London’s two thousand year age, large size and tumultuous and dramatic past mean that as a city, everywhere you look you’ll see a different shade of its character. London has long been a top tourist destination, with great value London city break package deals making it easier than ever to see the sites, but avoiding the tourist traps and digging a little deeper can really reap rewards in terms of getting to know the city. Below you’ll find a rundown of some of the weird, wonderful and above all, exciting things you can do to get to know the English capital city a little bit better.
The Line Walking Trail
Taking you across the Thames into the Docklands area and all the way into Stratford, this East London walking trail roughly follows the Greenwich Meridian Line. The walk itself is diverse in its scenery, exploring the forgotten urban warehouses, green parks and riversides, all complimented by seasonal art installations from leading international sculptors and creatives. This is the first official “art walk” the city’s designed, and walking the 4 hour journey is a great introduction to those lesser known locales of the English capital.
Climb The O2
If you want a little more fresh air than the London Eye can afford you, the O2 guided climb has you don a hard hat and follow a London climbing pro up to the top of the famed Greeniwch dome. From here, you’ll learn about the construction of the dome and its relationship with the surrounding Southeast area, all whilst drinking in the stunning views of the Thames’s eastern meanders.
Art Galleries Off The Beaten Track
Whilst the Tate and National Galleries are more than worth your time, the city is teeming with art galleries that showcase lesser known contemporary creatives who will on ebay be in the history books. The South London Gallery, for instance, is free to visit and showcases the work of art school graduates and local legends in a beautiful space on Peckham Road. For guests of the Barbican Rooms London, the nearby cultural sprawl of the Barbican building curates a stunning range of exhibitions and live events. The Whitechapel Gallery, White Cube and Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery are all hidden gems that celebrate the new wave of artists. Moreover, they’re usually free to visit.
Another City of London highlight that is easy to reach from the Chiswell Street Hotel is the dennis Severs House, a time capsule in the form of a “still life” multisensory museum. Incorporating ambient audio, interior design and the smells of its subjects, this museum follows the story of multiple generations of a fictional London family from the 18th century into the beginnings of the 20th.
The London Dungeons
Blending the grisly history of London with live performance, this history trip blends West end theatrics with fun scares and even a little education. London Suites Montcalm guests can reach the London Dungeons via Waterloo Station, it being just a stone’s throw from the London Eye on the South Bank. During the trip, you’ll learn about Jack The Ripper, the Great Plague, 1666 the Fire of London and many more tales from the city’s history.