Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock
at the north-eastern end of the Palace of Westminster and is often
extended to refer to the clock or the clock tower as well. It celebrated
its 150th anniversary in May 2009.
(2017: It is currently being renovated. It will not chime for the next few years)
The Tower of London is often identified with the White Tower, the original stark square fortress built by William the Conqueror in 1078. However, the tower as a whole is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.
In the 1190s, King Richard the Lionheart (reigned 1189-99) enclosed the White Tower with a curtain wall, and had a moat dug around it filled with water from the Thames. Richard utilised the pre-existing Roman city wall, to the east, as part of the circuit. Part of the wall he built was incorporated into the later circuit wall of Henry III and is still extant, running between the Bloody Tower and the Bell Tower, the latter of which also dates to his reign. In 1240, on a sunny autumn day, Henry III had the exterior of the building whitewashed, which is how it got its name.
St Paul's Cathedral is the Anglican Cathedral on Kudgate Hill, and the seat of the Bishop of London. The present building dates from the 17th century and is generally reckoned to be London's fifth St Paul's Cathedral, although the number is higher if every major medieval reconstruction is counted as a new cathedral.
The Royal Family holds most of their important marriages, christenings and funerals at Westminster Abbey, but St Paul's was used for the marriage of Charles and Diana.
The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613.
A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.
A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named "Shakespeare's Globe", opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theatre.
Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century. Today it is the official residence of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester; the Duke and Duchess of Kent; and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
It was the official residence of Diane, Princess of Wales (until 1997), of Princess Margaret (until 2002) and of princess Alice (until 2004).
The earliest extant reference to the church is from 1222. The church was rebuilt by Henry VIII in 1542 to avoid plague victims from the area having to pass through his Palace of Whitehall. At this time, it was literally "in the fields" in an isolated position between the cities of Westminster and London.
The church is also known for its regular lunchtime and evening concerts: many ensembles perform there, including the Academy of St-Martin-in-the-fields, which was co-founded by Sir neville Mariner and John Churchill, a former Master of Music at St Martin's. There is a popular café in the crypt, where jazz
concerts are held. All profits from this go to the work of the
church. We had lunch in the crypt. it's not as creepy as it might sound.
We also attended on of their free afternoon concerts. Quite enjoyable.
Apsley House, also known as Number One (and the Wellington Museum), London, was the London residence of the Dukes of Wellington and stands alone at Hyde Park corner, on the south-east corner of Hyde-Park, facing south towards the busy traffic circulation system,it contains the 1st Duke's collection of paintings, porcelain, the silver centrepiece made for the Duke in Portugal, c 1815, sculpture and furniture. Antonio Canova's heroic marble nude of Napoleon as Mars the peacemaker made 1802-10, holding a gilded Nike in the palm of his right hand, and standing 3.45 metres to the raised left hand holding a staff. It was set up for a time in the Louvre and was bought by the Government for Wellington in 1816 (Pevsner) and stands in Adam's Stairwell.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, it was founded in 1852, and has since grown to now cover some 12.5 acres and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.
Over the last 5-10 years we have often visited this great museum including special exhibitions.
There are free guided tours every day. These one-hour guided tours bring the artifacts to life.
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, which is almost always referred to popularly and informally as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English, later British and later still (and currently) monarchs of the Commonwealth Realms. It briefly held the status of a cathedral from 1546 to 1556, and is a Royal Peculiar.
The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane and it is one of the great museums of the world, showing the works of man from prehistoric to modern times with collections drawn from the whole world. Famous objects include the Rosetta Stone, sculptures from the Parthenon, the Sutton Hoo and Mildenhall treasures and the Portland Vase. Quite an impressive place to visit.
The Rosetta Stone which was instrumental in advancing modern understanding of hieroglyphic writing. The stone is a Ptolemaic era stele with carved text made up of three translations of a single passage: two in Egyptian language scripts (hieroglyphic and Demotic) and one in classical Greek. It was created in 196 BC, discovered by the French in 1799 at Rosetta, and contributed greatly to the deciphering of the principles of hieroglyph writing in 1822 by the British scientist Thomas Young and the French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion. Comparative translation of the stone assisted in understanding many previously undecipherable examples of hieroglyphic writing. The text on the stone is a decree from Ptolemy V, describing the repealing of various taxes and instructions to erect statues in temples.
The museum shows the changing style of the English domestic interior in a series of eleven displayed period rooms from 1600 to the present day. The emphasis is on the furnishings, pictures and ornaments of the urban middle classes of London rather than the royal and aristocratic commissions often seen in museums of the decorative arts. It's out of the beaten track, but well worth the Tube and Bus ride. Not the prettiest part of time, but the museum and small park is like an oasis. The building was built in 1714.
A parlor circa 1695
A drawing room circa 1870
In 1792, Soane bought a house at 12 Lincoln's Inn Fields. He used the house as his home and library, but also entertained potential clients in the drawing room. It is now a museum and is open to the public. It was the first museum. It comprises his collections and personal effects, acquired between the 1780s and his death in 1837.
The collection of twenty-seven models of English and European Cathedrals that belong to the Cathedral at Canterbury. These exquisite models, made in about the 1850s of card and composition, repose under glass domes and were made by William Gorringe modelmaker by appointment to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
One of the highlights: The Sarcophagus of Seti I c.1370BC with fragments of its lid Canopic vase from the tomb of Seti I Two Egyptian stelae, 12th-17th Dynasty. It was quite fascinating.
We visited the Museum in the RC of Surgeons of England. Some gruesome stuff...but interesting. A free museum located across from the Sir John Soane's museum.
The Wallace Collection across Manchester Square gardens is a museum with a world-famous range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms & armour, porcelain and old masters paintings arranged into 25 galleries. Of note, some furniture of Marie-Antoinette that had been sold after the French Revolution. (There is even the sales poster on display)
This is part of a major collection of furniture attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642–1732), perhaps the best-known cabinet-maker ever to have lived.
Another free museum with free guided tours 2-3 times a day. Our tour of the collection was almost private with just another person. The guide was great.
This is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It has not been inhabited by the British royal family since the 18th century. It was originally built for Cardinal Wosley, a favorite of King Henry VIII, circa 1514; in 1529, as Wolsey fell from favor, the palace was passed to the King, who enlarged it. They filmed A Man for All Seasons here in 1966.
Henry VIII's first building project at Hampton Court created vast kitchens capable of feeding his court of 1000 people.
This building once housed the¨bedlam¨asylum. (Where the word bedlam originated) People use to pay to visit the place in Victorian days.
Construction of Belfast, the first Royal Navy ship to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland. She was launched on 17 March 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the WWII, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939 Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Belfast returned to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment and armour. Belfast saw action escorting Artic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950?52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.