A Small Dive Into The Deep Cultural Pool Of London

Often referred to as one of the great cities of the world, London draws talent, history, and creativity from all over the world to create a shining global cultural epicentre. Needless to say, for those who like to get a little more cultured on their city breaks, there’s no shortage of exciting things to try. But, where should you go if you’re new to the city, or you just want to make sure that you catch all of the must-sees? Here, we’re going to look at some of the top cultural spots of London in a by-no-means comprehensive list.

A day in the Palace

Whatever your opinion of the Royal Family, these days, there’s no denying that they are a cultural institution and, as such, Buckingham Palace can make for a fantastic place to take a tour. It’s still a working royal palace, it just happens to have state rooms that are open to the public for most of the year. It’s the opportunity to get up to close to one of the most stately residences in all of the world, to get a glimpse at what can feel like an entirely different world to some, and it also has some pretty gorgeous gardens. Buckingham Palace serves a something of a museum, nowadays, a look into that ancient institution it was built to house.

Take a late-night museum trip

Want something to do on the nights that don’t involve drinking? While many hit up London after dark for its nightlife, that is far from the only thing that it has to offer. London’s museums already offer plenty of great variety in terms of different educational topics, exhibitions, artefacts, and art for you to look at, but London’s museums also offer evening tickets, many staying open til as late as 10 p.m. With no kids or school trips to get in the way, it can offer a much more mellow way to experience some of those exhibitions. From the British Museum to the Victoria & Albert, there’s no shortage of fantastic spots to check out at night. Of course, London has a huge number of museums, many of them dedicated to some pretty specific topics, so you will want to do your research to find out which of them are open late.

Plenty of galleries, too

London is an artistic centre of the Western world, so it should be no surprise that there are just so many fantastic galleries to take a look at. From Tate Britain with its collection of historical British art, to the National Gallery which collects masterpieces from painters across the world, such as Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and more. You owe it to yourself to take the time to explore at least one gallery while in the city.

Take in a show

Not all art has to be so static, of course. Taking the time to see a play can be a wonderful way to spend an evening, and few places offer performances of truly world-class just like the West End. Prices can vary from show to show but, for the most popular ones, it can be hard to simply show up and get in, so it’s wise to get your tickets to the biggest West End shows ahead of time, to make sure that you can get in. Musicals, plays, one-person shows, and more, there are live performances of all kinds to be found. There are theatres and other play venues that can be found all throughout the city, so if you’re looking for something a little more experimental or off-West End, then there is certainly that option available to you, as well.

As the Bard said

If you have an ear for a slightly older form of English, and you want to see performances that are a little more classic, then Shakespeare’s Globe is definitely worth taking the time to visit. Inspired by and designed after the original Elizabethan playhouse, this venue hosts shows regardless of the weather. Standing tickets are relatively cheap, but the prices to sit beneath the roof are a little more expensive. Backstage tours can also offer a fantastic look at the craft as well as the history of the venue, to boot.

A dazzling modern display

If you want something a little less non-traditional, London is still and always the beating heart of many an artistic movement. One of the more notable spots that has arisen in the past few years is God’s Own Junkyard, a warehouse that hosts a maze of handmade neon signs, collected and curated throughout the years. Not only is it a dazzling sight itself, but also a curious look into the popular culture and spots that have come through the city throughout the years, a museum in its own right.

A living part of history

The history of a place is just as important to its culture as the art and architecture, of course. You can get a lot of these factors intersecting at the Tower of London, an essential stop for anyone who is visiting London, be it their first time or they just haven’t had the opportunity to check it out yet. The modern exhibitions of the dungeons and cells that were genuinely once used to house many a prisoner have been given a macabrely entertaining spin, nowadays, but they make sure to ensure that they still feel appropriate to the subject matter, as dark as it can get. What’s more, you can still see the Beefeaters in all of their brightly coloured splendour, now acting as tour guides for the visitors, on top of doing their job as genuinely being the guards and soldiers of the tower.

Of course, there’s a lot more to the cultural side of London than the places mentioned above, alone. As big as its cultural scene is, no one is going to be able to cover all that it offers in one list. It should, however, give you a good place to get started.