Our London series gives you all the background you need to make the most of your trip. Find out who was crowned at Westminster, buried in St Paul’s or beheaded at the Tower and hear the stories behind these events. Discover the history of Shakespeare’s Globe and the London of Charles Dickens. Learn about the royals and their palaces and take informed trips to Hampton Court and Windsor. We’ll tell you what to look out for in London’s museums and galleries and help you discover the city’s parks, theatres, shops and markets.  In short, we’ve done all the research you would do yourself if only you had the time!

There’s a podcast for each episode and we are adding more written information to each post as fast as we can.  So, let’s go.


Paddington, London

Episode 1: Introduction to London

Welcome to our introduction to London, a global city-break favourite. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) knew why: ‘He who is tired of London is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford.’ … Read more
London St Pauls

Episode 2: St Paul’s Cathedral, London

St Paul’s Cathedral is THE building which Londoners see as the symbol of their city and it has been the venue for dozens of important national events over the centuries. This post re-tells a few … Read more
City of London Sign

Episode 3: The City of London

The City of London, also known as the square mile (among the 600 square miles of today’s London!) is where it all began. This post gives you a flavour of this ancient and fascinating area, … Read more
Jewel Tower, Tower of London

Episode 4: The Tower of London

This post tells some of the dramatic history of the Tower of London – think imprisoned kings, beheaded queens, murdered children and a World War II spy connection – and then runs through the highlights … Read more
Westminster Abbey

Episode 5: London’s Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey: a thousand years of British history. Of course, it’s first and foremost a place of worship – Holy Communion and evensong are offered every day – but it is also the nation’s church, … Read more
Big Ben, London

Episode 6: The Houses of Parliament in London

The Houses of Parliament in London might be a stunning Victorian gothic pile, but its history goes much, much further back than that. This post outlines a little history, including some of the great events … Read more
Trafalgar Square, London

Episode 7: Central London’s Whitehall and Trafalgar Square

Whitehall and Trafalgar Square are quintessential ‘central London’. This post takes you first on a10 minute wander, from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square, in which you’ll pass loads of famous statues and well-known addresses (Downing … Read more
Buckingham Palace, London

Episode 8: Buckingham Palace, London’s Best Known Royal Residence

What visit to London could miss out Buckingham Palace? Hear a little history, some trivia and some tales from the balcony. Then find out what to look out for on a visit, before popping next … Read more
Inns of Court, London

Episode 9: The Inns of Court, London

A wander round the Inns of Court, that most peaceful haven just off some of London’s busiest streets. Explore the courtyards and gardens, learn about the ancient buildings where lawyers have been working for centuries … Read more
London Fleet Street

Episode 10: Fleet Street, London’s Street of Ink

A visit to Fleet Street, a focal point for writers, publishers and journalists since the Middle Ages. Hear some of their stories, find out which of their favourite watering holes still exist today and discover … Read more
Piccadilly, London

Episode 11: The Strand and Piccadilly

In this episode it’s all about London as a centre of entertainment. We’re going along the Strand, round Covent Garden, popping into the Royal Opera House and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and then on … Read more
© VisitBritain/Jason Hawkes Royal Albert Hall, London

Episode 12: Victoria and Albert’s London

Surely no two people left a greater mark on ‘their’ corner of London, than Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Hear their story and discover the places most connected with them: Kensington Palace, the Royal Albert … Read more
Globe Theatre, London

Episode 13: Chaucer and Shakespeare’s London

Our two greatest authors, Chaucer and Shakespeare, both lived and worked in London for most of their lives. Hear about them and their work, discover the London they knew and find out where to ‘see’ … Read more
London Dickesn House

Episode 14: London and Charles Dickens

London certainly pops up frequently in the novels of England’s best-known 19th century author, Charles Dickens, and traces of him can be found all over London. This episode investigates the links and takes in visits … Read more
Bedford Square London

Episode 15: Bloomsbury, London’s Literary Heartland

Bloomsbury, London’s literary and academic heartland, full of pretty garden squares and the place to find some of the country’s top museums, bookshops and libraries. We stroll past many of them, pointing out some historical … Read more
Museum of London Docklands

Episode 16: The East End And The Docks

The Historical And The Hipster A tour of East London, in search of the Old East End and the area’s Jewish and multi-ethnic roots. A little history, ideas for places to visit and some literary … Read more
Hampstead, London

