Everyone knows that London is glorious. Nothing new there.
Unfortunately, this means crowds. Big ones, slow-moving ones, angry ones. Have you ever tried to claw your way through Oxford Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon? It’s a punishment deserved by only the very worst of the human race. There are certain spots in London that are guaranteed to be full to the bursting – explore their crowded depths at your peril. You’ll find much more of the ‘real’ London if you venture to its quieter spots – here are a few of our favourites!
St Dunstan’s in the East
Just around the corner from Monument station, this underrated bucolic oasis hosts the occasional city worker for lunch in the week, but at the weekends you’ll find it more or less deserted. Devastated by bombs in World War II, the church in the middle has become a frame for an incredible array of wall shrubs and climbers.
A house stuck in history
From the outside, 18 Stafford Terrace in Kensington looks exactly like every other house that surrounds it. Step inside, however, and you’ll be instantly transported to dusty Victoriana; the inside of the house has been left exactly as it was left when the cartoonist Edward Lindley died in 1910. You can even read diary entries – clue: everyone gets ill. A lot.
Tucked away in Southwark, this once-unremarkable alleyway between two blocks of flats has been transformed by locals into a charming haven of plants, flowers and a tiny take-one-leave-one library, housed sensibly in a wardrobe. Grab a sandwich and go for a wander – hard to believe the hard streets of London Bridge and Southwark are minutes away!
Number 10 Adam Street
Want to avoid the clamour around the real number 10? Number 10 Adam Street looks almost identical to Number 10 Downing Street, the illustrious black-doored home where David and Sam brush their teeth. Get a photo here and you can pretend (on Instagram, at least) that you’ve been asked for some ‘state business’ with the PM himself.
Two Temples Place
Few people have heard of Two Temples Place, which would be one of the main reasons to visit it if there weren’t so many others! An incredible private dwelling tucked away off the Strand, it was one of the first houses in London to have a telephone and opens a couple of times a year for exhibitions. With its ornate halls, chandeliers and stained glass, it’s definitely one for the architecture hounds among us.
All this hidden goodness got you in the mood for exploring our fair city? Check out the range of tours our members are offering at the moment, from biking tours to the story of London, photography tours or even Harry Potter tours!