Off the beaten path in London for a few days
Replies: 21 - Last Post: May 21, 2012 2:37 AM Last Post By: juliemiquerol
Oct 12, 2009 1:02 PM
Off the beaten path in London for a few daysI will be in London (Belgravia) next week for a few days, looking for a few suggestions for interesting sights/activities.
I last visited in 2006 for two weeks and knocked off much of the touristy stuff (Buckingham Palace, the eye, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Westminister Abby, Covent Garden, Oxford St, Greenwich, Trafalgar Square etc.).
I will be staying with friends, so I will let them pick dinner & evening attractions, however during the day I will be exploring alone with my Oyster card.
I am planning on going the V&A Museum, other than that I have no itinerary. By off the beaten track, I mean sights and activities that are not widely known to tourists, and take some effort to experience.
Any ideas are appreciated - museums, shops, parks, pubs. I have average interests, with particular fondness for history, pop/rock music (including both Blur & Oasis), sports, Douglas Adams and the real ale movement.
Oct 12, 2009 4:02 PM
1Try getting around by water for a day. Head down to Paddington and you'll hit the area known as Little Venice. You should be able to catch a boat down to Camden via Regents canal, it takes about 90 minutes and gives a completely different perspective on the city. If you like walking then you can get to a surprising amount of London on canal paths..again an interesting perspective.
There is also a pretty decent riverboat (as opposed to canalboat) service and you can get as far as Kew & Hampton Court, both of which are worth visiting. Kew for the gardens and and Hampton court for Henry VIII's palace.
Oct 12, 2009 4:16 PM
2The above link is for the river. This one details the canals.
Oct 12, 2009 4:27 PM
3Suggest you get a hold of a book called Secret London by Andrew Duncan. It gives details of a number of walks around London that are quirky, off the beaten track, and to places that the average tourist would miss. Also, check out www.derelictlondon.com for some very interesting aspects of London's ruined/derelict buildings.
Oct 12, 2009 9:10 PM
4Some random thoughts:
Richmond + park
Brick Lane, City area
Walk from Putney west, along the Thames
Sports fixtures - check BBC sport website. Fulham don't sell out home games I think. Tickets may also be available for Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs for non-Premiership games.
Music - ticketmaster. http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/
Oct 12, 2009 11:38 PM
5How's about this for a total wildcard - Ridley Road market! It's about as far from the tourist trail as you can get, and you can experience multicultural London in all its grimy glory. Do NOT expect Notting Hill. Pig's trotter, anyone?
London walks also do some very interesting walks, but they can be rather variable. Anything about Charles Dickens, Jack the Ripper, Ghosts & Goblins or St. Paul's will likely be disappointing. I really enjoyed their Jewish London walk though and they did a great tour around Clerkenwell which was amazingly interesting.
Other ideas (some mentioned above): Whitechapel, Brick Lane, Spitalfields market and Shoreditch/Hoxton; Marylebone; Hampstead; Richmond; Columbia Road flower market, Bethnal Green and Broadway Market; Brixton; walk along the union canal from Little Venice to Islington (it actually goes all the way down to Canary Wharf and the Thames, and is also great for cycling)
Oct 12, 2009 11:52 PM
6What about the Old Operating Theatre?
Oct 13, 2009 2:02 AM
7There is a small museum called the Brunel_Museum doesn't take long to see, but it is quite (historically) interesting. It has an exhibition on the Brunel Engine House (where it is housed) as well as history of the tunnel building (now the East London Line) which the oldest line in the Underground system and the first of it's kind in the world.
Oct 13, 2009 2:32 AM
- John Slone Museum in Gray's Inn - an excentric victorian's house. I did a tour by candle light which was pretty amazing.
- Highgate - have a potter around the village then walk down and see Highgate Cemetary (i've only seen the one to the East- George Elliott, Marx and others are burried there) but the one to the west is meant to be amazing.
- Camden Market - its not totally off the beaten track but its a market full of lots of different things and with lots of intersting people to watch (can be full of young 'want to be' cool kids).
- Portobello Road Market - again not far off the beaten track but i love haveing a potter around the antiques part of the market - would recommend getting there earlier rather than later. I also like some of the new clothes stalls - have picked up some interesting pieces for me and my boyfriend.
- Pubs - Check out some of the Sam Smiths Pubs around london they tend to be intersting and traditional - and the beer tends to be cheaper!
Oct 13, 2009 2:33 AM
Oct 13, 2009 3:03 AM
10#8 I presume you mean Jhn Soane. Good call on the west side of Highgate Cemetery, OP wil need to check tour times.
Young and Fuller pubs are the best choices for real ale.
If It is dry and you want a walk go to Coulsdon South Railway station and do the Farthing Downs secition of the London Loop. The halfway mark is The Fox, unless you want a 8kmn walk you might want to stop there and get a bus back to Coulsdon Sth Station. Google London Loop but you will be walking it backwards to instructions. YOu can't use Oyster pre-pay on these trains.
If you want to see a premierhsip team Fulham play Roma on the 22 and Hull on the 19th and you will likely get tickets for these. £35 or such.
Oct 13, 2009 3:24 AM
11I suppose the Inner and Middle Temples (ie, legal London between Fleet Street and the river) are no longer so off the beaten track given the profile-raise Dan Brown provided. But you don't mention it, and it is one of the few places in central London where there are some pre-fire buildings, and it's like another world when you go in there. Best in the week, as bits close up at the weekend.
Another pre-fire building worth a look is the church of St Bartholomew the Great at Smithfield, though they've started charging to go in. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bartholomew-the-Great Yet another is St Etheldreda's, Ely Place, off Holborn Circus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Etheldreda%27s_Church one of the few old churches which has been returned to the Roman Catholics.
Leighton House Museum (not far from High St Kensington) is fascinating if you can affect an interest in the 19th century orientalist movement, though Leighton's most famous picture, Flaming June, is not there.
The Horniman Museum takes some getting to, being an uphill walk from Forest Hill railway station, accessed via London Bridge. It houses ethnographic collections, including a major musical instrument collection, plus, bizarrely, a mini zoo and aquarium. The gardens are also nice, and provide a long distance view over central London.
Oct 13, 2009 3:43 AM
12If you follow no.4's suggestion and walk along the Thames from Putney, stop by the Bricklayer's Arms , which was just voted CAMRA London pub of the year. Along the way stop by the London Wetland Centre.
For some reason I'm a sucker for city farms. There's one near the above mentioned Broadway market.
Not really off the beaten track, but the Saatchi and whitechapel galleries usually have good stuff, and never seem to get mentioned on here.
Oct 13, 2009 3:48 AM
13#10 yes sorry that is the museum I meant!
I also you might be intersested in a Brewery Tour: http://www.fullers.co.uk/rte.asp?id=9 but that depends on how much you like beer!!
Also there are often some intersting exhibtions on at the Wellcome Collection: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/ I keep on meaning to go to the one at the moment which is called Exquisite Bodies which is on 19th Century Wax models of bodies Here is the Link
Oct 13, 2009 12:46 PM
14Central in geography - off the beaten path in concept ..
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