10 Downing Street
Has been the official
residence of the Prime Minister since Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime
Minister lived here in 1732. The street was named after its builder, Sir
George Downing. The iron gates were erected for security reasons in 1989.
Prosperous suburb of Greater London. St Georges Church a 19th Century
Gothic building which does claim to have the oldest lych-gate (circa 13th
Cent) surviving in Britain.
Until the 18th Century the
original site was occupied by Buckingham House which was bought by George III in
1762. When George IV acceded the throne in 1820 he commissioned John Nash
to build a palace fit for a King on the same site. Much of the original
structure and decoration survives to this day.
in 1622 and designed by Indigo Jones, it was the first building in London to
embody the classical Palladium style together with the use of Portland stone in
the construction. Built originally as a part of Whitehall Palace it was
the only building to escape the great fire which destroyed the Palace in 1698.
The main hall is 115ft long and 60ft wide but it is the ceiling which catches
the eye. Painted by Rubens for Charles 1st in 1629-34 it
depicts the Apotheoses of the Stuart Dynasty in nine panels, which should be
viewed from the far end of the room. In 1649 Charles 1st
stepped out of one of the windows of the hall on his way to the scaffold erected
outside in the yard, to his execution. Ironically Charles II celebrated
his restoration to the throne here 20 years later. Still used for state
banquets and official functions by the Government and the Queen.
1753, it is the oldest museum in the world. The original collection was
started by the physician Sir Hans Sloane but over the years it as been added to
many times over. The immense hoard of artefacts spans nearly 2 million
years of world history. It is stored in 94 galleries covering over 2 miles
of displays. Some of the treasures include Egyptian mummies, the
Mildenhall Saxon silver tableware found after being ploughed up in a Suffolk
field in 1942, Lindow man preserved in a bog since the first century AD, pottery
from Greece and Rome, Lindisfarne Gospels from the 7th Century, an
original copy of Magna Carta from 1215. Together with specimens from all over
the world which bring the very history of our civilisation alive.
Churchill War Rooms
In 1940 as the bombs rained
down on London, Winston Churchill, his Cabinet, his Chiefs of Staff and
intelligence chiefs were meeting below ground in a fortified basement in
Whitehall, later to be known as the Cabinet War Rooms. They offered
shelter in which to work, sleep and live for as long as necessary. When
the war ended the lights were switched off and the rooms left silent and
untouched for many years. The rooms were in operational use from 27th
August 1939 to the Japanese surrender in 1945 the war cabinet held more than 100
meetings in these somewhat cramped rooms. Without doubt some of the most
important decisions of the Second World War were taken here.
Trafalgar Square Was
formally part of the Great Mews attached to Whitehall Palace and once included
part of what is now known as Charing Cross. In 1812 architect John Nash
developed the area between Charing Cross and Portland Place leaving this elegant
Square, the largest in London. It was not officially known as Trafalgar
Square until 1830, having been named to celebrate the great naval victory over
the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Believed to have been
the Convent Garden of St Peters, Westminster, where the Monks sold surplus
vegetables. In 1638 the area was very residential developed by Indigo
Jones, with arcaded walks based on the Piazza D` Arme at Livorno. In 1671
by right of charter it became a small market which gradually filled the Piazza.
In 1830 the 6th Duke of Bedford rebuilt it in its present form. It became
the largest fruit, vegetable and flower market in the country. Since the
market moved South of the river the area has been redeveloped. Still
keeping the magnificent canopy and many of the buildings from the early 1800s.
the area is now well known for its restaurants, shops, market stalls and of
course the Royal Opera House. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Transport Museum, Theatre Museum and much, much more.
Greenwich Situated just 4 miles down river from the City of London. a boat trip down the Thames is much the best way to approach this ancient sea faring town. Royal Greenwich dates back to the early 15th Century when it was included in the Manor of the then Duke of Gloucester. The choice of Greenwich as the place where time began lies in the observations that John Flamsteed made of the moon and stars. It was his findings which indirectly lead to Greenwich being accepted as longitude 0, plus the universal adoption of Greenwich Mean Time. The town was first recorded in 964 as “Grenok” the name Greenwich meaning green harbour in Old English.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
The National Maritime Museum comprises three sites: the Maritime Galleries,
the Royal Observatory and the Queen's House. Together these constitute one
museum working to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time
and the stars and their relationship with people.
