Visit London Blog » st pauls cathedral Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 10 Instagram photos: February 2014 Sat, 08 Mar 2014 10:07:55 +0000 Now that our Instagram account (@visitlondonofficial) is up and running, along with the #visitlondon hashtag, here is our pick of your best pictures from the last month.

If you want the chance to be included in a future top ten get out there and start snapping our fantastic city, and make sure to hashtag it with #visitlondon

Yeoman and Raven by maviscfwang

Yeoman and Raven by maviscfwang

Westminster by rebekahesme

Westminster by rebekahesme

Tube escalator by i_shootfilm

Tube escalator by i_shootfilm

The Shard and Tower of London by mongulden

Old and New: The Shard and Tower of London by mongulden

Royal Arcade by nisaoliveira

Royal Arcade by nisaoliveira

View from the EDF London Eye by marenlm

View from the EDF London Eye by marenlm

The EDF London Eye from the river by joanamlimao

The EDF London Eye from the river by joanamlimao

Covent Garden by solar_patrick

Covent Garden by solar_patrick

Barbican by solar_patrick

Barbican by solar_patrick

Millenium Bridge by l_senator

Millenium Bridge by l_senator

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Top Accessible Attractions in London by Srin Madipalli Thu, 15 Aug 2013 13:56:42 +0000 London resident, wheelchair user and Disability Horizons co-founder Srin Madipalli, shares his thoughts on accessible attractions in London.

EDF Energy London Eye

The London Eye is one of my favourite tourist sites in London. On a clear day or evening, you get stunning views across the city of most of the major landmarks. There were no issues driving my wheelchair into the capsule, which was step-free.

Buckingham Palace

It’s been a long time since I went to Buckingham Palace (about 10 years ago!), but I remember being able to go everywhere. There was a small delay with one of the stair lifts, which struggled to lift my very heavy powered wheelchair.

The Natural History Museum, V&A Museum and Science Museum

All three museums are right by one another in South Kensington. They are big, fascinating and insightful places that have some fantastic exhibitions. Access is generally very good, but on busy days, or for special exhibitions, working through the crowds can be a bit difficult.

Tate Modern

For those of you who are like me, and know very little about the arts, or are generally unfamiliar with anything related to modern art, the Tate Modern is perfect. It’s accessible, spacious, easy to navigate and its exhibitions are well-presented. As it is free to enter, you can wander in and out as you wish.

Tate Modern is in a great location, on London’s South Bank, right by Shakespeare’s Globe and opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, so if you get bored of the art, there are other things in the vicinity to see. There is also a really good pub right by the Tate Modern called the Founder’s Arms which overlooks the Thames. Great place to have a beer on a warm summer’s day (it is wheelchair accessible and has an accessible toilet too).

The British Museum

Another one of the big mega museums of London that is free to enter. My law school was a two minute walk from the British Museum, so when I used to have periods of free time between lectures, I sometimes went for a wander around.

While it is fully accessible, it is also one of those museums that is difficult to fully see in just a day. If time is limited, I’d recommend going to one of the special exhibitions. Like with London’s other museums, they can get really crowded on certain busy days, which can make it difficult to fully appreciate what you are seeing.

Also, just be wary that is a big museum, so if have any difficulties with fatigue or tiredness, be sure to plan your visit and identify in advance any particular exhibitions or galleries that you would prefer to visit.

Kew Gardens

One of London’s real gems, the vast expanse of Kew Gardens can be a great day out, and it is accessible. As it is more towards the edge of the city, you will need to consider transport more carefully.

I recall Kew Gardens Station being step-free, but as there would be a big step to get onto the train, I had to arrange assisted travel with South West Trains, who organised a ramp. I found the most interesting bit of Kew Gardens to be the special greenhouses, where the controlled conditions enable plant-life that usually can’t grow in a British climate. Like with the museums, Kew Gardens is pretty big – more than 300 acres in fact – so if this is likely to cause any difficulties, plan your day.

