for Christmas Holiday Closings.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Covent Garden.
Refreshment Points 32 Great Queen Street, a modern gastro pub nearby serves excellent pub grub lunch and dinner. Strongly recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

The Geffrye Museum is one of London's best loved museums. It depicts the quintessential style of English middle-class living rooms, with collections of furniture, textiles, paintings, and decorative arts displayed in a series of period rooms from 1600 to the present day. The museum is set in elegant 18thcentury almshouses with a contemporary wing surrounded by attractive gardens, which include an award-winning walled herb garden and a series of period gardens.
Venue:Kingsland Road, E2 8EA. Tel: 020 7739 9893.
Opening Times:Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays 12- 5pm. Closed 24-26 December and 1 January.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street, Old Street.
Refreshment Points The nearby Scolt Head, 107a Culford Road, N1 4HT, is a pub deservedly much loved by the locals. They enjoy the excellent English pub grub using fresh, locally sourced meat and vegetables and home made preserves. A beer garden adds to the pleasing ambiance of this delightful pub. Strongly recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

The Horniman Museum & Gardens is a charming, family friendly, venue with a unique range of exhibitions, events and activities which illustrate the cultural and natural world. Collections of anthropology, natural history and musical instruments provide the inspiration for aprogram of permanent and temporary exhibitions, events and activities.
A full range of events and activities take place for different audiences including storytelling and art and craft sessions for children, and courses and workshops for adults. Superb view over London from the gardens.
Among interesting exhibits is African Worlds, the first permanent exhibition in Britain of African art and culture.
Admission charges apply for the superbly designed Aquarium.
Venue: 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ.
Access: 10.30am-5.30pm daily. Closed 24-26 December.
London Transport: London Overground Forest Hill. Car parking nearby.
Refreshment Points The museum Cafe offers light meals and snacks, with open air terrace seating in warm weather.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes

Founded by William Hunter, Anatomist, some 205 years ago. Works of art by Chardin, Fergusson, Pissaro, Gavin Hamilton, and The Mackintosh House.
Venue: 35-43 Lincoln Inn Fields, Holborn WC2A 3PE. Tel: 020 7869 6560.
Access: Mon-Sat. 9:30am 5pm. Closed Sundays, 25-26 December, 1 January.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Holborn.
Refreshment Points The nearby Ship Tavern, 12 Gate Street, WC2A 3HP, has been serving ale since 1549 and makes the most of its long history in decor and ambiance. The first floor dining room, (reservations recommended) serves top quality seasonal pub grub with set menu or a la carte. Recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

A museum of art, artifacts and memorabilia of all British and Commonwealth armed conflicts since the start of the Great War in 1914. A number of free temporary exhibitions are mounted on a regular basis, including the current exhibition Breakthrough, the Museum's collection of British art incorporating outstanding artworks from the official art schemes of both world wars and significant non-official and contemporary works, (until December, 2008).
The architecturally interesting museum building was formerly the central portion of Bethlem Royal Hospital for the mentally ill, or 'Bedlam', as it was commonly known. Designed by James Lewis, it was completed in 1815.
Venue: Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ. Tel: 0207 416 5320.
Access: Daily 10am-6pm. Closed 24-26 December.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Lambeth North; Elephant and Castle; Waterloo, (wheelchair accessible); Southwark, (wheelchair accessible). Car Park: Union Car Park/53 Southwark Street.
Refreshment Points The museum's cafe, The Kitchen Front serves seasonal snacks, lunch and afternoon tea.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Accessible Toilets on all floors bar the 3rd and 4th. Accessible cafe on ground floor. The Museum has a number of manual, folding frame wheelchairs that can be borrowed for the duration of your visit. Click for full details.

