London has a very rich history which is why it’s one of the most visited cities each year. We’ve all heard of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, but the city has a lot more to offer than the iconic building everyone knows about. If you are really passionate about this city and want to discover its flavor, then you should wander the streets, as many other buildings have very interesting stories.
From historical to modern ones, London is the place that offers everything in terms of style, beauty, and history, so if you’re planning your visit, you should check out the locations showcased in the selection below. These will allow you to experience and truly enjoy London from a not-so-touristy but authentic point of view.
The College of Arms
The College of Arms dates back to the 1500s and it’s one of the last remaining authorities on heraldic symbols. Throughout history, it has been responsible for determining the right to use flags over territories and coats of arms, and today it offers a glimpse into the ancient art of the heralds. The current building was built in the 1670s and it’s regularly open to the public.
If you want to visit it, you should know that it’s one of the few remaining buildings of the 17th century and it’s remarkably well-preserved. Even though the College of Arm’s military functions have greatly diminished, the organization is still frequently asked to investigate rights of usage when it comes to heraldic symbols.
This art is also closely linked to genealogy, and the Heralds can help with family history research. The College’s archives are the most comprehensive and extensive ones in Europe, so they form an invaluable source for anyone who wants to research family trees.
The Officers of the College are those who can help trace lineage for a fee that is agreed upon before beginning the research.
The Blackfriar pub
This beautiful building located on Queen Victoria Street has an interesting history as well. It was first built in 1875 where a medieval friary used to be, and then it was remodeled in 1905, featuring a beautiful art nouveau style. During the 1960s the building was almost demolished in an urban redevelopment phase, but it was saved thanks to the poet Sir John Betjeman.
Today you can definitely go there to enjoy a drink while looking at the building’s architectural style, and get a taste of London as the locals have the same character as the location itself. Or you can take a moment and savor the fact that you are in a beautiful pub of historical importance.
The Liberty department store is an impressive half-timbered Tudor-style building that was specially designed to allow trading to continue while other renovations were still in progress. The timber used for the store comes from two Royal Navy ships, adding to the location’s overall appeal.
The business began much earlier though, in 1874 when Arthur Lasenby Liberty decided to start his own business. He managed to create a department store that was so influential, especially for the Art Nouveau style, that in Italy this style was known as Stile Liberty.
If, while in London, you want to discover things such as fishing accessories or fish locators compared, this is not the place to start looking. However, if you want to buy luxury items such as jewelry or high-end women’s and men’s clothing and accessories, it’s the place to be.
20 Fenchurch Street
While London is home to many beautiful historical buildings, one cannot help but notice the interesting mix these make with the modern skyscrapers shaping the city’s skyline. One such example, the 20 Fenchurch Street, a commercial building that was completed in 2014.
One of its major attractions are the bars and restaurants located on floors 35th – 37th, and the most impressive area is the Sky Garden that you will surely enjoy stopping at if you are ever nearby. The Garden is, according to the building’s developer, the highest public park.
However, there are many people who say that it’s not really a park and that it cannot be seen as truly “public” as there are many restrictions that apply for those who want to get into the building.