Free London- May 2007 Travel Diary
London hotels at discount rates
NAVIGATION
  A TRAVELLER'S GUIDE TO LONDON

Discovering London - Full Day London City 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.
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Free London in May, 2007
Shophound Alexia's London diary for Heritage and Royal pageantry; Maytime in Mayfair, Park Lane and the Royal Parks, the Diana Memorial Walk, art exhibitions and museums.

Royal Heritage & Pageantry

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Date: 11.30am. Daily through July, 2007.
Venue: Buckingham Palace Forecourt, Westminster, SW1A 1AA
Tickets: FREE
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria mainline rail terminus
Description: The new guards from one of five Household Guard Regiments, (Coldstream, Grenadier, Scots, Irish or Welsh Guards), arrive at the forecourt of the Palace at 11:30 from Wellington Barracks. The journey takes

Horse guards.
about 5 minutes and the soldiers are accompanied by a band. The ceremony is conducted on the Palace forecourt and takes approximately forty minutes to complete. Subject to wet weather cancellation.
See also the colourful changing of The Queen's Lifeguards, (Blues & Royals or Life Guards), at Horse Guards Parade, (weekdays 11am, Sundays 10am); a spectacular piece of royal pageantry. Excellent photo opportunities at these and at St. James's Palace. Check Changing the Guard for further details and uniform identification, and special guidebook.

Ceremony of the Keys
Date: Daily. 9.30.pm.
Venue: Tower of London, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB
Tickets: Complimentary tickets are obtainable on application in writing. Check Tower website for details.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Tower Hill.
Description: 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, Major-General Sir Geoffrey Field, 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 and felonious attempts have been made to steal them! Check Historic Royal Palaces/Tower of London for daily opening times, etc., for the Tower, Crown Jewels, etc.

London's Blue Plaques
Venue: Various throughout London.
Description: 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, (now a Museum, pay to enter); Charles Dickens, 48 Doughty Street, (now a Museum, pay to enter); John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 14 Princes Gate; Karl Marx, 28 Dean Street; John Logie Baird, 22 Frith Street.
Alexia suggests: Make a note, or, if you have children in tow, have them make a note of each blue plaque you see. See who can spot the most! You and they can learn about the famous occupants on the internet on your return.

Churches and Cathedrals

Westminster Abbey
Date: Sundays and special Holy Days, 2007.
Venue: Parliament Square, SW1P. Tel: 020 7222 5152.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Westminster.
Description: Attendance at services is free. Check the Abbey website to confirm scheduled times of services and music.
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). Sightseers are charged an entrance fee on weekdays to see 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.


St. Paul's Cathedral. Nave. Photo St. Paul's Cathedral.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Date: Sundays and special Holy Days, 2007.
Venue: EC4M 8AD. Tel: 020 7236 4128.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: St. Paul's.
Description: Attendance at services is free. The Cathedral is closed to sightseers on Sundays and special dates in the Cathedral calendar. Check the St. Paul's Cathedral website to confirm scheduled times of services and music.
An entrance fee is charged at other times for sightseers to see the grandeur of Sir Christopher Wren's Renaissance interior, the dome, crypt, etc. Tickets can be bought online through the Cathedral website.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Date: Sundays and special Holy Days.
Venue: Trafalgar Square WC2N Tel: 020 7766 1100
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Charing Cross Station.
Description:10am - Sung Eucharist. 1.15pm - Service in Mandarin. 2.15pm - Service in Cantonese. Check website to confirm times and services.
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 concerts, (Mons/Weds/Fris). Check website for details.

Westminster Cathedral
Date: Sundays and special Holy Days.
Venue: 42 Francis Street, SW1P. Tel: 020 7798 9055
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Victoria Station.
Description: 10.30am. Solemn Mass, (sung by the Cathedral's world famous choir). Check website for full details of this and other sung services.
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.

Brompton Oratory
Date: Sundays 11:00am.
Venue: Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW3.
Tickets: FREE.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge.
Description: 11am. Solemn Mass, (Sung Latin Novus Ordo). Check website for other services.
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.

