London at Park Lane: Within Walking Distance Guests at Four Seasons can explore this neighbourhood like an experienced Londoner. Here are nine nearby spots not to be missed.
1/9 Fortnum & Mason have traded from the same corner on Piccadilly for more than 300 years. Gentlemen clerks in frock coats—and more recently gentlewomen in smart suits—help customers create their own tea blends and choose exotic comestibles from around the world. Buy some London honey from the shop's own beehives, on the roof.
2/9 The Household Cavalry Museum offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Queen's ceremonial regiment. Visitors to the 18th-century stables in the middle of Horse Guards in Whitehall, can watch working horses and guardsmen going about their daily activities guarding the monarch as they have for 350 years. The museum's collection of rare ceremonial regalia includes horse furniture and silver by Fabergé.
3/9 Victoria and Albert Museum is in the South Kensington museum quarter, dubbed "Albertopolis" because of the cluster of museums Queen Victoria's Consort helped to establish. Besides the V&A's collection of fine and applied arts, the area boasts the Science Museum and Natural History Museum. William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Philip Webb created the original décor of the V&A's café.
4/9 Apsley House, the commanding mansion on Hyde Park Corner, opposite the Wellington Arch, was the home of the first Duke of Wellington. That the British national hero, victor over Napoleon at Waterloo, lived in some considerable splendour is apparent in the house's glittering Regency interiors, its silver, porcelain and paintings. Don't miss Goya's famous equestrian portrait of the Duke.
5/9 Burlington Arcade's "Beadles,” in their Edwardian top hats, have been patrolling this luxury shopping mall since 1819, enforcing rules imposed by the landlord of the day, the Lord Cavendish. Visitors are asked not to whistle, sing or play a musical instrument, run, tote large parcels, open umbrellas or wheel in a pram. They can, however, buy exquisite jewels, antiques and leather goods.
6/9 St. James's Park, in front of Buckingham Palace southeast of the Mall, is London's oldest Royal park and arguably the loveliest. The footbridge across the lake of Henry VIII's former deer park is the place to take the best snaps of Buckingham Palace. Wildlife officers feed the pelicans on its lake between 2:30 and 3:00 pm daily.
7/9 The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace is the place to see a changing selection from the Royal Collection, the artworks and treasures accumulated by the monarch over 500 years and now held in trust for the nation. Paintings, sculptures, miniatures, objets—the vast array even includes 600 da Vinci drawings, one of the largest collection of da Vinci's work the world.
8/9 Shepherd Market, scene of the bawdy May Fair that gave this district its name, was where many a young 18th-century blade notched his first bedposts. Nowadays, the tiny warren of lanes, hidden behind Curzon Street, is home to pubs, cafes antique shops, galleries and a tiny, but choice, selection of boutiques and jewellers.
9/9 Thomas Goode claims to be the finest china shop in the world. It's hard to argue. This Mayfair institution has been furnishing the rich, famous and royal with bespoke china for more than 180 years. The Minton elephant in the window wowed the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889. Visit the shop's museum to see china made for the Imperial Court of Russia.
There’s something to be said for being neighbours of the Queen. The corner of Park Lane and Piccadilly, a stone’s throw from the Palace, sits amid some of London’s best and most historical shops, museums, parks and galleries. Henry VIII chased deer here, Queen Victoria bought plates and the Duke of Wellington enjoyed society. Take a walk in Royal London and see.
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