4. Leighton House Museum
Located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in Central London, the Leighton House Museum is known for its elaborate Arab and Oriental architecture. Grandly refurbished in the early 2000s, this museum was once the home of artist Frederic Leighton, who spent 30 years transforming it into an art palace. The expansive interior has been described as a scene out of the Arabian Nights, an ornate assembly of gold ceilings, marble pillars, and peacock-blue tiles. The museum’s main attraction is the Arab Hall, a large hall covered with murals made with tiles imported from Turkey and various countries of the Middle East. In the center of the hall is a large domed ceiling.
3. The King’s Cross Ice Well / London Canal Museum
It’s hard to imagine today, but there was a time when ice was a luxury for the very wealthy, primarily used to refrigerate meats. When Carlo Gatti immigrated to London in 1847, he set about building two large ice wells near King’s Cross (now more famous as the site of Platform 9-and-3/4). Establishing himself as a manufacturer and distributor of ice, he built a warehouse to house the two wells, which sank to a depth of over forty feet, and which made a natural storage unit for the tons of ice that he placed there.
As the science of ice preservation entered the modern era at the turn of the twentieth century, the late Gatti’s ice palace was turned into a horse-and-cart museum. Today it’s been transformed into the London Canal Museum, which allows visitors to view the two ice wells from a special platform and, once a year, venture down into the murky depths.