Video of the day: London in 1926

The British Film Institute has released this incredible colour footage of London in 1926.

The skyline is almost unrecognisable without The Shard and The Gherkin. Who'd have thought that the streets of Pall Mall were ever that empty or that bicycles, open top buses and a handful of cars would vie for space with horse and carts in central London.

This early colour footage of London was filmed by pioneer filmmaker Claude Friese-Greene for his cross-country travelogue The Open Road.

This incredible footage, cut with vintage captions and set to music is indescribably moving to londoners and non-city dwellers alike. A window to a lost world? A nostalgic nod to progress or a precious piece of history, this video is one to be treasured and shared so share it now.

If this has given you a taste for London, have a look at our pick of unexplored London attractions below.

London's unexplored attractions
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Video of the day: London in 1926

This 17th-century building in Greenwich is one of London's real treasures, representing a turning point in English architecture. It was commissioned by the wife of James I, Anne of Denmark and was the first fully classical building to be built in England. It was completed in 1635 and the design was revolutionary at a time when even the best buildings were Tudor-influenced and constructed with red brick. Today it's a museum that houses a fine art collection. Don't miss the Tulip Stairs and the stunning Great Hall.

London's very own secret garden the Chelsea Physic Garden is a spot of beauty, relaxation and serenity in the centre of the city. It was founded in 1763 for the study of the medicinal qualities of plants and was one of the most significant centres of botany and plant exchange in the world throughout the 1700s. Here you'll find greenhouses, a Grade II listed rock garden and a statue of Sir Hans Sloane.

In 2010, The Old Vic opened a new performance space under Waterloo Station for productions, performances and installations. The Old Vic Tunnels are gritty yet magical and here you can see pop-up art, film screenings and theatre performances. The Screening Room is run entirely by volunteers, giving a voice to aspiring actors, set designers, costume makers and directors. Visit to find out what's on now.

The first Duke of Wellington's magnificent home, famously known as Number 1 London, is one of London's most well-built mansions and is still owned by the Wellington family. Inside you can see the Duke's amazing art collection, plus a display of porcelain, silver and furniture showcased in stunning interiors. Be sure to get a close look at the art collection, which includes paintings by Valazquez, Rubens and Van Dyck. Visit

In 1666, the Great Fire of London took out 87 parish churches and the old St Paul's Cathedral. 52 churches were rebuilt, including St Paul's and St Stephen Walbrook. The church of St Stephen Walbrook claims to have 'the most perfectly proportioned interior in the world' and is a serene place to visit. It has an awe-inspiring dome and the crypt was home to the first branch of the Samaritans, where a picture of founder Chad Varah and the telephone he used to take calls are housed.

Visit the world's oldest surviving grand music hall in East London, which opened in 1858. Over the years, it's survived two world wars and been a rag warehouse. Years of neglect have taken its toll on the building, yet its abandoned look is part of the attraction. Stop for a drink in The Mahogony Bar, which dates back to 1725. Visit to find out what's on now.

Tennis fans will love learning about the traditions and triumphs at Wimbledon at this interesting museum. Here you can explore the sport's evolution from a garden party game to a multi-million dollar sport. There are Championship trophies, a cinema capturing the science of tennis, video footage of the most memorable tennis tournaments and a collection of memorabilia dating back to 1555.

The Foundling Museum is home to fine collections of eighteenth-century art, interiors and history. It's where you can see the Foundling Hospital Collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and photographs with works by the likes of Tracey Emin, William Hogarth and Francis Hayman. Until April 2012 there is the Quentin Blake - As large as life exhibition, which showcases work created by the famous illustrator for four hospitals in the UK and France.

As the oldest public park in London and one of the city's most important historic parks, 'Vicky Park' in the East End is a must-visit if you enjoy relaxing outdoors. The park is home to a Grade II listed drinking fountain, a lake and often hosts open-air music festivals. This summer, Victoria Park will be transformed for the 2012 Olympics to show the events live on huge screens, plus there'll be live music and cultural entertainment for all to enjoy.

If you're searching for a quirky museum to visit, look no further than The Fan Museum in Greenwich, which houses the world's finest collection of fans, with some dating back to the 18th century. The exhibitions change every four months and are presented in a 1721 house, providing a quaint and elegant setting. Be sure to stop for afternoon tea in the stunning Japanese-style Orangery that overlooks a pretty garden once you've checked out the collection of fans.


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