3 New Ways to Discover London’s History

The old and the new are juxtaposed quite uniquely in the city of London. While modern amenities are easy to come by, you’ll also see exquisite architecture and other relics from days gone by. Try one of these experiences to see London’s history in a unique way.

Attend a Performance at Handel House Museum

At the Handel House Museum, you’ll be able to explore the place where the famous composer George Frideric Handel lived from 1723 until his death in 1759. Collections at the museum include books and scores, some of which were composed in that very building. Plus, there are paintings, manuscripts, and other works pertaining to Handel’s life included in this finely restored Georgian home.

While exploring the museum itself is incredibly fascinating, the real treat comes in the live performances held there throughout the year. You can hear Handel’s music firsthand in this unique location by purchasing tickets online in advance. Visiting musicians often use harpsichords or spinets to recreate Handel’s music as authentically as possible. Performances, which cost just £9 (about $13) each, are held in Handel’s recital room where he once rehearsed works with local singers and musicians.

Step Back in Time at Dennis Severs’ House

Image via Flickr by heatheronhertravels

Dennis Severs wished to fully recreate Georgian London for modern residents and visitors to experience. To accomplish this, he used the rooms of a London home to construct a “still-life drama” that brings historical events to life. Though Severs passed away in1999, his vision is still carried out in this time capsule of a house in London’s Spitalfields area.

When arriving at 18 Folgate Street, you’ll find ten rooms, each of which appears as a vignette-style glimpse into a specific time in history. Visual details are made even more compelling by the sounds and smells included in each room to create an immersive experience. Each scene is based upon the lives of the Jervis family, who were silk weavers who occupied the home for almost 200 years. The full experience costs £10-15 per person (about $14.50-22).

Live Like Royalty at Hampton Court Palace

Image via Flickr by garybembridge

A stay at one of London’s modern hotels is surely a great way to experience the city. However, it won’t take you back in time like a stay in a historic building. The Landmark Trust restores historic buildings and turns them into rental properties, making it possible to reside in a medieval castle, a quaint cottage or even an artillery fort while on vacation. The two most notable Landmark Trust London rentals are actually located just a stone’s throw from the city in Surrey at Hampton Court Palace.

Fish Court, which starts at £771 (about $1,128) for four nights, sleeps six visitors. It is located near the palace’s Tudor kitchens and was once home to the royal pie-makers. The Georgian House features a private walled garden as well as access to the palace gardens and courtyards. It sleeps eight and starts at £807 (about $1,181) for four nights.

With London’s rich history, it would be a mistake to visit only the contemporary luxuries and attractions the city offers. Try one of these unique experiences to see the city in a whole new light.