places

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To explore the richness of London you need to look not just at individual buildings, but at places. These include the numerous river crossings, all of which have great views of the Thames. Also special streets which have particular character - be it a grand processional way like the Mall, or an intimate covered arcade like Leadenhall Market. And as well as streets there are notable urban spaces which distil the diverse character of London. All are worth a visit.

OUR FAVOURITE PLACES

Battlebridge Basin. Islington. Basin constructed in 1820 with the eastern section of the Regent's Canal. Home to canal barges and King's Place development. More info. 

Bold Tendencies. Southwark. A creative hub with contemporary art, music, and cafe on the roof and upper floors of an abandoned multi-storey car park in Peckham. More info. 

Chiswick Mall. Hammersmith & Fulham. Fine riverside promenade, lined with elegant 18th and 19th century houses looking out over the Thames. Also former shipyard. More info. 

Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Tower Hamlets/Greenwich. Unusual 1902 cast iron pedestrian tunnel 1250 ft long. Designed by Alexander Binnie to replace a ferry. More info. 

Kelly Street, Kentish Town. Camden. The prettiest of London's multi-coloured streets. Curving terraced houses with ornamental ironwork. More info. 

Marylebone High Street. Westminster. A shopping street of great quality and character. Fashion, books, food, furniture, fabrics, cafés and restaurants. More info. 

Millennium Foot Bridge. City of London/Southwark. Designed by Norman Foster, opened in 2000 closed for two years to correct wobble. More info. 

Outer Circle, Regents Park. Magnificent cream-painted stucco fronted terraces surrounding Regent's Park. By John Nash and Decimus Burton. More info. 

Thames Foreshore. The Thames foreshore is a surprising place at low tide.  In places it resembles a beach. Watch metal detectorIsts, searchers and diggers, operating subject to a paid licence. More info.

LIST OF PLACES

RIVER CROSSINGS

ILLUMINATED RIVER

Illuminated River. Launched in July 2019, and intended to last for at least ten years, the Illuminate River project transforms central London bridges with dynamic light installations by light artist Leo Villareal. The first bridges to be illuminated are London Bridge, Cannon Street Railway Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Millennium foot bridge. More info.

21ST CENTURY BRIDGES

Fan Bridge. Paddington Basin, Westminster, 2014. Unique footbridge fromed from five side-by-side sections with offset pivots. In action Wednesdays and Fridays at noon. More info. See on map. 

Millennium Foot Bridge. City of London/Southwark. Designed by Norman Foster, opened in 2000 and immediately closed for two years to correct wobble. More info. 

Paddington Basin Water Taxi. Westminster. Free canal trips at lunchime on Wednesdays and Fridays during the summer months. Passes the remarkable Rolling and Fan mechanical foot bridges. More info.

Rolling Bridge. Paddington Basin, 2004. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the remarkable rolling bridge uncurls every Friday at noon to create a footbridge. More info. See on map. 

20TH CENTURY BRIDGES

Chelsea Bridge. Kensington & Chelsea/Wandsworth. Built in 1937 to replace a failing 1858 bridge. Name changed from Victoria Bridge to Chelsea Bridge. More info. See on map. 

Chiswick Bridge. Hammersmith & Fulham/Richmond. Concrete bridge built in 1933 to relieve traffic congestion in west London. Formerly a ferry crossing. More info. See on map. 

Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Tower Hamlets/Greenwich. Unusual 1902 cast iron pedestrian tunnel 1250 ft long. Designed by Alexander Binnie to replace a ferry. More info.  

Hampton Court Bridge. Richmond. Only Thames bridge with one end in London. Designed in 1933 by Edwin Lutyens to harmonise with Hampton Court Palace. More info. See on map. 

Lambeth Bridge. Westminster/Lambeth. Opened in 1932 on the site of a horse ferry (thus Horseferry Road). Notable for its obelisks with pine cones. More info. See on map.  

Kew Bridge. Hounslow/Richmond. Third bridge, first being in 1759. Opened 1903 by Edward VII, who was given a prehistoric axe found during construction. More info. See on map. 

London Bridge. City of London/Southwark. A box girder bridge, opened in 1973. The earliest bridge on the site was a timber bridge built by the Romans. More info. See on map. 

Southwark Bridge. City of London/Southwark. Opened in 1921 replacing the 1819 bridge, which had the longest (240 ft) cast iron span ever made. More info. See on map. 

