London is a great city for exploring. You’ve probably heard of all the great things you can do there, including all the attractions on offer. You might be considering visiting London so you can see the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament or Hyde Park if you want something a little more rural. However, there are some places you can visit in London which some might consider a little more alternative. These are places that perhaps might be off the beaten track, or not very well explored, or maybe even a best kept secret to the locals! Here’s a few places you might consider slotting into your schedule when you visit London, whatever time of year:
London Gatwick and London Heathrow are two of the most popular airports in London and indeed in the country. They are huge works of art, with so many thousands of people going in and out of it everyday. If you are flying into one of these airports to get to London, don’t rush out of it too soon. There’s lots of duty free shops which makes shopping cheaper, as well as lots of really good restaurants on site too. It’s a shopping mall in itself, and something you definitely won’t want to miss! If you’re desperate to get out of the airport and into London, then you might consider coming back to the airport for your return flight a little sooner than you need. Not only will you not have to worry about being late for your flight, but you can use up all that holiday money and explore the shops in your own time before you head home.
The Thames Barrier
The Thames Barrier is in Woolwich, which is probably why a lot of people don’t know about visiting it. Basically, No it’s a bit out on a limb, so not many people would consider visiting the icon on their visits to the city. What is it? Well, it protects the capital from tidal surges and rising sea levels. It opened in 1982, and when this happened, it was expected to only be used a couple of times a year. However, in recent times it has been known to close six or seven times annually, although in 2014-15 it had to be closed fifty times. It’s a really vital part of the city and really worth a visit if you want to explore this area of London, too.
Centre Point rises to 33 storeys and is known as a skyscraper in the area that looks just a bit out of place! Many people, especially locals, are offended by its appearance. After it was completed it unfortunately was empty for a while, but then protestors moved in 1974. Since 1995 it has been a Grade II listed building. Architecture critic Nikolaus Pevsner described Centre Point as "coarse in the extreme. In 2015 work began on conversion of the building to residential flats, which it is still in development for. Worth a visit if you’re around that way, Centre Point is an interesting architectural sight.
Regent's Canal gas holders
Located in Bethnal Green and once used to store the gas which lit and heated people’s homes, the ornate pair of gas holders was completed in 1866 and then the larger one in 1889. It has been said that they are a good signal to people on their way home from a night out! What’s great about seeing these historic items is that you can see how quickly times have changed and how differently people live now. It’s very nostalgic to visit such sites.
Some call it a concrete jungle of roads, other people love it. ‘The London Orbital Motorway’ was first planned in 1937 and then later completed in 1986, a much anticipated set of roads that connects London to areas around the city directly. Many people moan about this motorway due to constant roadworks or hold ups which leads many to sit in their cars on this road for hours, but actually all in all this road was really the making of our country being more connected. If you want a trip to the countryside of England while you’re in London, you’ll be likely travelling on the m25.
Crystal Palace Transmitting Station
The Crystal Palace TV mast was London’s tallest structure until Canary came along. It was built to broadcast BBC TV signals in 1956, and is visible across the capital. It’s the Eiffel Tower of south London, you might say, and it really stands out!
While you’re exploring London it is a good idea to find the right transport (maybe pre-book this in advance to get the best price) as well as finding the best hotel. Luxury hotels in London are not difficult to find, but will be more costly overall. Hotels such as the Montcalm London give you a luxury experience at a reasonable cost, so consider checking out their website before you book anything else.
You’ll find all the facilities you need in a well connected area. You’ll get room service and even a spa on site in some of the hotels. The rooms are comfortable and spacious – perfect for what you need after spending a long day on your feet exploring the city. If you want to stay just one night then you can take advantage of the late check out service which is subject to availability by asking behind the reception desk. The staff are more than happy to help you with whatever your query.
Whatever you decide to do in London – enjoy! There’s so much that this fab city has to offer, whatever time of the year you decide to go. And remember, you’ll definitely want to come back again another time!