Royal Naval College, Greenwich On the site of the Tudor Palace, in Greenwich, where Margaret of Anjou lived, so did Henry VII who loved it. Henry VIII was born there and so where his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, he married twice there and also signed the death warrant of Anne Boyleyn there. Under Cromwell the palace fell into disrepair and it was left to Charles II with his architect John Webb to start the massive rebuilding works. It was actually completed by Christopher Wren for William III. It later became the Greenwich Hospital for disabled and aged navel pensioners, then in 1873 the pensioners were moved out and it became the Royal Navel College.
Queen's House, Greenwich
The Queen's House, Greenwich, was commissioned by Anne of Denmark, wife of
James I (reigned 1603–25). James was often at the Tudor Palace of Greenwich,
where the Old Royal Naval College now stands – it was as important a residence
of the early Stuart dynasty as it had been for the Tudors. Traditionally he is
said to have given the manor of Greenwich to Anne in apology for having sworn at
her in public, after she accidentally shot one of his favourite dogs while
hunting in 1614. The House was designed by Indigo Jones in 1616, work
stopped in 1618 when Anne died and the first floor was thatched over. Work
was not re-started until 1629 by Charles I wife Henrietta Maria and was finally
completed by 1635. Today it is part of the National Maritime Museum
Cutty Sark, Greenwich
The only tea clipper still in existence, built in 1869 she worked as a merchant
ship until 1922. Her life as a tea clipper was short lived as by 1878 the
steam ships using the Sues canal had taken over this trade. She then plied
the worlds oceans with many different cargo's until she started on the Wool
routes from Australia to England in the late 1880's, becoming the fastest
sailing ship on this route recording trips as fast as 73 days. By the mid
1890's these routes were also taken over by the Steam ships and the Cutty Sark
was sold as a merchant ship to a Portuguese company where she finished her
working life. Being brought back to the UK by a Captain Wilfred Dowman and
used as a Cadet training ship and open to the public as a historic ship.
She was finally moved to her present location in 1954. During a period of
maintenance on 21st May 2007 she caught fire, but luckily received very little
structural damage and is planned to be re-opened to the public in 2012.
Old Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Built on the Greenwich
Meridian, home of Greenwich Mean Time and Longitude 0 Since 1884 the world has
set its clocks according to the time of day on the Meridian of Greenwich.
Take time to stand across the Prime Meridian, one foot in the East and one foot
in the West.
Hampton Court Palace
The grandest Tudor
residence in England. Built from 1514 onwards by Cardinal Wolsey as a
country home, he presented it to King Henry VIII in 1525 who continued to build
until 1540. Sir Christopher Wren added extra buildings from 1689 for King
William III and Queen Mary II.
Built by Robert Cecil,
1st Earl of Salisbury in 1611. The state rooms are rich in paintings fine
furniture and Medieval armour, throughout the house are examples of superb
Jacobean Craftmanship. Take a stroll in the gardens where the surviving
wing of the old Royal Palace of Hatfield dated 1497 still stands.
Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood here and it is in the great hall where
she held her first council of state in 1558 after she inherited the throne on
the death of her sister Mary. The gardens date back to the 17th
Century and are considered by many to be some of the finest in Britain.
Horse Guards Parade
The former tiltyard or
jousting field of Whitehall Palace, used for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour
each June to celebrate the Queens official birthday. The Horse Guards
building by which one enters the parade ground from the direction of Whitehall
was reconstructed in 1750 prior to which it was the gatehouse of the Palace of
Westminster. The horse mounted guards who stand duty under two archways
either side of the clock tower stand guard for just one hour at a time not all
day. The soldiers belong either to the Life Guards (red tunics & white
plumes) who formed the bodyguard for Charles I or the Royal Horse
Guards (blue with red plumes) who grew out of a regiment formed by Cromwell.
Both regiments now belong to the Household Cavalry which provides the Queens
Bodyguard on all state occasions.
Houses of Parliament
The present building
occupies the site of the old Royal Palace. The oldest surviving part of
this palace is Westminster Hall (some of the walls dating back to 1097/99).
In 1840 Sir Charles Barry with the help of his eccentric assistant, Pugin began
building the neo Gothic new house which still graces Parliament Square.