May is a particularly beautiful time of year in the Royal Parks, which play an important and popular role in the Londoner's Diary for Art, Music, Open air Theatre and Royal pageantry, as well as providing a safe family environment for recreation and relaxation in colourful surroundings of remarkable bio-diversity. They are superbly kept with seasonally planted flower beds, shrubs, trees, lakes, fountains, monumental statuary and teeming, people-friendly, wildlife. Birdlife is remarkably abundant with some 144 species of woodland bird, raptor

One of the 70 Diana plaques spaced in the ground along the Princess Diana Memorial Walk; a seven mile figure of eight walkway with its hub at Hyde Park Corner,
and wild and ornamental waterfowl recorded, many of which breed in the avian-friendly surroundings. Most Royal Parks were originally royal hunting grounds and Hyde Park and Richmond Park remain popular equestrian venues, while herds of deer still graze, (no longer chased by Royal huntsmen), at Richmond and Greenwich. There are plenty of restrooms and excellent catering facilities, ranging from tea houses to gourmet restaurants, a wide range of sporting facilities and many interesting historic monuments and Heritage sites in and around each Park.

St. James's Park
Opening Times; Daily. 5am-midnight.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: St. James's Park.
Description:
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, St. James's Palace, Clarence House and the Mall on the north, Admiralty Arch and Horseguard's Parade on the east, Wellington Barracks and Birdcage on the south, it lies at the very heart of London's Royal heritage and pageantry. The 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.
Alexia's tip: As well as Buckingham Palace, Horseguard's Parade and Admiralty Arch, pause to see the Queen Victoria Memorial with its marble statue of Victoria and the glittering figures of Victory, Courage and Constancy, bordered by the ornamental gates given by the former Dominions; Australia Gate, South Africa Gate and Canada Gate.
Alexia's Diary: Pelican feeding time. Daily. 2.30pm. Lakeside. A popular time for both Pelicans and spectators!
Changing the guard at Buckingham Palace. Daily through July, 2007. 11.30am. Musical march past from Wellington Barracks down Birdcage Walk on south side of Park to the Palace and return.
Changing the Queen's Lifeguard at Horseguards Parade. Mornings: Daily 11am, Sundays 10am. Afternoons: Daily 4pm. Horseguard's Parade, situated at the eastern end of the park, is the official entrance to Buckingham Palace.

Green Park
Opening Times: Daily. 5am-midnight.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Green Park, Hyde Park Corner.
Description: Originally called, appropriately, 'Upper St. James's Park' this open space to the north of Buckingham Palace was a once popular dueling spot. It is now a peaceful grassland and mature tree'd open space much enjoyed by Londoners in the spring 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 and 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.
Alexia's tip: Wander down Queen's Walk from the Ritz on your way to the Canada Memorial and the Canada Gates which face the Palace and pause to admire the superb Palladian facade of Spencer House, onetime ancestral London residence of Princess Diana's family. At Hyde Park Corner see Decimus Burton's 1828 triumphal Wellington Arch, (English Heritage Museum); his imposing Ionic Screen, (1825) and his charming little neo-Classical lodge next to it; the Greek Revival frontage of the Lanesborough Hotel, (William Wilkins, 1827); the neo-Classical frontage of Apsley House, (Benjamin Wyatt, 1828/9), London home of the Duke of Wellington, (English Heritage Museum).
Alexia's Diary: No May events scheduled.


Speakers Corner, Hyde Park.
Hyde Park
Opening Times: Daily. 5am-midnight.
London Transport: Nearest tubes. Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Lancaster Gate.
Description: Onetime private Royal hunting ground, opened to the public in 1637 by Charles I. Site of the 1851 Great Exhibition; Speaker's Corner; the annual Prince's Trust open air Concert; and Rotten Row the 300 year old bridleway, 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.
Alexia's tip: 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; Diana Memorial Fountain, (2004).; Sir John Nash's triumphal Marble Arch, (1828), marking the Park's N.E. entrance near the site of Tyburn gallows
Alexia's Diary: Saturday 12 May 2007. Cavalry Memorial Parade at Hyde Park at 1105 hours.
Thursday 24 May, 2007. Major General Inspection Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment at the football field South Carriage Drive in Hyde Park at 0915 hours.

