Overview : This trip focuses in and around Trafalgar Square in central London and includes the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum.... more »
This trip focuses in and around Trafalgar Square in central London and includes the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum.... more » It is easily accessible due to the many tube stations surrounding the area, and does not require much walking. The guide gives many options as well for places to get food and drink, including the oldest continually used wine bar in all of London. It is designed to take a half a day, which can be extended by taking longer in museums.
This trip also works well in conjunction with the guide called British Museum, Bloomsbury and Hidden Cafes, which concludes nearby in Covent Garden. less «
Trafalgar Square is accessible to many stops on the London subway system (also called the tube). The closest station is Charing Cross ... more »one block to the east; it serves the Bakerloo (Brown) and Northern (Black) lines. If you are coming from a station on the Piccadilly (Blue) Line you can use Leicester Square and walk a few blocks south. Similarly, the Embankment station has access to the District (Green) and Circle (Yellow) lines and is just to the south of Trafalgar Square.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the route so you need not worry about carrying your own provisions. Consider starting in the middle of the day and catching a show at one of the nearby listed theaters after a nice meal. less «
Known for street artists, protest marches, flash mobs and installation pieces, Trafalgar Square is a great spot to catch your breath and spend some time people watching. There are plenty of cafes surrounding the square if you are feeling peckish (tired) or thirsty.
Due to the crowds it is worthwhile to keep an eye on your bags, for although... More pickpocketing is not what it was in Oliver Twist's day, it still is known to happen.
At the center of the square is Nelson's Column in honor of Adm. Horatio Nelson, who died in the Battle of Trafalgar (thus the name of the square) in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. Around the base of the column are four giant bronze reliefs made of melted French cannons showing the Battle of the Nile (where Nelson almost captured Napoleon), the Battle of Copenhagen, the Battle of Cape Vincent and Nelson's Death (the jacket he wore when he was shot is displayed in the National Maritime Museum).Less
Seurat, Vermeer, Titian, da Vinci, Van Gogh--the collection at the National Gallery is extensive. It can be daunting to enter, especially at the end of a long day, but the rooms are spacious, have comfortable seats and are not overly crowded.
The National Gallery also hosts a cafe, espresso bar and restaurant. While conveniently located in the... More museum, if you are feeling peckish or thirsty, there are better bars and restaurants within a short walking distance that are included in this tour.
The collection at the National Gallery is quite vast, but the following works are most likely to be known by a majority of visitors. It is highly encouraged that one explore and find his or her own preferred pieces.
As you enter into the main hall, continue straight and you will get to Room 30, which holds "The Toilet of Venus" by Velazquez, his only known female nude portrait.
Head right and when the rooms dead end, take another right into the large Room 34. The unique "Whistlejacket" by Stubbs stands out as the only portrait in the museum of an animal alone. Also in Room 34 is Turner's "The Fighting Temeraire" lamenting the decline of the United Kingdom's naval prowess. Finally, don't miss Rembrant's self-portrait before continuing on.
As you leave, loop around to your right to Room 44 to see Seurat's first large-scale painting, the "Bathers at Asnieres."
Enter into Room 45 and be greeted by van Gogh's "Sunflowers," painted while living with Gauguin in the famous Yellow House and for whom the painting was created.
This will then lead you back into the main hall and out if you so desire. Do consider heading across though and into the Sainsbury wing to see works by Botticelli and others.
To enter London's National Portrait Gallery is to enter England's royal past. From portraits of the first monarchs to the only known image of Shakespeare through the growth of photography, its 160,000-strong collection has something for everyone.
Some museum highlights:
Top (second) floor:
As you enter the museum you will be greeted by a long... More escalator that will take you to the top floor to the oldest works in the collection.
As you walk through the first three rooms focusing on the Tudor and Elizabethan eras you will come to Room 4, which holds the only known true portrait of Shakespeare.
The last room, No. 20, holds some larger works including the impressive "The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840" by Benjamin Robert Haydon. In this room you can also find busts and portraits of other notables such as William Pitt and Edmund Burke.
Middle (first) floor:
This floor covers a significant period of time from Queen Victoria to the 1990s, but thankfully it does not feel cluttered. Room 20 holds a beautiful sepia toned portrait of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, known by many as the poet of the famous "Charge of the Light Brigade."
As you get to the far rooms of the floor (30 and 31) you enter a modern gallery space focusing on England between World War I and World War II. There are many works of and by the members of the Bloomsbury Set, whose homes you can visit in the British Museum, Bloomsbury and Hidden Cafes tour.