Although it was badly bombed in 1941 the Commons Chamber was completely
destroyed, the new one was opened in 1950. As you look at the palace from
the square the commons are on the left and the lords on the right.
Standing a little to the left of the building is Westminster Hall. This
ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft wide and 92ft high, it was built in 1097 by
William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399. It was here that Charles
I was condemned to death in 1649, Edward II abdicated in 1327, Oliver Cromwell
was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.
It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence
passed. it remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of
the palace and the most lovely.
Imperial War Museum
Established in 1920, it has
a huge pair of navel guns in front of the porch. the building once formed part
of the Bethlehem Hospital for the insane known as Bedlam. You can still
see some of the upstairs windows barred. The building was Severely damaged
during the Second World War. The museum displays model ships and other
instruments of war, the museum also holds a library of war documents, books and
photographs for reference.
Royal residence since 1689 when William III and Mary II commissioned Sir
Christopher Wren to convert Nottingham House into a Royal Palace. Since
that time the palace has seen many royal and momentous events, including the
birth of Queen Victoria at 4.15pm on the 24th May 1819, her first meeting with
the privy council in 1837. Part of the palace remains a private royal
residence but access to many of the state apartments is allowed.
The Royal Botanical
Gardens at Kew are the worlds most famous gardens, set up as a scientific
institution for the accurate identification and classification of plants and
plant materials and for the distribution of botanical information to all parts
of the world. Kew is also a quarantine station for plants being sent from
one country to another. It trains botanists and gardeners for
establishments all over the world, in the course of its work over many years,
over 25,000 specimen plants have been assembled. The first garden on this
site belonged to Augusta, mother of George III, she lived in Kew house and in
1759 had a garden of 9 acres planted here The garden was acquired for the
state in 1841 Queen Victoria also gave property to the garden in 1898. In
1904, the whole 300 acres of the site became the property of the state, to
fulfil its scientific and popular functions. The park now houses a
tranquil temperature house with a rich collection of plants from all over the
world, a rhododendron dell, landscaped by Capability Brown, the restored
Japanese gateway and more than 9,000 trees throughout the gardens.
Capital City of England & the United Kingdom
Within a few years of invading Britain in 43AD the Romans had built forts and
towns across the land. They linked these outposts with a number of well
constructed roads, some of which had to cross a wide tidal river (Thames).
The Roman engineers eventually picked a crossing point from generally marshy
ground on the South bank (with islands of firm ground) to an area on the North
Bank situated on two low hills, these hills formed the highest and driest site
on the tidal river. At this point the Romans built their bridge and before
long a settlement grew up on the hills and then a City took shape, the Romans
called it Londinium. The landscape that greeted the Romans now lies deep
beneath the modern city, upto 8 metres deep, the reason, every new building over
the past 2,000 years was built on top of the rubble of the old.
Opened in January 2000 as a part of the Millennium celebrations it is 135mtrs
high and is the worlds highest observation wheel. The fourth tallest
structure in London. It is 35mtrs taller than Big Ben, 30 mtrs taller than St
Pauls, three times as high as Tower Bridge and a third taller than the Statue of
Liberty. The 360` rotation will take approx 30/35 minutes. The wheel
has 32 fully enclosed capsules holding up to 25 people each. From its highest
point passengers can see 25 miles in each direction on a clear day.
Museum of London
Telling the story of London
from prehistoric times to the present day. Highlights include the Lord
Mayors Coach, together with artefacts, jewellery and furniture from all the
periods of occupation.
New Globe Theatre
Situated on the South
bank as close as possible to the site of the original Globe Theatre stands the
New Globe. Faithfully reconstructed to the Elizabethan design using the
same materials. The Globe now stands as a fitting memorial to Shakespears
work and also to the vision of the late actor/director Sam Wanamaker whose dream
it was to rebuild a theatre in the round.
One of the longest
rivers in England at 215 miles in length, it flows from its source near
Cheltenham to the sea through some of the most beautiful countryside before
becoming the main artery that the wealth of Britain has been bourn. No
river can have influenced a nations destiny more, from Roman times to the
Shows the application of science to our lives directly and though industry.
A replica of Stephensons first locomotive The Rocket. The evolution of the
motor car. The aeronautical exhibition and much, much more.
