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LONDON

London

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The whole world in one city – a metropolis in the true sense of the word, London is a city shaped by people from all over the globe. Generations of new arrivals have contributed their own culture – not always without friction – to create the distinct mix that gives the British capital its unique flair. Fitting

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in all that London has to offer is no light undertaking for the visitor. The sheer size of the city and the vast number of things to see and do is overwhelming – from the impressive palaces of royal London, to business London with its futuristic architecture, as well as its first-class shopping facilities. There is also

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historic London with the City and the cathedrals while the magic of maritime London awaits the visitor in Greenwich. And of course there is the River Thames, the city’s lifeblood. Last but not least, London is also an artistic and cultural hub, with superb museums, galleries, and stages. InGuide


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ABOUT THIS BOOK London is illustrated with stunning photographs as you would expect to find in a large coffee-table book yet it is also a highly informative travel guide book. District by district, lots of images and vivid descriptions introduce all the sights, revealing many amazing facts about the city and its people, about

art and culture, about the everyday and the unusual. In London at a Glance, insider tips point out the best restaurants, hotels, and shops, as well as trendy neighborhoods, important addresses, and useful facts. Another chapter introduces all the top museums in detailed descriptions and

photographs. Finally, the City Walks are packed with shopping and dining tips that will inspire you to explore all of the London districts and areas. A detailed, removable city map completes this unique picture travel guide. It makes it easy for you to find all the city’s highlights by grid reference.

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CITY OF LONDON Tower of London Tower Bridge Lloyd’s of London Leadenhall Market Bank of England, Royal Exchange Guildhall Pubs St Paul’s Cathedral Old Bailey St Bride’s CITY OF WESTMINSTER Somerset House Covent Garden, Royal Opera House Trafalgar Square National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery Leicester Square Soho Chinatown West End Stages Piccadilly Circus Whitehall, Banqueting House Horse Guards Parade

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Downing Street The Palace of Westminster House of Lords, House of Commons Westminster Abbey Henry VII Chapel Tombs in Westminster Abbey Tate Britain Westminster Cathedral Buckingham Palace, Victoria Memorial Changing the Guard Hyde Park Oxford Street London’s Taxis and Buses Madame Tussaud’s The Underground

54 56 58

KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA Sloane Street, Harvey Nichols Harrods Saatchi Gallery Sloane Square, King’s Road Victoria and Albert Museum

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60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82

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Natural History Museum Science Museum Royal Albert Hall Kensington Gardens, Prince Albert Memorial Kensington Palace Diana Notting Hill, Portobello Market Notting Hill Carnival

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NORTH LONDON Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Wembley Stadium British Museum British Library St Pancras International Regent’s Park John Nash Camden Lock Hampstead Heath

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EAST LONDON Hackney Canary Wharf O2 Dome Royal Navy College

132 134 136 138 140

104 106 108 110

116 118 120 122 124 126 128 130


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CONTENTS

Left: The heart of the British metropolis. Previous pages: The venerable Tower Bridge and the ultramodern office bocks of the financial district; the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.

Greenwich Royal Observatory Thames Barrier

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THE SOUTH BANK Design Museum Butler’s Wharf City Hall Southwark Cathedral Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Tate Modern National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall London Eye Waterloo Station

148 150 152 154 156 158

BEYOND LONDON Kew Gardens Windsor Castle St George’s Chapel Ascot Wimbledon Hampton Court

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COMPACT LONDON City of London The West End

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170 172 174 176 178 180

Notting Hill, Kensington, and Knightsbridge The South Bank Bloomsbury and Camden The East End Beyond London

188 192 196 200 204 208

MAJOR MUSEUMS National Gallery Tate Britain, Tate Modern Victoria and Albert Museum Natural History Museum British Museum

212 214 218 222

CITY WALKS Historic London Shopping Heaven Royal London The Great Museums of Kensington

234 236 240 244 248

APPENDIX Index Picture Credits Imprint

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226 230

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Modernity and tradition combine in surprisingly harmonious and often exciting ways in the City of London. Thus, the magnificent dome of St Paul's Cathedral stands in dignified vicinity of the new palaces of finance.

