notable buildings

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It costs nothing to study and enjoy London's wealth of interesting buildings. We list below, organised by century of construction, notable buildings which we would recommend you to go and have a look at. The buidlings are interesting for their architecture and construction. But they are even more interesting for what they say about the social history of their time. 

OUR FAVOURITE NOTABLE BUILDINGS

30 St. Mary Axe. City of London, 2003. Designed by Norman Foster's office at the top of their high-tech game. Known affectionately as the Gherkin. More info. 

66 Portland Place. Westminster, 1934. One of the best and best preserved 1930s buildings in London. HQ of the Royal Institute of British Architects. More info.  

Chiswick House. Hounslow, 1729. The finest Palladian-style building in London, its predecessor was inherited by Lord Burlington (aged 21) in 1715. More info.  

Duck Island Cottage. Westminster, 1841. With its ornamental barge boards and finials, the cottage is in bizarre contrast to nearby Whitehall grandeur. More info. 

Lloyds Building. City of London, 1986. Iconic early example of high-tech design by Richard Rogers. A modern building for an old institution.  More info. 

Royal Festival Hall. Lambeth, 1951. Leslie Martin's centrepiece to (and only surviving part of) the Festival of Britain. Friendly fifties modernism at its best. More info.  

St. Pancras Station. Camden, 1868. 245 ft single span roof designed by William Barlow. Saved from demolition, and substantially restored in 2017. More info. 

St. Paul's Cathedral. City of London, 1697. Christopher Wren's masterwork in which he is buried with inscription: Look around you to seek his monument. More info. 

LIST OF NOTABLE BUILDINGS

21ST CENTURY

30 St. Mary Axe. City of London, 2003. Designed by Norman Foster's office at the top of their high-tech game. Known affectionately as the Gherkin. More info.  

City Hall. Southwark, 2002. A spherical statement by the Thames. Designed by Norman Foster's office as a transparent and welcoming public building. More info. See on map. 

Embassy Gardens. Southwark, 2018. Apartments notable for the 25 metre transparent acrylic Sky Pool, spanning two buildings 35 metres up in the air. More info. See on map. 

Gasholders London. Camden, 2017. Cylindrical apartment buildings, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, within the re-constructed Kings Cross gasholders. More info. 

Leadenhall Building. City of London, 2014. An assured celebration of technology, known as the Cheesegrater. Designed by the Richard Rogers office. More info. See on map.  

London Eye. Lambeth, 2000. The world's most elegant Ferris Wheel, an initiative of the husband and wife team of architects David Marks and Julia Barfield. More info. See on map. 

Millennium Dome. Greenwich. 2000. Enormous and striking dome designed by Richard Rogers. Now the world's most popular entertainment venue. More info. See on map. 

New US Embassy. Southwark, 2018. A crystalline cube, designed by US architects Kieran Timberlake. A semi-circular pond to one side enhances security. More info. See on map. 

One Hyde Park. Kensington & Chelsea, 2009. Apartments for billionaires (one sold for £140m) overlooking Hyde Park. Designed by the Richard Rogers office. More info. See on map. 

Shard. Southwark, 2013. At 95 storeys and 1,016 feet, the tallest building in the UK. Designed as an elegant tapering glass spire by Italian architect Renzo Piano. More info. See on map. 

St. George Wharf Tower. Lambeth, 2014. At 50 storeys and 594 feet, the UK's tallest residental building. Highly energy efficient. Designed by Broadway Malyan. More info. See on map. 

Stadium Queen Elizabeth Park. Newham, 2012. Centrepiece of the 2012 Olympics, the stadium now hosts West Ham football club and athletics competitions. More info. See on map. 

Terminal 5, Heathrow. Hillingdon, 2008. A light, elegant and airy terminal designed by the Richard Rogers office. The largest freestanding structure in the UK. More info. See on map. 

Velodrome Queen Elizabeth Park. Newham. 2012. A supremely elegant structure, inspired by the structural economy of the bicycle. Designed by Hopkins Architects. More info. See on map. 

