London is one of the most visited capitals in Europe, with visitors from across the globe keen to get a glimpse of its many famous sights. The tourist path is a well-trodden one and takes in the likes of Big Ben and The Tower of London. However, those who will travel to London and wish to escape the hordes have a wealth of alternative cultural hotspots and activities to choose from. See London a differently and enjoy a more authentic vacation by checking out these lesser-known hotspots.
Wilton’s is the world’s largest surviving Grand Music Hall and rightfully lives up to its self-imposed title of being the ‘city’s hidden stage.’ This historic and atmospheric building produces a diverse program of music, comedy, theatre and cinema with some events free of charge. Why not make an evening out of a visit by going behind the scenes on one of the organized weekly tours, followed by a drink at the Mahogany Bar, dating from around 1725. To experience London history free of other tourists, you can reach Wiltons Music Hall by taking the tube to Tower Hill station.
For a dose of culture, many visitors will stop at London’s South Bank Centre which hosts regular, big budget performances and exhibitions. Though a thriving arts scene can be found at countless spots throughout the city, and smaller galleries will deliver the same injection of culture, minus the long queues and noisy crowds. For a convenient outing visit Banana Repeater, whose location on a railway platform means you can take a train right to the doorway! Founded in 2009 space focuses mainly on displays of printed materials, as well as a program of talks and discussions. Another quirky gallery location can be found at The Old Police Station in southeast London where budding artists create and display their works.
A vacation will inevitably entail souvenir buying and Harrods and Selfridges are often thronged with visitors looking to snap up British goods. Make London shopping part of a cultural visit by experiencing some of the more unusual shopping options the city has to offer. History-lovers will enjoy browsing the boutiques in Burlington Arcade or Bond Street’s neo-gothic Royal arcade.
Indoor markets are also a great place for quirky finds, and The Tea Rooms in Brick Lane is no exception. As well as vintage and retro goods, this is a great pit stop for a slice of homemade cake and a cup of old-fashioned English tea. London beats with culture, though the tourist hotspots can prove a little much for those keen on enjoying a quieter vacation. Enjoy the diverse scene of the English capital by trying out some of these more unusual finds.