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CITY OF LONDON The City of London – the City, for short – is the historic heart of the British capital. It has its roots in the Roman trading town of Londinium, and has retained its independent administration until this day. Its phy-

sical size – one square mile (just over 2.5 sq km) – has not changed since the Middle Ages. Trades have been concluded and financial deals made here for over a hundred years. Alongside New York, London is

still the world’s leading financial capital today. The City’s skyline is characterized by tall office buildings, such as Tower 42 or the Swiss Re building, more commonly known as the Gherkin because if its shape.

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CITY OF LONDON The massive riverside fortress watching over the capital from its position on the eastern edge of the City bears the formidable title Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress The Tower of London – better known simply as the Tower. At its heart stands the White Tower, a mighty fortification built by

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William the Conqueror in 1078, after he was crowned king of England. It was intended to protect London from attack, while at the same time providing the Norman rulers with a perfect viewpoint from which to keep an ever-vigilant eye on the self-assured inhabitants of the independent city.


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TOWER OF LONDON

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The Tower’s two walls and its moat were added in the 12th and 13th centuries. The complex served as a royal residence until the 17th century, and was still used as a prison in the 20th century. Today it houses the Jewel House, where the British crown jewels have been on display for over 300 years.

The riverside fortress (large picture and painting top) is visited each year by many people who come not only for its gruesome history of beheadings and unwelcome aristocrats, who starved in its dungeons, but also for time-old ceremonies and rituals. The Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters (above), guardians of all prisoners and the Crown Jewels, are today but tourist guides and popular subjects for photographs.

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CITY OF LONDON Opened in 1894, Tower Bridge is not only one of London’s leading landmarks, but also a great testimony to the ingenious Victorian engineers who built it. By the middle of the 19th century, London’s East End had become so densely populated that a new river crossing was essential. The new bridge

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would, however, be the first to be constructed east of London Bridge, an area previously declared off-limits for fear of impeding the ships using the docks in the east of the city. The answer was to combine a bascule bridge with a suspension bridge. Steam engines were used to power a hydraulic


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TOWER BRIDGE

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system capable of opening the bridge within a matter of minutes. Today, the bridge is powered by electricity, and the two towers house an exhibition that describes its history. The upper walkway has now been glazed in, and offers a commanding view over the great city and its river.

Spectacular at day and at night, the Tower Bridge is a monument symbolizing the progress that links the historic with the modern city. Some technical data: Its two towers are 65 m (213 ft) high, the main carriageway being some 9 m (30 ft) and the upper walkway 43 m (141 ft) above the river level. The bridge is raised several times a day to let tall ships pass.

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CITY OF LONDON At night, the gleaming steel and glass façade of the dramatically floodlit Lloyd’s Building has an almost otherworldly glow. By day, the external glass elevators, stairwells, and service pipes make the building seem as if it has been turned inside out – which is exactly the impression that its archi-

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tect, Richard Rogers, set out to create. When the building was opened in 1986, Roger’s innovative, award-winning design was hailed as an architectural sensation, paving the way for the more ambitious building projects that London has witnessed since. For Lloyd’s of London, Roger’s steel palace


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LLOYD’S OF LONDON

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was a long way from the insurance market’s first home inside Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in 1688. As the centuries rolled on, Lloyd’s grew to become a giant of the insurance industry, catering for the most complicated of risks – even arranging to insure the legs of the world’s most beautiful supermodels.

The Lloyd's building consists of several office and supply towers arranged around a rectangular inner space, a complex of structures creating an almost futuristic ambience. Characteristic of the building are its spiral staircases made from stainless steel that climb up the outside walls of the structure. Equally typical are the twelve glazed lifts, once the first of their kind in Great Britain.

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CITY OF LONDON A market has existed in the same location since the Middle Ages, when people from the surrounding countryside were allowed to sell their poultry, meat and fish here. The first market stalls were grouped around a town house featuring a lead roof – and from this the market took its name. A stone

Aside from delicatessen, fine meats, cheeses, fish, and other foodstuffs, the shops also offer for sale elegant leather goods, designer apparel for wealthy business people, luxury jewellery, noble stationery items, and other quality goods. Numerous restaurants and pubs provide refreshments. And if you can afford it, some parts of the hall may even be hired for private parties and celebrations.