Kensington Gardens
Opening Times; Daily. 5am-midnight.
London Transport: Nearest tube. High Street, Kensington.
Description: 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) which stands in the south of Kensington Gardens opposite the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington Gore. This is an example of the best of Victorian craftsmanship, designed like a medieval reliquary shrine built on a monumental scale.
Alexia's tip: Children, (and parents), will love the Peter Pan bronze statue by 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).

Alexia's tip: Make a point of seeing the above four Royal Parks by taking the Princess Diana Memorial Walk; a seven mile figure of eight walkway with its hub at Hyde Park Corner, (the obvious starting and finishing point). You can pick up a free leaflet on the Walk there at the little neo-Classical lodge next to the Burton's Ionic Screen. 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. There are restrooms and refreshment points in St. James's Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

Performing Arts

London Television Shows
Date: Various throughout the year.
Venue: Various BBC and ITV studios
Tickets: FREE online download
Description: Free online tickets to some of the best entertainment TV show recordings in London. Register, choose a show, print an e-ticket, then, go to the show! Most studios prefer their audiences to be at least 16, so check the age limit before you book. Expect to be sat in the studio for between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. The website has some useful FAQs for those who have never been to a live TV recording before.

Free Fine Art & Cultural Exhibitions

Permanent collections in London's public art galleries and museums are entry free. Individually mounted temporary exhibitions mounted 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. See Burlington Bertie's London Diary for current ticketed exhibition highlights.

Courtauld Gallery
Venue: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R ORN. Tel: 020 7848 2526
Dates: Until 3 June, 2007. 10am-2pm, Mondays only, exc. public holidays
Tickets: FREE on Mondays.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Temple.
Description: A selection of drawings by Rembrandt, the first in a series of displays designed to complement the exhibition programme and to increase awareness of the Courtauld's exceptional collection of c. 7,000 drawings. Mostly executed during the 1630s and 1640s, this rich group gives insight into Rembrandt's creativity at the height of his career and an opportunity to compare the work of Guercino (1591-1666), sometimes known as 'the Rembrandt of the South', with that of his Dutch contemporary. Coincides with the exhibition Guercino: Mind to Paper.

James 'Athenian' Stuart 1713 - 1788: The Rediscovery of Antiquity
Date: 12 March - 24 June, 2007.
Venue: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7. Tel: 020 7942 2000
London Transport: Nearest Tube: South Kensington .
Description: The first comprehensive retrospective of Stuart's work as designer, artist and taste-maker, setting his work in the context of 18th century design culture. Widely recognized for his central role in the development of Neo-Classicism, James 'Athenian' Stuart is a compelling figure in English design history. The creation of the 'Greek Style' and its impact on English design during the late 18th century is largely due to Stuart's landmark publication 'Antiquities of Athens'. The scope of Stuart's highly influential career spanned the fields of architecture, interior decoration, furnishings, sculpture and metalwork.

New York Fashion Show
Date: 17 April - 2 September, 2007.
Venue: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7. Tel: 020 7942 2000 London Transport: Nearest Tube: South Kensington .
Description: This special temporary V & A exhibition displays the latest work of the New York Fashion Designers. It brings together designs by 20 of the most talented and innovative designers from the numerous independent fashion labels launched between 1999 and 2004 including Duckie Brown, Cloak, Derek Lam, Mary Ping, and Zac Posen.

Tate Britain
Opening Times: Daily. 10am-5.40pm.
Venue: Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG. Tel: 020 7887 8888.
London transport: Nearest Tube: Pimlico.
Description: 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.
The gallery is a good example of Edwardian Grand Manner architecture by S.R.J.Smith, (1897-1900).

Tate Modern
Opening Times: Daily. 10am-5.40pm.
Venue: Bankside, SE1. Tel: 020 7887-8008.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Embankment.
Description: 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. See Burlington Bertie's London Diary for details of the current Gilbert and George Exhibition.

The National Gallery
Opening Times: Daily 10am-6pm. Weds 10am-9pm.
Venue: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Tel: 020 7747 2885.
London transport: Nearest Tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square.
Description: 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 altarpieces to the work of modern artists such as Tim Gardner. There are free guided tours and lectures daily. See website for details. Admire the Greek Classical revival facade which faces onto Trafalgar Square, (William Wilkins, 1834-38). An entrance charge is made for some temporary exhibitions which may be mounted in association with other galleries. See Burlington Bertie's London Diary for details of the ticketed exhibition Renoir Landscapes.

