Where: Pall Mall, SW1
What: Marlborough house on Pall Mall was built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1709 and 1711 for for Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who was a close friend of Queen Anne. The Duchess wanted her new house to be 'strong, plain and convenient', and its exterior reflects this.
The house reverted to the Crown (became the property of the King) in 1817 and, since that time, the house has been substantially enlarged and witnessed many historical events.
Its occupants have included Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales between 1863 and 1901 (during this period Marlborough House became the social centre of London) and George V until his accession to the throne. From 1911 until her death it was the residence of Queen Alexandra, and Queen Mary lived here when in London.
It was at marlborough house that Edward VIII dined in 1936 prior to announcing to his mother, Queen Mary, in her private quarters upstairs, that he intended to marry the American socialite Mrs Wallis Simpson, and thereafter to abdicate.
In addition to architecture, fine rooms with classic paintings set in the ceilings, magnificent panelling and ornamental plaster work and a rich history, the house is home to many impressive works of art.
Today the building houses the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Nearest underground station: Green Park, Piccadilly Circus or St James's Park
Opening times / Admission: Marlborough House is not normally open to the public, but there are periodic open days. In addition, members of the public can tour the house by prior arrangement. Tours normally take place every Tuesday morning, subject to the availability of the rooms and a guide.The tours last two hours and take in all of the 'fine rooms' and the gardens, plus cover the history of the building and the work of the commonwealth secretariat.