This ancient city, with
narrow, twisting streets was once one of the largest and most important Roman
towns in the country. The Abbey is visible from miles around. A
British settlement existed here prior to the Roman invasion of 54A.D. by the
middle of the 1st Century this settlement had become so important it was
elevated to the status of Municipium, the only British city to attain such an
honour, which accorded the inhabitants the right of Roman citizenship. The
remains of Verulamium were only excavated in the present century, parts of the
original city walls up to 12 feet thick can be seen. The Roman theatre
(only one in Britain) has been excavated and restored, semi circular in shapes
is 180 feet across and provided seats for over 1,600 people.
St. Georges Chapel, Windsor
A sumptuous and impressive
building which yet gives an effect of light and spaciousness. The
perpendicular chapel was begun by Edward IV in 1475 and completed in the reigns
of Henry VII and VIII. Many sovereigns and famous men and women lie buried
here, including Charles I, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and the present Queens
Mother and father. Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were also
buried at Windsor but in the royal mausoleum at Frogmore in Home Park near the
St. Martins in the Field
The present church designed by James Gibbs was completed in 1726. However
St Martin in the Fields has been a place of worship since 1220. The parish
boundary passes through Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth the Queen
Mother was a parishioner and the Prince of Wales although baptised in the palace
his record is kept in the baptism book held in the church. The church is
renown for its choral music the organ being one of the finest in Europe.
The church plays host and is famous for its lunchtime concerts given free on
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 1.05pm
Victoria and Albert Museum Founded originally as the
Marlborough House Museum of Ornamental art in 1852 and then moved to South
Kensington in 1857. The present renaissance style building was designed by
Sir Aston Webb and opened in 1909. Today it constitutes the greatest
collection of fine and decorative art in the world. There is also a
collection of John Constable paintings and drawings given by the Constable
family. So many galleries so much to see!
The Temple Church London
The following few words do not do justice to this very historic place, a further
read would be recommended.
Tower of London
Built by William the
Conqueror because he did not trust his new people. Over the years it has
been a garrison, armoury, prison, royal mint and royal palace. Among well known
heads that have rolled or languished in the tower were Kings of Scotland, France
and England. Lady Jane Grey, Duke of Monmouth, Queen Elizabeth for six
months, Sir Walter Raleigh and many more. There is even a gate directly
off the river called traitors gate.
Dominated both in
spirit and in fact, by its magnificent castle, yet the town itself is very
attractive with Georgian and Victorian buildings, Church Street being one of its
prettiest areas. The parish Church of St John stands in the High Street
with railings designed by Grindling Gibbons. Nearby is the Guildhall
designed at the end of the 17th Century by Sir Thomas Fitch and finished by Sir
Christopher Wren. However it is the castle that made the town and still
attracts thousands and thousands of visitors every year.
The castle is the
largest inhabited castle in the world and covers over 13 acres. Its story
starts with William the Conqueror who quickly grasped its strategic position and
the advantage of a forest for hunting close by. Since then practically
every sovereign has had a hand in the building, Henry II put up the first stone
buildings including the round tower, but the defences are still those built by
Henry III. Edward III was born at Windsor and loved it, he enlarged the royal
apartments and founded the order of the Knights of the Garter, making Windsor a
centre for chivalry. The castle is made up of three parts, the lower ward,
which includes St George's chapel, the upper ward in which lie the state
apartments and the middle ward where the enormous round tower gives wonderful
views over 12 counties.
This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft long and 92ft high. It was built in
1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399. It was here that
Charles I was condemned to death in 1649. Edward II abdicated in 1327.
Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators
sentenced to death. It was the centre of London life, a very public place
in which to have sentence passed. It remains lofty, beautiful, impressive
and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
Legend has it that the
first Church built on Thorney Island in the Thames was built by King Segbert in
the 7th Century, there is also mention of a Charter from King Offa of
Mercia to the people of Westminster granting land. We also have a Charter from
King Edgar in the 10th Century for the restoring of the Benedictine
Abbey. It is also written that a substantial foundation existed in Westminster
when King Edward the Confessor became King in 1042. We do know that Edward
started to build a Church here close to the previous building and it was
consecrated on 28th December 1065. Eight days later Edward died and
he was buried in front of the high altar.