Places to visit and things of interest in London.  Visiting London for the first time can be a bewildering experience.  Even if you’ve visited before, you are unlikely to run out of things to do and see.  It is three cities, and a seemingly innumerable number of villages, all joined up.  You may be familiar with some of the obvious attractions to visit, like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London or St Pauls.  But what is the background to these places? There are so many stories lurking beneath London’s streets; stories that date from Roman times to the present.  Then there’s green London – parks from the informal to the formal, and gardens tucked away in squares and ruined churches.  There’s a lot you can do for nothing in London, as well – including visiting national museums and art galleries.  A Bit About Britain’s articles tell you some of London’s secrets and give you an idea of places to visit in one of the world’s most exciting cities.

Christopher Wren did not live here

Christopher Wren, St Pauls, view, Millennium Bridge

And neither did Catherine (or Katherine) of Aragon.  What?!  Let me explain…my London reader may have seen a plaque – not one of the official, blue, ones, but an altogether more elaborate, individual, affair – on the wall of 49 Bankside, London SE1.  And it proudly declares, in fancy script: “Here lived Sir Christopher Wren

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Art and the amphitheatre

London, Roman, Amphitheatre, Guildhall Art Gallery

It’s sometimes easy to forget that London is a Roman creation.  A site occupying a good position on the north bank of the tidal Thames, which offered deep enough anchorage for ocean-going vessels and which was narrow enough to bridge.  Within 20 years of the invasion of 43AD, London was sufficiently large and important to

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The British Museum – origins, controversy and internationalism

British Museum - the Great Court

The British Museum is regularly at the top of the list of the most visited attractions in Britain.  Something in excess of 6 million people – considerably more than the population of Denmark – walk through its doors and tour its galleries every year.  It is an astonishing place which, in its own words, tells

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National Service of Remembrance

Poppy wreaths, Cenotaph

Amazing; moving; humbling; impressive: words you could choose to describe the annual National Service of Remembrance held in London on Remembrance Sunday, the second Sunday in November.  Thousands attend every year; thousands watch it on TV; thousands more attend similar, albeit slightly more modest, services throughout the United Kingdom – and beyond.  It is an

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The old operating theatre

Old Operating Theatre, Southwark

This is a Victorian operating theatre, where proceedings were watched by an audience of gawping students and operations were conducted without anaesthetic or antiseptic.  I mean, you really can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like, can you? The Old Operating Theatre is reputedly Britain’s – some say Europe’s – oldest operating theatre. 

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London’s forgotten cathedral

Southwark Cathedral - soaring nave arches

Head west out of London Bridge Station.  If you’re very careful, you will discover London’s third Anglican cathedral, Southwark; it’s easily missed.  Hemmed in between the colourful and vibrant Borough Market and the occasionally vulgar Montagu Close, and often hidden by dark Victorian railway arches over which trains ceaselessly rattle and clunk in and out

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