Wembley Stadium. Brent, 2007. Designed by Populous and Foster & Partners, the largest stadium (seating 90,000) in the UK. Retractable roof and 440 foot arch. More info. See on map. 

Woodberry Down. Hackney, 2010. New lakeside neighbourhood created by demolishing 1,980 council homes and building 5,500 new homes (41% affordable). More info. See on map. 

20TH CENTURY

55 Broadway. Westminster, 1929. Designed by Charles Holden as the HQ of London Underground. Cruciform plan steps back to central clock tower. More info. See on map. 

66 Portland Place. Westminster, 1934. One of the finest and best preserved 1930s buildings in London. HQ of the Royal Institute of British Architects. More info. 

Alexandra Road Estate. Camden, 1978. Designed by Neave Brown in ziggurat form to buffer railway noise. The first postwar council estate to be listed. More info. See on map. 

Alton Estate, Roehampton. Wandsworth, 1958. Seen as the crowning glory of post World War II social housing. Slab blocks with balconies set in parkland. More info. See on map. 

Anderson Shelter. Lambeth. The owner of a World War II back garden Anderson Shelter kindly accepts visits by interested members of the public on certain days. More info. 

Barbican Estate. City of London, 1965. After World War bombing II only 48 people lived in the 35 acre site. Now home to 4,000. A hymn to concrete. More info. See on map. 

Battersea Power Station. Wandsworth, 1935. Ceased generating electricity in 1983, but still one of London's landmarks. Designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. More info. See on map.

Boundary Estate, Shoreditch. Tower Hamlets, 1900. The new London Country Council's flagship slum clearance scheme, with laundry and workshops. More info. See on map. 

Broadcasting House. Westminster, 1932. Steel frame clad in Portland stone with a structural brick core to provide quiet studios. Designed by George Val Myer. More info. See on map.

Brunswick Centre. Camden, 1972. A bold re-invention of the street, with flats sloping back from a linear courtyard of shops. Designed by Patrick Hodgkinson. More info. See on map. 

BT Tower. Camden, 1965. At 581 feet it was, when built, the tallest buidling in the UK. Sways only 10 inches in 95 mph winds. Foundations 173 feet deep. More info. See on map. 

Canary Wharf Underground Station. Tower Hamlets, 1999. A triumphant design by Foster & Partners. Riding up the escalator is like ascending to heaven. More info. See on map.

Centre Point. Camden, 1966. A slim, elegant skyscraper of 34 floors designed by Richard Siefert. Notoriously stood empty for 9 years after completion. More info. See on map. 

Churchill Gardens. Westminster, 1950. The only part to be built of Abercrombie's plan to modernise London. 1,600 homes designed by Powell & Moya. More info. See on map. 

Croydon Airport Terminal Building. Croydon, 1928. The main building of the UK's first airport, home to record-breaking flights and Imperial Airways. More info. See on map. 

Dawson's Heights, Dulwich. Southwark 1972. Described by English Heritage as evoking an Italian hill town. Designed by Kate Macintosh at the age of 26. More info. See on map. 

Dorchester Hotel. Westminster, 1931. Conceived by Malcolm McAlpine as the perfect hotel, it hosted a rich brew of famous and infamous during World War II. More info. See on map. 

Du Cane Court. Wandsworth, 1937. With 676 flats, the largest private apartment block in Europe. Home to many music hall stars in the 1930s and 1940s. More info. See on map. 

Economist Building. Westminster, 1964. London's most civilised office tower, designed by Alison & Peter Smithson. An exemplar of gentle modernism. More info. See on map. 

Excalibur Estate, Catford. Lewisham, 1946. The last inhabited estate of post World War II prefabricated bungalows. Five have been listed for preservation. More info. 

Finsbury Health Centre. Islington, 1927. A masterpiece of humanist modern architecture for social purpose. Designed by Berthold Lubetkin. More info. See on map. 

Florin Court. City of London, 1936. An Art Deco masterpiece by Guy Morgan, a pupil of Edwin Lutyens. Used as the location for Hercule Poirot TV series. More info. See on map. 