National Portrait Gallery
Opening Times: 10am-6pm. Thurs/Fri 10am-9pm.
Venue: National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin's Place, WC2 0H3. Tel: 020 7312 2463.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Charing Cross, Leicester Square.
Description: The National Portrait Gallery has some 92,000 portraits of great and famous British men and women in its unrivalled permanent collection, some 51,000 of which can be researched online. A selection is on permanent display here together with others which are shown for shorter periods due to their fragility. An entrance charge is made for some temporary exhibitions which may be mounted in association with other galleries.

Free Museums

British Library
Venue: 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.
Description: An exhibition of antiquarian maps and views from the Library's collections bring the city's transformation from medieval to modern life.


Portland Vase. Credit British Museum.
British Museum
Venue: Great Russell Street, WC1B. Tel: 020 7323 8299.
Opening Times: 10am-5:30pm. Thurs/Fri 10am-8:30pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Tottenham Court Road.
Description: 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. An entrance charge is made for some temporary exhibitions which may be mounted in association with other museums. Very popular with children.
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 Colosseum.

Freemasonry Library and Museum
Venue:60 Great Queen St. WC2B 5AZ. Tel: 020 7395 9257.
Opening times: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm.
Tickets:FREE
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Covent Garden.
Description: Free Mason's 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. It is a Grade II listed Building, by architects, H. V. Ashley, and F. Winton Newman. The interior of the building is richly decorated.

Geffrye Museum
Venue:Kingsland Road, E2 8EA. Tel: 020 7739 9893.
Opening Times:Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays 12- 5pm, 2007.
Tickets: FREE.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street, Old Street.
Description: 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 18th century almshouses with a contemporary wing surrounded by attractive gardens, which include an award-winning walled herb garden and a series of period gardens.

Hunterian Museum
Venue: 35-43 Lincoln Inn Fields, Holborn WC2A 3PE. Tel: 020 7869 6560.
Date: Reopening 23 May, Mon-Sat. 9:30am - 5pm, 2007. .
Tickets: FREE.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Hillhead.
Description: Founded by William Hunter, Anatomist, the Hunterian Museum is celebrating 200 years in 2007. Works of art by Chardin, Fergusson, Pissaro, Gavin Hamilton, and The Mackintosh House.

Museum of London
Venue: London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Tel: 0870 444 3851
Opening Times: Mon-Sat 10am-5:50pm. Sun 12pm-5:50pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. St. Paul's.
Description: London's urban history backed by a remarkable collection of artefacts dating from prehistory to present. Ongoing programme of free temporary exhibitions and projects, archaeological digs and surveys. This is a superb museum imaginatively laid out to take the visitor through 3000 years of London's history. Very popular with children.

The Wallace Collection
Venue: Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1. Tel: 020-7563-9500
Opening times: Open daily 10am - 5pm. Free guided tours daily weekdays 1pm, Suns 3pm. Also 11.30 am Weds and Sats.
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.
Description: The Wallace Collection is both a national museum and the finest private collection of art ever assembled by one family, bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, widow of collector Sir Richard Wallace, in 1897. Among its priceless treasures so majestically displayed in the historic Hertford House are an unrivalled collection of European fine Art dating from 14th - mid 19th century; Dutch and Flemish 17th-century paintings; one of the finest collections of French 18th-century pictures, porcelain and furniture in the world; an important collection of 18th and 19th century miniatures; some 500 marbles, bronzes and other sculptures, (16th - 19th century European schools); a definitive collection of Renaissance Italian maiolica and 18th century Sevres porcelain; and the finest collection of Tudor, European, Indian, Persian and Turkish armour in UK.
Painters represented include Rubens, Rembrandt, Hals (The Laughing Cavalier), Velazquez, Poussin (A Dance to the Music of Time), Canaletto, Gainsborough, Lawrence, Bonington, Turner, Gericault and Decamp, together with French artists Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard (The Swing), Decamps and Meissonier.

