Only 24 hours to spend in London; what should I see...? London Advice: British English
Get acquainted with the English you'll hear in London... History: A century of London on film
Video clips starring London, from the 1890s to the 1980s... Music: Reggae & Ska in London
Imported from Jamaica, Reggae and Ska took root in London... Buildings: London's tallest buildings
After years of stasis, London is building upwards. Main ones here... Blog Highlights: Great London Eccentrics
The human mole, Stanley Green & the Flying Pieman of Holborn Hill... Who Are Londoners?: Second World War
1940-42, London suffered sustained bombing during the Blitz... Art & Culture: The British Museum
A trip to London minus the British Museum, is a partial trip... Hidden London: Brockwell Lido
For several weeks a year, London temperatures are smoking. Cool in the pool...
The National Gallery is the largest and the premier (hence the name) gallery in the UK, with collections spanning the early Middle ages to the 20th century. The building itself is grand and cavernous with enormous care having been taken to present the works in a digestible and logical sequence. There are so many well known canvases in The National Gallery that around every corner there's an 'ooh' and 'ahh' of recognition. Amongst others you'll find works by: Titian, Turner, Raphael, Caravaggio, Botticelli and Rubens. Rooms are lit from above in the Sainsbury Wing and supplemented by automated lighting if the sun goes behind a cloud, so you never see the paintings in anything less than their best light.
The main crush will be around the impressionist paintings which draw the largest and most enthusiastic crowds - Van Goch, Seurat and Monet are well represented and ten-deep with admirers, but it's all in good spirit. People are just pleased to see them and the atmosphere is always polite and well mannered. Along with the Tate Britain, the National Gallery is an essential stop on a visitor's tour of London. Aside from the well-known canvasses - it's the lesser known works and the extraordinary beauty of the gallery itself, that will stay with you.
Buckingham Palace in London, was originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today's palace. It was a sizable townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 and enlarged over the next 100 years, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard.
The Science Museum was founded in 1857 but it was only in 1885 that the Science Collections were renamed The Science Museum and the Art Collections were renamed the Art Museum, which later became the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Natural History Museum is home to life and earth science specimens arranged in five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research, specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin.
St. Paul's Cathedral is built of Portland stone in the late Renaissance, Baroque style. Its impressive dome was inspired by St Peter's Basilica in Rome, which rises to 365 feet (108 m) at its summit. It was the fifth of his designs which was eventually approved for the commission. The dome is actually three domes, each inside the other. The tall outer dome is non-structural but aesthetically pleasing, the lower inner dome provides an artistically balanced interior, and between the two is a structural cone that supports the inner and outer domes. The weight of the dome is prevented from pushing the base outwards, by means of an enormous chain, to restrain the forces. Wren was said to have been hauled up to the rafters in a basket during the building of St Paul's Cathedral's later stages to inspect progress, despite being in his seventies.