Adventures and stories about
Liesbeth in London

Liesbeth in London

I adore London. It attracts me like no other place and makes me feel more at home than my beautiful hometown Zutphen. For me, London is the centre of the world, the centre of English history, a place where anything and everything is possible.

I was lucky to live in London three times: in Notting Hill, Pimlico, and Earl's Court, respectively. I also worked in London as a leafleter for an antique dealer, and as a volunteer at the Golden Hinde, a museum ship anchored near London Bridge.

. I have committed myself to have been in all the streets of London in zones 1 and 2. This allows me to get to know many sides of London. And I always like to get a look at something out of the ordinary, such as buildings that are not usually open to visitors. I also love London's history and architecture from various periods that you can see in many parts of London.

 I still visit London as often as possible, and every time I discover something new. At the moment, I am writing a non-fiction book about London, in which I share all my experiences, tips, and information about this fantastic city.

London Highlights

The Thames

You may be amazed to learn that the Thames is the longest river in England and the second-longest in Great Britain. It rises in the Cotswold hills, flows through Oxford (where it is named the Isis), next south to Reading, then meanders across London and ends in the North Sea at Southend-On-Sea.

In 43, the Romans invaded England and founded the City of Londinium on the Thames. Due to the location on the river, there has always been a lot of trade in London. This has allowed the city to develop into a metropolis.

Starting at Teddington (nearly 90 kilometers west of the estuary), the Thames turns into a tidal river. You will notice this when you take a boat from London to the west, for example, to Richmond or Hampton Court. When the tide is unfavorable, the outward journey can sometimes take an hour and a half longer than the return journey!

The London Wall

In the 2nd century, the Romans built a defensive wall around the City of Londinium, the London Wall. There are still a few remnants of this wall around the city. On Tower Hill, you can see a piece of it behind a statue of Emperor Trajan. There is also a section of the wall in the street London Wall towards the Museum of London. More pieces of the wall have been preserved. Unfortunately, they are located in cellars of occupied buildings that are not open to the public.

You can find some other Roman remains in the City. There is a piece of wood from a bridge over the Thames near the church of St Magnus the Martyr in Lower Thames Street. Billingsgate Bath is also in this street. These are remains of an old Roman house, of which only the bath has survived. Remains of a Roman amphitheater have been found underneath the Guildhall Art Gallery. The outline of the amphitheater can be seen outside in Guildhall Yard, marked by black paving stones.


St Paul’s Cathedral

How old is St Paul's Cathedral? Sir Christopher Wren designed the glorious cathedral we can now admire in the City, and that was completed in 1715. He got the commission to rebuild the City after The Great Fire destroyed almost all of it in 1666. The fire had broken out in a house in Pudding Lane. Various circumstances (unfavorable winds, the lax reaction from the city council, low water levels in water reservoirs due to a dry summer, and the densely packed buildings made of dry wood) caused the fire to rage. For five days, it destroyed more than 13,000 homes and 87 churches.

St Paul's current location was home to a wooden church dedicated to the Apostle Paul since 604. Over the centuries, the building has been destroyed or burned down several times, but it got rebuilt every time.

St Paul's Cathedral stands on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is one of London's most famous and recognizable buildings. It is 111 meters high and was the tallest building in London until the end of the 20th century when it towered above all buildings and churches. In London, there is such a thing as "Protected View Corridors". This means that new buildings cannot block the view of St Paul's from several locations. These include Primrose Hill, Greenwich Park, Westminster Pier, and Tower Bridge. This also explains some of the oddly shaped buildings that have sprouted up in the City in recent years.


Westminster Abbey

Actually, this abbey is no longer an abbey. Nor a cathedral. In 1560, Elizabeth I granted Westminster Abbey Church of England Royal Peccular status, meaning that it falls under the monarch's jurisdiction. There had been a church on the site of Westminster Abbey since the 10th century. In the mid-11th century, Edward the Confessor had this Norman-style church converted into a cathedral, where he could be buried with royal honors. The two towers on the west side were added in the mid-18th century in the neo-Gothic style.

Westminster Abbey not only houses the tombs of English monarchs and their descendants. It also provides a final resting place for various English celebrities. Famous is the so-called "Poet's Corner," where writers and poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens are buried. There are also memorials to writers buried elsewhere, such as William Shakespeare and Lord Byron.


Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, stands on the Thames banks in Westminster. Here you find the British Parliament, which consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The oldest parts of the building date back to the late 11th century, when it was built to serve as a palace. In 1265 there was the first parliamentary meeting including representatives of the major towns. Over the centuries, the palace has suffered several fires, and a significant fire in 1834 destroyed most of the building. After rebuilding in the neo-Gothic style, the palace became the House of Commons' and the House of Lords' home.

The building has about 1000 rooms, 100 flights of stairs, and more than three kilometers of corridors. Almost even more recognizable than the Houses of Parliament itself is the clock tower Big Ben, officially called the Elizabeth Tower since 2012, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond reign. The tower on the other side is called the Victoria Tower.

Stories about Liesbeth in London

Read in my blogs what strikes me about London (currently only in Dutch).


I am a translator EN>Dutch, specialising in (English) history, and history of art and costumes.

Other blogs

I write blogs about London, translating, writing and Zutphen.

Please have a look at some of my other blogs (currently only in Dutch).