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It's all about great faces. Shakespeare's enigmatic face. Michelangelo's exquisite faces. Mr. Potato Head's fat bald-headed face… These are some of the attractions of London's museums and landmarks in summer 2006.

Below are some highlights, with links to related sites. Most offer advance ticketing on the Web—a good idea unless you want to spend much of your vacation standing in line with a whole lot of other Americans.

"Searching For Shakespeare"

The National Portrait Gallery

Through May 29

This exhibition brings together most of the meager but fascinating remnants of the life of the poet. Stratford church registry entries mark his christening, marriage and death. A fragile script from a play never performed has hand-written additions that may or may not be his handwriting. But the biggest draw is a different kind of legacy: a few of the hundreds of portraits that allegedly show us what William Shakespeare looked like.

Click at left to see the six portraits in the exhibition.

If you miss the special exhibit, the "Chandos" portrait, at least, isn't going anywhere. And the National Portrait Gallery is one of London's most enjoyable institutions. Devoted to great people more than great art, it's organized as a walk through England's history, from King Richard III to Sir Paul McCartney.

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