London had humble beginnings as a Roman settlement in 43AD before being stormed by Boudicca and burned to the ground. The city of Londinium would rise from the ashes of this conquest, quickly becoming the capital of the Roman province of Britannia.
Since then the city has endured war, poverty, plague, civil unrest and a number of tyrannical Kings, growing and prospering throughout the centuries.
Today, London is the busiest metropolitan area in Britain, with central London containing the boroughs of Islington, Southwark, Westminster and Lambeth amongst others. This area of the city is home to the business and financial sector, including the headquarters for the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England.
One of the most important areas in the country, central London is also renowned for its selection of Royal Gardens, palaces and notable landmarks, like Big Ben and the London Eye.
As you might have guessed, the eponymous London Plane is a prominent character when it comes to hayfever allergens, with trees scattered all over the parks, gardens and courtyards of city.
Fortunately, the pollinating season for this tree is springtime, usually from April through to June, with things normally settling down by August.
However, there are other offenders like lime and mugwort which are still plentiful and still pollinating, so it might be worthwhile to treat parklands and grass areas with caution, as hayfever can still affect many sufferers during this month.
London might be one of the most heavily urbanised cities in the UK, but thanks to centuries of royal patronage and its position as a cultural landmark, the city is still home to a thriving range of parks and gardens, many on the doorsteps of royal palaces or existing as a monument to Kings and Queens gone by.
Hyde Park: One of London’s eight royal parks, Hyde Park covers 350 acres of land and contains a number of famous landmarks, like the Diana Memorial Fountain, the Holocaust Memorial and the Serpentine River. The park was originally bought by the notorious Henry VIII and was used as a private hunting ground for the royal family. In 1637, the doomed Charles I opened the park to the public and over time it quickly became one of the most famous parks in the UK. The pollen population within the park is quite high, with plantings of London Plane, lime, elm, beech, maple, silver birch and oak being plentiful throughout the gardens and attractions
St James’s Park: One of the oldest parks in London and the first of the royal eight to be constructed, St James’s is a hub of pageantry, hosting the annual ‘Trooping the Colours’ parade. Similar to Hyde Park, it was originally acquired by Henry VIII and opened to the public by Charles II, who was a frequent visitor. It has been developed over the years, expanding to include the Mall, Duck Island and the Queen Victoria statue. Oak pollen is the main culprit here, so best avoided during early spring!
Buckingham Palace: The London residence of the royal family, Buckingham Palace was originally built as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. It eventually came into the possession of the royal family and was expanded during the 19th century, with Queen Victoria becoming the first monarch to inhabit the palace on the regular basis. The public are sometimes permitted access to the palace for tours and the gardens host a variety of royal visitors throughout the year.
Jubilee Gardens: Commissioned in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the Jubilee Gardens are located on the banks of the River Thames, within walking distance of Waterloo station. They sit in the shadows of the London Eye and were reopened by the Queen in 2012 as a part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The Gardens frequently play host to film screenings and performances, but be advised, the Jubilee Gardens are also rich in tree pollen, with several new species having been planted very recently in the last few years.
If you live in London or are just visiting, then you are in luck. London is such a vibrant, enormous city that there are plenty of things to see and explore without needing to set foot near a park or garden.
The city is home to a wide range of museums, theatres, galleries, aquariums and landmarks that you can easily take your pick and have no trouble arranging a pollen-free day out for the whole family.
