Things to Do in London - page 5
One of the largest wholesale meat markets in Europe, Smithfield Market—also known as London Central Markets—is frequented by chefs, butchers, and curious tourists. Located in the oldest part of London, the area has hosted livestock markets for close to a millennia and was also site of bloody public executions in the Middle Ages.
The official home of Chelsea Football Club since 1905, Stamford Bridge has a long legacy. Watching a match at the iconic stadium is a popular choice for football (soccer) fans visiting London, and the on-site museum offers a look back at the team’s history.
Established at the turn of the 15th century, east London’s Spitalfields attracts visitors with its diverse stores and trendy vibes. Equidistant from Shoreditch and Whitechapel, the area is home to an array of vintage stores and the iconic Spitalfields Market, making it a top spot in which to experience local London life.
The Clink’s dark past reaches back as far as the 12th century. Over its 600 years of operation, the prison was notorious for its poor conditions, famous inmates, and regular rebellions. Today, interactive exhibits reveal the harsh realities of crime and punishment in medieval London.
A quick stroll from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, Knightsbridge is one of London’s most affluent neighborhoods. If the department stores (including the storied Harrods), designer boutiques, and elegant hotels don’t tip you off, the supercars might: Make a game of spotting Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis as you wander.
London’s most famous fictional detective is brought to life at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, located at 221b Baker Street, the legendary address from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, where Holmes and his famous sidekick, Dr. Watson, lived between 1881 and 1904.
For over 250 years, the Royal Academy of Arts has championed Britain’s visual art scene. The Mayfair mansion is home to a world-renowned permanent collection, and features works by artists such as Constable, Turner, and Emin. Its annual exhibitions also draw critical acclaim, showcasing contemporary art from around the world.
The home of London’s working class during Victorian times, the birthplace of Cockney Rhyming Slang, and the stomping ground of Jack the Ripper—the East End has long represented the grittier side of the capital. Today, it’s shed its rough image to become one of the city’s coolest, most diverse, and ever-evolving areas.
Strolling the halls of the National Portrait Gallery is like taking a walk through British history, as you pass images of royals, politicians, and pop culture icons. When it opened in 1856, the gallery was the first of its kind. Now it houses the world’s biggest portrait collection, featuring more than 11,000 works.
Once reserved exclusively for England’s royals, this 410-acre (166-hectare) park is now public, and one of London’s prettiest patches of green. As well as a boating lake, sports facilities, a rose garden, fountains, statues, and several playgrounds, Regent’s Park is also home to the 20,000 or so creatures of the London Zoo.
More Things to Do in London
Interactive galleries, science demonstrations, and an IMAX 3D theater help make London’s Science Museum one of the city’s most engaging attractions for all ages. Use virtual reality to experience space travel, do experiments in the Wonder Lab, and see how math and science connect to everyday activities.
As home to Arsenal Football Club, one of England’s most renowned football teams, and the country’s third-largest football stadium after Wembley and Old Trafford, Emirates Stadium is a top choice for those looking to soak up the atmosphere of a British football (soccer) match.
The largest stadium in the United Kingdom and the second largest in Europe, Wembley Stadium is an iconic London landmark. Since the remodeled stadium opened in 2007, it has hosted the annual FA Cup final, the 2012 Olympic Games finals, and the UEFA Champions League Finals, and also serves as a venue for world-renowned musicians.
Part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Queen’s House is widely regarded as an architectural marvel. Commissioned by Queen Anne of Denmark in 1616, it was designed by architect Inigo Jones and was the first classical building in Britain. Today, the palace houses a gallery of artistic masterpieces.
Stretching north from the high-rise office blocks of Liverpool Street and the City, Shoreditch is the buzzing center of London’s East End. An eclectic, cosmopolitan, and ever-changing neighborhood favored by artists, students, and fashionistas; it’s known for its lively markets, bold street art, and nonstop nightlife.
One of Central London’s primary bridges, Blackfriars Bridge is both a busy thoroughfare and a historical monument. The landmark dates to the 19th century, was dedicated by Queen Victoria, and is distinctive for its red-and-white paint and pulpit-shaped pillars. You can cross Blackfriars Bridge either as a pedestrian or in a vehicle.
Please note: Theatre Royal Drury Lane is currently closed for renovation. The reopening is scheduled for fall 2020.
Dating to the 17th century, Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of London’s oldest theaters. It's hosted performances ranging from Shakespeare to Monty Python for more than 350 years. Today, the venue is a West End institution, known for hosting musical productions by greats such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Ivor Novello, and Noël Coward.
The Victoria and Albert Museum houses more than 2.3 million cultural artifacts from around the globe, spanning over 5,000 years. Explore the museum’s world-famous collections of Asian art and postclassical sculpture, attend a family-friendly drop-in session, or discover work by masters such as Raphael, John Constable, and William Morris.
True to its name, Handel & Hendrix in London is situated in two side-by-side Mayfair townhouses: one the former home of the world-famous baroque composer, and one the previous residence of the legendary guitar god. The joint museum features respective period interiors, showcases musical artifacts, and regularly hosts live performances.
Housed in the historic vaults beneath the iconic arches of London Bridge, the London Bridge Experience takes you on an interactive, theatrical journey through the British capital, with an equal focus on history and horror. For terror come to life, test your nerves in the adjoining London Tombs where the walls drip with blood.
Today, the Old Truman Brewery is a revolutionary arts and media quarter in East London, but centuries ago it was one of the largest breweries in the world. Founded in 1666 as the Black Eagle Brewery, it grew to be the world’s largest in 1873 before closing altogether a century later. Now, the ten acres of buildings that once formed the brewery are home to more than 200 businesses, including a variety of creative businesses and independent shops, galleries, markets and bars. Shoppers can visit Europe’s largest record store, Rough Trade, and clothing stores such as Absolute Vintage, Number Six, YMC and Traffic People. For eats, stop at the Boiler House Food Hall, featuring 30 stalls of international cuisine.
Definitely worth a visit is the Backyard Market, which was the first market in the area to open on Saturdays. There, you’ll find a mix of kitsch goods, arts and crafts and works by young designers and artists. If you’re visiting on a Sunday, the Sunday Upmarket shouldn’t be missed, with more than 200 stalls featuring established designers and artists, as well as an indoor food area.
Over the course of almost 1,000 years, Eltham Palace has served as home to the half-brother of William the Conqueror, King Henry VIII as a boy, and two 20th-century socialites. The estate reflects the history of England’s aristocracy, with a facade, interiors, and 19-acre grounds that blend medieval, Tudor, and art deco features.
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