London is not just a city. It is a whole collection of cities, a massive conurbation that developed from its mediaeval core – the Square Mile, corresponding to today’s City – to today’s Greater London with its almost 9 million inhabitants. Whatever your interests, you will find something fascinating in London. It is a city that can be expensive to visit, but equally it can be cheap, with many world-class attractions free of charge. To optimize your time, it’s a good idea to have a plan, but as Richard Branson said, “When exploring London, you will come across lots of excitement by chance, so try to take everything in rather than just rushing around to all of the major tourist haunts.”
Boggi Milano in London
Boggi Milano has two stores in London:
49 Jermyn Street
London SW1Y 6LX
Tel. +44 (0)20 7629 2495
Open Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday midday-6pm
28 Sloane Square
London SW1W 8AB
Tel. +44 (0)20 7823 5044
Open Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday midday-6pm
We are renewing your shopping experience at our Sloane Square store from 28 July to 16 August 2019. During this period, you can shop at the store in Jermyn Street, or online.
Boggi Milano look for London
Boggi Milano’s commitment to tailoring research and development has given rise to some particularly high-performance garments, such as this Tech-Tailoring suit whose crease resistance and natural stretch make it ideal for businessmen and leisure visitors alike. It is made from a textile that includes a small proportion of elastane whose elasticity is enhanced by the jersey weave. The result is a flexible fabric that guarantees comfort and unrestricted movement. It is also non-crease, and so the suit can be folded into a suitcase, and you can be sure that it will still be impeccable when you take it out and put on. No ironing required. The blazer (BO19A067901) and pants (BO19A079301) can be purchased separately, very useful for customers who have to buy the two parts in different sizes, or for that common suit option, buying two pairs of trousers for one jacket. The pants have a single pleat, and a drawstring waist fastening, a sports-derived feature. Perfect for a stylish visit to London, with a touch of parkour if you feel so inclined.
Which is your London?
Here are a few of London’s attractions, grouped according to interests. And we’re just scratching the surface…
The Shard, the 95-floor skyscraper designed by Renzo Piano has an Observation Deck on the 72nd floor, 244 metres above ground level. Up at the O2 is an exhilarating 90-minute climb up and over this entertainment venue. Sky Garden, in the Walkie Talkie skyscraper, is London’s highest gardens, three storeys of landscaped greenery with observation decks and an open air terrace. Booking recommended. Emirates Air Line Cable Car, from Greenwich Pensinsula to the Royal Docks, is a 10-minute ride costing just £3.50, providing great views of the city. After 7pm, music and video is added to the cabins, and trips last 12-13 minutes each way. London Eye is the tallest cantilevered observation wheel in Europe, 136 metres in height. It is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK, with over 3.75 million visitors every year. Booking recommended. Tower Bridge is one of London’s most famous monuments, built over 120 years ago. The visit includes views from high-level walkways with exciting glass-floored platforms. The Garden at 120, London’s largest garden roof terrace, is on the 15th floor of One Fen Court on Fenchurch Street, and to date it is free of charge, just take the lift up. The views are partially obscured by The Scalpel, the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater and other tower buildings, but these have a certain interest in themselves. AcelorMittalOrbit is a 115-metre construction by Anish Kapoor in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, built for the London 2012 Olympics. After the views, there is a 40-second tunnel slide down. Booking is recommended and may be necessary several weeks in advance of your visit.
The National Gallery is an amazing collection of European art, free of charge, with works beautifully displayed and accompanied by succinct explanatory texts. Highlights include Young Woman Standing at a Virginal by Vermeer, Doge Leonardo Loredan by Giovanni Bellini, The Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio, The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci, Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh, The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein, The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck, and the Fighting Temeraire by J.M.W. Turner. The National Portrait Gallery, also free, has the largest collection of portraits in the world with 11,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures, and 240,000 photographs. Tate Britain presents British art from 1500 to today, and it has an extensive collection of works by J.M.W. Turner. Tate Modern is located in a converted power station, and it is an incredible location for superb modern and contemporary art, free of charge. The Victoria & Albert Museum is a superb collection of applied arts and design, much of it free. Whitechapel Gallery specializes in avant-garde contemporary art, with inspiring exhibitions, art courses, a café and a bookshop. Sir John Soane’s Museum is a small townhouse museum with a 19th-century art collection including significant works by Canaletto, Turner, Watteau, Piranesi and others. The Royal Academy of Arts is an art college, but it also presents thought-provoking exhibitions by young and established artists. The Wallace Collection is a private collection accumulated during the 18th and 19th centuries, and it comprises a permanent collection and temporary shows. The Guildhall Art Gallery shows a variety of Victorian paintings, and a revealing sequence of paintings depicting London, with scenes such as the Great Fire of 1666, and the opening of Tower Bridge. Photographer’s Gallery was the first public gallery in the UK dedicated to photography. The Serpentine Galleries are two contemporary art galleries in Hyde Park, separated by a 5-minute walk and the bridge over the Serpentine Lake. Admission free. Saatchi Gallery presents contemporary work by emerging and established artists.
