The Tudors never built a tube network, but if they had, it might have looked something like this. In an age of few roads and bandit-infested woods, much travel was done by river. But many notable buildings could be found away from the Thames, often serving as country retreats or hunting lodges for royalty and nobility.
Like the real tube map, our Tudor chart is not comprehensive and could contain many additional stops. We've concentrated on the major landmarks, particularly those that can still be visited.
We begin with something of a cheat. The so-called Ancient House in Walthamstow Village is so genuinely ancient that it predates the Tudor period, and was probably built around 1435. It certainly looks the part, though, so we've included it on our Tudor map. Round the corner, one can view the George Monoux Almshouses, which certainly are Tudor, from the 1540s.
Visit: The building still serves as somebody's home. Tours are rare, but you can readily admire this incredible survivor from the road. Ditto the almshouses. More information about the historic village can be found at the Vestry House Museum.
Barnet Tudor Hall
The town on the hill is full of little surprises. Its Tudor hall (photo) hides in plain sight, close to the church. The building has always been put to pedagogical purposes, set up in 1577 as a grammar school. Today it remains part of Barnet and Southgate College.
Visit: The space is normally used for private events, and not open to the gawping public. If you're in the area, the exterior is worth an eyeball.
One of the few entries that's also on the real tube map, Boston Manor was first noted in the medieval period. During Tudor times, the manor house fell under the control of several notable owners, including Thomas Gresham, Robert Dudley and the ill-fated Duke of Somerset. The house we see today is a Jacobean rebuild.
Visit: The park and house are maintained by Hounslow Council, which grants free access most weekends.
This jewel in Tottenham's crown was probably constructed in the early 16th century, though no one is quite certain. It's something of an enigma; a stately brick pile beside a cylindrical Tudor tower. The name comes from the Bruce family of Scotland, who once owned the lands hereabouts.
Visit: Bruce Castle is today an excellent local history museum, with the friendliest volunteers we've ever chanced across. You might not be able to leave without consuming cake. Entrance is free.
The oldest building in Islington was constructed in the early years of the 16th century. Its occupants have included such notables as Thomas Cromwell and Francis Bacon (the statesman, not the painter). Other Tudor remnants of the complex lurk near by, including a watch tower further down Alwyne Villas.
Visit: The tower remains in private hands (the same family have owned it since 1600), but occasional tours can be arranged though Clerkenwell & Islington Guides.
This private Smithfield complex started life as a Carthusian priory, but was quashed by Henry VIII during the Reformation. It served as a private residence thereafter, and was much embellished by its owners — architecture still visible today. Charterhouse became a school in the 17th century. It's said that football's offside rule was first invented by the pupils. The school has since decamped, and the complex is now enjoyed by 40 male pensioners, known as Brothers.
Visit: Although a private residential space, the Charterhouse does offer public tours, led by Brothers. Look out, too, for occasional talks and exhibitions.
While in the Charterhouse area, be sure to check out the buildings of Cloth Fair. St Bartholomew the Great church is the main landmark — a medieval building, with a few Tudor additions. But look out for number 41-42 Cloth Fair, which is reckoned the oldest house in London (or at least central London). It was built in the last years of Elizabeth's reign and managed to survive both the Great Fire and the Blitz. Also close by is St Bart's Hospital, whose gateway contains London's only outdoor statue to Henry VIII.
Visit: The house on Cloth Fair remains a private residence and is not open for tours, but the exterior is free to admire. The church contains a magnificent interior, and the cloister cafe is among London's most atmospheric dining experiences. There is a charge to enter the church, unless you're there to worship. St Bart's Hospital is always open to visitors, and contains a museum dedicated to the site's history (including a plaque commemorating the meeting of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson).
In days of yore, the Archbishop of Canterbury chose to spend the summer months in this stately home in (what is now) south London. The Arms of the borough include references to this ancient connection. Several buildings from the palace still survive, and serve as Old Palace School for girls.
Visit: As a school, the buildings are not normally open to the public (other than those who work or study there). However, occasional tours are put on by the Friends of Old Palace charity, and it is usually part of Open House weekend.
This Shoreditch playhouse was among the first in London, and staged productions by (and probably starring) Shakespeare. It operated between 1577 and 1624.