Globe Theatre. Southwark, 1997. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was built in 1599, and re-built after a fire in 1614. The present Globe is a faithful replica. More info. See on map.  

Golden Lane Estate. City of London, 1957. Exemplary postwar social housing, exuding modern optimism. Designed by Chamberlain Powell & Bon. More info. See on map. 

Highpoint. Camden, 1935. The most elegant 1930s apartments in London. Designed with extraordinary verve by Berthold Lubetkin, and well preserved. More info. See on map. 

Hyde Park Barracks. Westminster, 1970. Designed by Basil Spence (architect of Coventry Cathedral) for the men and horses of the Household Cavalry. More info. See on map. 

Isokon Building. Camden, 1934. Minimal modern living designed by Wells Coates. Lived in by Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Agatha Christie. More info. See on map. 

Keeling House. Tower Hamlets, 1957. 16 storey maisonettes designed by Denys Lasdun to reflect the community of a terraced street. Refurbished in 2001. More info. See on map. 

Lillington Gardens, Pimlico. Westminster, 1970. With tower blocks still dominant, Darbourne & Darke pioneered medium-rise housing. More info. See on map. 

Lloyds Building. City of London, 1986. Iconic early example of high-tech design by Richard Rogers. A modern building (with services on the outside) for an old institution. More info. 

Luxborough Tower. Westminster, 1967. A white social housing tower in the bold spirit of Le Corbusier. Now 75% privately owned. Every flat has a balcony. More info. See on map. 

Methodist Central Hall. Westminster, 1911. Built for the centenary of John Wesley's death. Funded by one guinea given by each of one million Methodists. More info. See on map. 

National Theatre. Lambeth, 1976. Created after a 100 year campaign. Denys Lasdun's brutalist masterwork. Simple on the outside, complicated within. More info. See on map. 

Neasden Hindu Temple. Brent, 1995. Made of richly carved stone and marble. Designed by C.B.Sompura. and built with the help of 1,000 volunteers. More info. See on map. 

Peter Jones, Sloane Square. Kensington & Chelsea, 1936. The gently undulating facade was the first modern use of glass curtain walling in the UK. More info. See on map. 

Police Station, Trafalgar Square. Westminster, 1926. Hollowed from the base of a street lamp, this held one policeman and a telephone to Scotland Yard. More info. See on map.

Pullman Court. Lambeth. 1933. An outstanding modernist development in Streatham Hill of 218 flats, designed by Frederick Gibberd. More info. See on map. 

Regent's Park Mosque. Westminster, 1978. Accommodates 5,000 worshippers. Site swapped in 1944 for that of an Anglican cathedral in Cairo. More info. See on map. 

Royal College of Organists. Kensington & Chelsea, 1903. Home of the College until 1990. Designed by H.H.Cole, with rich classical and musical decoration. More info. See on map. 

Royal College of Physicians. Westminster, 1964. Denys Lasdun's thoroughly modern but sensitive intervention into a Nash terrace beside Regent's Park. More info. See on map. 

Royal Festival Hall. Lambeth, 1951. Leslie Martin's centrepiece to (and only surviving part of) the Festival of Britain. Friendly fifties modernism at its best. More info. 

Segal Close & Walters Way. Lewisham, 1984. Walter Segal was a pioneer of unusual self-build housing that was low cost, lightweight, and generated minimum waste. More info.

Selfridges. Westminster, 1909. Designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, it pioneered the use of steel frame cage construction in the UK. More info. 

Senate House. Camden, 1937. Designed by Charles Holden, it was conceived as 'a great architectural feature, an academic island in swirling tides of traffic'. More info. See on map.

SIS Building. Lambeth, 1994. Terry Farrell's design evokes Mayan and Aztec temples. Built on site of a glass factory, vinegar works, and gin distillery. More info. See on map. 

Soho Square Cottage. Westminster, 1925. An eccentric mock Tudor cottage built to disguise the entrance to an underground electrical sub-station. More info. See on map.

Southgate Underground Station. Enfield, 1933. A masterpiece of 1930s design by Charles Holden. Circular forms culminate in a remarkable finial. More info. See on map.