London Dungeon

I really like the London Dungeon. It is a bit cheesy, but it is a good laugh and a good way to spend a couple of hours. While accessible, some parts of the London Dungeon can be quite dark, which could make it difficult for some. I recall people in costumes and waxwork exhibits jumping out from nowhere trying to “scare” you, which I found utterly hilarious, but imagine that some people wouldn’t!

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is a tranquil and peaceful place that sits within the hustle and bustle of the busy financial district of central London known as the “Square Mile”. Once a upon a time, I used to go through the grounds of St Paul’s as short-cut on my way home. Most parts are accessible, but there are some areas that aren’t, such as the Whispering, Golden and Stone galleries, due to its age.

National Gallery and Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery is one of the smaller of London’s premier galleries, but it is still very impressive. I recently visited the National Gallery for a special collection of the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Again, they are both free to visit and accessible but, like all museums in London, can be a pain to make the most of when busy. Trafalgar Square, with Nelson’s Column, is one of the those must-see public squares and is within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, the Houses of Parliament, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Trafalgar Square is step-free with an accessible route to the National Gallery which sits right behind it.

Shakespeare's Globe TheatreShakespeare’s Globe

I went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on a kind of date many years ago. I strongly recommend watching a performance there. I loved the fact that I could choose to be in the wheelchair platform in the covered stands or in the open standing area near the stage. I chose to position my wheelchair in the standing area by the stage, which was exposed to the elements!

The atmosphere in the audience was a lot of fun – the pouring rain made it just that much more a novelty. The performances at The Globe are a world away from the boring and static way in which Shakespeare is taught in the classroom and watching a modernised play live with its characteristic audience participation is a really enjoyable experience.

More accessible attractions in London

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London Video of the Week: Beautiful London by Chris Brooker Fri, 05 Jul 2013 11:09:18 +0000

We love this gorgeous time-lapse/hyper-lapse video by Chris Brooker. The film took three weeks to make and consists of more than 15,000 still images.

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Visiting the Past: The Paintings of John O’Connor Mon, 24 Jun 2013 11:20:06 +0000 John O’Connor is a relatively unknown artist who was born 12 August 1830, and whose paintings are among the most popular at the Museum of London.

Here we see the Gothic spires of St Pancras, now home of the Eurostar, rising towards a glorious sunset. They tower above the busy crowded thoroughfare of Pentonville Road, filled with workers hurrying home, sandwich board men and omnibuses. A pile of debris bottom right indicates the rubbish which can pile up in everyday life, as opposed to the majesty of the wealth and prosperity of business and technology exemplified by the railways.

O’Connor was an Irishman who trained as a theatre set painter and came to London to work in the highly lucrative theatres painting set designs. His eye for colour and his harmonious designs demonstrate this background.

The Museum of London also has another very popular oil called The Embankment which shows the view from the terrace of Somerset House looking down river to St Paul’s Cathedral and Blackfriars Bridge.

A guest post by Pat Hardy, Curator of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Museum of London. More Visiting the Past next week

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O Tours de Londres: A French Language Tour of London Wed, 24 Apr 2013 09:30:13 +0000

O Tours de Londres offer French language tours of London. Guest blogger Hugo took an afternoon tour of London and and gives us his thoughts (in French, of course!) below:

“Visitez Londres est une expérience fascinante. En effet, la ville a été le témoin de 21 siècles d’Histoire… Cependant, il est parfois difficile pour de nombreuses personnes non anglophones de réellement comprendre et découvrir la capitale anglaise. Heureusement, Ô Tours de Londres propose un circuit au bord de la Tamise adapté à tous les francophones.

“Pendant près de 2h30, vous marcherez de la Tour de Londres jusqu’à la Cathédrale St Paul en passant notamment par le Tower Bridge. Sur le trajet se succèdent d’incontournables monuments comme la Cathédrale Southwark miraculeusement conservée, le Shakespeare Globe Theatre ou encore les ruines du Palais de Winchester… Vous découvrirez aussi l’incroyable histoire du London Bridge, l’unique pont de Londres pendant près de 18 siècles…

“Au total, cette balade guidée comporte 13 arrêts qui vous permettront de découvrir des lieux mythiques de l’Histoire de Londres.

