offbeat things to do in london
London is like a magazine with the carousel of places to see once in a lifetime with the likes of Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Shard, London Bridge, London Eye, Tower of London, Gherkin, Portobello Road, Covent Garden, Windsor castle, London open bus, Soho, Notting Hill, London Underground, London Embankment, Kensington Palace, Hyde park, Baker Street, Camden Town, Mayfair, Bond Street, Saville Row, et al.
Not to forget to mention about the Afternoon tea at Ritz and Savoy. You can never say “been there done that” about London even after spending an entire lifetime in there for your wishlist is never going to be completely checked off. The off kilter London is equally intriguing. London can be clichéd but clichés are passe in no time in London. To do it all you will just have to walk it out and you do not have to be on the same road for more than once for the conundrum of London is a puzzle unsolved.
July and August are peak season packed with long days and probably has the best weather and at its busiest.
Secret London is all about discovering and exploring the secretive hideouts which are usually off limits for the run off the mill holidayers and vacationers but a heaven for travellers certainly. Cucumber sandwiches, pie and mash in classic green liquor and scones in clotted cream are a must eat while in London.
New London architecture’s got the scale model of London on permanent display with the likes of the Royal London Docks, Battersea, Paddington to Kings Cross and what not.
The greasy spoon of Speedy’s café has provided a backdrop for the sociopathic sleuths of Sherlock and his sidekick Dr. Watson in the TV Series.
A trip to the stately Fulham Palace is a must do which was once owned by the bishops of London for a considerable period of time is a must do for its Grade I listing and medieval origins.
Primrose hill has the most expansive views of Central London with the London riches making their home in this neighbourhood.
Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities which was originally part of Wynd’s Little shop of horros is the epitome of fine art and natural history of days gone by in these wonder rooms by the boy wonder of the alchemy.
Leighton House Museum in the Holland park District was a Orientalist and Aesthetic residence of the Victorian artist Lord Leighton has the permanent display of his works of Victorian art.
The Cockpit is a fancy pub which once hosted cock fighting. The Shoreditch fence in East London has got locks fastened by lovers with their names written on them.
The home with a black door next to the spire like structure of the Shard emerging from the Thames was the residence of poet John Keats. Shoreditch town hall which has been restored has got the connection with Jack the Ripper.
The Great Bed of Ware is an oak bed with carved marquetry is from 1500s in Victoria and Albert Museum and has been quite an inspiration for Shakespeare and Byron in their references. Brompton Cemetery in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is consecrated by the Bishop of London in 1800s and is one of London’s magnificent seven cemeteries.
The tropical gardens of Barbican in Central London is quite a modernist’s approach with the brutalist style labyrinthine haven. The exact centre of London is marked by a plaque in the Church of St Martin’s-in-the-fields overlooking Trafalgar Square.
The Highgate Cemetery is a creepy tour to the site once dedicated to duelling magicians and vampire hunters. Pollock’s toy museum has been in the century long craftsmanship of toy making. Thames beachcombing walks happen throughout the year the meeting point being Mansion House tube station. The Old Curiosity shop has been immortalised by Charles Dickens.St James Park is the best place to spot Giant Pelicans. A midnight matinee at Shakespeare’s Globe is worth it especially when “the Bard” celebrated his 400th anniversary only in 2016.
The Musical Kinky Boots inspired from a true story with a storyline about a man who inherits his dad’s drab shoe factory until it gets kinkier with the entry of cabaret star Lola with her idea of making red boots as it tugs at your heart is what all of London is slipping into with music by Cyndi Lauper, Direction by Jerry Mitchell and Tony award winning choreography.
The Replica of Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship Golden Hinde is quite a spectacle to watch out for. John Harrison’s Marine Chronometers in the Royal Museums Greenwich are the clockwork that revolutionised seafaring forever.
Magic Circle Museum is the collection that has been by the London’s premier magician club.The London Dungeon is the haunted house of the gruesome London history.
Wilton’s Music Hall in Whitechapel is the oldest music hall in the history of London.