Trafalgar Square: Constructed during the 19th century and named for the celebrated Battle of Trafalgar, Trafalgar Square is home to Nelson’s Column and has long been considered a famous site for public events, including film premieres, protests, parties and parades. It stands nearby to the National Gallery and used to be a popular feeding spot for feral pigeons until the birds were eventually expelled from the square and feeding them was prohibited
Sea Life Aquarium: The Sea Life Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the UK, containing specimens of clownfish, seahorses, penguins, sharks, octopuses and piranhas. The attraction is also involved with a number of conservation projects, including The Big Fish Campaign and Walk for Whales. Ticket prices are generally around £14.70
Houses of Parliament: The Houses of Parliament was originally known as the Palace of Westminster, dating back as far as William II. The centre of the infamous Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot, the Palace used to be one of the chief London residences of the Royal Family until part of it was burnt down during the reign of Henry VIII. The Royal Council was once held in Westminster Hall and to this day, it still functions as a meeting place for the House of Lords and the House of Commons, making it one of the most important buildings in England
Big Ben: Arguably the most famous landmark in London, Big Ben is the name of the giant bell contained within the Elizabeth Tower, although it is often mistaken as the official name of the tower itself. Stretching over 96 m in height, it is adjoined to the Houses of Parliament and was originally built during the 19th century, chiming for the first time in May, 1859
Tower of London: Constructed in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, the Tower of London has gained a notorious reputation as the formative prison in England during the medieval period, a place of torture, gunfire and execution. In reality, most executions were carried out at Tower Hill, with only a very small minority of the beheading taking place within the walls of the Tower itself. At one point it was even used as a residence of the Royal Family and considered one of the strongest fortresses in the country. Now it serves as a popular tourist attraction, housing the Crown Jewels for public display
Royal Albert Hall: The Royal Albert Hall was built on the Gore Estate, bought by the Exhibitions Royal Commission on the advice of Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert. After the death of her husband, the Queen renamed the building in his honour and now it plays hosts to a variety of prominent musical performances and important events throughout the year, including the BBC Proms and the Festival of Remembrance
Westminster Cathedral: The largest place of Catholic worship in England and Wales, Westminster Cathedral was built in honour of Cardinal Wiseman, the first catholic archbishop in England since the Reformation. Inspired by the Byzantine style of architecture, the Cathedral attracts thousands of visitors each year and contains exhibitions on rare vestments and religious relics of the Church
The National Gallery: Attempting to follow in the footsteps of the French and Bavarian Courts, the National Gallery was constructed in Trafalgar Square and opened in 1824. It now has some of the finest paintings in Europe, including works by Botticelli, Da Vinci and Van Gogh. Receiving thousands of visitors every year, entrance to the National Gallery is free of charge and exhibitions are normally open between 1000-1700 almost every day
London Eye: Also known as the Millennium Wheel, the London Eye was opened in March, 2000 and, at the time of its opening, was the largest Ferris wheel in the world. Standing at 135m tall, this attraction offers an unbeatable view of London, from the Houses of Parliament to The Shard. The London Eye is open throughout the year and you can even reserve your own capsule, complete with champagne and chocolates. Ticket prices can vary but standard prices start from £21.20 if you book online
Royal Opera House: The Royal Opera House in London has been a site of entertainment for centuries and now hosts popular events like the British Academy Film Awards. The home of the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera House is one of the largest theatres in London and can seat over 2000. Ticket prices may differ depending on what you wish to see and will definitely need to be booked in advance
The Sherlock Holmes Museum: Located appropriately enough, at 221B Baker Street, you can step into the books of Arthur Conan Doyle and experience the home of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Opened in 1990, the museum is run by a non-profit organisation, the Sherlock Holmes Society of England, which has managed to keep the building perfectly preserved and frozen in the later nineteenth century. Admission is £15 for adults, with prices starting at £10 for children under the age of 16
The British Museum: The British Museum was opened in 1759 on the final request of British aristocrat, Sir Hans Sloane. Sir Sloane had amassed an enormous collection of artefacts throughout his lifetime – over 71000 objects – and wished for them to be preserved by the Crown. The museum was born from this wish and originally housed in Montagu House, being expanded upon throughout the centuries. The museum is now one of the largest in the UK and contains exhibitions on everything from Ancient Egypt to Medieval England to Assyria. Admission is free although additional charges may be applied if you wish to visit certain exhibitions.
If your hayfever symptoms are still nagging away despite the precautionary steps that you have taken, you could try to get a hold of some of our hayfever products, such as Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets or Luffa Nasal Spray.
These can be found in most major health store outlets like Holland and Barrett, but there might also be a stockist in your area. If you are venturing out near Westminster Abbey, then you might be wandering near the St James Health & Beauty store or you could try the Star Pharmacy near Christchurch Gardens.
What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your hayfever symptoms. While anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine foods can help control your symptoms, foods containing dairy and foods rich in sugar can actually make them worse.