Hooray! You’ve arrived – map in hand, your list of Top 10 attractions in London identified and noted, you’ve more or less figured out how the tube system works (still a few tweaks and you’re there), you have just 3 Days in London, the sun is shining and you are raring to go! But wait!!!
There is something really important you aught to know!
London is an ancient city, originally just a few homesteads scattered here and there, started by the Romans about 2,000 years ago; ‘Londinium’ has grown to be a massive conglomeration of urban sprawl. And yet at it’s very heart, are a couple of gems, The City of London and joined at the hip it’s twin – The City of Westminster. These two gems have grown over the centuries, built by mastercraftsmen and world-famous architectects who were creative geniuses of their times. Their creations, a legacy of exhuberant architectural wonders have remained for our pleasure and enjoyment. And this is why you should be looking up in London.
The city of London is not characterised by any particular architectural style, having accumulated its buildings over a long period of time and few structures predate the Great Fire of 1666. Exceptions include the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Banqueting House and several scattered Tudor survivors in the City of London.
So often when visiting a new city we rush about trying to fit everything in, determined to see the inside of this and climb the steps of that to get a great view of the city….that we miss the beauty on the outside, that is right there for us to see…..just above our heads!
London is a living art gallery: there are hundreds of pieces of art scattered around in open spaces and on the facades of buildings, and yet many people walk by without even noticing them.
My TOP TIP when visiting London would be to: ‘stop and look up’.
“I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward”. Charlotte Bronte
Many of the buildings that you see about you are creations of rare and wonderous beauty, carvings and etchings of minutest detail, exhuberant wonders, the flambouyant imagination of their designers and architects: Robert Hooke, Nicholas Hawksmoor, Sir Christopher Wren, Charles Dance the Younger, John Nash and Inigo Jones amongst many others who have influenced the architecture of London. All display various forms of flamboyant style and designs with either statues, frescoes or mosaics, weather vanes or crenallated towers, there are dragons, gargoyles, symbols, carvings, and etchings, beautifully carved reliefs, friezes, sundials and merchants badges.
You have a marvellous choice of architectural styles to choose from:
Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Gothic, Tudor, Elizabethan, Jacobean, Baroque, Queen Anne, Georgian, Victorian, Jacobethan, Edwardian, Byzantine, NeoClassic, Art-Deco, Renaissance and Romanesque: e.g. The White Tower of the Tower of London
The Georgians were a bit staid but that could not be said of London’s most celebrated architect of all time: Sir Christopher Wren, who designed some of the most exquisite churches you could ever imagine; example of which is: St Paul’s Cathedral.
So take a few minutes as you stride about the city and look up! You will never fail to be amazed and enchanted by what you see, whatever your taste in architecture.
There more places in London where you could see these marvelllous works of art, that I could count stars in the sky!!! (ok, well that may be a bit of an exaggeration but not much!) Nevertheless, there are hundreds of beautiful facades, carvings and art works. I could never include them all in this blog so I have created a video that you may enjoy! I hope you do.