London is one of the world’s great capitals—not only the seat of government, but a culture capital par excellence. This thrillingly diverse city offers the opportunity to enjoy high-quality musical performances of all kinds alongside Britain’s fascinating, complex history and a trove of important art treasures. Some of my favorite London cultural tips:
Some green scenery in the city: For a lush, green sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of London, Kew Botanical Gardens is a short ride outside the city. A stroll along the towpath of houseboat-lined Regent's Canal also provides a wonderful scenic route though parts of north central London, including Little Venice and idyllic Regent's Park in Marylebone.
The South Bank Centre: This sprawling cultural hub on the South Bank of the Thames houses the Royal National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, and the Hayward Gallery, among others. Over one long weekend day you could take in a riveting theater matinée, a thought-provoking art exhibit, and an evening symphony concert without ever leaving the SBC. Several on-site cafés and restaurants offer convenient dining options as well. Victoria and Albert Museum: The V&A has an outstanding collection of applied and decorative arts and design. Fashionistas will be drawn especially to its seemingly endless textile and costume collections. There is also a significant trove of South and Southeast Asian art, numbering nearly 60,000 pieces. Its furniture collection is also notable.
If you fancy an indoor respite, The Wallace Collection is a delightful escape from busy Oxford Street with its armor, paintings, and clocks. Thinking about therapy? I prescribe the Freud Museum in Hampstead; for retail therapy, try the vintage shops in Hampstead Village or the king of it all, Harrod's (don't miss the Food Halls!). The annual BP British Portrait Award is widely considered to be the top portrait painting competition in the world. You can view all the winners at the National Portrait Gallery every summer. I highly recommend picking up a copy of the small book that accompanies each year's exhibition. The paintings are quite astounding. The opportunities for themed walking tours in London are endless, from a Dickensian Christmas to Roman history to Winston Churchill or Sherlock Holmes. (Plus Harry Potter, of course!) I lived in London for a year and felt that I had barely scratched the surface. The sights and cultural offerings are almost as numerous as the stars. This vibrant, international city is a true melting pot of possibilities.
Mon Voyage is French for "My Trip"--and your trip is all about you: your travel style, your interests, your budget.
I plan customized travel itineraries for history, arts, and culture enthusiasts to destinations in Europe and beyond. I also offer escorted Small Group Trips, where you will engage with other curious travelers as we explore the world together.
Let's make that dream trip (or return trip) to London come to life! Contact me today if I can help you with the United Kingdom or any other travel planning, domestic or international.
Last but not least: never forget that looking forward to travel has been scientifically proven to be good for your mental health!