The cabman’s shelters are rare once shuttered carriage pitstops in London with one of it on Temple Tube and the next of its kind Russell Square. Bacon Sarnie is a must have in of these. The James Smith and Sons Umbrella on New Oxford Street have the finest umbrellas and Victorian fiitings in London and have been the suppliers in the props department of Mary Poppins. The Lock & Co. is the oldest hat store in the world.
The Sherlock Holmes interactive exhibit in the basement of Madame Tussauds is a walk through the interesting life of the detective prodigy. Black Museum is the macabre of reminders of the dastardly deeds of Scotland Yard. The Ruins of the church of St. Dunstan is the casualty of the Blitz era. Charles Babbage proto computer model is quite a thing to watch out for. With the most unusual of museums in London, Sherlock Holmes Museum on 221b Baker street is a must visit.
Regent street in London is the first street in the world to have its own app.
A canal boat tour will take you past the magical route of Little Venice, London Zoo, Regent’s Park and Camden lock. Black cabs are passe and so Mini Cooper Tours around London are also a must do.
The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park since 1700s is a great way to spend a laidback afternoon rowing and ducking around with the wading avians. Richmond Park is just the right kind of getaway and is arguably the finest.
Hyde Park in the centre of all of it with the Marble Arch and Kensington Palace of the Royal family never goes out of style.
The once Victorian and Kentish town public loos and pissoir turned bars with the likes of the Attendant on Foley Street and Cellardoor are must visit. Attendant on 27a Foley Street from the former establishment has the antiques of the porcelain Victorian urinals and hand driers. Espresso shots with bittersweet bakery cakes, deli sandwiches and milk porridge are must haves.
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The Town Hall Hotel with its wide expanse is surely a structure not to be missed. The pub Morpeth Arms is one of its kind with prison cells in the cellar and spy room. The remnants of bounding wall of London are scattered around the entire city of London.
The nose sculptures at Soho are peculiar structures with myths of London riches. Supper clubs are the USP of London as Londoners love their suppers just like the one of its kind London Underground Supper Club.
Borough Market, Camden market, Brixton Market and Home to London’s are the “it” markets in London and is a must visit for their unique boutiques, shabby and chic takeaways, designer stores, vintage shops, curios, memorabilia and birc-a-brac.
Hackney City farm is one of its kind with its livestock and can be quite fun. Eltham Palace is a restored Royal residence in Art Deco and Renaissance style with secret passages. Alexandra Palace is the entertainment venue of London also dubbed as the People’s Palace. Fitzroy House is a historical house for the theory of Scientology has been conceived in here.
Saturday’s farmer market in Duke of York Square and Sunday’s Greenwich market are worth visit once in a while. Good food market dishes out the best food from all over the world. Street Feast London is a night time food market and is a must eat market. Dalston Yard is London’s newest foodie central. Pop Brixton is at its best to taste street food.
The luxury shopping lane of Burlington Arcade has been protected for over a century by an insignificant police force.
Twinings Tea Shop is the oldest tea shop that fortunately brought tea to the English people and the Queen herself. Claridge’s Afternoon Tea is the best kind of afternoon tea experience. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is London’s only cat café with the offerings of tea and cupcakes. Suck and Chew happen to be the pioneers of vintage treats of sweetmeats. The Tea Building since World War II survived and still exists to its originality. Choccywoccydoodah is a chocolaterie near Carnaby Street with offerings of fantasy cakes and naughty cakes.
Harry Potter, Warner Bros Studio, Jack the Ripper, Murder Mile, James Bond, Sherlock Homes, and Beatles walking tour are must do walking tours. Jack the Ripper walk guided by Donald Rumbelow is internationally recognised as the leading authority on the serial killer.
Tramshed is a unique restaurant with only two kinds of offerings that is steak and chicken.
Fullers Brewery is the last left family brewery which has been into the art of British beer making as you get to know about it sampling a few pints of the finest ales. Camden Town Brewery tour takes you to the facilities with the offerings of beer cans off production line.
Regent’s Canal from Paddington is a haven for kayaking for junkies in one of those moo canoes.
