The Definitive Dictionary of London: An A-Z Travel Guide

The Definitive Dictionary of London: An A-Z Travel Guide | Strawberry Moon Blog

As we speak, I’m sitting in the San Francisco International Airport, half-asleep on my luggage with Starbucks in one hand and my boarding pass in the other. London, here we come!

So you can share in my excitement, I’ve devised this guide to 26 of London’s most important, most unusual and most memorable locations, plus a literary love of phonetics and a little dash of dry pop culture humor. Some of these locations are places in London I have visited myself, others are places I plan to visit in the next few days on my return trip to the city, and still others are simply unique examples of the diverse array of activities and sights in the city. This ‘dictionary’ hits some of the big tourist spots but also makes an effort to encompass more unique, but still quintessential, London experiences.

(And, yes, I cheated on the entry for X.)

While we’re on the subject of London, I’ll be there for several days before moving on to various other British, Welsh and Scottish cities over the next two weeks. To say I’m excited is an understatement, despite having left the house this morning at 2:50 am. Yes, 2:50 am. But don’t worry: Strawberry Moon has plenty in store while I’m away, as I’ve scheduled numerous travel-related posts for the duration of my trip. If you’re interested, you can follow along with my adventures at my travel blog, The Wayfarologists. Have a lovely rest of June, readers!

Achilles’ Statue | əˈkɪliz ˈstæˌtʃuː |

: an 18 ft statue of the Greek hero, Achilles, in honor of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, located at the southeast corner of Hyde Park only a 15 minute walk from Buckingham Palace.

Nearest Tube Station: Hyde Park Corner

Brompton Cemetery | ˈbrɑːmptən ˈseməˌteri |

: East London Victorian cemetery established in 1836 with over 35,000 monuments including that of John William Godward, Emmeline Pankhurst and John Snow (not the Watcher who knows nothing, but rather, the famous anaesthetist and epidemiologist, of course.)

Nearest Tube Station: West Brompton

Churchill’s War Rooms | ˈtʃɝːˌtʃɪlz ˈwɔːr ˈruːmz |

: an underground bunker-turned-museum used by Winston Churchill and his staff and officers during the Blitz of World War II.

Nearest Tube Station: Westminster

Dunstan-in-the-East, St. | ˈseɪnt ˈdənstən ɪn ði ˈiːst |

: a former church badly damaged during the Blitz and later converted into a hauntingly beautiful public park space.

Nearest Tube Station: Monument

Elgin Marbles | ˈelˌdʒɪn ˈmɑːrbl̩z |

1 : a series of marble sculptures removed from the Parthenon in Athens by Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, and purchased for the British Museum in 1816.

2 : a highly controversial subject in the art world for two hundred years.

Nearest Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road

Flower Walk, The | ðə ˈflaʊər ˈwɑːk |

: a beautifully planted flower garden and paths through the southwest portion of Hyde Park, near Kensington Palace.

Nearest Tube Station: High Street Kensington

Gerrard Street | dʒəˈrɑːrd ˈstriːt |

: London’s Chinatown, complete with elaborate Chinese arches at each end of the pedestrian only street.

Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus

Houses of Parliament | ˈhaʊzɪz əv ˈpɑːrləmənt |

1 : the home of government in the United Kingdom, but open for tours.

2 : that huge building in the background of all your Instagrams of the Big Ben clock tower.

Nearest Tube Station: Westminster

Islington | ˈɪzlɪŋtən |

1 : a North London borough known for alternative theater.

2 : Neil Gaiman’s Angel.

Nearest Tube Station: Angel

James Park, St. | seɪnt dʒeɪmz pɑːk |

: a beautiful lush park in downtown London with a lake and, occasionally, a prime view of the Guard as they march down the Mall.

Nearest Tube Station: Westminster

King’s Library | ˈkɪŋz ˈlaɪbrəri |

1 : a resplendent library housing books on art history, religion, archaeology, trade, ancient scripts and natural history as well as an array of relevant sculpture.

2 : also known as the Enlightenment Gallery in the British Museum.

Nearest Tube Station: Tottenham Court Road

Long Water | ˈlɒŋ ˈwɔːtə |

: the northernmost end of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, the Long Water is a peaceful respite from the hustle of London traffic and backs up to the Italian Gardens.

Nearest Tube Station: Lancaster Gate

Museum of London | mjuːˈzɪəm əv ˈlʌndən |

: a family-friendly history museum located on and near segments of the old London Wall, featuring Roman, medieval and modern galleries dedicated to the city’s colorful past and present.

Nearest Tube Station: St. Paul’s

Notting Hill | ˈnɒtɪŋ hɪl |

1 : a quirky district of London just north of Kensington Gardens that includes the famous Portobello Road Market.

2 : an adorable Hugh Grant movie.

Nearest Tube Station: Notting Hill Gate

Old Spitalfields Market | əʊld spɪtælfiːldz ˈmɑːkɪt |

: a daily market of antiques, food and gifts in the 19th century Horner Buildings.

Nearest Tube Station: Liverpool Street

Piccadilly Circus | ˈpɪkəˌdɪli ˈsɜːkəs |

: a bustling center of shops and theaters, not far from Chinatown.

Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus

Queen’s Theatre | ˈkwiːnz ˈθiːətə |

: an early 20th century West End theatre known for its beautiful interior décor and ten-year run hosting Les Miserables which transferred from the Palace Theatre in 2004 after 18 years.

Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus

Rolling Bridge | ˈrəʊlɪŋ brɪdʒ |

: a 21st century London curiosity that spans the Paddington basin and curls up into a freestanding octagon when it needs to be moved out of the way.

Nearest Tube Station: Paddington

Ship in a Bottle | ʃɪp ɪn ə ˈbɒtl̩ |

: a Yinka Shonibare original, this whimsical sculpture is a 1:30 replica of Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, which resides on the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square, just outside the renowned National Gallery which celebrates the best of European art.

Nearest Tube Station: Charing Cross

Tower of London | ˈtaʊər əv ˈlʌndən |

: a must-see experience of medieval London architecture, history and culture, with wonderful connections to the past and present (including views of Roman ruins and the Gherkin building), despite being the mother of all tourist traps.

Nearest Tube Station: Tower Hill

Underground | ˈʌndəɡraʊnd |

1 : a labyrinthine subway system with 270 stations, (the oldest of which is Paddington from 1863), and 250 miles of track, making it the easiest but often most crowded way of getting around London.

2 : colloquially, the “Tube.”

3 : the source of many a London joke including “Mind the Gap.”

Nearest Tube Station: All of them

Venice, Little | ˈlɪtl̩ ˈvenɪs |

: the picturesque convergence of canals in northern London that meet at several waterside pubs and riverboat services.

Nearest Tube Station: Warwick Avenue

Whitechapel | waɪtˈtʃæpl̩ |

: an East London district best known for the unsolved Jack the Ripper murders in the 1890s and subsequent dime-a-dozen ghost tours in the 2000s.

Nearest Tube Station: Whitechapel

(O)XO Tower | ɒksəʊ ˈtaʊə |

: a former 19th century power station converted into shops and restaurants with views of East London.

Nearest Tube Station: London Blackfriars

York Watergate | jɔːk ˈwɑːtərˌɡet |

: a 17th century stone gate to the Thames built for use by the Strand mansions, that is now located 150 yards from the river, thanks to the Thames Embankment.

Nearest Tube Station: Embankment

Zoo Lates | zuː leɪtz|

: summer Friday night after-hours access to the London Zoo.

Nearest Tube Station: Camden Town

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