Thames Barrier. Newham/Greenwich. Retractable dam built in 1984 to reduce risk of London flooding during high tides. Being used six to seven times a year. More info. See on map. 

Twickenham Bridge. Richmond. Built in 1933 with three reinforced concrete arches with Art Deco decorations. Hinges to adjust to changes in temperature. More info. See on map. 

Vauxhall Bridge. Replaced 1816 bridge - the first iron Thames bridge. Designed by Alexander Binnie, opened in 1906. First Thames bridge with trams. More info. See on map. 

Wandsworth Bridge. Hammersmith & Fulham/Wandsworth. A 1940 (camouflage) dark blue unadorned steel cantilever bridge by Thomas Peirson Frank. More info. See on map. 

Waterloo Bridge. Westminster/Lambeth. Designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, and opened in 1942. Reinforced oncrete beams, clad in stone, shaped like arches. More info. See on map. 

19TH CENTURY BRIDGES

Albert Bridge. Kensington & Chesea/Wandsworth. Built in 1873 but structurally unsound, Bazalgette added suspension chains in 1887. Piers added in 1972. More info. See on map. 

Battersea Bridge. Kensington & Chelsea/Wandsworth. Designed by Joseph Bazalgette in 1885. The narrowest surviving road bridge across the Thames. More info. See on map. 

Blackfriars Bridge. City of London/Southwark. Opened 1769 as third Thames bridge. Replaced 1869 by five arch iron bridge designed by Joseph Cubitt. More info. See on map. 

Hammersmith Bridge. Hammersmith & Fulham/Richmond. Designed by Joseph Bazalgette in 1887 to replace 1827 bridge unable to support Boat Race crowds. More info. See on map. 

Hungerford Bridge. Westminster/Lambeth. 1864 steel truss railway bridge replaced an 1845 footbridge designed by Brunel. New walkways added in 2002. More info. See on map.  

Putney Bridge. Hammersmith & Fulham/Wandsworth. Designed by Joseph Bazalgette and opened in 1886. A medieval parish church at each end of the bridge. More info. See on map. 

Richmond Lock & Foot Bridge. Richmond. The furthest downstream of the 45 locks on the Thames, opened in 1894. Open to pedestrians during daylight. More info. See on map. 

Tower Bridge. Tower Hamlets/Southwark. Designed by John Wolfe Barry, opened in 1894. Lifting sections to allow passage of sailing ships to Pool of London. More info. See on map. 

Westminster Bridge. Westminster/Lambeth. Seven arch cast iron bridge built in 1862. Designed by Thomas Page, with Gothic detailing by Charles Barry. More info. See on map. 

Woolwich Ferry. Newham/Greenwich. A free ferry service across the Thames since 1889. Operates at 10 minute intervals from 6.10 am to 8 pm with two boats. More info. See on map. 

18TH CENTURY BRIDGES

Richmond Bridge. Richmond. Built in 1777 to replace a ferry crossing. Widened and slightly flattened in 1940, retaining its original structure. More info. See on map. 

SPECIAL STREETS

Bermondsey Street. Southwark. Bermondsey Street and Square lie south of the Shard. Time Out describes as 'hyper-trendy, but still rough round the edges'. More info. See on map. 

Brick Lane. Tower Hamlets. Heart of London's Bangladedshi-Sylheti community, famous for its curry houses. Settled by French Huguenots in the 17th century. More info. See on map. 

Burlington Arcade. Westminster. An exclusive shopping arcade built by Lord Cavendish in 1819 in the side garden of Burlington House. Patrolled by beadles. More info. See on map. 

Cecil Court. Camden. Re-built by Lord Salisbury in 1894, this little pedestrian street saw the beginnings of the British film industry and attracted fascinating second hand bookshops, still there today. More info.

Church Street, Stoke Newington. Hackney. Lively, picturesque street of independent shops selling antiques, fashion, and crafts. Rich variety of eating places. More info. See on map. 

Fifth Avenue, Kilburn. Westminster. Well-preserved street of 1874 model terraced cottages built by the Artisan's, Labourers and General Dwellings Company. More info. See on map. 

Fournier Street. Tower Hamlets. Built (with attic workshops) for Huguenot silk weavers in the 1720s, some of the UK's best early Georgian town houses. More info. See on map. 

