About Sue H
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Jun 2014
I love travelling but London is my thing. I design and organise private tailor made tours of London and love exploring this great city.
Historic Sites, Ancient Ruins
Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
History Museums, Historic Sites, Military Museums
History Museums, Sacred & Religious Sites, Speciality Museums, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings
Castles, Historic Sites, Gardens, Mysterious Sites
Theatres, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
Government Buildings, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Art Museums
There is a Roman amphitheatre under London, and amazingly, this treasure was only discovered in 1988! Built back in AD70 it was once the scene of bloody battles featuring wild animals and gladiators in front of 6,000 screaming spectators. It's hidden from sight in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery — all you can see from the outside is the dark brick line across the courtyard, tracing the shape of the amphitheatre. Venture inside and you'll find the ruins, well explained through signage, plus digital displays that help fill in the gaps. Step inside and imagine the roar!
Step back in time and explore 900 years of history through this castle right in the heart of London. The Tower of London dates from 1068 and is full of stories telling of its violent past, especially when the Tower was a formidable prison and a site of execution for victims including Henry VIII’s second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn. Look out for Traitor’s Gate, where the condemned entered, the Bloody Tower where the dark mystery of the two princes is still unsolved, and don’t miss the Crown Jewels where you'll be dazzled by the sheer size and number of diamonds on show.
As you enter this underground bunker, it's as if Churchill and his staff left only yesterday, after planning Britain’s Second World War campaign from this fortified basement. As you explore the maze of tiny corridors of the War Rooms, you can see Churchill’s office/bedroom, the rooms of maps that battles were directed from, and the sombre records of the sheer numbers of planes and men lost on the bad days and nights. You can feel the claustrophobia and sense of danger even now, with some great recordings of those who worked here to add to your understanding of life in the bunker. You can also learn more about Churchill’s life, which spanned and influenced so many historic events.
This beautiful church oozes history, having been the venue for the coronations of British monarchs since 1066 (and you can even see the actual chair used in this ancient ceremony). There has been a church on site here since 960 AD, and the present one has seen some 16 Royal Weddings (including that of the current Prince William). Plus, the tombs are a roll call of Kings, Queens and famous historic figures such as Charles Darwin, Geoffrey Chaucer and Isaac Newton. More recent history is on show inside and out where you can see bomb damage from the Second World War.
Historic Hampton Court offers visitors two magnificent palaces to explore: the Tudor Palace, home to Henry VIII, where he flaunted his wealth and power; and the Baroque Palace, with its sumptuous state apartments. Events from history are brought to life as you walk in the footsteps of generations of monarchs here, and perhaps you will even see the ghost of one Queen who lost her head. The extensive grounds have their own history too – you can see a massive vine planted in 1769 and is still giving grapes, while the maze dating from the 1690s is harder to escape from than you’d think!
Go behind the scenes and back in time at this recreation of the Globe theatre where Shakespeare performed his plays in Elizabethan England. Take a guided tour with one of their experts and hear tales of the original Globe and about London during this era, or watch a play — either from a seat or standing just as someone would have done as a 'groundling' in Shakespeare’s day ... no heckling tho’!
The seat of power for the United Kingdom is in an impressive building with its famous bell tower 'Big Ben' watching over the proceedings. A guided tour not only lets you explore some fine state rooms, but within parliament's walls is the magnificent Great Hall, with its stunning wooden roof built at the end of the 1300s. This masterpiece has survived time, wood worm and a major bombing attack in the Second World War. If the walls could only tell their tales....
This hall witnessed one of the most dramatic and shocking moments in all of English history, when King Charles I walked onto a scaffold from this room and was beheaded by his own people. Part of a grand palace which burned down in 1698, the banqueting hall luckily survived with its glorious Titan ceiling. This is a smaller venue than many other historical spots in London, making it a good place to pop in for a quick visit.
At the Museum of London you can journey back in time to pre-historic London and then work your way right through to the present day via all the major events in London’s rich cultural past. Plus, much of what is on display has been found locally, helping to bring it all to life. Each passing era has left its mark on London and you will learn about every one of them in turn, from Roman times, through the medieval era and invasion of William the Conqueror, to the Great Fire and Plague of the 1600s and on to the years of expansion and wealth from the new empire. Explore the reconstructed streets of Victorian London, the wealthiest city in the world at that time, through to the devastating impact of the bombing during the Second World War and the reconstruction that followed. Coming up to date through the 2012 Olympic Games, you will see exactly how London’s culture, diversity and vibrancy have made it the world-class city that it is today.
Royal Greenwich is packed with history and you’ll not be surprised to discover it has been given World Heritage Site status. Standing on the deck of the Cutty Sark, you'll find yourself aboard one of the fastest sailing ships on the 1870s high seas. Visit the original 1670 Royal Observatory and see where GMT started, standing on the Prime Meridian, thanks to the 7th Astronomer Royal. Walk around the magnificent buildings of the Old Royal Naval College and soak in the atmosphere, pop into the Painted Hall and see how it got its name, and don’t miss the National Maritime Museum if you want to understand more about Britain’s naval history and see the coat Nelson wore when he was fatally shot.