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market hall was only built here in the 17th century, after the devastation wrought by the Great Fire of London. The present magnificent building, however, dates from the year 1881, a colourful Victorian iron and glass structure evoking the atmosphere of times past. The façades of the shops and


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LEADENHALL MARKET

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restaurants that stand lined up along the cobbled passageways were also designed to the same style – which is why today the market is not only a magical tourist draw but also served as a stage set for The Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

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CITY OF LONDON The future Bank of England was founded in 1694, when the Scottish financier William Paterson offered the cashstrapped and bellicose government of King James II a loan of £1.2 million – in return for a number of privileges that were to be enjoyed by the financial institution. The Bank of Eng-

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land was established and soon it was doing a roaring trade. Its first home on Walbrook stood on the site of the Roman Temple of Mithras, although the latter’s foundations were only discovered in 1954. In 1734, the bank moved to its present location on Threadneedle Street – it is now often


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BANK OF ENGLAND ROYAL EXCHANGE

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referred to as “the old lady of Threadneedle Street”. The present functional yet impressive building dating from the early 20th century was branded an act of vandalism by some critics for its insensitive architecture. You’ll find the extensive Bank of England Museum on the eastern side of the building.

A symbol of wealth: the Royal Exchange (above) is located opposite the Bank of England (large picture). Once occupied by the former bourse, trading inside this splendid building is now no longer for abstract monetary values but for a range luxury items. Boutiques – from Gucci and Cartier to Hermès and Tiffany exert an irresistible pull on the rich and famous.

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CITY OF LONDON The Guildhall has been the seat of government in the City of London since the Middle Ages, and the medieval building remains the representative home of the City authorities today. The building’s walls, at least, date from the early 15th century, making the Guildhall one of the oldest buildings in

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London. The splendid Great Hall is used for civic functions, held beneath the coats of arms of the 12 guilds whose representatives once ran the City with unimpeded power. The glorious medieval crypts with their vaulted ceilings are located beneath the Great Hall. The clock museum is just one of


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GUILDHALL

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the many attractions in the western part of the Guildhall, and the art gallery is housed in another section of the building. Pictures dating from various periods of the city’s history are on display here, and a visit to the gallery is also a good opportunity to see the remains of a Roman arena.

The Guildhall is the City’s town hall and one of its venerable buidings. Today, its primary purpose is as a venue for ceremonial state receptions, although it also houses an art gallery (large picture) that is worth seeing. The figures of Gog and Magog (small picture above), two legendary giants that were said to have been chained to this place, are paraded as part of the annual Lord Mayor’s Show.

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The traditional pub lies at the very heart of the British psyche, an institution that has been the focus of social life for as long as anyone can remember. This is where you have a drink on your way home from work and where you exchange the latest gossip, meet friends, acquaintances, and colleagues,

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but also make new friends. In a large city like London it may have become less important, but the “local” – local to where you live or work – still plays an important role.The Public House, to give it its full name, is an institution dating from Victorian times. Often it is old-fashioned in its furnishings and atmo-

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sphere – with bar stools, few tables and chairs or corner benches, wood-panelled and carpeted, sometimes with a fruit machine, a dartboard, and a TV. You order at the bar and pay straightaway, with table service only provided where hot meals are served at lunchtime or in the evening. But


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PUBS today there are also other types of pub to be found, young and fashionable, with scrubbed pine tables and floors, serving a variety of drinks, including caffè lattes and organic fruit juices. And then there is the music pub, keeping up the traditon of bands playing live music.

It’s been last orders for smokers since 2007, when pubs – like all enclosed public spaces – were officially declared no smoking. But the good old-fashioned pint of bitter or ale (above) is still a daily ritual for many, enjoyed after a day’s work or shopping. Many of the enchanting Victorian pubs in London, such as the Sherlock Holmes (large picture), are wood panelled and lovingly decorated with memorabilia and various collectibles.

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CITY OF LONDON Standing proudly over the palatial offices of the City’s financial institutions, the splendid façade and dome of St Paul’s Cathedral are hard to ignore. There has been a Christian church here on Ludgate Hill for some 1,400 years. Built in the English baroque style, the current cathedral is

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St Paul’s fifth and without question most impressive incarnation. Its medieval predecessor was a casualty of the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed almost the entire city. Sir Christopher Wren was the architect charged with rebuilding both St Paul’s and some 50 other devastated


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ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

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London churches. His designs were repeatedly rejected before the first stone of the new building was finally laid in 1677. The first service in the new St Paul’s Cathedral took place 20 years after that, and Christopher Wren would later become the first of many great Britons to be buried there.