Music and entertainment
Catch a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which opened in 1871 and is one of London’s most distinctive buildings. It is open every day from 10am, and you can visit parts of the interior and get glimpses backstage, plus performances according to the schedule. Watching an opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is a rewarding experience, and the venue is open every day from 10am for interesting interactive visits. The Handel & Hendrix Museum is dedicated to the two composers, Handel who lived at 25 Brook Street from 1723 to 1759, and Hendrix who lived at the adjacent 23 Brook Street in 1968-69, decorating the flat according to his own tastes. St. Martin-in-the-Fields is a church famous for its classical music and jazz concerts. St. John’s, Smith Square, is another music venue, a Baroque church with exceptional acoustics and a lively programme of events. Abbey Road Studios, you can’t visit them, but you can re-enact the Beatles scene on the famous zebra crossing. Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre associated with William Shakespeare, and it has the only thatched roof permitted in London from the time of the Great Fire in 1666. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is popular with Harry Potter fans, with breath-taking sets, and many other exhibits comprising props and costumes.
Westminster Abbey, founded in 960 A.D., is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the UK, with the tombs of 17 kings and queens, and many other celebrities. It has been used for all coronations since 1066. St. Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic building designed by Christopher Wren, with its large dome, inside which the Whispering Gallery is a popular attraction for visitors. Temple Church comprises a round church built by the Knights Templars in the 12th century. St. Bartholomew-the-Great, which dates back to the 12th century, is one of London’s oldest churches. The artworks visible there include Damien Hirst’s sculpture “Exquisite Pain.” St. James’ Piccadilly is a progressive Anglican church, often used as a concert venue. St. Alfege Church is an important monument in the Greenwich area of London. St. Mary Abbots in Kensington has the tallest spire in London.
Buckingham Palace is the home of The Queen and provides the backdrop for the Changing the Guard ceremony that takes place every day at 11am (it’s best to get there by 10.15am to be sure of a good place). Some of the State Rooms can be visited from July to September and on selected dates at other times of year. Booking required at rct.uk. Hampton Court was Henry VIII’s palace, and it can be visited every day, with its Great Hall, Haunted Gallery, and beautiful gardens and maze. Parts of Kensington Palace, home for William, Kate, Harry and Meghan, can be visited every day. The Tower of London is a fascinating visit, with the Crown Jewels comprising 23,578 gems, the Yeoman Warders, the ravens, and 1,000 years of history.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is a part of British tradition, with a selection of teas, sandwiches, scones, pastries and teacakes served in the lovely setting of Palm Court, accompanied by music on piano and harp. Served daily at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Booking recommended. St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel is a remarkable Victorian building, now a 5-star hotel, with many restaurants, bars and spa offering opportunities to experience the unique atmosphere. You can take a tour of the Houses of Parliament on Saturdays, and on most weekdays when Parliament is not in session. The visit includes the Commons Chamber, the Lords Chamber, and the 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall. Apsley House is a lovely Georgian townhouse, home of the first Duke of Wellington, with a fine collection of paintings including Velazquez and Rubens, and silver and porcelain. The Royal Courts of Justice is a fascinating building, recalling a cathedral in its architecture and scale, with soaring arches, stained glass and a maze of corridors. It can be visited with tours lasting 2-3 hours. See theroyalcourtsofjustice.com
World War II
The Churchill War Rooms enable you to see the underground bunker that was the nerve centre for military operations during the Second World War. There are permanent displays and temporary exhibitions. St. Clement Danes is a church in the City of Westminster, built by Christopher Wren, damaged during the War, and subsequently restored. It comprises many references to the Royal Air Force, including statues of important figures, memorials and plaques. The Wiener Library is one of the world’s largest archives on the Holocaust, open to the public five days a week, with free tours every Tuesday at 1pm. Founded in the wake of the First World War, the Imperial War Museum records the history of modern wartime experience. In addition to the main museum in Southwark, it includes the cruiser HMS Belfast on the River Thames, the Churchill War Rooms, and IWM Duxford in Cambridgeshire.
