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Guide to Central London
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Culture Guide To Central London

Culture in Cental London Central London is, without a doubt, one of the cultural capitals of the
world, standing right up there with Paris, Berlin, Moscow and the like.
If you’re a culture vulture there’s the strong possibility that the choice
you will be spoilt with may be just too overwhelming.

Culture is, literally, everywhere, from the Southbank to Covent Garden [map], from the National to the Barbican [map] , from the London Aquarium [map] to the Serpentine Gallery [map].

Where to start? Quite possibly, depending on your taste, the Royal Opera House [map], Covent Garden - the home of the awe-inspiring moves of the Royal Ballet and world class Royal Opera, two prestigious groups that were granted their Royal Charters in 1956 and 1968 respectively.

Two studio spaces at the same venue ensure that the feast of fun is as diverse as you’d expect from a building that dates back to 1728.

One of the more unusual homes of performance in the capital is the Bridewell Theatre [map]. The former Victorian swimming pool and laundry now delivers a thrilling menu of music, theatre, drama and lunchtime shows and workshops.

Lovers of visuals must visit the National Gallery [map], which contains the largest portrait collection in the world, dating back to the Tudor period. Recent redevelopment has seen the addition of the Ondaatje wing while the National’s restaurant offers a perfect viewpoint of Parliament.

Slap bang in the middle of Kensington Gardens, The Serpentine Gallery [map] is a surprising alternative to the high-octane lifestyle of the city.
The former tea pavilion was turned into a home for contemporary art by the Arts Council in 1970.

Opened after a long wait in 1982 on a site that was Blitz damaged during the World War II, the Barbican offers an imaginative, diverse and stimulating programme to anyone heading down Silk Street. The venue is Europe’s largest multi arts and conference venue.

Something even more diverse can tickle the palate of those keen to savour all aspects of culture at The Africa Centre [map], Covent Garden. Here you’ll find African art, literature, politics, food and some of the biggest names in African music. The calibre of guest speakers is high, with Maya Angelou and Alice Walker amongst them.

You don’t actually need a specific arts centre or purpose built venue to
taste culture, of course. Simply walking through Central London will bring you into contact with a host of recognisable landmarks, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, St Martins In The Field on Trafalgar Square [map] and the fortified building and former royal refuge that is the Tower of London.

And that’s just scratching at the surface. Once you start circling, culture
vultures will have no problem coming into contact with everything they need.

If you want to comment on our choices or recommend somewhere, why not use our What You Recommend form to let us know.

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