London is famous for its impressive and historic buildings and anyone planning a trip to the capital should make time to at least visit on of the following iconic landmarks.
Managed by English Heritage, Apsley House has undergone a number of changes in recent years and has embraced the use of multimedia to tell the story of this crucial building.
The house is close to Hyde Park and is often referred to as Number One, London. It was once the home to the first Duke of Wellington, but was closed in 2015 due to a major project to mark the commemoration of The Battle of Waterloo.
Visitors to the newly-opened attraction are now able to enjoy a new multimedia guide that will provide a great way to learn about the Regency period and the finer details of the amazing house.
Apsley House is regarded as having one of the finest art collections in the capital, with pieces by Velazquez and Rubens. In addition, it has an extensive collection of high-quality silver and porcelain.
The work has also included the creation of a new basement gallery feature items that have never been able to be viewed before, including new memorabilia on display such as medals and shields.
Apsley House was the home to the so-called ‘Iron Duke’ lived after defeating Napoleon and it is still a key residence of the Dukes of Wellington.
The house was initially designed and furnished in the neoclassical style by Robert Adam between in the 1770s, but it was extensively remodelled for the Duke of Wellington from 1819 and remains pretty much the same to this day.
One of the highlights is the interiors, with elaborate plaster ceilings and friezes surviving in the Piccadilly Drawing Room and the Portico Drawing Room.
There are also stunning marble chimneypieces, including the Portico Room chimneypiece which decorated with a frieze of Cupid and Psyche and suggests the room may have originally been used as a ladies’ drawing room.
Another key feature of the house is the State Dining Room, which can be found on the first floor. It was built in 1819 as part of a three-storey addition to the house. Visitors are able to admire the Portuguese Service, which is an impressive silver and silver-gilt dinner service presented to Wellington by the Portuguese Council of Regency in 1816.
The tour also takes in the double-height Waterloo Gallery, which occupies the whole length of the first floor of the western side of Apsley House and is decorated in Louis XIV style, with a total of seven mirrored window shutters inspired by the architecture of the Palace of Versailles.
There is no parking for visitors and people are advised to travel to the house by bus, train or tube. The nearest London Underground Station is Hyde Park Corner.
Entry to the house is available for adults and children. Members of the English Heritage are able to visit for free if they show their annual passes. There are concession and group rates available as well.
Do be aware during the summer months, the house will be open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm. In the winter months this reduces to just weekend opening.
Royal Observatory Greenwich
One of the most popular borough in London is Greenwich as it is home to a number of great attractions celebrating London’s rich naval history.
Visitors to the area can enjoy the world famous Cutty Sark tea clipper, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory and Planetarium.
The Observatory is the home of the Greenwich Meridian Line, the centre of world time, and visitors can even cross the line used to set all international time zones. The popular museum also displays some of the country’s most important marine timekeepers as well as a number of early clocks that were used to establish the Greenwich standard for time.
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a must-see for anyone visiting the capital. The famous landmark opened in March 1871 and was created at the request of Prince Albert – since then it has developed into one of London’s top landmarks.
It has welcomed performances from some of the world’s leading artists from many genres including classical music, rock, pop, ballet and opera.
Located at Kensington Gore in South Kensington, the Royal Albert Hall is capable of seating up to 5,272 people and many artists are drawn to the venue because it offers some of the best acoustics in the country.
During each year, more than 350 events take place, which means that there is always something to appeal and suit everyone’s taste on offer.
If you want to find what is happening soon then the box office is able to give up-to-date listings of performances taking place at the venue. The box office is open every day from 9am to 9pm. Alternatively, bookings can be made either over the phone, online or in person.
For visitors wanting to learn more about the strong history of the building then there is the chance to book on one of the Royal Albert Hall’s Grand Tours. These take place on a variety of days and also include afternoon tea.
These events take place on selected dates and include the chance for guests to enjoy afternoon tea.
Benjamin Franklin House
Opened to the public in 2006, Benjamin Franklin House at 36 Craven Street is the world’s only surviving home of the iconic founding father of the United States.
In recent years, the property has been accurately restored to its appearance during Franklin’s time in residence and has become a dynamic museum highlighting the life and works of this world-famous man. The building itself is also architecturally significant and has a Grade I-listed status.
The Benjamin Franklin House Box Office is open every day apart from Tuesdays and visitors can buy tickets to the house’s famous tours. From Wednesday to Sunday a Historical Experience is on offer, and on Mondays there are architectural tours available.
Buckingham Palace is one of the capital’s most instantly recognisable buildings and it really does offer a great day out.
It is worth noting that different parts of the palace are open at various times of the year. During the winter months, the State Rooms are available to explore on guided tours – these sell out quickly so you do need to book in advance. There are numerous ticket options which can include an exclusive guided tour around the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews.
During the summer, the Palace is open daily from 9:30am to 7:30pm, the last admission being at 5:30pm. With the nicer weather it is also possible to explore the gardens and various outdoor areas.