London's urban history is backed by a remarkable collection of artefacts dating from prehistory to present. An ongoing program of free temporary exhibitions and projects, archaeological digs and surveys makes this a superb and illuminating museum, imaginatively laid out to take the visitor through 3000 years of London's history. I strongly recommend a visit as part of your London itinerary, especially if you are accompanied by children. Good souvenir shop.
Venue: London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Tel: 0870 444 3851
Access: Mon-Sat 10am-5:50pm. Sun 12pm-5:50pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. St. Paul's.
Refreshment Points The museum's two cafes offer snacks, lunch and afternoon tea throughout the day. A wide range of old city pubs are nearby.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

The National Maritime Museum comprises three sites; the Maritime Galleries; the Royal Observatory and the Queen's House (Queen Anne). Together these constitute one museum, housed in classically inspired buildings of breathtaking beauty, working to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. Check website for full description and history.
Venue: Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF. Tel: 020 8858 4422; Recorded Information: 020 8312 6565; Bookings: 020 8312 6608.
Access: Daily 10am-5pm.
Admission Free for Museum, Observatory, and Queen's House.
Planetarium requires paid admission; check website for details, opening times, etc.
London Transport: Local Bus Stops; Maze Hill and Greenwich Stations.
Refreshment Points The nearby The Old Brewery Pub, The Pepys Building, Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9LW, brews its own beer and offers a remarkable selection of specialty beers as well as good pub grub. See also Burlington Bertie's London's Thameside Pubs for details of pubs nearby.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes but check website for details.

A remarkable world collection of flora, fauna, minerals, mammals, dinosaurs, etc., housed in Alfred Waterhouse's superb Romanesque building, (opened 1881). The Dinosaur collection is brilliantly laid out. Not surprisingly this is a top pop venue for children of all ages.
Take out a Reader's pass to view the fine library collection of original Victorian book illustrations by pre-photography flora and fauna bird illustrators such as J.G.Keulemans, (1841-1911).
Venue: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL. Tel: 020 7942 5000.
Access: Daily 10am-6pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. South Kensington.
Refreshment Points The museum's two cafes, snack bar and restaurant offer a full selection of snacks, hot and cold food and a full lunch menu. There is also a picnic area.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

A comprehensive record of scientific, technological and medical change since the eighteenth century. Though rich in British material, this is a worldwide collection. Very popular with children because of the interactive hands-on touchy/feely/smelly displays.
A permanent Climate Science Gallery, called "Atmosphere" explores climate science; a dedicated space for visitors to deepen their understanding of climate science in an enjoyable, engaging and memorable way. Interactive exhibits and a variety of objects explain how the climate system works, and summarises the current state of knowledge about the climate.
Venue: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD. Tel: 0870 870 4868.
Access: Daily 10am-6pm. Closed 24 - 26 December.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. South Kensington.
Refreshment Points The museum's two cafes and restaurant Deep Blue offer a full range of snacks and lunch menu.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Soane was born in 1753, the son of a bricklayer, and died after a long and distinguished career, in 1837. Soane designed this house to live in, but also as a setting for his antiquities and his works of art. After the death of his wife (1815), he lived here alone, constantly adding to and rearranging his collections. Having been deeply disappointed by the conduct of his two sons, one of whom survived him, he determined to establish the house as a museum to which 'amateurs and students' should have access.
Venue:13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP. TEL: 44 (0) 20 7440 4263.
Access:TuesdaySaturday 10am-5pm plus First Tuesday of the month open 6 9pm. Closed Bank Holidays, Christmas Eve. FREE on regular days except for large tour groups and special exhibits.
London Transport:Holborn Tube Station on the Central Line.
Refreshment Points > The nearby Ship Tavern, 12 Gate Street, WC2A 3HP, has been serving ale since 1549 and makes the most of its long history in decor and ambiance. The first floor dining room, (reservations recommended) serves top quality seasonal pub grub with set menu or a la carte. Recommended.
Wheelchair Accessibility:No. All wheel chairs must be left at the door; no large bags allowed.