Episode 17: Hampstead and Highgate

The Historical And The Hipster A two-stop tour of north London. Firstly, pretty Hampstead, where Virginia Woolf thought ‘it is always spring’: lanes and cottages, cafes, antique shops and museums, including the house where John … Read more
Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Episode 18: The Royal Borough of Greenwich

Greenwich is real day out territory from central London, except that one day won’t be enough for all there is to see! Hear about lots of Tudor exploits in the one-time Greenwich Palace, find out … Read more
© VisitBritain/Tareq Mooradun Greenwich Park, London

Episode 19: London’s Royal Parks

A tour of the five Royal Parks in central London, each of which has its own history and particular atmosphere. Hear where Charles II got into trouble for picking flowers for one of his mistresses, … Read more
© VisitBritain/George Johnson Tower Bridge, London

Episode 20: The River Thames Through London

A review of moments of history which have taken place on the River Thames – think Henry VIII and his river pageants or the cranes dipping their heads for Winston Churchill’s funeral – plus ideas … Read more
Hampton Court Artwork

Episode 21: Hampton Court Palace

Hear about the great Tudor feasts held at Hampton Court Palace, plus tales of Henry VIII, his various wives, his courtiers and his great friend – and rival – Thomas Wolsey.  There are also stories … Read more
Kew Gardens

Episode 22: Kew And Richmond

A trip a little way down the Thames for a wander round two of London’s classiest areas. Firstly, Kew, with its world-famous botanic gardens and, tucked inside, London’s smallest royal palace, namely Kew Palace. Then … Read more
Windsor Castle and St George's Chapel

Episode 23: Windsor And Eton

The number one day trip from central London Windsor: a thousand years of English history. We discuss everything from Edward III’s Order of the Garter to Edward VII’s new bathrooms, via the purchase of 40 … Read more
© Sister London Carnaby Street

Episode 24: London Shops And Markets

We cover every kind of London shopping experience, popping into some globally recognised department stores, including Selfridges on its opening day in 1909, dropping by foodie havens, the best areas for a little vintage shopping … Read more
Cover: The Diary of Samuel Pepys London

Episode 25: London Diarists And Travel Writers

A selection of readings from diarists who have written about London across the centuries and from travel writers who came to visit. Everything from eye witness accounts of the Fire of London and an assassination … Read more
Sherlock Holmes, London

Episode 26: Literary London

London through prose, poetry and literary walking tours A set-in-London booklist, four reading anthologies based on London and four walking tours focussed on the capital’s best-known authors. Plus, a whole selection of snippets of poetry … Read more


Useful websites for tourists
Visit London 
Visit England London City Information Centre
Visit Britain (London Section) 

4 comprehensive guidebooks
Lonely Planet Pocket London
Rough Guide to London
Eyewitness London
Fodor’s London Guide

5 niche guidebooks

London A Guide for Curious Wanderers by Jack Chesher
London’s Secret Walks by Graeme Chesters
London Walks, London Stories Edited by David Tucker
London by Tube (Walks near tube stations) by Christopher Winn
London’s Houses by Vicky Wilson

6 histories of London
Elizabeth’s London by Liza Picard
Restoration London by Liza Picard
Dr Johnson’s London by Liza Picard
Victorian London by Liza Picard
Johnson’s Life of London by Boris Johnson
City of London (the history of London as a financial centre) by David Kynaston

5 books on London’s Literary figures
Chaucer by Peter Ackroyd
Globe Life: Life in Shakespeare’s London by Catherine Arnold
Inside Dickens’ London by Michael Paterson
Living in Squares, Loving in Triangles (on the Bloomsbury Group) by Amy Licence
Fictional London: A Guide to the Capital’s Literary Landmarks by Stephen Halliday

3 London anthologies
City Lit London edited by Heather Reyes
Blue Guide Literary Companion to London compiled by Robin Saikai
London: An Illustrated Companion compiled by Rosemary Gray

4 Novels set in London
At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Salaam Brick Lane by Tarquin Hall
Capital by John Lanchester



Golden Triangle 011200

Episode 8: Food and Shopping in Bordeaux

City Breaks
Wheat Treading in the Camargue, Rosa Bonheur, Musee des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux

Episode 7: 3 Bordeaux Art Galleries

City Breaks
Bordeaux wine shop

Episode 6: Bordeaux Wine

City Breaks