London is famed for being a hub of culture, business and leisure. When relocating to London, we always recommend catching some of London’s official walks to familiarise yourself with the city, before taking the time to experience London properly at your leisure. Robert and Polly have amassed an extensive knowledge of the capital over the last 15 years and the following article contains some of their cultural hotspot recommendations in four key London districts: The City, The West End, Kensington/Knightsbridge and Bloomsbury/Holborn.
The City, or the square mile as it is commonly called, contains some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks and venues — attracting millions of visitors every year.
- St Paul’s Cathedral – designed by St Christopher Wren, St Paul’s Cathedral is famous for its whispering gallery and for holding royal weddings and state funerals.
- The Tower of London – Iconic Royal Palace and the home of the Crown Jewels. The Tower of London is where Anne Boleyn was executed and subsequently buried. Experience pageantry at its best with The Ceremony of the Keys – the closing down of The Tower each evening – free to the public but must be booked in advance.
- The Monument – In commemoration of the Great Fire of London 1666. Climb 311 steps to the viewing gallery at the top. The Monument is 61 metres high and if laid on its side will reach the exact place on Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started.
Other iconic sites in the City
- London Bridge – not the original – which is in Arizona – they thought they were buying Tower Bridge!
- The Bank of England
- The Walkie Talkie Building (20 Fenchurch Street) – also home to Sky Garden
The West End is renowned for its theatres, but it’s also home to some of the most popular shops in the capital. Take a look at some of the hottest spots in London’s West End.
- Theatre District – Home to many of London’s top theatres, discover a plethora of shows around Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane. If you have a penchant for Harry Potter then why not see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in Cambridge Circus.
- Selfridges – Selfridges is no ordinary store – taking up a whole block in Oxford Street, this iconic store has been in residence since 1909 and was recently brought back into the public eye by the adaptation of the Mr Selfridge series with Jeremy Piven in the main role. This historic store boasts one of the best food halls in London and has a garden on the roof in the summer.
- Carnaby Street – Pedestrianised street made famous in the 60s as the home to many modern independent designers, it then became synonymous with Punk in the 70s with the Sex Pistols being photographed on the street. Carnaby Street is now home to a variety of independent fashion boutiques, as well as over 60 bars, restaurants and cafés. For something a bit different head to Cahoots a 1940s speakeasy themed bar.
Keep an eye out for these other West End hotspots:
- Royal Academy
- National Portrait Gallery
- Rules – oldest restaurant in London (opened in 1798)!
- Covent Garden
- Fortnum and Masons – great for afternoon tea
- The French House
Royal Borough of Kensington is home to many historical landmarks including Kensington Palace which is home to many of today’s young royals. Hotspots in Kensington and Knightsbridge include:
- The Royal Albert Hall – One of London’s most prominent venues built for Prince Albert by Queen Victoria is famous for staging a range of shows across all genres, including the historical Last Night of the Proms. Now also being used to stage showings of classic films, many accompanied by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
- The Natural History Museum – The museum holds a unique collection of more than 80 million species across its many permanent galleries. You can also find a range of exhibitions and featured events throughout the year, including Late Nights for adults only.
Other hotspots to visit in Kensington/Knightsbridge:
- Royal Geographical Society
- Baden Powell House – home of scouts and guides
- Harvey Nichols – Princess Diana’s favourite shop
- Science Museum – IMAX theatre and fun interactive exhibits for all the family
Bloomsbury lies in the heart of London and borders Holborn (midtown). It is within walking distance of many top London locations, including Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden and Leicester Square. Millions of visitors flock to Bloomsbury every year to sample its combination of culture and nightlife.
- The British Museum – The British Museum showcases over 7 million objects spanning two million years of human history, including The Rosetta Stone, which was instrumental in the translation of hieroglyphics, and the Elgin Marbles which are still in dispute today, as Greece has been fighting to have them returned for years.
- Peace Garden at Tavistock Square provides a beautiful setting to stop for lunch. Take a stroll through this little oasis in the centre of London and discover statues and sculptures along the way.
Explore Bloomsbury further by checking out these other hotspots:
- Charles Dickens House and Museum
- Woburn Walk – one of the first examples of a pedestrian shopping street – home to the poet Yeats
- Brunswick Centre – Independent Curzon Cinema
- Lambs Conduit Street – full of independent restaurants and shops
Find London Apartments offer serviced apartments across all these London areas and more. We strive to place you in the perfect location for your requirements, whether that be near your next business meeting or your favourite restaurant. We offer accommodation to suit a range of needs and budgets so that everyone can enjoy all that London has to offer. To enquire about a serviced apartment, contact us via telephone or email.