The British Library is the largest national library in the world, with an estimated 150-200 million objects, comprising about 14 million books, and other items dating back to 2000 B.C. Many books and manuscripts are on display free of charge. The British Museum was founded in 1753, the first national museum open to the public and with the objective of collecting everything. The Museum of London documents the history of the city, and holds over 6 million objects.
Wembley Stadium can be visited with a tour that includes the Dressing Rooms, Press Conference room, Players’ Tunnel, Pitch side and the Royal Box. Tours are available from 11 July 2019. The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is the largest tennis museum in the world, and it illustrates the history of The Championships at Wimbledon, with many interactive experiences. Lord’s Cricket Ground includes the world’s oldest sports museum, the MCC Museum founded in 1864.
In the Thames RIB Experience, you can see the sights from a rigid inflatable boat speeding along the Thames. Shrek’s Adventure, South Bank, is perfect for families with children, immersed in a green world full of surprises. The Postal Museum & Mail Rail enables you to travel on the tiny mail train running underground. The Greenwich Foot Tunnel is a 10-minute walk through a tunnel under the Thames, from Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs. Burlington Arcade first opened in 1819, the first covered shopping mall, with its uniformed Burlington Beadles, the oldest and smallest police force in the world.
Plants and nature
Hyde Park is the largest Royal Park, where you can walk, run, or go boating on the Serpentine. It runs into Kensington Gardens to the west. Regent’s Park is a 166-hectare park, mainly open parkland, with gardens, boating and the London Zoo. In St. James’ Park, there is a resident colony of pelicans, who are fed every day at 2.30pm. Kew Gardens includes a treetop walkway, and the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, near the Westfield shopping centre, was built for the 2012 Olympics. Hampstead Heath comprises 320 hectares of woods and meadows. Richmond Park is a 1,000-hectare park with wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herd, with some very old trees and many rare species of mushrooms, birds, beetles, bats and wildflowers. Greenwich Park is a fascinating combination of 17th-century landscape, lovely flower and herb gardens, and scientific attractions such as the Prime Meridian and the Royal Observatory. Chelsea Physic Garden is a botanical garden founded in 1673, and it comprises about 5,000 plant species, along with the Physic Garden Café. Walthamstow Wetlands is a nature reserve based around a reservoir, and it is an important site for wildlife, in particular birds. Its Coppermill Tower has a viewing platform providing fine views over London.
Cutty Sark at Greenwich is a ship that was built in 1869 and was one of the fastest tea clippers, transporting tea from China and then wool from Australia, until superseded by steam power. The visit includes interactive displays and the possibility of afternoon tea under the hull. Also in Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum presents exploration, with historical ventures and the latest space missions; the Royal Observatory enables you to see the Prime Meridian, discover the history of Greenwich mean time, and explore the cosmos at the planetarium. London’s Science Museum has a lot of transport-related exhibits, including space travel with interactive experiences and virtual reality. Like Milan, London has its own canal district, particularly attractive where the Regent’s Canal meets the Grand Union canal, with its narrowboats, cafés, bars and restaurants, and lovely Regency houses. You can find out more about the canals and London’s ice industry at the London Canal Museum, on Regent’s Canal. The Golden Hinde is the reconstruction of an English galleon that was sailed around the world by Francis Drake from 1577 to 1580. Nearby there is the tasty street food of Borough Market, and Southwark Cathedral where the resident stray cat, Doorkins Magnificat, has become something of a celebrity having met both the Mayor of London and HM Queen Elizabeth II on formal visits to the cathedral..
London Dungeon takes a slightly ironic look at the darker sides of Britain’s past, with executions, torture, Guy Fawkes, the Plague, the Great Fire, and of course Jack (or Jackie?) the Ripper. There are several interesting cemeteries in London, all worth a visit to see the monuments and some famous individuals: Highgate. Kensal Green, and Brompton Cemeteries. An interesting tour consists of the Seven Noses of Soho, an art installation dating back to 1997 when they were installed as a protest against burgeoning CCTV surveillance. One can be found on Admiralty Arch. The Old Operating Theatre Museum is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe, in the attic of the church at what was once St. Thomas’ Hospital. There are two very strange museum collections in London, the Wellcome Collection “for the incurably curious,” and the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History. Like all the visits mentioned in this article, just google them for more info.