Part of the University College London teaching faculty hidden away on campus, the Petrie Museum houses one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world with c. 80,000 objects illustrating some 6,000 years of life in the Nile Valley from pre-history through the time of the Pharaohs to the Islamic period. Notable exhibits are one of the earliest pieces of Linen, (c. 5000 BCE); two lions from the Temple of Min at Koptos from the first group of monumental sculpture (c. 3000 BCE); a fragment from the first Kinglist or calendar, (c. 2900 BCE); the earliest example of Metal from Egypt; the first worked iron beads; the earliest example of glazing; the earliest Egyptian 'cylinder seal', (c. 3500 BCE); the first 'wills' on papyrus paper; the oldest gynaecological papyrus. The museum houses the world's largest collection of Roman period mummy portraits (1st/2nd centuries CE). No concession is currently made to spectacular display and lighting techniques and you will not see any fabulous treasures from Tut's tomb. If, however, you have any interest in Ancient Egypt and an outline of its historical background your visit will be memorable. Photography without flash is allowed. The bright new website with its online catalogue facility offers a good insight into the collection, every item of which has its provenance.
Venue:University College London, Malet Pl., London WC1E 6BT. Tel: 020 7679 2884.
Access:Tues-Fri, 1pm-5pm; Sat 10am-1pm. Closed over Easter Holidays. Telephone for exact details.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Euston Square.
Refreshment Points The nearby Jeremy Bentham pub, 31 University Street serves traditional English pub grub. Seating outside for warm weather.<
online if you know what you are looking for.
Wheelchair Accessibility: No. Adapted toilets. No.

These collections of Art, Archaeology, Medicine, Anthropology, Geology, Anatomy, and Science Collections, are scattered over the UCL campus. Obtain a map of the campus when you get there and let it be your guide to the Collections used by the University as teaching resources.
Venue: Malet Pl., London WC1E 6BT. Tel: 020 7679 2884.
Access: Tues-Fri, 1pm-5pm; Sat 10am-1pm, 2007.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Euston Square.
Refreshment Points The nearby Jeremy Bentham pub, 31 University Street serves traditional English pub grub. Seating outside for warm weather.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

3000 Years of Art and Culture. Permanent Collection collected from the four corners of the Globe from the days of Empire. An entrance charge is made for some temporary exhibitions which may be mounted in association with other museums.
Don't miss the superb museum shop.
Admire Aston Webb's eclectic design of the building, (1891). He is better known for his later Neo-Classical facade of Buckingham Palace, (1912-13) and Admiralty Arch leading from Trafalgar Square to the Mall.
Venue: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL. Tel: 020 7942 2000.
Access: Daily 10am-5:45pm, Fri 10am-10pm. Closed 24 - 26 December.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. South Kensington.
Refreshment Points The V&A Caf offers hot dishes, salads, sandwiches, pastries and cakes, as well as hot and cold drinks, wine and beer. A garden cafe is open in the summer months for drinks and snacks.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

UK's national collection of childhood related objects from 1600. Toys, dolls, teddy bears, games, costumes, childcare, etc. A superb Collection. Very popular with children.
Venue: Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA. Tel: 020 8983 5200.
Access: 10am-6pm. Thurs/Fri 10am-9pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Bethnal Green, Central Line, Zone 2.
Refreshment Points The nearby Carpenter's Arms, 135 Cambridge Heath Road, E1 5RN is a traditional East End pub and gets top marks for food and ambiance from its local clientele.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

Sacred Music

Attendance at services is free. Check Westminster Abbey to confirm scheduled times of services and music. The choir is world famous.
The Abbey is closed to sightseers on Sundays and special days in the Abbey's Royal calendar, (the Abbey is a 'Royal Peculiar' under the personal attention of the Sovereign). Famous for the inspired Gothic interior, (Thomas Yevele 1320-1400), royal history and tombs dating back to King Edward The Confessor, (d.1066), Poet's Corner, etc. Check website for times of services.
Venue: Parliament Square, SW1P. Tel: 020 7222 5152.
Choral: Sundays and special Holy Days.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Westminster.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets, Yes, near by.

