LON­DON DOU­BLE ACTS

With so much to see in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal, it’s best to do things in twos

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - HIT LIST -

V&A MU­SEUM AND KENSINGTON GAR­DENS Not as widely known as the Bri­tish or Nat­u­ral History mu­se­ums, the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum is a favourite among Lon­don­ers, fo­cus­ing on hu­man cre­ativ­ity through art and de­sign, and stag­ing reg­u­lar ex­hi­bi­tions on a di­verse range of sub­jects, from ply­wood to Pink Floyd.

A short walk north on Ex­hi­bi­tion Road brings you to Kensington Gar­dens, one of Lon­don’s royal parks, whose peace­ful green spa­ces con­tain stat­ues rang­ing from the grand Al­bert Me­mo­rial to the cutesy Peter Pan be­side the Long Wa­ter. Other pop­u­lar stop­ping points are The Orangery Restau­rant in Kensington Palace, and the princess Diana Me­mo­rial Foun­tain. Ac­cess via South Kensington sta­tion on the Lon­don Un­der­ground. TOWER OF LON­DON AND ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL Few cities have a cas­tle as his­toric as this right at their heart. The UNESCO World Her­itage site is re­plete with fas­ci­nat­ing sights and sto­ries – home to the Crown Jewels (val­ued at more than £20 bil­lion/US$25.8 bil­lion), site of Bri­tain’s last ex­e­cu­tion in 1941 (a Ger­man spy)… and so forth.

A ten-minute walk down Eastcheap – through the UK’s bank­ing nexus – will re­veal the city’s most iconic church: St Paul’s Cathedral. The world’s sec­ond-largest dome (af­ter St Peter’s in Rome) is im­pres­sive, but the in­te­rior is even more so. Make time to climb up to the Whis­per­ing Gallery and de­scend into the crypts. Ac­cess via Tower Hill sta­tion. OX­FORD STREET TO PICCADILLY The city’s most pop­u­lar re­tail thor­ough­fares (whether you’re buy­ing or just win­dow shop­ping) sur­round and criss­cross the West End dis­trict of May­fair. In gen­eral, more af­ford­able out­lets can be found on Ox­ford Street and Re­gent Street, while Piccadilly, and the nar­rower boule­vards of New and Old Bond streets, Sav­ille Row and Burling­ton Ar­cade of­fer rar­efied ac­qui­si­tions out of the fi­nan­cial reach of the ma­jor­ity. Ac­cess via Ox­ford Street or Piccadilly sta­tions.

CAMDEN MARKET AND RE­GENT’S PARK Prob­a­bly Lon­don’s most fa­mous market (sorry Por­to­bello Road), the stalls around Camden Lock and Re­gent’s Canal of­fer a cor­nu­copia of arts and crafts, col­lectibles, fash­ion items and mu­si­cal trea­sures.

A short walk up Park­way from Camden High Street brings you to the north­east cor­ner of Re­gent’s Park, which har­bours Lon­don Zoo, an open-air the­atre, a boat­ing lake and cen­tral Lon­don’s largest out­door sports area. Ac­cess via Camden Town sta­tion. GREENWICH ROYAL OBSERVATORY AND CUTTY SARK Over in Greenwich in Lon­don’s south­east, the mag­nif­i­cent Cutty Sark is the last re­main­ing tea clip­per, a sail­ing ship that in its day was the fastest in the world. You can walk around, in­side and un­der it now that it’s been re­stored and raised three me­tres above the ground. Fif­teen min­utes’ walk south through Greenwich Park is the Royal Observatory, lo­ca­tion of the Prime Merid­ian Line (from which all time zones are cal­cu­lated), the UK’s largest re­fract­ing tele­scope, a plan­e­tar­ium and a mu­seum ex­plain­ing how the early sci­en­tists mapped the stars and seas. Ac­cess via Cutty Sark for Mar­itime Greenwich sta­tion on the Dock­lands Light Rail line. SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE AND TATE MOD­ERN The South Bank of the Thames is lined with en­joy­able at­trac­tions of ev­ery type, from the Lon­don Eye to the Na­tional The­atre. A ca­sual walk east of these along the river­front prom­e­nade re­veals two ma­jor Lon­don des­ti­na­tions that of­fer vastly dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences. The Tate Mod­ern is a glob­ally recog­nised in­sti­tu­tion pre­sent­ing con­tem­po­rary art and film to in­spire and prop­a­gate artis­tic dis­cus­sion. Next door, the metic­u­lously re­con­structed, thatchroofed Shakespeare’s Globe al­lows au­di­ences to ex­pe­ri­ence the Bard’s clas­sic plays ex­actly as 16th-cen­tury crowds would have. Ac­cess via St Paul’s sta­tion and the pedes­tri­anised Mil­len­nium Bridge. RONNIE SCOTT’S AND AMUSED MOOSE SOHO For sub­lime mu­sic and ir­re­press­ible laugh­ter, these two hotspots take some beat­ing. Since open­ing in 1959, Ronnie Scott’s in Frith Street has been the venue to lis­ten to great jazz, soul and blues mu­sic, its cool set­ting playing host to greats such as Sonny Rollins and Chick Corea, as well as con­tem­po­rary stars both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional.

The Sanc­tum Soho Hotel on War­wick Street (near the bot­tom of Carn­aby St) is home to the award-win­ning Amused Moose Soho com­edy club, which pro­vides a stage for many of the na­tion’s top co­me­di­ans – such as Jimmy Carr, Ed­die Iz­zard and Bill Bai­ley – to test new ma­te­rial. Ac­cess via Piccadilly sta­tion.

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