Wander around Leicester Square on a weekend and it’s easy to believe that London is a city inhabited only by tourists. Yet London is home to more than 8 million people and residents may tire of the popular tourist hang-outs such as Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Street and look for something a bit different to uncover in England’s illustrious capital. Even if you’re just visiting for the weekend, these hidden gems are well worth seeking out…
Top Museum - Dennis Severs’ House
From the outside of this unassuming terraced house behind Spitalfields Market there are no hints as to the surprises you’ll experience as soon as you enter. Once inside you are directed to the basement to begin your visit. Over the next 30-45 minutes as you wander from room to room, you are invited to see, hear and smell the world inhabited by the previous residents of 19 Folgate Street. Some exhibits are mysterious; others will make you hungry; others still will leave you feeling strangely uneasy. Few visitors will argue however that Severs’ intention to create something unlike a typical museum has been achieved. Opening times are limited so check before visiting. http://www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/
18 Folgate St, London, Greater London, E1 6BX (Nearest tube station – Shoreditch High Street)
Top Park - Kyoto Garden
If you’re looking for somewhere peaceful to enjoy a sunny day in London, head for Holland Park and wander into the Kyoto Garden. This lovely garden is a slice of Japan in London and is complete with a cascading waterfall, stepping stones and a lake with tropical fish. It’s a favourite spot for local residents to enjoy a lazy afternoon. The weekends can get quite busy so visit in midweek to enjoy it at its tranquil best.
Holland Park Avenue Notting Hill, London (Nearest tube station – Holland Park)
Head out from Regent’s Park behind London Zoo and you’ll see the green slope of Primrose Hill. It’s not a steep climb and once at the top you’ll enjoy a great view of the London skyline, from the traditional sights of Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral to modern intrusions such as the London Eye and now the Shard (the tallest building in Europe). Primrose Hill is also considered one of the finest places in London to spot celebrities, many of whom have their homes in the well-to-do neighbourhoods around the park.
Top View – Primrose Hill
North Side, Regents Park, London (Nearest tube station – Chalk Farm)
If you don’t like Korean food or are looking for somewhere posh to celebrate a special occasion you should skip this tip. If, on the other hand, you want a top quality meal at a bargain price, this is just the place. It’s usually packed with locals and folks from the London Korean community, but the friendly staff will soon find you somewhere to sit. It’s one of those rare places that have such a good reputation that they don’t need a website to advertise their wares.
Top Restaurant – Woo Jung Korean restaurant
59 St Giles High Street (off Charing Cross Road), London, WC2H 8LH (Nearest tube station – Tottenham Court Road)
Top Bar – The Old Bank of England
Visit this bar on Fleet Street for its décor alone. As the name suggests it is the site of the old bank and has been restored in recent years to its full lavish glory. The location also enjoys a more grisly association with London’s past: it was next to this building that the infamous barber Sweeney Todd. would chop up his victims before carting off the meat to be served in Mrs Lovett’s nearby pie shop. Speaking of which, the pies in the Old Bank of England are highly recommended.
194 Fleet Street City of Westminster, EC4A 2LT (Nearest tube station – Temple / Chancery Lane)
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