5 alternative tourist activities in LondonLast modified: May 28, 2012
London is a city that had been drawing large crowds of visitors for generations, with hotel accommodation to suit all budgets and a good transport network, getting around the city for a spot of sightseeing is easy. Known for its many tourist attractions, from well-known sights such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London to the lights of theatre land in the West End, there are a wide variety of things to see and do for those visiting the capital.
There are also, however, many lesser-known attractions that have something to offer whether you are a repeat visitor or simply looking for something a little different.
An excellent way of getting to know London’s hidden side is to go on a guided walk that will show you exactly that. You’ll get to venture off the beaten track up little-used meandering lanes, find secret spots of greenery within the city and hear stories and anecdotes of London’s past.
There are a number of organised walks which regularly start from various locations in London. It is easy to find a walk about an area of specific interest to you or simply enjoy a journey into the city’s more eccentric side.
If you are looking for a little peace amid the hustle and bustle of the city, then why not visit the Japanese Kyoto Garden located in Holland Park?
This traditional Japanese Garden is a well-kept secret and is home to a Japanese maple, the trickling sounds of a waterfall and the shadowy presence of koi carp.
It is also frequented by peacocks displaying a showy beauty amid the Zen-like peace. While it is not a large space, the beauty of the Kyoto Garden lies in its tranquillity and the calming space it gives in which to take a break from the frenetic activity of the city.
If you are interested in visiting one of London’s more unusual museums, then the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret may be what you are looking for.
The museum is situated near London Bridge and forms part of the Old St Thomas Hospital. The operating theatre was closed in 1862 and not rediscovered until the 1960s.
Today the museum is a reminder of how surgery was carried out in times gone by. Set in the Herb Garret of the hospital, the location of the theatre provided a level of sound proofing which was unfortunately necessary for those in the ward.
For an experience of London life in the 18th century, little beats a candlelit tour of Dennis Severs’ House, a Spitalfields home that has been authentically decorated to give a snapshot of life in the 1800s.
As you walk around the rooms, you will be receive a variety of sensory stimulations from the smells and sounds within the house to the noise of passers by outside. All this makes for a fun and slightly unsettling, experience.
For a more modern experience that reflects the consumer society that we live in, head to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in W11.
Centred on British consumerism over the last 120 years, the museum is one man’s obsession with packaging. Its cluttered ‘time tunnel’ layout gives a feel of consumer culture over the ages and with it a touch of nostalgia for times gone by.
Whether you are visiting London for the first time or know the sights of the city well, you will find that there are a whole host of attractions that can give you an alternative insight into the past and present of the UK’s capital.
With a little research it is easy to find some of the hidden gems that are on offer and explore a different side of the city, making your stay in London all the more enjoyable.