From 1728 until 1818 Royals lived there. It’s small by palace standards. What remains of the once large complex is called The Dutch House. The real highlight is, of course, the surrounding Kew gardens – the largest botanical garden in the world. It’s a bit of a train journey away from central London but this UNESCO site is worth the trip. You can easily spend a whole day here.
Two household musicians, centuries and genres apart, under one roof. There are twin blue plaques here. If you’re a fan of either, this is worth seeing. Even if you’re not, it’s an interesting experience to see how to curate two heavyweights in one space.
I wasn’t at all versed in the history of the Order of St John. I recognized the Templars from pop culture. But I had no idea about how their descendants owned Malta then ran life-saving ambulance services. It’s one of those places you go and recognize things from it forever.
Also, the building, St John’s Gate, is fascinating. It’s a 16th-century gatehouse. There’s also a Norman crypt. It’s a small museum but packs a lot of history in.
4. Apsley House
Get your Regency on with the Duke of Wellington’s Georgian house. From Waterloo to today, the townhouse hasn’t changed much. It boasts a glittering interior with gilded gold, well, everything. Napoleonic relics lurk in every corner. And there’s an impressive art collection.
Whether you’re into the Regency, Napoleonic Wars, or European Art – Apsley House has you covered. On some days there are even Regency dances (I messed up the entire dance. I’m not a graceful woman.)
A local favourite. When I lived near Hampstead this was the idyllic location for a sunny day picnic. It’s on a hill in Hampstead Heath overlooking the rugged wild park. But inside it’s all polish and refinery.
Smell the rhododendrons or get a drink at the cafe. Again there’s one of the best art collections here – with the likes of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Frans Hals. Outside there are sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.
Prepare to get overwhelmed. This kooky museum is the brainchild of the renowned neo-classical architect, Sir John Soane. It’s a repository of his many artefacts and ideas. Like a tour guide said, it’s a reflection of his messy genius mind.
Today it’s a hodgepodge of architectural wonder and confusing light sources. Students from all over come to study his work. You can get a glimpse into the world of an eccentric architect – even see the tomb of Seti I. But be careful not to run into anything – it’s a winding maze this one.