London Institute



In 2010 LIMS opened a new five-floor research centre in the heart of Mayfair, London. Originally a mid-18th-century house, the Grade II* listed building was redesigned for interdisciplinary research without the usual departmental barriers. The research space is made up of rooms on multiple length scales, where theorists can work singly or in groups. Pictures of the building and its restoration, taken by physicist Sebastian Ahnert, can be found here.

LIMS at 35a South St

Seminar room

LIMS’ seminar room is on the ground floor and can seat 50 people. It is also a meeting point for coffee, conversation and calculating, with a working fireplace which is used throughout much of the year. The room was renovated with funds from Westminster City Council and inaugurated by Lord May of Oxford, former President of the Royal Society.

Ground floor seminar room


LIMS possesses a modest but growing collection of scientific and mathematical books, including a large selection of the classic Dover mathematics paperbacks. It subscribes to the leading scientific journals, including Nature, Science, PNAS, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review, Journal of Physics, Physics World and Physics Today. Hot and cold drinks, biscuits and fruit are freely available.

Part of LIMS' modest library

Computing and calculating

The Institute provides laptops and desktops, wifi and Time Capsule backup for all its members. Apple hardware dominates though there is the occassional Linux machine and PC. Throughout the building there is 200 feet of custom-built blackboards, the longest of which is 17 feet across. In the basement, the blackboard houses an unusual hidden drinks cabinet, an original feature of the building which could not be altered.

Blackboard bar in the basement

Places to stay

At the top floor of the Institute is a guest room for Fellows and visiting scientists. Mayfair is home to London's grandest hotels, but more modestly priced hotels can also be found close by. The Wignore Court Hotel is a modestly priced bed and breakfast (0.7 miles away). A more expensive option, but one of great value, is the Chesterfield Hotel, with a notable bar (0.3 miles away). LIMS has an arrangement whereby visiting scientists can stay at the Chesterfield at reduced rates.

Chesterfield Hotel, Charles St

Nearby universities and libraries

Close by the Institute are a number of the UK's leading universities, including University College London (1.5 miles away), Imperial College (1.8 miles away) and King's College (2.2 miles away). The London Library, the world's largest independent lending library, is 1.0 miles away, and the British Library, one of three copyright libraries in England, is 1.7 miles away.

London Library, St James Sq.


About 50 yards from LIMS is Mount Street Gardens, a small, quiet park between the Anglican St George's Church and the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception. A few minutes' walk east in the opposite direction is Hyde Park which, along with the contiguous Kensington Gardens, spans 625 acres and contains the Serpentine Lake.

Mount Street Gardens