Sarah Wood

Guide London A – Z: Letter X London Landmarks And Tourist Attractions

How many London landmarks and tourist attractions can you name that start with the Letter X? Blue Badge Tourist Guide Sarah Wood continues our Guide London A-Z video series and provides insights on the historical events, famous and not-so-famous landmarks in London starting with the Letter X.

London landmarks and tourist attractions that begin with the Letter X

This is the Guide London A-Z. I’m Sarah Wood, a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide looking at the letter X.

X – Marks the Centre

We often use the expression “X marks the spot,” and in London that “spot,” the central point in London, is the statue of Charles I on Trafalgar Square. It is from this spot that all distances to London are measured. There’s a tradition that the low numbers on any street in London should be at the end of the street that is closest to the statue.  Charles I was executed for treason on 30th January 1649. Every year on the anniversary members of the Charles I Society, in 17th-century costume, lay flowers at the statue. Put it in your diary and come to see for yourself.

Xerxes – Handel and Hendrix

X is for Xerxes. On the 15th of April 1738, the German composer Handel left his house at 25 Brook Street in Mayfair to attend the premiere of his new opera Xerxes. It was a disaster and only ran for 5 performances, and wasn’t heard again for 200 years. Today it’s Handel’s most popular opera. His house, where most of his works were composed, is now open to the public and is one of the most atmospheric places to visit in London. His house was also home to another famous but very different musician whose name ends in an X, Jimi Hendrix. He lived here from 1968 until his death the following year, and he called it “the first real home of my own.”

X – Cruciform

The shape of the letter X is called a cruciform and in London, we have an X-shaped building. The Cruciform Building was designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse and opened as the new University College Hospital in 1906. The X shape allowed for plenty of fresh air and sunlight for patients and easy access for nurses. During the second world war, the writer Agatha Christie volunteered here as a pharmacist, and she put her knowledge of poisons to good use. Today the building houses the Wolfson Institute of Medical Research.

X – Chi Rho

The word Christmas is often abbreviated to Xmas. Early Christians often used the Chi Rho symbol to represent Christ. You can see the symbol here behind the head of Christ on the Hinton St Mary pavement in the British Museum; it looks like an X and a P intertwined. You can explore early Christianity in the Roman British galleries at the Museum.

Xmas

Xmas is a magical time of the year in London. London is often called THE shopping capital of the world and at Xmas time the West End of London is at its best, attracting big crowds with its amazing festive lights and creative window displays. At the heart of the Xmas Lights, each year is Oxford Circus, the intersection of our two biggest shopping streets, Oxford Street and Regent Street. The new X-shaped pedestrian crossing here is said to be used by an amazing 90 million people per year.

These are just some of the tourist attractions you can find in London which begin with the letter X. My name is Sarah Wood. Check out my profile at our website guidelondon.org.uk. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us as we explore the A-Z of Guide London.

 

Sarah Wood

Having grown up in a small town that is not quite east, not quite north or south and not quite the Midlands, I can still remember the thrill of discovering London as a child. Decades on and after umpteen years as a Blue Badge guide and educator, I still…

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