The Bank of England

If I know people, like I think I know people, then people like free stuff.

A visit to the Bank of England Museum is free and you can learn about Adam Smith, the history of the rise and fall and the rise of the banks. Why not have a go at quantitative easing?

Have you every picked up a bar of gold? The highlight of this visit is picking up a real bar of gold.

Plan A was get a good strong box,
and some guns

Vast displays of coins from antiquity.


And the highlight of the free visit.


Mr Brown, you forgot this one!

Freemasons Hall

Home of UGLE (United Grand Lodge of England) since 1775, rebuilt in the Art Deco form in the 1920’s.

Featured in the TV series Spooks, and also you may have seen it used as a venue during Fashion Week.

Small girl standing next to chair to show size of golden chair.
Large ceremonial golden chair.


Below is  a picture of a roped-off section where public not allowed to wander into. I don’t think they had an audio guide but all the symbolism, the triangles, the globe, the meteorite striking a pyramid. What does it all mean? They give a tour guide 5 times a day.



And finally, this is the room featured in Spooks.








The Banqueting House

Turn right at the Houses of Parliament, walk along Whitehall until you get to Horse Guards Parade.

On the opposite side of the road is Banqueting House, the only remaining part of the Whitehall Palace. Designed in 1619 by Inigo Jones.

Here, for six pounds you can lie on a beanbag and stare at the ceiling for your whole lunch break.

Painted around 1636, by the Flemish painter, Sir Paul Rubens, now remains his only in-situ ceiling paining.  After a mix up on the measurements (length of a foot is different in Belgium) it was cut to size by Inigo and Rubens’ apprentice. The artist never did see his work.

You also get an audio guide.



Yes it really is opposite Horse Guards Parade.



Kirkaldy Testing Museum

The museum is open the first Sunday of each month

In 1874 the Kirkaldy Test Works was set up by David Kirkaldy, a  Scottish engineer. Its purpose was to independently test construction materials. The first of its kind.

Kirkaldy’s machine and other machines have been restored and preserved in the same building that is now a museum. So if you know your tension from your torsion you have come to the right place.

“Facts not Opinions” was David Kirkaldy’s mantra, emblazoned  onto his building.

On a recent visit (3/10/2015) I had an excellent tour guide, a German engineer. As well as knowledgable we even had demos of the machines. All the guides are volunteers.

The museum was also taking part in Merge Arts Festival (Bankside) and the downstairs basement had been converted into an interactive art installation that was thoughtfully reflective of the museum.

Kirkaldy Testing Museum
99 Southwark St, London, SE1 0JF
Website: Testing Museum
Cost Adult: £5
The museum is open the first Sunday of each month

Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar and Cafe

(Open Daily 10 am to 10 pm until late September)

Although I have strolled along the South Bank for many years, I’ve failed to notice the sign to Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden. So, just to give you a gentle hint, look for the GIANT YELLOW CONCRETE STAIRCASE.

I enjoyed a coffee here from the café bar. The menu looked appetising.  I had a stroll around the wild flower meadow and mini allotment, not what you expect in London, a real secret garden, serendipitous.

There’s also a family craft centre, someone asked me if I wanted to join a clay workshop. Alas I would, but I had to get back to work.

Wonderful hideaway, useful to know to impress family and friends when taking them along the South Bank on a sunny day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden
South Bank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
Open Daily 10 am to 10 pm until late September
Cost : Free

Lower Marsh

You may recognise Lower Marsh from the 02 advert?  It’s regularly featured in TV adverts, films and  BBC interviews. People that work here tell me sometimes they don’t know who’s real and who’s an extra.

A great place to explore. Street food from around the world, book shops, trinket shops, 1940’s memorabilia shop, model railway shop, restaurants. Oh yes coffee, you will never be more than 10 paces from  a coffee shop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lower Marsh
Lower Marsh, Lambeth, London SE1 7AB
Website: Lower Marsh Market/
Other sites: