W1: Mayfair, West End, Soho, Marylebone; W2: Hyde Park; W8:Kensington; W11:Notting Hill

Handel House Museum
Handel House Museum
(25 Brook Street, +44 2074 951685,£6).  This museum was the very house that George Friedric Handel lived in during the most prolific period of his musical career, but it contains very little authentic artefacts directly connected to the composer.  This may be the reason why the museum holds very little interest, considering the amount of work put into the recreation of what it may have looked like when the composer resided in it.  Handel’s music is still played in the house, which lends it an atmosphere, usually by a music student, or on Thursdays, by more formal performers.
Next door, you will find Jimi Hendrix’s London abode, on the top floor of 23 Brook Street.

Green Park, sitting right in between Hyde Park and St. James’s Park, is distinguished from other London royal parks with its vast expanse of uninterrupted greenery, with only the Canada Memorial and the Australia and New Zealand War Memorials as its monuments.  Otherwise, it’s open woodland.

West End
London’s premiere centre for all things entertainment and commercialism, London’s West End is glamorous and unabashedly so, save for the horde of tourists that it attracts. The term came from the 19th century, when all that was fashionable was supposed to be concentrated west of Charing Cross.  The name has stuck, along with all things associated with it.  Within its boundaries, you will find Regent and Oxford Streets, Soho, Chinatown, and Leicester Square.

Picadilly Circus Eros statuePiccadilly Circus
There’s nothing mysterious or the least bit whimsical about Piccadilly Circus, despite its playful-sounding name, but it holds the greatest mystery in London tourism—how is it that Eros, unassuming aluminium statue standing in the middle of this busy intersection, attracts so many tourists?  Nevertheless, it’s well-trafficked by people on their way to the various streets that Piccadilly Circus connects.  Oh, there’s no circus here—circus comes from the Latin word for ‘circle,’ which is exactly what Piccadilly Circus is
 

With a Baroque-style façade and a multitude of entertainment for the instant-gratification generation, London Trocadero (Coventry Street, +44 9068 881100) packs a variety of activities, from arcades, to IMAX theatres, and everything in between.  It’s typically where London’s younger set hang out.

Royal Academy of Arts.  Constable 'Seascape Study with Rain Cloud'Housed in one of London’s finest Palladian mansions that still exists, the
Royal Academy of Arts (Burlington House, Piccadilly, +4 4 8442 090051) was founded by a group of English painters in the late 18th century, and has thrived ever since, without funding from the state or the Queen, despite the word ‘royal’ in its name.  It holds a variety of exhibitions regularly, but its Summer Exhibition is definitely the one to look out for, if you’re an upper-class English socialite granting the academy an endowment.  

Regent Street
John Nash planned this street to be the city’s luxury shopping district, and his original layout stands.  The street is still pretty, lined with listed buildings, yet also bombarded with crowds on their way to its massive department stores.

Burlington Arcade
Burlington ArcadeYou know that a shopping arcade is indeed high-end if there are men hired specifically for the task of watching if anyone does anything crass.  Burlington Arcade was founded in 1819, one of the first forms of a shopping arcade, and it has Beadles, uniformed men who will definitely not take your spitting on the hallowed grounds of the arcade lightly.

Oxford Street
Oxford Street’s less than two miles is packed with more than five-hundred shops, so you can just imagine how busy it must be any given day. Many of England’s brands have their flagship stores here—most notable is Selfridges, with its signature Art Deco clock, which is the second largest department store in the UK.


Soho
has undergone multitudes of transformation—from being a farmland, an infamous red-light district, and everything in between, to what it is now—a vibrant multicultural gay-friendly district.  Whatever transformation it undergoes, though, one thing is constant about Soho—it welcomes anyone with open arms, and while not a lot of tourists have done the same to it, it is a great place to explore, especially if you’re into people-watching.

Leicester Square
Pedestrianised Leicester (pronounced ‘lester’) Square is teeming with tourists, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  You will also find here London’s youth, off to the cinema or just hanging out.  You might chance upon a big movie premiere here, at the Empire.

Marble ArchMarble Arch
The Marble Arch, sitting as if stranded on a traffic island, was designed by John specifically as an entrance to the Buckingham Palace.  It was moved to its current location, across from Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, in 1851, when the Palace was extended.  

Marylebone
Just like Mayfair, Marylebone was one of the first grid-plan streets in London, decked out in Georgian architecture and with lovely Regent Park at its disposal.  

Wallace Collection. Frans Hals 'The Laughing Cavalier' The Wallace Collection (Hertford House, Manchester Square, +44 2075 639500, free) is a rare type of museum-gallery, as it never intends itself to look modern—it is decidedly old-fashioned, with its collection of paintings by such renowned names as Rembrandt, Hals, Velasquez, and Gainsborough (among more than 5000 objects in the collection), displayed in rooms outfitted with old-world European furniture.  The old-world spell is broken, while still retaining the charm, in the glass-covered courtyard that houses the Wallace Restaurant.

 

 

 

 

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Hyde Park LondonHyde Park is the biggest open space in Central London, and through the years it has served various purposes for the city.  When it was first cleared, it was used as a hunting ground, then subsequently became the choice venue for pursuits such as horse-racing and duelling.  Since 1872, it has been a site for public demonstrations, down at Speaker’s Corner, near the Marble Arch.  In 1851, it was the chosen venue for the Great Exhibition.  Nowadays, it sees its fair share of rock concerts, and sometimes crazy people trying to spark up a revolution in Speaker’s Corner.  Most often, you will find Londoners gallivanting around the open space, maybe for an afternoon boat ride on the Serpentine which divides the park into two.

 

London is in 2012 Olympics anticipatory fever, and Hyde Park has been chosen as one of the venues for its outdoor events.

 

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Kensington           
Kensington is an affluent district with attractive Victorian and Edwardian terraces. It is largely a residential area but Kensington High Street has many high-end boutiques.

Kensington Palace       
UK LONDON Kensington PalaceKensington Palace [+44 20 31666000, www.hrp.org.uk/kensingtonpalaces/, Adult £12.50] began life as Nottingham House, the residence of a well to do nobleman under William III. When the king desired a new residence, he bought the house in 1689 and asked Sir Christopher Wren to renovate it. Since then, famous inhabitants have included Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret, and Diana, the Princess of Wales.  See Queen Victoria's bedroom, the King's Staircase, with its charming mural depicting members of George I's court, and finally, take a relaxing cup of tea in the Orangery.

Kensington Gardens       
One of London's many stunning royal parks, Kensington Gardens [www.royalparks.gov.uk/kensington-gardens, free entry] was established by William III in 1689. The park provides 260 acres of leafy walks interspersed with calm, cool waters. The present appearance of the park owes much to Queen Caroline who created the Serpentine and Long Water in 1728 and to Queen Victoria who had the Italian Gardens and the Albert Memorial built. Overlooking the Long Water is a much loved part of the park, the Peter Pan statue. It was donated by author JM Barrie in 1912 and it has been a favourite with visitors ever since. There is now a playground for children, built in 2000 the Diana Memorial Playground has a huge wooden pirate ship at its centre.


 
UK LONDON Elegant Houses at LondonNotting Hill           
Fashionable Notting Hill has tree lined streets of Victorian terrace houses. It is a well-to-do and attractive area of the city. Portobello Road, famously the purveyor of 'anything and everything a chap can unload', runs throughout the district. The road is lined with antique shops and second-hand clothing shops as well as fruit and vegetable stalls. Every August since 1965, the Notting Hill Carnival showcases Caribbean music and dance. The Carribean community has been a significant part of Notting Hill since the 1950s.