Attendance at services is free. The Cathedral is closed to sightseers on Sundays and special dates in the Cathedral calendar. Check St. Paul's Cathedral to confirm scheduled times of Easter and regular services.
Sightseers are charged an entrance fee on weekdays to see the stunning grandeur of Sir Christopher Wren's Renaissance interior, the dome, crypt, etc. Tickets can be bought online through the Cathedral website.
Venue: EC4M 8AD. Tel: 020 7236 4128.
Choral: Sundays and special Holy Days.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: St. Paul's.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

Historic landmark church overlooking Trafalgar Square; an interesting fusion of High English Baroque and Palladianism. Considered to be the church masterpiece of architect James Gibbs, (1682-1754), it replaced an earlier church built by Henry VIII, (1542), which itself replaced a 13th century Gothic edifice. Noted for its popular lunchtime and other concerts, (Mons/Weds/Fris). Venue: Trafalgar Square WC2N Tel: 020 7766 1100
Choral: Sundays and special Holy Days.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Charing Cross Station.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

This is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster (built between 1895 and 1903), in the Neo-Byzantine style; the architectural masterpiece of John Francis Bentley (1839 1902). It ranks architecturally as one of the noblest of all English churches. The interior which was never completed, provides a serene, quiet and inviting place to worship and meditate. Entry is FREE at all times.
Venue: 42 Francis Street, SW1P. Tel: 020 7798 9055
Choral: Sundays and special Holy Days.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Victoria Station.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Yes. Adapted toilets. Yes.

Fashionably popular Roman Catholic church for the Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Kensington communities. Built 1880-84 by Herbert Gribble who was awarded 200 by the incumbent Oratorian monks of St. Phillip Neri's Order for his winning Renaissance design. Several other architects worked on this structure through the years, contributing to its distinctive character and rather florid interior. Entry is FREE at all times.
Venue: Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW3.
Choral: Sundays 11:00am.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge.
Wheelchair Accessibility: Check website for details.

Traditional Reform style services together with monthly parallel Shabbat Shira services featuring musicians and modern music.
The Community has a strong inter-faith tradition.
Venue: 33 Seymour Place, W1H 5AU. Tel: 020 7723 4404 Shabbat & Shabbat Shira: Check website for times and details. See also Marble Arch Synagogue.

London Walks

Richard Jones, the noted author and London historian, who hosts the ever popular ticketed guided tours theJack the Ripper Walk, and London Ghost Walk, has compiled a fascinating selection of 25 meticulously researched leisured walks, with FREE downloadable, easy to follow routes that take in the vibrant and historic diversity of our great city. Enjoy the Victorian London of Charles Dickens and his characters; the secret city of hidden alleyways and courtyards that Dickens knew; the Bohemian Chelsea of Oscar Wilde, the ghostly royal shades at Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor, historic cemeteries. Strongly recommended.

Four guided walks from 'Walk This Way' which explore Thames-side points of architectural and historical interest. Check the downloadable pdf guide.
1. Southbank: London Eye - Imperial War Museum.
2. Millenium Bridge: St. Paul's Cathedral - Borough Market.
3. Golden Jubilee Bridges. Soho and Covent Garden - South Bank.
4. Riverside London: Tate Britain - Design museum.

This in-depth private tour is hosted by a professional guide specializing in art history. Please list any special interests you have (art, architecture, history, culture) at time of booking to alert our guide, so that he or she can better prepare for your private tour.

Explore London's wealth of history in style on a private walking tour of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, with an expert to guide you. Accompanied by your own private guide who specializes in art history, you'll enjoy personalized attention on your special private tour of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Venture through the spooky side of London on this guided nighttime walking tour, and learn the city's eerie history as you visit some of its most haunted sites, like the Tower of London, Eaton Place in Belgravia and Downing Street. Go on a boat ride along the Thames and hear intriguing ghost stories and legends about famous figures like Jack the Ripper, Henry VIII and more. It's the perfect night for those who enjoy a good scare!