The elegant dome (above) of London’s most beautiful church, based on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, has become a symbol and landmark

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decoration, the clear height, the exquisite sculptures and the rich ornamentation of the splendid nave are unique in their baroque splendor – and at the same time rather untypical of the sober England of the day, which is why many contemporaries thought the building too “popish”.

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CITY OF LONDON A good TV murder mystery can be enough to keep you awake at night, and the best courtroom dramas can really keep you on the edge of your seat, but neither is a patch on a real trial at London’s Central Criminal Court. This architecturally uninspiring building dating from 1907 continues to be the

Justice has been served in the world’s most famous court for centuries, always under intense public scrutiny. In earlier days the death penalty was quite often handed out. Execution by hanging was still possible into the 20th century, although it was mostly restricted to those who had committed a murder. In 1808, capital punishment was at least abolished for pickpockets.

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venue for some of the world’s most spectacular court cases, making headlines in Britain and beyond. In a previous building, the controversial writer Oscar Wilde stood trial at the Old Bailey, and it was here, in 1990, that the Guildford Four had their convictions as IRA terrorists quashed – proving


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OLD BAILEY

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their innocence after 15 years in prison. The Yorkshire Ripper, by contrast, was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey in 1981. The site of the building itself has a grim past – until 1902, this was the location of Newgate Prison, where convicts sentenced to death were sometimes executed.

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CITY OF LONDON The elegant steeple of the church of St Bride’s is a familiar feature of the London skyline. Built in the baroque style, the present church is, after St Paul’s, the tallest of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches. Originally consecrated to the Irish saint Bridgit of Kildare, St Bride’s may also be London’s oldest

St Bride's shapely steeple, built with diminishing tiers, twirly and crowned by a tip, was long considered the archetypal model for the classic English wedding cake. Its interior is less lavishly furnished than St Paul's Cathedral, Wren’s masterpiece, hinting at the beginnings of the more elegant Neoclassical style that was to follow. The church fell victim to German bombs during World War II but has been lovingly rebuilt since.

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church. It is located on Fleet Street – the traditional home of London’s newspaper and printing industries – and became the church of choice for London’s publishers and journalists.The crypt has an exhibition about London’s printing industry, from the first printing press to the present day. Although


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ST BRIDE’S

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the British press has largely moved to the Docklands area, its members still find refuge at St Bride’s. Inside the church, posters, cards, candles, and photographs pay tribute to the fearless journalists of all religions and backgrounds who have given their lives in the service of their profession.

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The Palace of Westminster, home of the Lower and Upper Houses, was a royal palace until the early 16th century when it became the seat of parliament. The present building was completely rebuilt in the 19th century.

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CITY OF WESTMINSTER The City of Westminster is generally associated with the British government, but the district in fact comprises much more than the power base around Whitehall – it is also a hub of culture. Since the 17th

century, the rich and famous have chosen this area to the west of the City of London to settle, where the air was better and there was sufficient space to allow them to build their mansions, to partake in sophis-

ticated entertainments and to purchase elegant goods. Today, the most popular sights, the greatest number of stages and museums, and London’s best shopping streets can all be found in Westminster.

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CITY OF WESTMINSTER Somerset House once provided offices for the tax authorities, and its transformation into a hub of art, culture, and entertainment was a sheer stroke of genius. The neoclassical structure was erected at the end of the 18th century to house a number of academic and royal societies, and in this sense it

Culture and enjoyment: Somerset House offers much more than classic art (above: the art collections of the Courtauld Gallery). All year round, pleasure is guaranteed with summer events including open-air cinema screenings and rock concerts or the ice-rink in the pre-Christmas period. In addition, there are temporary exhibitions, readings by top literary figures, educational seminars, and a terrace restaurant with a cocktail bar.

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was the first public service building. But it was the arrival of numerous cultural institutions that immediately secured the building’s place in London’s affections. Today it is home to three art galleries: the Courtauld Institute of Art with its collection of old masters and Impressionist paintings; the


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SOMERSET HOUSE

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Gilbert Collection of crafts; and it is also the London base of the superb State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. The inner courtyard of Somerset House is the ultimate jewel in its crown. In summer, 55 fountains gush in the space, making way for London’s most beautiful ice rink in winter.

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Inguide - London