Things to see and do - London
London In Love :
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Haymarket Hotel from300 £Book
Charing Cross - A Guoman Hotel from142 £Book
Club Quarters, Trafalgar Square from143 £Book
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London In Love
London In LovePedestrian, 4 km, 3 days
Some suggestions for planning the perfect romantic date, strolling in and around the west-end.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
Flanked by the National Gallery, South Africa House, Canada House, Trafalgar Square has a number of monuments that symbolise the British Empire. Nelson's column, 44 m high and finished in 1843 is topped with the statue of Nelson. The pedestal is decorated with four bas-reliefs in bronze forged from cannons taken from the French. You can still see the Equestrian statue of Charles I who was beheaded on the 30th January 1649 (by the French sculptor Hubert Le Sueur) and that of George IV. Further up the square against the wall on the north terrace are the imperial measurement standards and the busts of Admirals of the 20C and enclosing the Mall, Admiralty Arch.
The Church was built by Gibbs between 1722 and 1726. It has the appearance of a baroque building with an elegant appearance but lacking a little unity. The interior decor is harmonious with a hint of rococo. Its famous not only for its architecture but also, since the 1930s, as a refuge for the homeless. The Church has also given its name to a chamber orchestra known worldwide the Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, which extends a long tradition of classical concerts.
Originally in the museum there were just 38 pictures brought together by the courtier John Julius Angerstein (1735 to 1823) and bought by Parliament in 1824. To house them they entrusted William Wilkins with the construction of a gallery that was soon too small. After transfers and extensions (the 6th extension the Sainsbury Wing was designed in 1991 by Venturi) the collections have gone back to their original site. Among the 2000 pictures it is a enough to give a few names to leave you the pleasure of discovery. Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, of the Florentine 15C school. Italian artists from the 15 ,16, 17 and 18C are richly represented : Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Titian. Among the Spanis painters: Velasquez, Murillo and Goya. Constable, The haywain ; Turner, The Fighting Temeraire ; Gainsborough represent the English Scholl of the 18 and 19C. Cardinal Richelieu by Philippe de Champaigne accompanies the 17C French pictures by Poussin and Claude Lorrain ; the 18c is crich with works by Watteau, Boucher, Greuze, Quentin de La Tour, Chardin ; the 19C includes The Bathers by Cezanne and the Sunflowers by Van Gogh. The Flemish school is illustrated by Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Vermeer. Finally the Dutch and German school of the 15C and 16C are represented by the magnificent picture by Van Eyck, Arnolfini's wedding, and any works by Cranach the elder, Holbein the younger and Dürer.
This was created in 1856 and was installed in 1896 in an end of the 19C building in the Italian Renaissance style. It gives an overview of Great Britain's history from Henry VII to today using only portraits, a traditional art in England that reached its peak in the 18C. The old Masters were William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough. The ground floor and the first floor are reserved for temporary exhibitions.
Open only to pedestrians, this square surrounded by restaurants and cinemas is incredibly vibrant. In the middle is the fountain erected in 1874 in memory of Shakespeare opposite the Statue of Charlie Chaplin by John Doubleday (1980). Leicester Square was once a garden in front of the manor house of the Sydney's, Earls of Leicester, built on the north side. In the 18C, this square became an elegant place where well to do artists such as Reynolds and Hogarth lived.
Originally the Convent Garden for Westminster Abbey, the land was then owned by the Earls of Bedford who decided to build on it in 1631 and entrusted the work to the Crown architect, Inigo Jones. Inspired at one and the same time by the Royal Square in Paris and the Grand Piazza in Livorno, he designed a rectangle in which the west side was taken up by St Paul's Church, the north and east sides were bordered by residential houses and the south side by the gardens of Bedford House. The atmosphere of this residential area progressively changed with the creation in 1661 of a fruit and vegetable market and especially with the foundation in 1663 of the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. Covent Garden became the main attraction for lovers of shows, taverns and clubs. Today this area hums with life. The Central market, a great hall of glass and steel, now houses under its arcades many boutiques, cafes and restaurants while around and about the talented buskers put on a show. In the nearby Jubilee Market there are flea markets, antique markets and weekly craft markets. Further afield you'll find Neal's Yard, a small green courtyard flanked by a specialist shops (mainly bio-ecological). Finally in the evening the theatre district continues to be as busy both with Londoners and with tourists for the cafes, pubs, restaurants and night clubs are convivial and festive meeting places.
The present theatre was built after the fire of 1856. It was designed especially for opera and ballet with a main hall of 2000 seats and is famous for the quality of its acoustics. It forms a group with the Floral Hall alongside, built by the same architect to serve as a concert hall with small rooms. Since 1946 the opera house has played host to the Sadler's Wells Ballet which, 10 years later under a Charter of the Queen, became The Royal Ballet.
As well as the Courtauld Institute Somerset House also contains the Arthur Gilbert collection; a sparkling collection of gold and silver metalwork, gilded boxes, Italian Mosaics and miniatures bearing witness to the taste of an experienced collector. The Hermitage Rooms exhibit collections from the prestigious Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg on rotation and provide an exceptional insight into the history of Russian art.