See the sinister and ghostly side of London as you follow the blood-soaked footsteps of murderer Jack the Ripper down gas-lit alleyways on a walking tour of London that will have you trembling with fear!

A series of fascinating and increasingly popular 45 minute lunchtime guided walks and talks highlighting London's local history, architecture, famous and infamous residents and seasonal events, providing an intimate insight into London life, past and present. The walks originally took in the Paddington area only, but have proved so successful that they have now been extended to cover much of London. Book early as places are limited. Leaflet available. Check out the website for full details of monthly walks. Strongly recommended.

Venues: Various throughout London.
A Directory of houses bearing commemorative plaques to famous occupants together with a history of the blue plaque scheme and the (sometimes fictional), people who once lived or were born there. Top 5 Plaques: Sherlock Holmes, 221b Baker Street; Charles Dickens, 48 Doughty Street; John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 14 Princes Gate; Karl Marx, 28 Dean Street; John Logie Baird, 22 Frith Street.

If you have a question, contact us and we will do our best to provide answers.

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Top Tips

A Night Out 'On the Town!'
While in London, treat your partner to a superb evening out 'On The Town' with OfftoLondon's popular Theatre & Dinner package.

Choose your Hotel
Use OfftoLondon's hassle-free and secure booking facilities to obtain the best internet prices and special deals for your overnight, 'City Break' or longer term accommodation requirements; from de-luxe 5-star hotels to comfortable hostels.

Book your tickets online
Book all your tickets and London Travel Passes with to ensure best seats and best prices at the events, exhibitions and shows of your choice without the hassle of price bargaining and queuing on the day.

London Transport Oyster Card
The Central London congestion charge zone for visitors driving in London now covers all main areas of attraction. It makes sense to travel by the safe London Transport bus or Tube. Buy a multi-journey Oyster Card before you arrive, (you can top this up at will), and you will save money, time and hassle.

Something for the Weekend, Sir? - Add spice to your London visit with a "Weekender" visit to Paris or Rome. Cheap and speedy travel now brings these city gems within easy reach of all. Day trips via Eurostar to Paris for a morning's Christmas shopping, afternoon visit to the Louvre and evening meal on the Seine are a popular excursion option for Londoners. Or make an overnight stop and hit the Moulin Rouge or the Lido de Paris. Offtolondon's associated companies, travel specialistsOfftoparis and Offtorome will take care of all your travel and accommodation requirements and show you the sites.

New York City Breaks
The Big Apple is a most attractive option for UK and European visitors. Spend time soaking up style on Fifth Avenue at Bergdorf Goodman or Saks Fifth Avenue. Buy your digital cameras and gadgetry for fabulous prices at specialist Adorama on West 18th Street. Take in a Broadway Show, dine superbly and see all the landmark sites.
New York! New York! Its a Wonderful Town!
Check it all out at A Traveller's Guide to New York

London in One Day Sightseeing Tour
8.5 - 9 hours - Drive to Westminster, past Downing Street, home of the Prime Minister, and on to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Stop for a visit inside Westminster Abbey, site of many royal coronations. Visit Poets' Corner and the tombs of many well-known scientists and monarchs. Also see the Chapel of Henry VII.
Stop near Buckingham Palace to see the colourful ceremony of the Changing of the Guard before driving through busy streets and past peaceful parks to Piccadilly, home of London's Theatreland. Pass Trafalgar Square with its impressive Nelson's Column and fountains, before reaching a traditional London pub for lunch.
The afternoon starts with a cruise on the River Thames, during which a Thames Waterman will point out the places of interest along the way. Disembark to visit the Tower of London where you will meet the Beefeaters clad in Tudor uniforms, hear the legend of the ravens and some spine chilling tales from the Tower's 900 year history. You will also see the Crown Jewels, magnificently displayed in the new Jewel House.
Click for more information