Jermyn Street. Westminster. Built in 1664 by the Earl of St.Albans. Expensive shops selling gentlemen's shirts, hats, shoes, and shaving brushes. Also cheese. More info. See on map. 

Kelly Street, Kentish Town. Camden. The prettiest of London's several multi-coloured streets. Early 19th century curving terraced houses with ornamental ironwork. More info. 

Kensington Palace Gardens. Kesington & Chelsea. Built from the 1840s, this road (London's most expensive) contains embassies and palaces for billionaires. More info. See on map. 

Lamb's Conduit Street. Camden. A picturesque, partly pedestrianised, street with many independent shops, two pubs, and great Victorian character. More info. See on map. 

Lansdowne Crescent. Kensington & Chelsea. A fine 1830 crescent with private communal garden, curving round the site of the Hippodrome horserace track. More info. See on map. 

London Wall. City of London. This road contains substantial fragments of Roman wall, also fragments of Colin Buchanan's 1960s scheme of elevated walkways. More info. See on map. 

Marylebone High Street. Westminster. A shopping street of great quality and character. Fashion, books, food, furniture, fabrics, cafés and restaurants. More info. 

Monopoly Properties. A Google Map showing the locations of all the streets on the classic Monopoly board. Your challenge is to visit them all. More info. 

Outer Circle, Regents Park. Magnificent cream-painted stucco fronted terraces surrounding and overlooking Regent's Park. By John Nash and Decimus Burton. More info. 

Oxford Street. Westminster. Originally a Roman road between Essex and Hampshire. Now London's most popular shopping street, with 500,000 daily visitors. More info. See on map. 

Piccadilly. Westminster. After the road from Charing Cross to Hyde Park Corner was closed in 1668 to create Green Park, stately homes were built along Piccadilly. More info. See on map. 

Regent Street. Westminster. Early example of town planning, designed by John Nash in 1825. Aimed to separate upper class in Mayfair from working class in Soho. More info. See on map. 

Regent's Park Road. Camden. One of London's pleasantest streets, near Primrose Hill. Time Out describes as 'a brilliantly villagey strip of restaurants and shops'. More info. See on map. 

Shad Thames. Southwark. Completed in 1873 as the largest warehouse complex in London. Storage for tea, coffee and spices. In 1970s decline housed artists. More info. See on map. 

The Mall. Westminster. Imposing ceremonial route planned by Aston Webb in early 1900s, together with grand new Buckingham Palace facade. More info. See on map. 

Whitehall. Westminster. Palace of Whitehall was the royal residence from Henry VIII to 1689. The road is now lined with government offices. Site of the Cenotaph. More info. See on map. 

Woodstock Road, Bedford Park. Ealing. The first and exemplary garden suburb. Developed in 1875 by Jonathan Carr and designed by Edward Godwin. More info. See on map. 

OTHER SPECIAL PLACES

Alexandra Palace. Haringey. Built in 1873 as a counterpart to the Crystal Palace. The 'Palace for the People' was destroyed by fire after 16 days, then re-constructed. More info. See on map. 

Battlebridge Basin. Islington. Basin constructed in 1820 with the eastern section of the Regent's Canal. Home to canal barges and King's Place development. More info. 

Bedford Square. Camden. Built between 1775 and 1783 on the Duke of Bedford's estate. One of the best preserved set pieces of Georgian architecture in London. More info. See on map. 

Belgrave Square. Westminster. 1820s. The grandest square in the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estate. Large mansions set at 45 degrees in each corner. More info. See on map. 

Broadgate. City of London. Major 1980s pedestrian development. Broadgate Circle hosts public art and performances. Winter skating in Exchange Square. More info. See on map. 

Bold Tendencies. Southwark. A creative hub with contemporary art, music, and cafe on the roof and upper floors of an abandoned multi-storey car park in Peckham. More info. 

Canary Wharf. Huge office and housing scheme on former dockland. Canadian developer, US architects. Went bust and bought back by original developer. More info. See on map. 

Chelsea Embankment. Kensington & Chelsea. Riverside embankment with Cheyne Walk (home of the famous) and picturesque houseboats. More info. See on map. 

Chelsea Harbour. Hammersmith & Fulham. 20 acre former coal yard turned into glitzy housing, retail, hotel and marina. 2,000 piles sunk 100 feet to London clay. More info. See on map. 

Chiswick Mall. Hammersmith & Fulham. Fine riverside promenade, lined with elegant 18th and 19 century houses looking out over the Thames. Also former boatyard. More info. 