Visit: Its remains were discovered only recently and the site is still behind hoardings. The relic will go on display as part of a new housing development in a few years' time. In the meantime, watch our video about the dig.
Eastbury Manor House
An unexpected Tudor mansion hidden on a Barking housing estate. It was built during the reign of Elizabeth by the wealthy merchant Clement Sysley.
Visit: This National Trust property is now open as a visitor attraction with a small entrance fee.
One of the lost palaces of the Tudor period, its remains were discovered as recently as the 1960s. Although small by royal standards, and little remembered in the popular memory, Elsyng Palace did play an important role in England's history. It was here that Edward VI heard that his father Henry VIII had died, and that he was now king (the future Elizabeth I was also present). The building fell out of favour in the Stuart era, and subsequently vanished.
Visit: Its site is freely accessible, just north of Forty Hall, which maintains a small exhibition about the palace.
This complex of buildings is today a peculiar combination of Art Deco masterpiece and 16th century relic. The Tudor moiety is well preserved and would still be familiar to Henry VIII, who spent his formative years in this once-rural retreat. Other survivals from the era can be found nearby, including a Tudor barn (now a gastropub) and a conduit head.
Visit: A great day out, and one of London's must-visit attractions. Eltham Palace is maintained by English Heritage, with a £15 adult entry fee.
The palace has been home to the Bishops of London since at least 700AD, but the present structure contains plenty of Tudor architecture.
The current Globe is, of course, a pastiche — the most wonderful pastiche that ever saw light of day, but still a fake. The original (or originals, for the Globe was rebuilt several times) lasted on Bankside between 1599 and 1642 and served as the first stage for many Shakespeare plays.
Visit: The reconstructed Globe is a major attraction, with a never-ending cavalcade of events and performances. It's not on the original site, however. To see that, head round the corner to Park Street where, close to Southwark Bridge, you can view the footprint of the original building. Nearby, the remains of the Rose Theatre — another Tudor relic — are opened for regular theatrical performances.
The borough of Bexley has one of the more picturesque survivals from the Tudor era, in the shape of Hall Place and Gardens. The house was built in the 1530s by a Lord Mayor of London, but the stones are even older, salvaged from nearby Lesnes Abbey. 18th century modifications give the site a temporal identity crisis, but nothing on the scale of Eltham Palace. Look out for the topiary beasts in the gardens.
Visit: The house and gardens are ran as an independent charity, with £10 entry fee for adults.
Hampton Court Palace
In a word-association game, the phrase 'Tudor building' will most probably conjure up Hampton Court Palace. The series of wings, halls and gardens is remarkably well preserved, unaffected by the disastrous fire that afflicted the 18th century wing in 1986. In many ways more impressive than the Tower of London, and much less bustling with tourists (though there are, of course, still plenty). Watch our video tour of the 'secret bits'.
One of the more obscure royal residences, Hanworth Palace was more of a manor house, close to Feltham. Henry VIII used it as a hunting base, before granting the pile to Anne Boleyn. After her beheading, Henry regained the place, before passing it on to Katherine Parr. Much of the building has long gone, but a stable block and coach house remain, as private residences.
Visit: You can see the remains mentioned above in Hanworth Park, along with a nearby Victorian pastiche called Tudor House.
The London townhouse of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It's another of those buildings that has been around far longer than the Tudor era, but much of what we see today is from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Visit: The palace puts on occasional tours for visitors and usually participates in Open House weekend. The gardens are also open on the first Friday of each month (though check the website, as this may be revoked at any time).
Wimbledon's oldest house can be found tucked away behind St Mary's Church. Built in the early 1500s, the Old Rectory was once owned by the Crown and visited by Henry VIII (who, so the story goes, was too fat to get up the stairs). In 2012, it went on the market for £26 million. 'Well above Parr,' quipped the Evening Standard.
Visit: It's a private residence, to which you're unlikely to ever get an invitation.
Although it now looks fit for a king, the original Osterley House was built in 1576 for a merchant. Not just any merchant, mind, but Sir Thomas Gresham, whose name and emblematic grasshopper you'll still find throughout the Square Mile. Although later remodelled by Robert Adam, much of the building's fabric remains Tudor, including the impressive stable block pictured above. The house is often used for filming. It stood in for Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises, and (in its finest hour) served as a backdrop to an episode of Chucklevision.