Southwark Underground Station. 1999. A fine Jubilee Line Extension underground station. Designed by MacCormac, Jamieson Prichard. More info. See on map. 

Span Housing Blackheath. Greenwich, 1956. Eric Lyons set a new standard for postware housing with his Span developments set in thoughtful landscape. More info. See on map.

Trellick Tower. Westminster, 1972. An iconic tower designed by Erno Goldfinger. A story of grim decline and gradual renaissance, with flats now sought after. More info. See on map. 

Westminster Cathedral. Westminster, 1903. Designed by John Bentley in striped stone and brick Byzantine style. The bell tower is 284 feet high. More info. See on map. 

Westiminster Underground Station. 1999. The spectacular deep level station, and the parliamentary building above, were designed by Michael Hopkins. More info. See on map.

Wigmore Hall. Westminster, 1901. Built by German piano manufacturer Bechstein, whose showroom was next door. Famed for its outstanding acoustics. More info. See on map. 

19TH CENTURY

23-24 Leinster Gardens. Westminster, 1863. Fake facades built to disguise an open section of underground railway. The doors have no letter boxes. More info. See on map. 

All Souls Langham Place. Westminster, 1824. Designed by John Nash, favourite architect of George IV. The idiosyncratic spire has 17 concave sides. More info. See on map. 

Blackfriar Pub. City of London, 1875. On the site of the Blackfriars monastery, its art nouveau interior makes one of London's most characterful pubs. More info. See on map. 

Brixton Windmill. Lambeth, 1816. Built as a wind powered mill, and operated as such till 1864. it was converted to steam in 1902 to produce white flour. More info. See on map. 

Duck Island Cottage. Westminster, 1841. With its ornamental barge boards and finials, the cottage is in bizarre contrast to nearby Whitehall grandeur. More info.  

Edwardes Square. Kensington & Chelsea, 1820. An exceptionally fine and well preserved garden square, on a modest scale, built between 1811 and 1820. More info. See on map. 

Foreign Office Building. Westminster, 1867. Designed by George Gilbert Scott as 'a kind of national palace or drawing room for the nation', intended to impress. More info. See on map. 

Great Eastern Hotel. City of London, 1884. A great Victorian railway hotel. Guests could bathe in fresh sea water, brought to the hotel daily by rail. More info. See on map. 

Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Westminster, 1882. Byzantine Revival design by John Oldrid Scott. Interior richly decorated in polychromatic marble. More info. See on map. 

Holy Trinity, Sloane Street. Kensington & Chelsea, 1890. Exuberant Arts & Crafts church in brick and stone. The nave is 9 inches wider than St.Paul's. More info. See on map.

Kings Cross Station. Camden, 1852. Original building, with great arched facade, by Lewis Cubitt. Spectacular new concourse by John McAslan, 2012. More info. See on map. 

Leopold Buildings. Tower Hamlets, 1872. Historic tenements by Sidney Waterlow's Improved Industrial Dwellings Company. Refurbished 1997. More info. See on map. 

Listed Underground Stations. 71 of the 270 London underground stations have been listed as being of architectural or historic interest. Built in the 19th and 20th centuries. More info.

London Bridge Station. Southwark, 1836. The first great London railway terminus. Re-developed from 2009 to 2017 by Grimshaw Architects. More info. See on map. 

Marylebone Station. Westminster, 1899. Built to serve the last railway that opened in the UK. Has the friendly atmosphere of a station in a country town. More info. See on map. 

New West End Synagogue. Westminster, 1879. Described by Historic England as 'the architectural high-water mark of Anglo-Jewish architecture. More info. See on map. 

Peabody Building, Commercial Street. Tower Hamlets, 1864. The first Peabody Estate, replacing slums with model dwellings. Now private flats. More info. See on map. 

Reform Club. Westminster 1841. The design, by Charles Barry, was inspired by the Plazzo Farnese in Rome. Grand saloon, and spectacular central atrium. More info. See on map. 

Round House. Camden, 1847. Originally a circular engine shed housing a turntable. Now, thanks to philanthropist Torquil Norman, a flourishing arts venue. More info. See on map.  

