When it comes to points of interest, you really are spoilt for choice in London. The city’s rich history and culture means there’s something worth seeing at the turn of almost every corner. But with so many amazing design landmarks, it can be tough to know what to do first. So, from historic buildings to famous murals, there are suggestions here to suit everyone’s interests…
- Location: Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS (map)
- URL: www.barbican.org.uk
- Opening times: Mon-Sat: 09:00 – 23:00, Sun: 12:00 – 23:00
- Entry: £10 (standard art gallery ticket)
The exhibitions hosted at London’s Barbican Centre are not the only reason this venue is a must-visit for designers. A beautiful example of Brutalist architecture, the performing arts centre is one of the most divisive structures in the city. It’s been referred to as ‘architectural marmite’ in the past – with people either loving or hating its design. Pay it a visit and let us know what you think!
- Location: 188 Kirtling Street, London SW8 5BN (map)
- URL: www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk
- Opening times: Not open to the public, but public events and very occasional guided tours are held here. Check website for details.
For a hint of what London was like back in the ’30s, check outBattersea Power Station. A listed building, the station became the largest brick building upon the completion of the third and fourth chimneys in 1955. A prime example of 1930s Art Deco architecture, this London jewel is defintely worth a visit.
- Location: 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD (map)
- URL: http://designmuseum.org/
- Opening times: Mon-Sun: 10:00 – 17:45
- Entry: Adult – £9.50/Concession – £8.30/Student – £5.95
What is now a museum of contemporary design was formerly a 1940s banana warehouse. The building was converted by Sir Terence Conran, almost beyond recognition, to resemble architecture of the International Modernist style of the 1930s. You’ve got a little while yet, but go and check out the Design Museum before it’s moved to a larger, new site at the former Commonwealth Institute in 2015.
- Location: Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB (map)
- URL: www.londoneye.com
- Opening times: Mon-Sun: 10:00 – 20:30
- Entry: Senior – £15.30/Adult – £19.20/Child – £12.30 (standard tickets)
For some of the best views in London, jump on one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, The London Eye. The vision of husband and wife architect team David Marks and Julia Barfield, the wheel design was used as a metaphor for the end of the 20th century, and time turning into the new millennium. On a good weather day, the wheel’s engineering and design allows passengers in the London Eye’s capsules to see up to 40 kilometres in all directions.
- Location: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX (map)
- URL: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/venues/royal-festival-hall
- Opening times: Mon-Sun: 10:00 – 23:00
- Entry: Free
For a dose of history, head over to The Royal Festival Hall, which was built to mark the 1951 Festival of Britain. A 2,900-seat concert, dance and talks venue, the listed building was built as a beacon of hope after the horrors of war. The biggest and most visible Modernist building at the time, the Royal Festival Hall was designed by Leslie Martin, Peter Moro, and Robert Matthews.
- Location: Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA (map)
- URL: www.serpentinegallery.org
- Opening times: Mon-Sun: 10:00 – 18:00
- Entry: Free (£1 donation suggested)
The Serpentine Gallery alone is a fantastic source of inspiration for any designer. But one its most celebrated features is its yearly summer pavilion installation. With over a decade of stunning architectural designs and installations, designers featured include Zaha Hadid (2000), Toyto Ito and Cecil Balmond (2002), Oscar Niemeyer (2003) and Frank Gehry (2008).
- Location: 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG (map)
- URL: the-shard.com/
- Opening times: Mon-Sun: 09:00 – 21:00
- Entry: Adult – £24.95/Child – £18.95 (advance)
The newest addition to London’s beautiful skyline is a 95-storey skyscraper known as The Shard. Completed last year, this impressive building stands at over 300 metres high, making it the tallest in Western Europe. Its irregular pyramidal shape was designed by Italian award-winning architect Renzo Piano. Open to the public for the first time in February 2013, check out the views from the open-air observation deck – the UK’s highest – on the 72nd floor.
- Location: Area of Central London, located immediately adjacent to the South bank of the River Thames (map)
- URL: http://www.southbanklondon.com/
To really witness creativity in London, a trip to South Bank is a must. The 1951 Festival of Britain redefined South Bank as the place for arts and entertainment; it’s home to the Southbank Centre, the British Film Institute, the Royal Festival Hall and many more significent buildings. Wander along the river and enjoy the street performers, amazing graffiti and beautiful architecture. A designer’s paradise, you’re sure to find inspiration in this eclectic area of London.
- Location: Corner of Carnaby Street and Broadwick Street (map)
If you’re a fan of awesome street art, then you’ll love this Spirit of Soho mural, created by the Soho community and completed in 1991. Depicting Soho life and dedicated to its previous residents, the mural features St Anne, dedicatee of the local church; her skirt showing the map of Soho, craftsmen and London landmarks. There’s so much going on in this mural it demands more than just a flying visit. A must see!
- Location: St Pauls Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD (map)
- URL: www.stpauls.co.uk
- Opening times: Mon-Sat: 08:30 – 16:00
- Entry: Adults – £15/Senior & Students – £14/Child – £6
A national treasure, St Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Designed by SIr Christopher Wren, not only does St Paul’s have a world-famous dome, it also has an awe-inspiring interior and rich history. While visiting, be sure to climb the dome to the Whispering Gallery and try out its unique acoustics; a whisper on one side can be heard clearly 100 feet away. While your there, climb the 271 more steps to reach the Golden Gallery at the very top of the dome where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views across London.