Site Visits

Here you will find a selection of sites that we can visit. Scroll down and you will find CHURCHES; PALACES AND CASTLES; MUSEUMS and ART GALLERIES.
We can either do an in depth tour of one site, or we can put two or three of those you are most interested in together, for your perfect half day or full day itinerary. 

CHURCHES

 Westminster Abbey
The Coronation Church is steeped in history - almost all English monarchs have been crowned here since 1066, many Kings and Queens of England are buried here, as well as some of the most important figures from British history. We will hear their stories as well as the history of the building itself - from a small church, to a Romanesque church, to a 13th century Gothic jewel. 
 St Paul's Cathedral
This is Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, built after the Great Fire of London of 1666 and the first Anglican Cathedral to be built in England. We will explore Wren's Classical Baroque building and hear stories of the important people buried there including the heroes of the Napoleonic Wars, the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Lord Nelson and we will hear about Wren's struggle to build the cathedral.  

PALACES AND CASTLES

 The Tower of London
we will explore this medieval castle, that was a Royal Residence, a prison, a site of torture and execution but also home to the Royal Mint and a zoo. The White Tower is almost 1000 years old, so there is lots of history for us to uncover, not forgetting the final days of two of Henry VIIIs queens, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. There is lots for us to see - the Crown Jewels, the Ravens, the Beefeaters, Henry VIIIs armour, Traitors' Gate, to name but a few. 
 Hampton Court Palace
A spectacular palace which offers so much - it combines Henry VIIIs Tudor Palace with its spectacular kitchens and Great Hall, William and Mary's Stuart Palace with the grand King's Apartments, the 18th century rooms with highlight pieces from the Royal Collection of Art as well as the extensive gardens, the maze and a Renaissance masterpiece, Mantegna's Triumphs of Caesar. It is definitely worth spending a half day at this palace on the Thames. 
 The Queen's House Greenwich
Built by Inigo Jones in the early 1600s for King Charles I's wife, Henrietta Maria, it was the first classical style building in England since the Romans. We will discuss its architectural importance, as well as the history of Greenwich Palace as we wander its rooms and look at the wonderful art collection inside. 
 The Banqueting House
This Inigo Jones building is the only remaining part of Whitehall Palace. It was built in the 1600s as a Throne Room and party room, it is a suitably grand setting for Court Masques. We will hear about its history, the history of Whitehall Palace as well as decode the spectacular ceiling by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. 

MUSEUMS

 British Museum
A museum of the world for the world we will explore the civilisations of ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome as well as some British Anglo-Saxon and Medieval treasures. And of course we can't leave without seeing the Rosetta Stone, the key to unlocking heiroglyphs, and the masterpiece of Ancient Greece, the Parthenon Marbles. 
 Churchill's War Rooms
We will explore the rooms where Churchill ran the war, reconstructed as closely as possible to what it looked like in World War II with a kitchen, the Cabinet War Room, the Map Room and Churchill's bedroom. We can also see Churchill's romper suit, bowler hat and cigar in the museum. 
 The John Soane Museum
The surprising and unusual home of London architect (1753-1837) Sir John Soane. His collection of classical architectural fragments and sculptures served to inspire his students, and his basement was created for his alter-ego Padre Giovanni and is packed with Gothic objects. His collection of art includes Canaletto's and Hogarth's Rake's Progress and there is always something new to be discovered in this treasure trove of objects. 
 The Museum of London
This museum tells the story of London, so we can explore the Romans in London or the effect of the Reformation in the 1530s, we can discover how Londoners entertained themselves or what Londoners did during the Blitz. 
 Museum of Childhood
How were children in the past built up? How did they play? How was school different? What was Punch and Judy? We will find out all this and more on our visit to the Museum of Childhood. 
 The National Maritime Museum
Here we can explore the history of maritime trade and travel, including stories of the powerful East India Company or the relationship between Britain's wealth and slavery.  
 

Apsley House
The home of the Duke of Wellington, hero of the Napoleonic Wars who was considered a hero after his win at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. His extravagant home contains many objects relating to his military past, including dinner services commemorating his military wins and paintings of his nemesis Napoleon as well an art collection with masterpieces by Velazquez and extravagant interior decoration.


ART GALLERIES

 National Gallery
One of the world;s greatest collections of European painting, with works from the 1200s to 1900. We can look at highlights of the collection and chart the major changes in the development of western art, looking at masters like Van Eyck, Leonardo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Caravaggio, Turner, Constable, Monet and Van Gogh. 

 National Portrait Gallery
This gallery should be more often visited than it is - with portraits of those people who have contributed to British history and culture we can hear the diverse stories of Kings and Queens, intellectuals and rakes, artists and writers, and maybe the odd criminal. Or if you just want a revision session of the English monarchy - we can do that too!
 Tate Modern
Whether Modern art is your thing, or you have no idea where to start, the Tate Modern is first port of call. Here we can explore, discuss, question and try to understand what Modern Art is all about. 
 Tate Britain
The wonderful new hang at Tate Britain tells the story of British Art from the early 1500s to today. We can wander through the galleries and see how art and British history relate to each other as well as chart the changes in British Art, with a focus on the 18th century Golden Age, with such English greats as Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Stubbs and on the English landscape painters Constable and Turner. 
 Victoria and Albert Museum
A laberynthine museum packed full of treasures - this is a museum of decorative arts so whatever your interest it will likely have an example - from painting to tapestries, ceramics to silverware, sculpture to ironwork and glassware to architecture. The British Galleries take you through the story of British Art and Design from the 1500s to 1900, and the new Medieval and Renaissance galleries are superb and well worth a visit. 
 Dulwich Picture Gallery
This little gem of a gallery is 13 minutes by train from Victoria Station but it feels as though you are in the middle of the countryside. The building built by Sir John Soane in the early 1800s has inspired the architecture of museums and galleries today and the collection of mainly 17th and 18th century paintings contains examples of Dutch, English, Italian and French paintings, including the Rembrandt highlight Girl at a Window. 
 Courtauld Gallery
If you like your Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings then this gallery is not to be missed. It has a small but outstanding collection of paintings by key artists, so if you want to see Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergere, Cezanne's struggle with painting Mont Saint Victoire or Van Gogh's Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear then this is the place to come. The Courtauld also has a lovely collection of art from other eras which we can also visit. 
  Leighton House
The purpose built studio-home of Lord Leighton (1830-1896), the great Victorian painter and President of the Royal Academy. We will hear about how he built his home and how he used it, for both social occasions and for work, we will see his studio and discuss his art collection as well has his own paintings, and finally we will hear about his travels around the world and his collection of Middle-Eastern tiles which he displayed in a room which resembles an exotic, eastern palace rather than an artist's studio in west London. 
  Kenwood House
A glorious 18th century country house in London, with a spectacular art collection including Rembrandt's Self-Portrait. 

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