Royal Albert Hall. Kensington & Chelsea, 1871. 5,200 seat auditorium, built with profits from the 1851 Great Exhibition to promote the arts and sciences. More info. See on map. 

St. Pancras Station. Camden, 1868. 245 ft single span roof designed by William Barlow. Saved from demolition, and substantially re-developed in 2017. More info. 

Treasury Building. Westminster, 1898. John Brydon, chosen as 'competent in classical design', was passionate about open plan and natural light. More info. See on map. 

Welsh Baptist Chapel, Eastgate Street. Camden, 1889. Designed by Owen Lewis with red brick classical facade. Lloyd George was a regular attender. More info. See on map.

Wilkins Building, University College London. Camden, 1827. Courtyard (completed in 1985) and fine classical portico. Designed by William Wilkins. More info. See on map. 

18TH CENTURY

Apsley House. Westminster, 1778. Known as No. 1 London. The Duke of Wellington, who had been granted £700,000 as victor of Waterloo, bought it in 1817 for £40,000. He extended it and fitted it out lavishly. More info. See on map. 

Buckingham Palace. Westminster, 1703. Bought by George III in 1761, extended by John Nash for George IV during the 1820s. Extended further by Queen Victoria using money from the 1846 sale of the Brighton Pavilion. More info. See on map. 

Chiswick House. Hounslow, 1729. The finest Palladian-style building in London, its predecessor was inherited by Lord Burlington (aged 21) in 1715. The new building was designed by Burlington with help from William Kent. More info. 

Christ Church Spitalfields. Tower Hamlets, 1729. Radical classical geometry by Nicholas Hawksmoor. Built to bring Anglican presence to Huguenot area. More info. See on map. 

Kelmscott House. Hammersmith & Fulham, 1750. London home of William Morris from 1878 until his death in 1896. Georgian mansion beside Thames. More info. See on map. 

Kenwood House. Camden, 1779. Remodelling by Robert Adam of a 17th Century house. Central mansion with extended wings for orangery and library. More info. See on map. 

Mansion House. City of London, 1752. Designed by George Dance the Elder, and funded by a tax levied on dissenters. Lord Mayor's official residence. More info. See on map. 

Severndroog Castle. Greenwich, 1784. A 63 foot folly built by his widow as a memorial to William James, commander of the East India Company Navy. More info. See on map. 

Somerset House. Westminster, 1776. Built, at the urging of Edmund Burke, as a 'national building' for Government offices. Designed by William Chambers. More info. 

Spencer House. Westminster 1760. Magnificent town house designed by John Vardy (pupil of William Kent) for 1st Earl Spencer. Owned by the family. More info. See on map. 

St.George's Bloomsbury. Camden, 1730. The last of the six London churches designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, a pupil of Christopher Wren. More info. See on map. 

Strawberry Hill House. Richmond, 1776. Gothic revival decades before its Victorian vogue. Built by Horace Walpole, son of Britain's first Prime Minister. More info. See on map.

17TH CENTURY

10 Downing Street. Westminster, 1684. Home of the Prime Minister. The street was built by George Downing, a notorious spy for Oliver Cromwell. More info. See on map. 

Banqueting House. Westminster, 1622. The first British building in neo-classical style. By Inigo Jones, it is the last suriviving part of the Palace of Whitehall. More info. See on map. 

Burlington House. Westminster 1667. Remodelled by James Gibbs in 1709. The main block was taken over by the Royal Academy in 1867. More info. See on map. 

College of Arms. City of London, 1683. Built following the 1666 Great Fire of London. Designed by Francis Sandford, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant. More info. See on map.

Fenton House. Camden, 1650. A fine merchant's house with an attractive walled garden containing a 300 year old orchard. Owned by the Natonal Trust. More info. See on map. 

Ham House. Richmond, 1610. House described by the National Trust as 'Europe's most complete survival of 17th Century fashion and power'. More info. See on map. 

Kensington Palace. Kensington & Chelsea, 1605. Originally a Jacobean mansion, it was extended by Christopher Wren in 1689 for William and Mary. More info. See on map. 

