The brutalist Barbican was meant to be an exercise in social housing as it was originally designed for teachers and secretaries to live in a community where arts and culture were valued as much as domestic space. The battle-weary walls are a reminder of an ancient castle that used to stand here as well as the bomb crater that the Barbican fills in.
If you like a bit of Gothic Art Deco don’t miss Broadcasting House. It was designed in the 1930s to communicate a bold new way of communication – the radio. You can find this pioneering building near Regent Street.
The Shard divided opinions when it opened in 2013, but four years on, it’s an accepted part of the South London skyline. We can’t help but think it’s a bit better for having something that gleams in the sun. Head up to the 72nd floor for 360 views over London.
London Aquatics Centre
Zaha Hadid left her mark on London, just as she did in other cities and many love her floating aquatics centre in East London, which was built for the 2012 Olympics. It’s all smooth curves and mind-bending engineering – proving modern can be beautiful too.
Liberty’s might look like a medieval Tudor mansion but it was built in the 1920s as one of the first department stores in London. It’s remained unchanged for nearly 100 years and the bizarre fire places and creaking floorboards make shopping here feel like you’ve crash-landed into a wealthy long lost aunt’s dressing room.
St Pancras International
While most London stations are dreary concrete blocks filled with badly fitted coffee shops, St Pancras International is a thing of beauty. Spires, spikes and red bricks, this is Victorian Gothic at its finest and most impressive.
Soho Square Cottage
Good things come in small packages right? Not all of London’s beautiful buildings are mammoths. This mock Tudor house in the middle of Soho Square looks like it belongs in a Harry Potter movie. Rather than being that exciting, it’s really an oversized shed.
Strawberry Hill House
Did you know that this London part castle, part mansion was what inspired Horace Walpole to write ‘The Castle of Otranto’ – the first popular Gothic novel? Creepy books have stayed popular and you can visit Strawberry Hill House for tours or murder mystery events.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
London’s full of temples if you know where to look. We love this Hindu affair near Brent Park. It’s known as the Neasden Temple and anyone can pop in and check out the beautiful craftwork, which mixes Burmese teak with English oak.
The Natural History Museum
Not many things in London beat standing in the enormous vaulted entry hall of the Natural History Museum. It’s been in South Kensington since 1881 and is one of London’s best examples of the striking Romanesque architecture that the late Victorian high society loved. It was designed as a ‘cathedral to nature’ and it’s hard to argue that it’s anything but.