Area guideHistory, art and culture

Explore London by tube: the District Line

London’s District Line is one of the city’s most popular lines, connecting the suburban and very green West London, right out East to Upminster. The line – although one line technically – actually splits into four when it heads westwards; to Richmond, Wimbledon, Ealing Broadway and Edgware Road. Because the line divides into four – it’s the perfect line to follow to explore London and find out some hidden secrets. So if you’re looking for what to do on the district line, well there’s plenty. Heading East to West, follow our itinerary for what to do in London and hop off at these hot-spots where you’re guaranteed to see London’s top landmarks and attractions along the way. Tower Hill Get off at Tower Hill station to explore the Tower of London, one of London’s most popular attractions so skip the lines and jump ahead to explore the old landmark. Having used to be a fortress, prison and even menagerie, it’s been linked to the royals all the way back to the Norman Conquest. What makes it the most celebrated is it’s home to the Crown Jewels and the Royal Mint. Get your photo taken with a Yeoman along the tour and count the six legendary ravens who live within its walls. Just down from the Tower of London is the London Bridge Exhibition where you can learn about this feat of Victorian engineering and explore the underground engine rooms through a series of interactive displays. To this day you can even go and see the bascules lifting at scheduled times. Take a way along the East Walkways and learn about London through a series of exhibitions, photography and paintings – and don’t forget your camera as you’ll witness stunning views of the city along the Thames River, too. Monument The Monument is Sir Christopher Wren’s memorial to the Great Fire of London which ravaged the city on the 2nd September 1666 for 3 days. The Great Fire of London devastated the medieval city that lay within the Roman walls, consuming 13,200 houses as well as nearly 90 churches and St Paul’s Cathedral. Originating in a bakery in Pudding Lane just after midnight, it spread like wildfire. Pardon the pun. The Monument was erected in 1677 to mark rebuilding of the city and the devastation the fire caused. The buildings stands at 202ft tall is is 202ft away from the old bakery in Pudding Lane, where the fire started. Climb the 311 spiral stone steps up to the top for panoramic views over London. Embankment Just across the river from Embankment you’ll find the Southbank, one of London’s favourite hubs. While the long stretch provides some of the best walks along the Thames River, it’s also a great spot for pop up shops and eateries, to catch great performances at the National Theatre or flick through the back catalogues at the British Film Institute. At the weekends stop off at the Book Fair under the arches and walk down towards Waterloo Bridge for a food festival to feast on Mexican burritos to Lebanese falafel – and the chocolatiest brownies you’ve ever tasted! Westminster A stop along from Embankment you’ll arrive at Westminster, home to the politicians and Houses of Parliament as well as Westminster Abbey. Explore this leafy Gothic UNESCO World Heritage site and learn about the importance the church played in London’s past and present. Because it’s an active working church, you can catch a daily sermon or if you’re lucky, witness the famous bell ringing on special occasions and saint days. Westminster Abbey also houses a cemetery, home to the graves of national heroes, such as Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Darwin. There’s also a Poet’s Corner in the grounds, too. Most importantly it’s been the coronation church since 1066 and in 2011 held the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton. St James’ Park Take a break and get some fresh air in the lush green space of St James’ Park. One of London’s smaller parks, it’s actually the oldest of the eight royal parks. With unbeatable views, it looks onto The Mall and Horse Guards Parade, putting it at the centre of ceremonial London. So if you’re a fan of the Royal Family, it’s a must-see and a great place for a picnic and a bit of rest and relaxation from a busy schedule of sightseeing. South Kensington South Kensington is one of London’s most affluent areas, and also large number of French expats, so you can expect small boutiques and French-inspired cafes as well as jaw-dropping real estate. What makes South Kensington worth the visit is the large number of museums that it caters to, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Royal Albert Hall, all along Exhibition Road. Fulham Broadway (Wimbledon Line) If you follow the Wimbledon line south west, you can alight at Fulham Broadway, home to Chelsea FC. If you’re a football fan this one’s a must and a great one for the kids, too, as they can explore Stamford Bridge, the team’s changing rooms and some of the most iconic areas within the stadium. Discover the history of the team – its victories and losses – through an interactive exhibition, bringing to life the story of football and its heyday. It’s a great day out for the family, and you can enjoy a discount at the megastore at the end too, for some football memorabilia to remind you of your tour! Wimbledon (Wimbledon Line) Whether you’re a tennis fan or not, Wimbledon Championships are renowned across the world. This prestigious summer event marks a two week period in everyone’s calendars so don’t miss the chance to explore this iconic venue for yourself. Roam the grounds of the sporting heroes from Boris Becker to Andre Agassi; even re-live Scotland’s own Andy Murray’s record breaking British victory. Get VIP access into restricted areas with the exclusive tour and explore the Number One court where champs have battled in out to be crowned winner. Explore the Wimbledon Museum for free afterwards and learn about the history of the sport, too. Kew Gardens (Richmond Line) Take the District Line West to Richmond, but hop off a stop before, at Kew Gardens. Home to the botanical gardens of Kew, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see – especially in the summer months. With 121 hectares of beautiful blooms, a classic English Palace and orangery, it’s both a step back in time and a step into paradise. Follow the walk ways into the different areas and learn about Henry X’s Pagoda, explore contemporary botanical artist’s exhibitions and even participate in some nature trails and barefoot walks to be ‘at one with nature’. Take some hours out of your day for this to be able to do it properly – it’s not something to be rushed – trust us, when you’re there, you’ll see why. Richmond (Richmond Line) Richmond is right at the end of one of the four the District Lines. As one of the prettiest boroughs in London it’s on the bank of the River Thames so has beautiful walks along the water, as well as home to a stunning royal park; Richmond Park. Explore this park for free and you’ll be transported out of London. As the largest of all of the royal parks in London, it’s also a Natural Nature Reserve complete with a plantation, Pembroke Lodge and herds of red and fallow deer. Take a picnic and sit out on the vast expanse of grass and take in your surroundings. You’ll completely forget you’re in the largest capital of Britain!

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