“Les guides compétents, dynamiques et disponibles vous dévoileront, de façon simple et claire, récits et anecdotes. Ils partageront avec vous les secrets des rues Londoniennes et de la Tamise et vous emmèneront sur les pas de Guillaume le Conquérant, Henri VIII, William Shakespeare ou encore Charles Dickens.

“C’est après ce fantastique voyage dans le temps, que vous serez à même de comprendre l’évolution de Londres, de sa mentalité et de ses habitants.

“Accessible à tous, cette balade est proposée à un prix très abordable : 15 £ par personne (17,5 €) (Gratuit pour les enfants de moins de 8 ans). Alors oubliez la barrière de la langue et allez découvrir Londres et son Histoire dans la bonne humeur grâce à Ô Tours de Londres !”

Pour plus d’informations et pour les réservations, n’hésitez pas à consulter le site de Ô Tours de Londres :

Hugo was a guest of O Tours de Londres.

More London tours

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London Video of the Week: London Time-Lapse by Lucas Veuve Fri, 04 Jan 2013 14:00:02 +0000

Thanks to reader Lucas Veuve who got in touch with this fab London video. Lucas says:

“When I first moved to London, I was struck by the number of people living in this great city and the speed at which they move from one place to another. I wanted to capture how I saw London when I first moved here.”

We think he’s done a great job. Look out for great shots of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and The Shard, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Southbank Centre and Trafalgar Square.

Look out for more London videos on our YouTube channel:

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What’s On This Weekend: 21-23 December 2012 Mon, 17 Dec 2012 12:27:26 +0000 Providing Friday doesn’t herald the end of the world, there are lots of great things to do in London this weekend. Watch equestrian events of all shapes and sizes, enjoy festive films, music and shows, or find original African Christmas gifts in Dalston.

The London International Horse Show at Olympia

See Olympic medal winners at the thrilling London International Horse Show, which is celebrating its 40th year at Olympia. Not only are there world class dressage and show jumping events, but you can also watch carriage driving, dog agility trials and the Shetland Pony Grand National. Don’t miss the extensive shopping village where you can find great equestrian gifts and treats. Tickets start from £15. 17-22 Dec

A Wetland Christmas Carol at the WWT London Wetland Centre

A unique festive show crowns a varied programme of family activities at the WWT London Wetland Centre this weekend. “A Wetland Christmas Carol” features a suitably-themed twist on the classic tale, with a mud-hating Scrooge visited by the ghosts of Wetland Past, Present and Future. Alongside the performances, which take place at 12pm and 3.30pm, you can feed otters, craft your own Christmas decorations or take a guided tour. Events are free but standard admission charges apply – see the website for full details. 22-24 Dec

Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, St Paul’s Cathedral

Get into the Christmas spirit with this beautiful choral work by Benjamin Britten, performed in the exquisite surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral. Commencing at 5pm, it is performed by the Choristers of St Pauls and the Vicars Choral, with Sioned Williams playing the harp. Entry is free, and other carol services take place here throughout the weekend – see the website for details.  21 Dec

Pop Up Screens at the Truman Brewery

The popular Pop Up Screens brings a week-long programme of Christmas films to the Old Truman Brewery, which are perfect for some laid back festive fun. Screenings include Bad Santa, Scrooged and Nightmare Before Christmas, and a wide range of refreshments is available from their bar. Tickets are £14.  18-23 Dec

Christmas African Market, Dalston

Head to Gillett Square in Dalston between 11am-5pm for your chance to pick up original gifts at the Christmas African Market.  Stalls will be selling everything from jewellery and clothing to arts and crafts, plus there’s a varied programme of family activities that includes face painting, mask making and a drumming circle. 22 Dec

Greenwich Charity Pantomime Horse Race

The other horse-related event this weekend is slightly more frivolous, but every bit as enjoyable. On Sunday, people dressed as pantomime horses will race around Greenwich to raise money for Demelza Hospice, which cares for terminally ill children. The hilarious caper starts at 1pm, but you can also watch the opening ceremony at 12pm or enjoy a charity concert starring Not The Rolling Stones after the race (tickets are £20 and must be booked in advance). 23 Dec

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London Video of the Week: London Landmarks by Rimetime 84 Fri, 23 Nov 2012 12:00:19 +0000

A slightly nutty London video for this Friday lunchtime. While it’s not all factually correct (we’re fairly sure Johnson was writing to his friend Boswell when he made his famous “tired of London” quote; and the musical Cats is long gone), there’s certainly some fun renditions of London’s popular landmarks.