At the back of the room do not miss the "Conversation Piece at the Royal Lodge, Windsor." As opposed to all the other royal family paintings you have seen to this point, this painting shows the family at tea, casually dressed in their everyday life. When painted it was seen as quite a statement.
While this floor has a permanent collection of contemporary portraits, its main draw is the rotating special exhibits. Check the website or call ahead to see what is showing during your visit.
A lovely little church dating back to at least A.D. 1222, St. Martin-in-the-Fields has regular lunchtime and evening concerts. You may even hear the music drifting out into the street as you walk closer. Tickets range in price, but free seats are often available. Check the website for shows and times. There are usually lunchtime concerts during... More the week.
Monday, Tuesday, Friday 8:30am-1pm, 2-6pm
Wednesday 8:30am-1:15pm, 2-5pm
Thursday 8:30am-1:15pm, 2-6pm
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8am, 1:15pm, 6pm
Wednesday 8am, 6:15pm
Sunday 8:10am, 10am, 1pm (in Mandarin), 2:15 (in Cantonese), 6:30pm
Gordon's Wine Bar is the oldest wine bar in London and it shows in a wonderful way.
The bar itself is located in the catacomb-like basement of the building with low arching stone ceilings and candle-lit tables. The wine list is extensive and ranges in price. You also can get a glass directly from one of the many oak casks behind the bar.
Be... More sure to sample the cheeses as well. For a few pounds you get a baguette, condiments, meats and your choice of a delicious cheese to help the wine go down.
As you walk down Villiers Street, you can either enter the front door and walk down a narrow set of stairs or walk past it and down a set of stairs into the cobblestone alley running along the edge of the park and enter directly into the basement.
It is best to get here early, as Gordon's can get crowded quite quickly. In the summer consider sitting outside at one of the casks-made-into-tables and enjoy the late sunset.
If this is your end point and you want to take the tube home, head downhill to Embankment (Bakerloo, Northern, Circle and District lines) or uphill to Charing Cross (Bakerloo and Northern lines).Less
Take a break from the city for a moment and stroll down into the Victoria Embankment Gardens. Like most garden areas in London these are fenced in and closed at night. Inside you will be surrounded by green and sculptures of those who, while not household names outside the United Kingdom, are nonetheless impressive.
In June and July concerts are... More held almost daily in the park. Concerts are free unless you wish to pay for a seat close to the front.
About halfway through the park you might notice a giant Egyptian obelisk on the Thames side of the road way. This is known as "Cleopatra's Needle" and dates back to 1460 B.C. and was moved to England in 1878 to commemorate the U.K. victory over Napoleon in Egypt. The obelisk has a twin in New York City behind the Metropolitan Museum.
Just off from Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery on William IV Street, Terroirs is the perfect spot to grab a glass of wine or an entire meal at the end of the day.
Terroirs boasts an impressive wine list with a wide range of prices and a large selection of biodynamic wines. The restaurant is serious about sourcing food from... More local producers and you can taste the difference. They even make all their charcuterie on site.
Consider ordering many small plates for the table rather than going for the larger dishes. Be sure to try the selection of charcuterie, smoked eel and the cantabrian anchovies.
020 7036 0660
Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are recommended.
If you have chosen Terroirs to close out the evening, your nearest tube station is just down the road at Charing Cross with access to the Bakerloo (Brown) and Northern (Black) lines or a few blocks to the north you have the Leicester Square station for the Piccadilly (Blue) line.Less
How does one choose one pub over another when in London? One easy way is to choose those that stand out for interesting selections and decor. The Harp is one of these.
With eight real ales always on the hand-pump taps and many ciders to choose from, the Harp is understandably often crowded in the early evening. In the summer, patrons spill out... More in front of the stained-glass windows to enjoy their pints in the street.
Just north of Trafalgar Square rests Wyndham's Theater. One of the older West End theaters (or "theatres" in England), the Wyndham's relatively small number of seats and intimate setting make it a wonderful place to catch a show.
Drawing big-name casts from the United Kingdom and United Stats alike, it can be a wonderful spot to spend an... More afternoon or finish off the evening. They have "day of" seats, which at last check went for the bargain price of 10 pounds per seat, including those unsold spots in the front row.
Afterward the Leicester Square tube station is just a skip away and gives access to the Piccadilly (Blue) line.Less