Greenwich Meridian line is the line of zero longitude at the centre of the world time and separates two hemispheres. Greenwich Royal Observatory is also a must do. Greenwich foot tunnel beneath the River Thames is pedestrianized.
A tour to Queen Elizabeth tower sure has a different view of the skyline behind the clock face of Big Ben and is breathtaking. The Hint Hunt Building near Euston Station is a quintessential London experience. The Private tour of UK Parliament building from Tudor times is replete with attractions like House of Lords, House of Commons, St Stephen’s Hall, Prince’s Chamber and the Chapel of St. Mary’s Undercroft. The Royal Philatelic Collection is the British Monarchy’s impressive royal collection continued since generations.
The labyrinthine tunnels of Chislehurst caves was excavated during war times is worth a visit for its concert venue where rock legends like Hendrix, Pink Floyd and David Bowie performed.The culture of rooftop beer in London is quite a thing to do. Gin cocktails are the best served in Gin. A visit to a gin Distillery is also a must do.
Cahoots is the vintage tubed themed bar reminiscent of the Blitz era and is also hailed to be a more popular place to visit than Madame Tusaauds.The Coulmbia Road Flower Road is quite a lover’s delight.
The murals of the once held frost parties on frozen River Thames are still existent. Cartoon Museum will bring back the child in you with the collection of cartoons and comics since 8th century. Linley Sambourne House is a showy house of the cartoonist by the same name. The Duke of Wellington’s horse block on St. James Waterloo is a relic of the horse block laid in the 1800s.
Haggerston Park is for daredevil bike riders flaunting their bike riding skills on the uneven terrains.
Blythe Road is both historical as well as hysterical for the incident in which Aleister Crowley attempts to seize the hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn donning a mask and a kilt.
The Alleyway of Meard Street in Soho lined with Georgian Houses has one of the houses with a sign board “This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes at this address” was actually originally a brothel.
The sign which says, “Here stood the first London Coffee House at the sign of Pasqua Rosse’s Head 1652” is actually the site of London’s first coffee house since 360 years.
The roofed gardens on Kensington High Street are themed gardens with rosebushes and evergreens and flamingos making frequent appearances. The Diana Memorial in Kensington Gardens with Peter Pan’s statue is certainly a relaxing getaway. Kensington roof gardens in downtown London is a hidden getaway.
Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields is the structure depicting London of the 18th century and still at its dramatic best with its still life exhibits. Puppet theatre Barge is a moored theatre and is critically acclaimed for producing Marionette.
The traffic light tree of Canary Wharf is created with 75 fully operational controlled traffic lights and is quite a dystopian sight. The Sewer lamp on Carting Lane is probably London’s last and one of its kind lamp working on bio fumes.
The York Watergate are the inland remains of the residence of the first Duke of Buckingham within Embankment Gardens. The Tower of London does the lantern lit “Ceremony of the Keys” as a gesture to protect Crown Jewels.
The Victorian marketplace of Leadenhall market has been the setting for the films of Harry Potter franchise.
Sir John Soane’s Museum is the former residence of the bank of England architect and is quite an affair to be engaged in. A tour to bank of England museum is also a must do.
The Lordship Recreation public park is quite a retreat after a busy day away from the helter skelter. The Whispering Gallery of St Paul’s Cathedral in the eaves of the Wren’s masterpiece lets you hear whatever is being spoken on the opposite side of the dome. The replica of St. Paul’s cathedral is the tiniest Cathedral in the entire London hidden in an alcove.
Lilliputian Police station is the London’s smallest police station of the size of phone booth.
Beigel bake Bagel shop on Brick lane is a must visit. A food tour to East End is must do.
The 40-mile long Thames path has the pub of The Prospect of Whitby which happened to be Charles Dickens’ favourite and the highlights of the village of Rotherhithe.
Leinster Terrace are the fake house fronts that housed the first tube line and the facades were created as a beautification to hide the maintenance work in the backdrop.
The London Wall at Tower Hill and Barbican are must see. Hampstead Health is quite an escape after a hectic schedule as a dip in the pool is worth it.
July 23, 2017
July 07, 2017