Visit: The house and gardens are a cracking day out. They're operated by the National Trust, who charge an entry fee.
The name 'Nonsuch' derives from the idea that there were 'none such' anywhere else. Ironic, then, that the London area contained two buildings with this name (and later, a third). Nonsuch House was the first documented building to be prefabricated. It stood on London Bridge from the 1570s. Its more grandiose namesake could once be found on what is now the border between the London Borough of Sutton and the county of Surrey.
Nonsuch Palace was constructed for Henry VIII around 1538 and stood for just 150 years. The lavish structure met an ignoble end when one of Charles II's mistresses sold it off as scrap material to pay a gambling debt. Nearby, Whitehall (not to be confused with its more famous, central London namesake) is a timber-framed house from around 1500.
Visit: No remnant of the palace remains on site, although its location is well signposted in Nonsuch Park. The British Museum has parts of the building in storage. Whitehall is currently closed to the public, but should reopen in the summer of 2017.
One of the forgotten dwellings of Henry VIII, its strange name derives from the Old English for a triangular plot of land with pear trees. The small (by royal standards) property played a significant role in the story of the Crown, for it was here that Henry VIII restored his daughters Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession. Pirgo (sometimes Pyrgo or Portegore) was adjacent to the much older palace of Havering, used by royalty for centuries.
Visit: Both palaces were demolished long ago. Havering Country Park and Pyrgo Park cover the sites.
Otherwise known as Greenwich Palace, this riverfront complex has almost completely vanished beneath the Old Royal Naval College. It was a favourite of the Tudors. Three future monarchs were born here (Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I), while Edward VI breathed his last at the palace.
Visit: One corner of the palace remains, hidden in a basement of Queen Anne Court. Access is rare, but you can learn much at the Visitor Centre to the west of the site.
Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge
A remarkable survival, this wooden hunting platform on the edge of Epping Forest was perhaps never visited by the Queen, and is from an even earlier period, dating from 1543.
Visit: Like Epping Forest, the building is overseen by the City of London Corporation who offer free entry. A modern visitor centre and a huge family-friendly pub next door makes this corner of Chingford a worthwhile day out, even before you get to the forest itself.
Henry VII was formerly known as the Earl of Richmond, and it was he who bestowed the place name on this Thames-side area, previously known as Sheen. It lasted throughout the Tudor era (Elizabeth died here in 1603), but was dismantled during the Commonwealth period, half a century later. Its other claim to fame? Richmond Palace was home to one of the world's first flushing lavatories, in the time of Elizabeth.
Visit: Little of the palace survives, although its gatehouse is still standing and remains an impressive sight. View it at the western corner of Richmond Green.
One of the more obscure entries on our map (unless you live out that way) relates to this former moated manor house near Chislehurst — formerly in Kent but now part of the London Borough of Bromley. Scadbury Manor has roots that go back long before the Tudor era, but the house was most closely associated with Elizabeth I's spymaster Francis Walsingham, who was born here.
Visit: The overgrown remnants of the house can be freely viewed in Scadbury Park, which is on the London LOOP walking route.
The Thames-side gallery and events venue couldn't look more Georgian if it were dripping with gin and covered in syphilitic marks. But it stands on the site of an important Tudor mansion and royal home. It was originally built around 1550 by the Duke of Somerset (hence the name), but passed into proper royal hands after his execution. The future Elizabeth I lived here during the reign of her sister Mary, and other royals lived here in later centuries. The structure we see today was built by William Chambers in 1776.
St Andrew Undershaft
The Tudors weren't noted as great church builders. One exception is the church of St Andrew Undershaft, whose unusual name refers to a giant maypole that once stood hereabouts. Today it's overshadowed by the Cheesegrater and Gherkin. St Andrew is one of the few buildings in the Square Mile to have survived both the Great Fire and the Blitz (and an IRA bomb that damaged the nearby medieval churches of St Helen's and St Ethelburga's).
Visit: The church is normally closed these days, except by special arrangement. A tiny churchyard along St Mary Axe is often open as a place to rest.