Covent Garden. Westminster. Pioneering square by Inigo Jones for the Earl of Bedford in 1630. Evolved as a fruit and flower market. Now a shopping destination. More info. See on map. 

Dulwich Village. Southwark. From the 1760s Dulwich College let wealthy Londoners, often parents of pupils, build fine houses on their estate. A calm oasis. More info. See on map. 

Eel Pie Island. Richmond. An eight acre island in the Thames with colourful history. The elegant Eel Pie Island Hotel deteriorated, was squatted, and burnt down in 1971. More info. See on map. 

Erith Pier. Bexley. London's longest pier. Opened in 1842 it stretches 444 feet into the River Thames, together with the Pier Hotel and pleasure gardens. More info. See on map. 

Granary Square, Kings Cross. Camden. Centrepiece of Kings Cross development. Courtyard, with 1,080 fountains, fronting Central St.Martin's college of art. More info. See on map. 

Hackney Wick. Hackney. Thrived as an industrial centre in the 18th and 19th century, now an edgy mix of dilapidated industrial and creative space. Graffiti abounds. More info. See on map. 

Hoxton Square. Hackney. One of the oldest garden squares in London, laid out in 1683. Now heart of Hoxton's cutting edge arts, media and entertainment scene. More info. See on map.

Kings Cross Square. Camden. Large new public space fronting the restored and expanded Kings Cross station. Designed by architects Stanton Williams. More info. See on map. 

Leicester Square. Westminster. Laid out in 1670 as a genteel residential neighbourhood. Slid downhill in the 18th century, now hosts London's leading cinemas. More info. See on map. 

Lincoln's Inn Fields. Camden. Largest garden square in London. Laid out in the 1630s by developer William Newton. Beside Lincoln's Inn barristers' chambers. More info. See on map.

More London. Southwark. A major new riverside development, including the Greater London Council offices and Bridge Theatre. Planned by Foster & Partners. More info. See on map. 

Parliament Square. Westminster. The setting for the Houses of Parliament. Statues of Churchill, Lloyd George, Lincoln, Mandela, and other statesmen. More info. See on map. 

Piccadilly Circus. Westminster. The bustling heart of London's theatre district. First electric signs erected in 1908. Eros statue is not actually Eros. More info. See on map. 

Pickering Place. Westminster. A tiny square, through an alley. London's last duel held here. Site of Texas embassy before it joined the USA in 1845. More info. See on map. 

Putney Embankment. Wandsworth. Pleasant riverside embankment with several picturesque rowing club houses, and Leaders' Gardens park. More info. See on map. 

Queen Mary Sailing Club. Just outside London but included because it is so strange. Huge raised 700 acre reservoir 45 ft above the traffic. Bracing. More info. See on map. 

Russell Square. Camden. Laid out in 1790 by Duke of Bedford in garden of his London home. Contains one of 13 surviving 1875 cabmen's shelters. More info. See on map. 

Shadwell Basin. Tower Hamlets. Largest body of water surviving from the historical London Docks. Muscular 1987 housing by MJP Architects. More info. See on map. 

Smith Square. Westminster. Developed by Sir James Smith in 1726. Contains St.John's Smith Square, a baroque church now used as a concert hall. More info. See on map. 

South Bank. Lambeth. Industrial riverside land transformed (starting with the Festival of Britain in 1951) into a vibrant area for theatre, cinema, and music. More info. See on map. 

St. Katharine Docks. Tower Hamlets. Designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1828. Now a marina surrounded by flats, offices, and hotels. More info. See on map.  

Stave Hill. Southwark. 30 ft high cone-shaped artificial mound. A viewing platform on the top, with cast bronze relief map of the former docks. More info. See on map. 

Thames Foreshore. The Thames foreshore is a surprising place at low tide.  In places it resembles a beach. Watch metal detectorIsts, searchers and diggers, operating subject to a paid licence. More info.

Trafalgar Square. Westminster. Designed by John Nash, Trafalgar Square opened in 1844 on site of former Royal Mews. Nelson's Column and lions. More info. See on map. 

Westfield Stratford City. Newham. Taking surrounding shopping area into account, the largest shopping centre in the European Union. More info. See on map. 

Westfield London. Hammersmith & Fulham. An immense shopping centre in White City with 250 stores. 1.6m sq ft, being extended to 2.3m sq ft. More info. See on map.