Inside Canada House

Canada HouseThere’s always something new to do in London, and my new thing this week is visiting Canada House in Trafalgar Square. It’s home to the High Commission of Canada in the UK and it’s recently undergone an extensive refurbishment. To showcase the result they’re running public tours on selected Fridays – so I went along to see what it’s like. Continue reading

Monk’s House Rodmell, Virginia Woolf’s country home

Monk's House RodmellI went down to Sussex this week to visit an old friend, and we spent a very pleasant, sunny afternoon visiting Monk’s House, the former home of writer Virginia Woolf, in Rodmell, a pretty village not far from Lewes. Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard bought it in 1919, and it became the country retreat for the Bloomsbury Group. Continue reading

Commune with the bees in the Hive in Kew Gardens

The Hive at Kew

So what exactly is the hive? Well, it’s a new attraction at Kew that hopefully will help visitors understand the life of the bee. It’s a gleaming seventeen-metre-high aluminium structure that’s like a beehive you can walk into. Plus it’s an immersive, multi-sensory experience which is driven by activity in a real beehive in the gardens that activates lights and music. With me so far?  Continue reading

The Wallace Collection – French art for free in the heart of London

Wallace CollectionA lot of Londoners have a soft spot for the Wallace Collection. It’s just round the back of Oxford St and it’s free, so you can pop in for a browse any time you like. And it’s quite spectacular, filled with French eighteenth century painting, furniture and porcelain with famous Old Master paintings and, the icing on the cake, a world class armoury. So how does it come to be there? Continue reading

Fenton House: Hampstead’s hidden gem

Fenton House HampsteadA short (uphill) walk from Hampstead tube station takes you to a little enclave of old houses, where a seventeenth-century merchant’s house and its walled garden occupy a quiet corner. Grade I listed Fenton House, now owned by the National Trust (bequeathed to them in 1952 by Lady Binning, its last owner and resident), is a lovely place to visit on a fine spring day, as Yannick and I recently discovered.  Continue reading

Greenwich Park Cherry Blossom Avenue

Greenwich Park cherry blossom avenueWe’re a week into May (2016) and you might have thought the cherry blossom season, which normally peaks in mid to late April, would be over by now. But you’d be wrong, because the cherry blossom avenue in Greenwich Park turned out to be in full glorious flower when I went along to take a look a few days ago – and I’ve got the pictures to prove it. Continue reading

The Regent’s Park cherry blossom avenue is back!

Regent's Park cherry blossomLast year there was no cherry blossom on the famous cherry blossom avenue in Regent’s Park. The trees had been cut down before they had a chance to bloom, and Chester Avenue was a sad sight that spring. But the old trees have given way to new ones which are now flowering for the first time. Of course I’ve been to take a look. Continue reading

St James’s Park Cherry Blossom Virtual Tour

St James's Park cherry blossomSt James’s Park is ranked at number four in my London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five Guide. It’s right in the centre of London and has a beautiful lake so it was bound to make the cut, but it doesn’t have great swathes of cherry trees. It’s quality not quantity that gives it its place. Take a walk around my virtual tour to see why. Continue reading

Kenwood House – a North London Treasure

IMG_2388Kenwood House is a North London treasure. Perhaps it’s because of its position, right at the top of Hampstead Heath, gazing down over the rest of the city; perhaps it’s because, thanks to the terms of the Iveagh Bequest, it’s free to visit and always will be. Or perhaps it’s just because it’s so lovely. Continue reading

You’d never get tired of London in Dr Johnson’s House

Dr JohnsonVisiting Dr Johnson’s House is a bit like going round a house you’re thinking of buying – it’s such a nice size, so well laid out, so conveniently situated, that you almost feel like making an offer there and then. But chances are it’ll be out of your range. That convenient location is right in the centre of London, just off Fleet St and the house, built at the end of the seventeenth century, is Grade I listed. Still, we can dream, can’t we? Continue reading