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Historical architecture

There are over 240 museums in London, England, a number of them in Museum Mile. The British compulsion to collect artifacts means that Britain has the best museums in the world - we had a whole empire to plunder. Below is a shortlist of the main museums, but whatever your interest, from 17th Century fans, to fan engines, there's a museum specifically catering to your taste. And virtually all of them are free....
044-Tower_of_London2C_Traitors_Gate.jpg (93369 bytes) Palaces
London is famous for its magnificent palaces whose history is intimately intertwined with the history of Great Britain. This section gives brief details about London's famous palaces.
088-London-palladium-ccbb.jpg (50933 bytes) Theatres
The majority of London's commercial "theatre land" is situated around Shaftesbury Avenue, the Strand and nearby streets in the West End. The theatres are receiving houses, and often feature transfers of major productions from the Royal National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. (See the article "West End theatre", and see also the category Theatre companies in London).

The following list also includes the major non-commercial theatres in London, many of which are to be found beyond the West End.
There is no official registry of hotel rooms in London, but the estimated the number of hotel rooms in Greater London in 2000 was put at 101,269.  According to figures produced in support of London's 2012 Olympic bid, there were more than 70,000 three to five star hotel rooms within 10 kilometres of This is comparing figures since 1981. The main concentration of luxury hotels is in the West End, especially in Mayfair. London's five star hotels are quite small on average by international standards.
Although many churches were entirely or partly lost to 19th-century demolitions and to bombing in the Second World War, London's remaining churches are renowned worldwide for their historical and architectural value. Today, London's greatest concentrations of historic churches and cathedrals are in the City of London and the neighbouring City of Westminster. A number of the churches are mentioned in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons. Unless noted otherwise, this list of churches belong to the Anglican church.
090B.jpg (59771 bytes) Monuments
A great many monuments pay homage to people and events in the city. The Monument in the City of London provides views of the surrounding area while commemorating the Great Fire of London, which originated nearby. Marble Arch and Wellington Arch, at the north and south ends of Park Lane respectively, have royal connections, as do the Albert Monument and Royal Albert Hall in Kensington. Nelson's Column is a nationally-recognised monument in Trafalgar Square, one of the focal points of the centre.

Special Features

047-Houses.of.parliament.overall.arp.jpg (54285 bytes) top ten london
London has so many great places to see it's hard to know which are the true 'must sees'. It's always good to get recommendations from friends who have visited London recently, so here are my top ten tourist attractions in London.
nineteenth century London
By 1800 London had already become the largest single city in the world, but by mid-century it had doubled again to reach 2,362,000 souls. And the souls it did contain were from an increasingly wide world. Lascar and Chinese communities sprang up among the docks, while the Irish population grew to number hundreds of thousands. In 1841 less than two thirds of the capital's inhabitants had been born there. Jews, Blacks, Chinese, Indians, Poles, Frenchmen and Italians were common figures on the streets of London. Some national groups monopolised aspects of the capital's life, like Italian organ grinders and Jewish used clothes merchants.

Contemporary architecture

001-gherkin3.jpg (31677 bytes) Modern
A London almost unknown to the average visitor, has given its architects a virtually free hand to express their talent. As architects are not afraid to transfer their ideas in their purest state, the result is an extroverted and extraordinary blending of historic and modern.

In the suburbs...

London is not characterised by any particular architectural style, having accumulated its buildings over a long period of time. Few structures predate the Great Fire of 1666, notable exceptions including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Banqueting House  and several scattered Tudor survivors in the City.
London is well endowed with open spaces. Green space in central London consists of five Royal Parks, supplemented by a number of small garden squares scattered throughout the city centre. Open space in the rest of the city is dominated by the remaining three Royal Parks and many other parks and open spaces of a range of sizes, run mainly by the local London boroughs, although other owners include the National Trust and the Corporation of London.
Other notable modern buildings include London City Hall  in Southwark with its distinctive ovular shape, the British Library in Somers Town, the Great Court of the British Museum, and the striking Millennium Dome next to the Thames east of Canary Wharf. The disused (but soon to be rejuvenated) 1933 Battersea Power Station by the river in the southwest is a local landmark, whilst some railway termini are excellent examples of Victorian architecture, most notably St. Pancras Station and Paddington (at least internally).
043-Tower-bridge-south-view.jpg (89601 bytes) Bridges
Thirty-four bridges span the Thames. The oldest is London Bridge, which was originally made from wood. In 1209 it was replaced by a stone bridge with shops and houses along its sides. This was followed by a granite bridge in 1831, and the present concrete bridge in 1973.
Public Buildings
London's generally low-rise nature makes these skyscrapers and others such as One Canada Square and its neighbours at Canary Wharf and the BT Tower in Fitzrovia very noticeable from a distance. High-rise development is restricted at certain sites if it would obstruct protected views of Saint Paul's Cathedral. Nevertheless, there are plans for more skyscrapers in central London, including the 72-story "Shard of Glass", which will be one of the tallest buildings in Europe.

This month's featured building

  Leadenhall Markets 1881 Sir Horace Jones

The market dates back to the fourteenth century. It is open from 07:00-16:00 Monday to Friday, and sells fresh food; among the vendors there are cheesemongers, butchers and fishmongers.

The ornate roof structure, painted green, maroon and cream, and cobbled floors of the current building, designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones (who was also the architect of Billingsgate and Smithfield Markets), make the building a tourist attraction. It was used to represent the area of London near the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It is also popular among local city workers specifically from the nearby Lloyd's of London building.


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"You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford".
Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)