If you haven’t yet visited the larger museums in London then they have to be first on your list. The major and well-known art galleries were listed in part I but you may want to add these museums to your list. The Science Museum. Obviously not an art gallery or dedicated to the visual arts but it is a fascinating place to visit. I saw on Google it said give yourself 2 hours to look around. WHAT! Obviously someone who went without kids and didn’t stop to actually have a look at anything in there.

Actually, if that’s of interest to you you might also want to visit the Natural History Museum. Both can be found on Exhibition Road in South Kensington.

Staying in South Kensington for the first on my list.

 

In Holland Park, in West London, stands Leighton House.
Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, is the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896).

Combining living and studio space, the house remains largely unchanged to this day.
Leighton was the most prominent artist of his day, a celebrated painter and president of the Royal Academy of Arts.
Holland Park and the neighbouring area was popular with many notable artists, living in close proximity to each other. They all had grand houses with large gardens.
There was no marriage or children for Lord Frederic Leighton.
As a result, Leighton House only has one bedroom despite its size.
The Holland Park Circle of artists would open their studios up every spring as part of ‘Show Sunday” where artists gave visitors to their home a preview of their entries for the Royal Academy exhibition that year.
Today, it is the only artist’s studio-house in the circle open to the public.

Bag available online at Dr Johnson's House

Samuel Johnson, the writer and wit, lived and worked here in the middle of the eighteenth century, compiling his great Dictionary of the English Language in the Garret.
Dr Johnson’s House is a Grade 1 listed small historic town house in the City of London.
The museum’s collections consist of materials relating to Dr Samuel Johnson and his circle of friends.
The library alone has a collection of over 1,000 books by or relating to Samuel Johnson.There are also 100 prints, 20 oil paintings, 27 water-colours, furniture, and the archives 44 eighteenth-century manuscripts.

If this is of interest there is also a Drama documentary telling the story of Samuel Johnson’s creation of the first English dictionary. A BBC4 production.
I actually prefer the story of the next man to come along, a century later, who wrote the Oxford English Dictionary. There is a great film, based on that true story, called ‘The Professor and the Madman’. (I would add, probably not suitable for young children. The film that is. Not Dr Johnson’s House)

PRINCE HENRY’S ROOM

Access to the Temple complex through an entrance on Fleet Street, via a gateway beneath the first-floor, timber-framed windows of the well-preserved Jacobean house known as Prince Henry’s Room.

The sign can be see on the side of the beautiful 17 Fleet Street, a building which acts as a pedestrian gateway into Inner Temple, but the room it refers to is upstairs on the first floor.

It used to be a small museum housing an exhibition about Samuel Pepys, sadly it is no longer open but, it is still worth visiting the area to see this magnificent building that is one of the few to survive the Great fire of London.
The building itself is a work of art.
Originally part of the great 12th century estate of the Knights Templar, Inner Temple and Middle Temple contain many old buildings.
The most noted is the drum-shaped Temple Church which found worldwide fame through Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code book and film.

A little off the beaten track down in Greenwich but still worth a mention. Mainly because you can hop on the Thames Clipper and take a boat ride down the Thames as part of your day out.

This unique museum houses the world’s finest collection of fans with examples from all over the world dating from the 11th century to the present day.
The Fan Museum is housed in a pair of restored Grade II listed townhouses, dating from 1721 and provides a superb and elegant setting for this collection.
The later addition on an Orangery, faithful to the architecture of the period, overlooks a Japanese style garden.
The Fan Museum holds a world-renowned collection of fans and fan leaves which include the splendid Hélène Alexander Collection and further acquisitions, gifts and bequests which have been received since the museum opened to the public over twenty five years ago.
The collection is so vast that it is not possible to display the whole collection together at any one time; therefore the museum features two distinct displays
The permanent display serves as an introduction to fans: their history, how they are made, and the materials used in their construction.
Two of the museum’s most important treasures are also displayed here: a late-sixteenth century flag fan and another painted by Walter Sickert.
The temporary display of exhibitions are changed every 4 months.

The Cutty Sark is also down that way and I’ve been told that is definately worth a visit.

Coming back into the centre of London and a short walk from London Bridge.

The Clink Prison dates back to 1144 making it one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons.
Several attempts were made to destroy the prison.
The Peasant’s Revolt in 1381, Jack Cade’s rebellion of 1450 and finally succumbing to it’s fate in 1780.
Although the museum can only boast an original wall of the actual prison it is an interesting place to visit and learn the history of it’s inmates and the Clink prisoners that began the Independent Church, which led to the Mayflower journey.

 

While you are in the area. Why not nip into Borough Market and grab a few sample dishes. You might even be tempted to buy some of the wonderful food they have on offer.

The George Inn, Southwark, London.
After a busy day wandering around London you could really do with a sit down and a drink.
This is a stones throw from The Clink Museum just off London Bridge so although not a museum or Gallery it would be criminal not to include this gem of a building.
It is also virtually next door to the first London Flat my daughter had in London so is a special place to me.

The George Inn,
The building that stands today was built in 1676 after a serious fire destroyed most of medieval Southwark.
It is the only surviving galleried coaching inn in London.
The building is partly timber framed. The ground floor is divided into a number of connected bars. The Parliament Bar used to be a waiting room for passengers on coaches. The Middle Bar was the Coffee Room and the bedrooms are now a restaurant.
Charles Dickens visited the George and referred to it in his book, Little Dorrit. William Shakespeare is reported to have been another visitor.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the places I love in London and if there are any you know about, off the beaten track, I’d love to know about them.

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