Queen's House, Greenwich. 1635. An early and fine example of British classicism, its long south elevation facing parkland. Designed by Inigo Jones. More info. See on map. 

St. Bride's. City of London, 1672. Christopher Wren' second tallest church, after St.Paul's. The seventh church on the site, the oldest dating to the 7th Century. More info. See on map. 

St. Clement Danes. Westminster, 1682. A church site since the 9th century. The present church is by Christopher Wren, and has links to the Royal Air Force. More info. See on map. 

St. James Garlickhythe. City of London, 1682. Designed by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London. Many windows create a light interior. More info. See on map. 

St. James's Piccadilly. Westminster, 1684. A spacious and elegant Wren church. Built of red brick with Portland stone dressings, with a barrel vault. More info. See on map. 

St. Lawrence Jewry. City of London, 1687. Wren church, faced in stone, with a grand east front. Described by Betjeman as 'very municipal, very splendid'. More info. See on map.

St. Martin within Ludgate. City of London, 1684. Wren church, with spire designed to contrast with the nearby dome of St.Paul's Cathedral. More info. See on map. 

St. Paul's Cathedral. City of London, 1697. Christopher Wren's masterwork in which he is buried with inscription: look around you to seek his monument. More info.  

St. Stephen Walbrook. City of London, 1679. Wren church with 63 ft high dome centred over 12 columns, based on Wren's original design for St.Paul's. More info. See on map. 

Totteridge Church. Barnet, 1613. An old English village church surrounded by north London. 2000 year old yew, thought to be oldest tree in London. More info. See on map. 

York Water Gate. Westminster, 1625. The only surviving part of palatial York House, which was sold to a developer in 1672 for £30,000 and demolished. More info. See on map. 

BEFORE 1600

Hampton Court Palace. Richmond, 1515. Built for Cardinal Wolsey by Henry VIII. Massively expanded by William III in the 17th century, to rival Versailles. More info. See on map. 

Jewel Tower. Westminster, 1366. A surviving element of the medieval Palace of Westminster. Built to house the personal treasure of Edward III. More info. See on map. 

Lambeth Palace. Lambeth, 1200. The Palace was acquired by the Archbishopric of Canterbury in 1200 and has since been the official residence of the Archbishop. More info. See on map

Roman Wall. City of London, 2nd century AD. A defensive wall built around London by the Romans in the 2nd/3rd century. Large fragments remain. More info. See on map. 

Southwark Cathedral. 1106. An Augustinian priory from 1106 to 1538, then parish church. Re-constructed in the 19th century, a cathedral since 1905. More info. See on map. 

St. Bartholomew-the-Great. City of London, 1123. Founded as an Augustinian priory, the crossing and choir survived the dissolution of the monasteries. More info. See on map. 

St. Margaret's Westminster. 1523. Founded in the 12th century, and in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, it is the church of the House of Commons. More info. See on map. 

St. Dunstan in the East. City of London, 1100. Largely destroyed by bombing in World War II, the ruins have been turned into a well-kept public garden. More info. See on map. 

St. Ethelburga-the-Virgin. City of London, 1411. A rare church not destroyed by the Great Fire. But savaged in 1993 by a massive IRA bomb. Now restored. More info. See on map. 

St. James's Palace. Westminster, 1536. Built by Henry VIII in red brick Tudor style on the site of a leper hospital. A notable feature is the north gatehouse. More info. See on map. 

Temple of Mithras. City of London, 3rd century AD. Dedicated to Mithras, a god popular with Roman soldiers. Discovered during building work in 1953. More info. See on map. 

Tower of London. Tower Hamlets, 1078. Followed the Norman Conquest. White Tower was a resented symbol of oppression. Houses the Crown Jewels. More info. See on map. 

Westminster Abbey. 1250. Church site since the 7th century. Construction of present Abbey began in 1245, on orders of Henry III. Site of coronations since 1066. More info. See on map. 

Westminster Hall. Westminster 1097. Oldest part of the Palace of Westminster. When built it was the largest hall in Europe. The roof required 600 oaks. More info. See on map.