Happy birthday to us! London Planner celebrates 35 years

As London Planner turns 35, Sarah Riches delves into its past

1984 was a dramatic year: it started with a hurricane, a miners’ strike led to violent confrontations, and the much-loved comedian Tommy Cooper died on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre. 

But it wasn’t all bad news: the year also saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Starlight Express premiered at the Apollo Victoria Theatre; the Queen opened the Thames Barrier in Greenwich, which is designed to protect London from floods; Everton won the FA Cup at Wembley and Princess Diana gave birth to Prince Harry.  


It was also the year that London Planner was born, in July – just as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Two Tribes was topping the charts. Early issues had just 20 or so pages and were printed in black and white, but like today they still featured handy listings for sights, theatre, sports and museums and galleries, as well as a useful Theatreland map.

Much has changed since then – for London and London Planner. We’ve since introduced a welcome letter from the Mayor of London, more pages and features, sections dedicated to shopping, eating out and nightlife, plus bus, boat and Tube maps. There’s also a section called Britain Planner, which inspires you to take trips out of the capital. And it’s all still free.


Loyal readers might remember our souvenir issues to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (Jun-Jul 2012); the London Olympics (Jul-Aug 2012) and London Paralympics (Aug-Sep 2012).

Just like our city, which now benefits from Oyster cards and is home to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and skyscrapers such as The Shard, London Planner moves with the times – which is why we launched a Twitter account in 2011, an Instagram feed in 2015 and londonplanner.ourstaging.site and a YouTube channel in 2017. Stay with us to find out what the rest of 2019 will bring!



From one birthday to the next, celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th at the Queen’s Gallery exhibition.


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