St James's Palace
We might associate Buckingham Palace with the Queen, but St James's is her official address, and the senior palace in the Kingdom. The palace was built by Henry VIII on the site of a former leper hospital. It remains one of London's best preserved Tudor buildings, with a royal guard in constant attendance. Across the road is a less-well-known Tudor survival. One wall of Berry Brothers and Rudd wine merchants once formed part of a Tudor tennis court.
Visit: Unless you're much better connected than we are, you're never going to get inside St James's Palace. Instead, be content to admire the brickwork and watch the marching soldiers from the outside. Berry Brothers can be visited during normal working hours.
One of those 'iconic' Tudor buildings that find themselves imprinted on tea towels and postcards, this quaint little row is emblematic of old London in general, and Holborn in particular. The buildings date from 1585, though are heavily restored and patched. Down an adjacent alley, you'll find Barnard's Inn Hall, an even earlier survivor from the 15th century (though also much repaired).
Visit: Many of the buildings of Staple Inn are in commercial use, so you can pop in any time (just don't expect authentic period interiors in Vodafone). More impressive is Barnard's Inn Hall, which can be freely visited for a regular Gresham College lecture.
Hackney, believe it or not, was once a bucolic retreat from the hustle and bustle of London life. Sutton House is a rare survivor from that time, built by Henry VIII's courtier Ralph Sadleir in 1535. The interior's a bit of a mongrel, with Georgian panelling and even some murals from 1980s squatters, but most of the fabric is proper Tudor.
Visit: Sutton House is under the auspices of the National Trust and charges a modest entrance fee.
Although much remodelled, Syon House near Isleworth was originally a Tudor creation, built on the site of Syon Monastery. In 1547, Henry VIII's body rested here en route from Westminster to Windsor.
Visit: The house is the private residence of the Duke of Northumberland and family, but the generous aristocrats open their home to public visit.
The Inns of Court (including also Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn) are of medieval origin. However, these enclaves of legal professionals really came into their own during the Tudor period. The architecture dates from various eras, but one of the true gems is Tudor. Middle Temple Hall was completed in 1573 and boasts one of London's finest interiors. It also hosted the first performance of Twelfth Night, in 1602.
Visit: The outside bits of the Inns of court can all be freely explored at your leisure. Middle Temple Hall has restricted access but can be visited by tour.
Tower of London
Although it greatly pre-dates the Tudor era, the fortress stands as a talisman to this period. This is due largely to the executions of Lady Jane Grey, Kathryn Howard and Anne Boleyn, and the seismic repercussions for the course of history. The Tower also served as a royal palace, and was much added to during the period.
Visit: As one of London's prime tourist attractions, any fool could work out how to get a look around. What you may not know is that Tower Hamlets residents can get inside for just £1.
Wanstead Park was once home to a large manor house, a favourite hunting lodge of Henry VII and sometime home of the young Henry VIII.
Visit: Nothing remains of the Tudor building, but there is some evidence of the grand Palladian villa that replaced it. Regardless, Wanstead Park is both a pleasant and historic place to wander around.
Whitehall and Westminster
If you're on the hunt for corridors of power, Westminster was as fruitful a place to look in Tudor times as it is today. The sprawling Whitehall Palace occupied much of the land downriver of modern Westminster Bridge. The Palace of Westminster, meanwhile, could be found in the same location as today, albeit in a very different architectural form. One pre-Tudor survivor, Westminster Hall, is common to both eras, as are parts of Westminster Abbey. St Margaret's Church, beside the Abbey, is a rare example of a Tudor church, built in 1523.
Visit: Nothing much remains of the Tudor portions of Whitehall Palace. The one exception is the wine cellar, which lurks beneath the Ministry of Defence building (having been moved a few metres during construction of the latter). You can't visit, unless you're attending a special function down there.
The Palace of Westminster is easy to visit, with plenty of options for gaining entry — but you won't see much Tudor stuff. The Abbey contains plenty of Tudor features, including the exquisite Lady Chapel where you'll find the tomb of Henry VII and his wife Elizabeth of York.
Did we miss anything?
Naturally, we can't include every significant Tudor structure on the map, and there may be obscure survivals that we're unaware of. Let us know in the comments if you think something deserves to appear on the map, and we'll consider an update.
All images by the author.