The Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of World War II, in which the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy defended Britain against relentless air raids by Nazi Germany’s air force. The successful defense is commemorated in bronze friezes at the Battle of Britain London Monument. The friezes, cast at the Morris Singer foundry (which also cast some of the lions in Trafalgar Square), depict various scenes from the battle. The monument is located on the Victoria Embankment (north side of the River Thames) opposite the London Eye.

Arts and Crafts at Red House

William Morris was a leading member of the Arts and Crafts Movement. With help from the architect Philip Webb, he created Red House, a significant Arts and Crafts building located in Bexleyheath on the outskirts of London. It’s a red-brick villa with pointed arched window frames and towering chimneys that served as a family home for Morris. Inside, you’ll find decorative ceilings, stained glass and evocative murals like the Wedding Feast. Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations offer direct train service.

The Palace of Palaces

West London’s Georgian mansion Osterley House was once called “the palace of palaces.” It is, indeed, fit for a king—or queen. Its lavish rooms include the entrance hall, eating room, the long gallery, the tapestry room, the state bedchamber and the Etruscan Room. You can thank neoclassical architect Robert Adam for the palatial flair, who was engaged by the grandson of wealthy banker Sir Francis Child to transform the mansion. You can get there via Osterley or Hounslow East underground stations.

An Icon in Covent Garden

Three theatres have stood on the site of Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House since 1732. Home today to The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, its world-class performances are as iconic as the location in the heart of theatreland. In addition to performances, the facility offers a variety of learning programs for children and adults as well as an archives collection for researchers.

Heathrow Celebrates 75 Years

After starting life as a private airport, Heathrow evolved into the airport we know today in May 1946. Beyond the birthday, the seventy-five-year old facility has had its share of milestones. Some of the notable events associated with it include hosting over 2.5 billion passengers, seeing the return of the Beatles as international superstars in 1964 and welcoming Queen Elizabeth II for the first time as reigning monarch. Stories, memorabilia and archive imagery are all available to view in the Heathrow Historians Virtual Museum.

Hard Rock Marks 50 Years

London’s Hard Rock Cafe is the first in the chain. Now boasting more than one location in the city, its original locale at 150 Old Park Lane was christened on June 14, 1971. Nearly 50 years on, it’s still a vaunted, music-oriented hangout. You might particularly enjoy the Backroom, which includes a variety of vintage and iconic items like an original poster for The Who and a door from Apple Studios signed by The Beatles.

Medieval Meets Art Deco

In London’s Royal Borough of Greenwich, medieval meets Art Deco at Eltham Palace and Gardens. Indeed, the manor house is a unique combination of ancient and contemporary. The oldest part of the dwelling is the Great Hall, the only remains of the medieval palace that served as the boyhood home of King Henry VIII. The rest is an Art Deco-style mansion built in the 1930s by millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, who saved Eltham Palace from ruin after years of neglect. Among the rooms of interest in the house are the map room where they planned their exotic world travels and the centrally-heated sleeping quarters designed for their pet lemur. The 19-acre garden is likewise not to be missed. The Rock Garden leads to the moat, crossed by London’s oldest working bridge. Closer to the palace, the terraced beds are awash in color now with primulas, pansies and tulips. The property is about a 15-minute stroll from Mottingham railway station, which is served by London Charing Cross and Cannon Street stations.

The Story of Fleming

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin at St. Mary’s Hospital in 1928, a breakthrough that earned him a Nobel Prize. It’s only fitting, then, that the hospital is home to the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum. Declared an International Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, you can see Fleming’s laboratory (restored to its 1928 condition) and explore the story of Fleming and his development of penicillin through displays and video.

Jewish Britain

Around 150,000 Jewish immigrants settled in Britain from the late 19th century until the early 20th century, and the majority built their homes and lives in London’s East End. Their history there (as well as the overall history from medieval times to the present) is chronicled at the Jewish Museum on Albert Street. The facility houses some 28,000 objects representing  the history of the Jewish community in Britain and includes a Judaica collection and a social history collection covering subjects such as Nazism and the Holocaust.

Curating London

London has a museum for every taste. What about a taste for London itself? That’s where the Museum of London comes in, curating details about the capital from its first settlers to modern times. Discover the London “before” London, from around 450,000 B.C. until the creation of the Roman city of Londinium around A.D. 50, the biggest city Britain would see for over 1,000 years. The permanent exhibitions also feature medieval times, the city’s growth to one of the most populous and wealthy in the world and the 2012 Olympic cauldron. Free gallery tours are available daily.