London has an unrivalled collection of world famous museums, galleries and historic attractions. I can tell you the stories behind the famous sites to bring them to life and show you the highlights of our museums and galleries putting it all in a historic and artistic context. More in depth tours are available too.
If you are particularly interested in art, I can suggest several days of tours taking you to the major collections, plus some lesser known but equally inspiring ones including contemporary galleries. I may be able to arrange some private viewings of artists’ sketch books!
If you have a particular interest do let me know – London has many specialist museums. For example, there is the fascinating Foundling Museum, the Handel House Museum, a museum of Garden History, the Hunterian Museum of medical curiosities and the treasure trove of Sir John Soane’s Museum.
Contemporary Art Tours
London has a vibrant contemporary art scene – from established names such as street artist Banksy and the (not so young now) “Young British Artists” like Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, to up and coming talent, there is an amazing mix to discover. We can explore the areas around Hoxton and Shoreditch which is full of galleries. Some are purpose built, others temporary installations under the arches of railway lines, at the back of pubs or in someone’s cellar! I will devise a route that takes in a wide range of styles to give you a feeling of the diversity and quality of what artists are producing right now in London. Most of the art will be for sale too!
Tower of London
One time royal palace, prison for political prisoners and now home to the crown jewels, the Tower of London is steeped in history and amazing stories of daring escapes, royal executions and ghosts! Walk back in time as I guide you through the most famous castle in the world. We maybe lucky and see Tower Bridge open to allow a tall boat through! You may like to combine your visit with a walk around the City of London or Docklands.
Scene of every coronation since 1066 and burial place of monarchs, writers, politicians, scientists and composers, the Abbey is also one of the finest gothic buildings in the world. Hear stories of the famous people commemorated as we explore this architectural gem. Walk in the footsteps of Prince William and Kate Middleton as you re-live the Royal Wedding. After our visit we can explore the quiet backstreets of Westminster, an area many Londoner’s don’t know!
St Paul’s Cathedral
Wren’s baroque masterpiece, St Paul’s houses the tombs of Nelson and Wellington, and has seen the funeral of Churchill and the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. From its splendid interior to the breathtaking views across London from the top of the dome, it makes for a memorable visit. We can explore London’s newest square, home to the London Stock Exchange, and atmospheric alleys full of interesting stories and some of Wren’s other beautiful churches.
I will show you the highlights of this wonderful collection celebrating world culture putting it all in context. The mysteries of the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, the Parthenon Sculptures, the world’s first strip cartoon, buried English treasure and even something for Harry Potter fans, I will ensure you get the most out of your time here. I can also provide more in depth tours such as the Great Civilizations – Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Roman, India and China.
Come and explore the history of western art from 14th century to 1900 as we enjoy masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, Monet and Van Gogh. Hear the stories behind the paintings as we consider why they were painted, the techniques used by the artists and the extraordinary lives of the artists. Please contact me if you would like a more in depth tour such as one focusing on Impressionists.
National Portrait Gallery
Just around the corner from the National Gallery is the National Portrait Gallery. An opportunity to walk through British history from the Tudors to the present day whilst enjoying portraits of Britain’s most famous people – monarchs, politicians, artists, scientists, writers and pop stars. We can see how fashion has changed and discuss the challenges contemporary portrait artists face.
Taking up the story of western art from 1900 to the present day, Tate Modern is housed in a dramatic former power station. I will show you the highlights of the collection including works by Picasso, Rothko, Pollock and Dali as well as seeing what contemporary artists from around the world are creating as we consider “what is modern art?” With the fascinating area of Southwark near by and the Millennium Bridge connecting to St Paul’s Cathedral there are lots of options to make this an inspiring day.
Hear and see the history of British art from 16th century to the present day including the revolutionary landscapes of Constable and Turner, and hear the amazing stories behind the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite artists. We can take a boat ride between the two Tate galleries.
Housed in a delightful 18th century mansion, this private collection contains some of the finest French furniture and porcelain as well as armour and masterpieces of French, Dutch, Italian and English paintings. Here the stories behind the paintings and the men who collected them. It also has a very elegant café in the courtyard!
Set in the stunning Somerset House, the highlights of this collection are the impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Discover masterpieces by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh, Matisse, Modigliani and Kandinsky. The lovely building and courtyard have appeared in numerous films, particularly period dramas such as adaptations of Charles Dickens and Jane Austin. I will show you where they filmed the street scenes!
Victoria and Albert Museum
Explore the greatest collection of decorative art and design from around the world with me as your guide to ensure you don’t miss the highlights of this huge collection. From the history of British design to Raphael’s cartoons for the Sistine Chapel and the amazing cast courts, there is so much to delight and inspire here. I’m delighted to offer more in depth tours on the British Galleries, Medieval & Renaissance, European Sculpture, the Asian Galleries, Paintings, Ceramics and Glass. The building itself is stunning and I can do a tour focusing on its decoration and the area known as Albertopolis.
One of the hidden gems of London, the former home and studio of Victorian artist, Lord Leighton, is a must for all those interested in 19th century art. The house includes some spectacular interiors as well as great art and sculpture. The tour will include the surrounding streets to explore more about the Holland Park Circle of artists, and a visit to one of London’s loveliest parks, complete with Japanese garden and a ruined mansion house.