is a formidable charge. Household-name landmarks pop up at every
turn: The London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace,
Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Parliament,
Wembley and the British Museum, to name but several.
to begin? Well in London’s case, it helps to see the trees through
the forest, as it were, and break the city up into manageable
segments. This is all made reasonably effortless of course, with a
phenomenal public transit system. With that in mind, consider these
worthwhile alternatives in the vast English capital.
Parks of London like Hyde, Kensington, The Regent’s, Greenwich and
massive, wildlife-profuse Richmond, provide some of the most
picturesque views of the metropolis. While superb destinations all,
London Parks & Gardens Trust holds a “secret gardens” tour of
the city over one weekend every June. For as low as £7.50, visitors
obtain special access to a glorious array of private heritage gardens
not otherwise available to the public. The open house is a fabulous
way to enjoy a serene, furtive side of London and proves especially
popular with locals every year. The Trust also offers a comprehensive
list of walks and cycle rides through various other green oases
throughout the city, with free downloadable podcast guides to boot.
has Père Lachaise and
Montparnasse. London has the
Magnificent Seven. No, not a
Western Akira Kurosawa remake but a monumental cemetery ensemble
built over the course of a decade to accommodate London’s
significant population rise in the early 19th
visit to a Magnificent Seven cemetery (Kensal Green, West Norwood,
Highgate, Abney Park, Nun Head, Brompton or Tower Hamlets) is far
from macabre. Highgate Cemetery, for one, has impressive Victorian
mausoleums and famous burials that range from Karl Marx to punk
impresario Malcolm McLaren. Brompton Cemetery is a prominent Grade II
Royal Park next to Stamford
Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club, where the tomb of club
founder Henry Augustus Mears is a popular pilgrimage site. All-Gothic
West Norwood Cemetery is a practical history lesson on London, with
many of the city’s most famous architects, artists, entertainers,
engineers and sportsmen in situ.
hotels in London
snag Michelin stars with astonishing regularity, you don’t have to
dine at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester or Gordon Ramsay at
Claridge’s to eat like a royal. For some of the most diverse and
delicious street food in the world, live like a local and head to
urban pockets like Brick Lane, Broadway Market, Greenwich Market,
Portobello and Golborne and Exmouth Market. Here, a kaleidoscope of
al fresco food stalls illustrate that London is indeed a premier (and
yummy) global city.
far from underground, with up to 100,000 visitors most weekends,
Camden Markets is a pearl more tourists need to discover. The chain
of markets in inner-city Camden Town is a hive of activity with bona
fide alt-roots. Now open throughout the week, the former warehouse
and lock site is a one-stop-shop for goth fashions, vintage threads,
arts and crafts, bric-a-brac and music.
crawl is a London rite of passage. In order not to muck it up, do
your homework and focus on a theme or particular area. Fleet Street
for example, is rife with history and lore-rich landmark pubs.
Classic pub architecture is on hand between Grand Union Canal and
Maida Vale tube station at places like the Bridge House, Warwick
Castle and Warrington Hotel. Similarly, a scenic walk in the
immediate vicinity of Kew Gardens unfurls pub gems like the London
Apprentice, Magpie & Crown and Brewery Tap. With proper diligence
and research, a fine London pub crawl will be your reward.
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