Natural History Museum
Venue: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL. Tel: 020 7942 5000.
Opening Times: Daily 10am-6pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. South Kensington.
Description: A remarkable world collection of flora, fauna, minerals, mammals, dinosaurs, etc., housed in Alfred Waterhouse's superb Romanesque building, (opened 1881). The museum also houses a fine collection of original Victorian book illustrations by pre-photography bird illustrators such as J.G.Keulemans, (1841-1911). Very popular with children.

Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art
Venue:53 Gordon Sq. WC1H OPD. Tel: 020 7387 3909.
Opening Times: Mon-Fri. 10-12:30 and 1:30-5:00pm. Closed Bank Holidays and weekends.
Tickets: FREE.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Covent Garden.
Description: The Percival David Foundation exists to promote the study and teaching of Chinese Art and Culture. Its unique collection of Chinese ceramics and library of East Asian and Western books related to Chinese Art were both presented to the University of London in 1950 by the collector and scholar Sir Percival David.

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Venue:University College London, Malet Pl., London WC1E 6BT. Tel: 020 7679 2884.
Date:Tues-Fri, 1pm-5pm; Sat 10am-1pm, 2007.
Tickets: FREE.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Euston Square.
Description: 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 'cylinder seal' in Egypt (c. 3500 BCE), the first 'wills' on papyrus paper, the oldest gynaecological papyrus, and many more firsts. No concession is made to spectacular display techniques and you will not see any fabulous treasures from Tut's tomb, (you'll have to pay to see those at the Millenium Dome from November), but if you have interest in Ancient Egypt and an outline of its historical background you will find your visit to this teaching resource memorable. Created by the bequest of the Victorian enthusiast Amelia Edwards (1831-1892).

Science Museum
Opening Times: Daily 10am-6pm. br> Venue: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD. Tel: 0870 870 4868.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. South Kensington.
Description: 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 on account of the sometimes interactive hands-on touchy/feely/smelly displays, (fossilised Dino dung is a popular exhibit).

University College London Collections
Venue: Malet Pl., London WC1E 6BT. Tel: 020 7679 2884.
Opening times: Tues-Fri, 1pm-5pm; Sat 10am-1pm, 2007.
Tickets: FREE.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Euston Square.
Description: 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.

Victoria & Albert Museum</b>
Venue: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL. Tel: 020 7942 2000.
Opening Times: Daily 10am-5:45pm, Fri 10am-10pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. South Kensington.
Description: 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.
Admire Aston Webb's eclectic design of the building, (1891). He is better known for his Neo-Classical facade of Buckingham Palace, (1912-13) and Admiralty Arch leading from Trafalgar Square to the Mall.

V & A Museum of Childhood
Venue: Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA. Tel: 020 8983 5200.
Opening Times: 10am-6pm. Thurs/Fri 10am-9pm.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Bethnal Green, Central Line, Zone 2.
Description: 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.

V & A Museum of the Performing Arts
Venue: Russell Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7PR. Tel: 020 7943 4735.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Covent Garden.
Description: British Theatre and performing arts history from 1600. Costumes, designs, manuscripts, posters, etc. Permanent Collection of memorabilia and theatrical history that will fascinate anyone involved with, or interested in, the Theatre.
CLOSED until August, 2007.

Sport and Recreation

Hyde Park Moonwalk 2007
Venue: Westminster, London W2,
Date:7:30pm.,19 - 19 May, 2007. .
Entry Fee: £40 entry fee for participants but FREE for observers.
London Transport: Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge, Lancaster Gate.
Description: Fundraiser for the awareness of Breast Cancer. Thousands of women, (some men in drag), walk a 26.2 mile course through the streets of London at night, wearing decorated bras, to raise money for breast cancer charities. See the start in Hyde Park. Sign up ahead of time on www.walkthewalk.org to take part.

Alexia's Thought for the Month
While in London, have your partner treat you to a superb evening out 'On The Town' with OfftoLondon's theatre and dinner package.

Choose your Hotel OfftoLondon provides expert advice and secure booking facilities for your overnight, 'City Break' or long term London accommodation requirements; from deluxe 5-star hotels to comfortable backpacker's hostels.

For a list of ticketed London events, festivals, fairs, exhibitions, Theatre Ballet and Opera, see Burlington Bertie's May Diary of London Highlights.

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

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