London’s broad variety of street art makes it one of the most vibrant cities in the world. For guests at hotels near Lancaster Gate Station London situated in the heart of the city centre, the broad variety of sites and attractions that are within walking distance make easy work for the London art and architecture enthusiast. The long history of the city means that the sites and attractions open to the public are widely varied. From innovative contemporary street art to historic monuments, there’s plenty of unique attractions to enjoy during a stay in London.
Originally located outside of Buckingham Palace’s Mall, Marble Arch was completed in 1833 and comprises of a Carrara marble fronted archway inspired by the Arc de Triomphe and Arch of Constantine in Rome. Now located on a traffic island just off of Hyde Park, the Marble Arch is still one of the key signifiers of Westminster’s grandiosity and status.
Although Nelson’s Column was built 38 years after the death of the man it’s commemorating, Nelson’s Column is one of the most recognizable monuments in the West End. With its huge plinth towering 169 feet in the air, the statue of Nelson rests atop the structure and commemorates his heroic general’s death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when he defeated the Napoleon led French. Both a mark of history and a beautiful landmark in Trafalgar Square, this is definitely one you won’t miss during your West End visit.
Trafalgar Square Lions
Surrounding Nelsons Column but built 24 years later, the four bronze lions of Trafalgar Square were part of the original design of the column but added later due to planning restrictions and architectural disagreements. Eventually designed by Edward Landseer, these fearsome-looking beasts really add to the gravitas of the monument.
Built overlooking the concert hall of the same name, the Albert Memorial was built in memory of Queen Victoria’s beloved husband. Built after the prince’s death in 1861, the monument overlooks South Kensington and Kensington Gardens and is built with a grand pavilion and allegorical sculptures, surrounding the Gothic Revival Style sculpture of Prince Albert. Located close to accommodation in Lancaster Gate UK, the Albert Memorial is hard to miss on the corner of Kensington Gardens.
Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
Dedicated to Anteros the Greek god of unrequited love, this memorial to the philanthropic and social cause-driven Earl of Shaftesbury is located just off centre in Piccadilly Circus. Built in 1893, this statue is a prime example of Victorian architecture and provides a focal point for the London square that can easily distract.
The Artillery Memorial was built 7 years after the end of the First World War but pays haunting tribute to those who died as part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. With its huge Howitzer artillery gun pointing at the sky and the stoic soldiers stationed around it, this striking statue can be found at the corner of Hyde Park and close to the Wellington Arch.
A Conversation With Oscar Wilde
Based close to Charing Cross Station, this Adelaide Street oddity was designed by famous expressionist Maggi Hambling and sees a cartoonish representation of the Victorian writer absorbed into the bench like structure. This fun sculpture is not only a great nod to the flamboyance and genius of the famed Londoner but also the perfect spot for wandering tourists to sit and let their own imaginations take them on a London journey.
Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud is located a little out of the way for central guests of the Park Grand London hotel deals with breakfast included but is well worth the morning trek to the Millenium Dome’s Docklands area. Towering over the unused land, this steel sculpture reaches 30 metres high and pays tribute to the lost industry of the London Docklands.
Leake Street Street Art
Based next to the Waterloo Vaults, the Leake Street underground passageway has become a vivid haven for graffiti artists, seeing an everchanging collage of beautiful works from all walks of life. With the nearby Waterloo Vaults labyrinth providing evermore culture, this tunnels art provides a great bridge into the cultural underground of London.
7 Noses of Soho
A unique piece of political street art, this 1997 multi-installation piece by Rick Buckley was designed as a protest against the rising surveillance state. Whilst some of the noses may have been plastered over or broken, you can find several of the artists own nose plaster casts dotted throughout Shaftesbury Avenue and Soho. See if you can find some of these Situationist inspired sculptures across Admiralty Arch, Meard Street, Bateman Street and Endell Street.
Banksy’s Guard Dog and His Masters Voice
The anonymous street art favourite Banksy has created a range of works throughout London, many of which are now protected. One of these politically charged works is the Guard Dog and His Masters Voice piece, located on a wall outside Cargo Nightclub. Dating back to 2003, this piece represents the rebellion of youth against old conservatism, encapsulated in the absurd image of a dog holding a bazooka to a gramophone.
Banksy’s Shop Till You Drop
Located on Bruton Lane, this is another of Banksy’s famous prints and shows a woman falling down the side of an office building with a shopping trolley. Always the anti-consumerist, Banksy’s West End mural is easy to miss but encourages commuters and tourists to look up from their feet or phone to the wonders above them.
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
These Crystal Palace oddities were added to the park in 1854, to accompany the crystal palace’s move from Hyde Park after the Great Exhibition. The dinosaurs, though anatomically incorrect, represent a push for Victorian parks to become more publically accessible and add some real character to the pondside shrubbery.
Built as a control tower for the London 2012 Olympics, the ArcelorMittal Orbital is now a huge DNA shaped slide that can be found in Queen Elizabeth’s Olympic Park. Designed by revolutionary sculptor Anish Kapoor, this red spiral framed structure reaches 115 metres into the air.