A Guide To The Secret Side Of London
London is widely known as one of the most multi-cultural and busy cities in the world, but how much do you actually know about it? Yes you may be familiar with such tourist attractions as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and The London Eye, and you might have heard of famous restaurants such as China Whites and The Ritz, but London has a secret side too.
And whilst these places are always worth a visit; you have to step out from behind the guide book in order to find some real hidden treasures. London is so vast and diverse that even people who have lived there for many years don’t know every square inch of it and so there are unknown gems hiding around every corner.
Here’s a guide to some of the lesser known areas of interest in England’s capital.
Sight Seeing –
Although there are obviously better known palaces in London this one situated in the borough of Greenwich is still definitely worth a visit. In the past this building has been used as both a palace and an army training facility but now plays host to a reconstruction of the Courtauld family’s 1930s art deco fixtures and fittings. It has only been open to the public for 17 years and is a little known building of historical importance.
Big Ben’s Clock Tower
I know you’re probably thinking that Big Ben is by no means a secret to anyone but it does hold a few. Although you can quite easily admire it from the outside; did you know that free tours of the clock tower are granted to 10,000 UK residents every year? All you have to do is write to your local MP and then wait to see if you are offered a place (which can take up to six months). This may seem like a lot of hassle but for the views you will get over London’s skyline and the fact that you will be in close vicinity to the actual clock itself; it’s well worth it.
London is well known for its vast amount of museums, but you always hear the same ones mentioned. This museum situated near Forest Hill is a great added extra to anyone who has been, or would like to go, to the natural history museum. There are plenty of animal based delights to enjoy including the main feature of an overstuffed walrus, but that’s not all. There is also an interesting collection of musical instruments, a fascinating Jesus and his apostles inspired clock and beautiful gardens to explore.
The Museum Of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
Now, on the face of it this might not seem the most exciting of places to visit but it offers an interesting insight into consumer goods over the years. This museum was created by one man and shows his uncanny knack for keeping just about everything that he’s ever bought including fizzy drink cans, biscuit tins and washing powder containers.
Food And Drink –
Hidden in a tunnel in the Borough Market area of the Southbank is Giuseppe’s place. And Giuseppe’s place is one where traditional authentic Italian food merges with a friendly family atmosphere to create an excellent eating experience which immediately transports you to the Mediterranean. Sample some of the home cooked delights at lunch or dinner or even order it to takeaway if you are in the London Bridge area.
Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town
Everybody knows that the best bars are hidden underground and this one in Spitalfields is not one to buck the trend. With quirky décor, interesting and well-made cocktails and a beer menu to rival many of the best bars in town; it’s definitely worth adding it to your list of places to frequent before you hit the night clubs.
East End Thrift Store
London is also very well known for its many shops which accommodate people of every budget, and so if you are partial to a bit of retail therapy then you are in the right place. However, if you like to bemoan the lack of vintage clothes shops which offer up a few bargains then the East End Thrift Store in Whitechapel is for likely to be heaven for you. Browse the rails of classic garments in one of London’s last remaining thrift shops and transport yourself back to your favourite era.