Look out for the British Museum; the London Eye; Natural History Museum; St Paul’s Cathedral; Buckingham Palace; Changing the Guard; Science Museum; V&A; and, of course, Big Ben.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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What’s On in London This Weekend: 31 August-2 September 2012 Thu, 30 Aug 2012 09:56:57 +0000

This weekend’s a corker: the Paralympic Games have arrived, St Paul’s is open late and Kings Cross is staging a festival with a truly delicious concept.

Summer Lates at St Paul’s Cathedral
Take advantage of extended opening hours and free entry at St Paul’s Cathedral on selected nights during the Paralympic Games. Sir Christopher Wren‘s English Baroque masterpiece tends to invoke hushed awe, so it’s appropriate that the Summer Lates openings are intended for quiet reflection. Guides and priests will be on hand to  explain the cathedral’s history and spiritual life, while organ notes drift around you. The cathedral floor will be open from 6pm until 9pm with a short service at 8.45pm, and the cool underground crypt will be selling “Best of British” refreshments until 10pm.
31 Aug, 3 Sep and 7 Sep

London Live at Trafalgar Square
As the Paralympic Games take the stage in the UK’s sporting summer, BT London Live has moved its site offering free London 2012 celebrations to Trafalgar Square. You’ll be able to try out Paralympic sports like sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis, chill out to live music or watch coverage of the Paralympics on a giant screen. It’s free entry and unticketed – just turn up.
Until 9 Sep

King’s Cross Ice Cream Festival
The organisers of the King’s Cross Ice Cream festival don’t just want you to eat the cool white stuff. They’re calling on ice cream fans to get hands on with the creative process, from milking a cow at the petting farm to experimenting with the latest nitrogen technologies to whip up some frozen delights. The festival is being held in the new Granary Square in Kings Cross and will showcase the best local ice creams from London and the South East.
1-2 Sep

Bowiefest at the ICA
The first ever festival dedicated to David Bowie’s film career will touch down at the Institute of Contemporary Arts this weekend for screenings, talks and a Bowie themed party on the opening night. Re-aquiant yourself with cult classics from the 1970s and 1980s like Labyrinth, where Bowie played Jareth the goblin king, alongside a cast of puppets from Muppets creator Jim Henson. 
31 Aug-2 Sep

Chelsea AutoLegends
Classic cars will take over Royal Hospital Chelsea‘s grounds on Sunday, as the third Chelsea AutoLegends event brings motoring fever to west London. The bill includes supercar and rally car parades and the chance to meet celebrities like five-times Le Mans winner Derek Bell. One exciting addition is the festival’s new celebration of women in motorsport, fronted by model and race driver Jodie Kidd. Another highlight will be seeing Bloodhound SCC, a car that looks like a rocket with good reason: its team are trying to break the elusive 1000mph speed barrier.
2 Sep

Got another event to add to our list? Add it in the comments below.

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London Video of the Week: London Architecture Fri, 10 Aug 2012 09:30:28 +0000

We love this video of the best of London’s architecture by Mattia Bicchi via YouTube.

Locations featured include King’s Cross Station, Strata Tower, Palestra Building, Royal Albert Hall, British Museum, RBS Building, Wembley Stadium, Heron Tower, Broadgate Tower, O2 Arena, St Giles Building, Tower Bridge, The Shard, National Maritime Museum, Wellington Arch, St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf and the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben (or the newly named Queen Elizabeth Tower to give it’s correct monkier.)

You can see more London videos on our YouTube channel:

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