For a day out off the beaten track this winter, a city as old and big as London has plenty of attractions that your everyday tourist might overlook. From hidden cinemas to secret bars, here is a list of 10 things that are lost on most Londoners.
Old Operating Theatre Museum
Located right around the corner from the Tower Bridge tube stop, this unique museum has one of the oldest operating theatres in Europe. Though thankfully no longer in use this museum shows how far medicine has come since the 1800’s.
Dennis Severs’ House
If you were to walk unprepared into this house you would believe that you had stepped back into the 1700’s. While the house is that old, the interior was actually done in 1979 by a Californian named Dennis Severs. Over a twenty year period Mr. Severs remodelled the house and filled it with furnishings from the Georgian period. Though not totally authentic it nevertheless creates a very real time capsule.
Opium/Experimental Cocktail Club
No secret London list would be complete without a speakeasy so here are two. The China Town pair of Opium and the Experimental Cocktail Club are both on Gerrard Street. Opium is hidden behind a green door with nothing but a small gold plaque to note its existence. Its menu consists of Oriental inspired cocktails and great dim sum. Experimental Cocktail Club is easier to miss. Located down the street behind a plain black door, look for the bouncer to help find it. Both places get busy on the weekends so have a reservation if you plan on going.
As the name implies this place is a secret, but if going to a movie has become too normal for you than this is the place to be. The group recently did a production for Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ where guests got to experience the world based around the film before the screening itself. Be sure to keep updated on upcoming productions – well try to anyway, its supposed to be ‘secret’ after all.
While hardly a secret this great park is often overlooked by Londoners. It can help you get away from the hustle and bustle of London while keeping you in zone 2. Take a picnic there and enjoy the sun or take a soothing walk through the trees. Either way you will have a relaxing time.
Camden Town Brewery
On the way back from Hampstead Heath why not stop by Camden Town Brewery. Started in 2010 this micro brewery will blow you away with their selection. Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, you can chose from a selection of their special beers and guest drafts. The best is to get a tasting flight of 5 beers, which goes great with the brewery’s rotating selection of food trucks.
John Soane’s Museum
John Soane was a famous architect in the early 1800’s and his house is tribute to his craft. The house is not only beautiful to behold but also holds Soane’s incredible collection. It has everything from an Egyptian mummy to Renaissance statues. The house is located at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields by the Holborn tube stop.
Here is another speakeasy. Unlike the others on this list this is a little better known, but upon walking in you will think you are a true 1920’s speakeasy full of glamour and luxury. This bar has one of the most extensive cocktail lists in all of London, the menu includes pre-prohibition, prohibition, post prohibition, and signature drinks. If you want an old time luxury bar then this is the place for you.
Eltham Palace and Gardens
This once royal palace dates back to all the way back to 1305, it’s had many additions throughout the ages. One of the biggest additions was in the 1930’s when a huge Art Deco expansion was added on to the old Great Hall of the palace. This addition is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco in England. Though a bit of a hike from the city, Eltham is worth the trip to see this blend of old and Art Deco along with the beautiful gardens around the palace.
Even though they date back to the mid 1200’s these caves are not as know today as they once were. Located in Chislehurst the caves have had a wide range of uses over the years. They have been everything from mines in the 1830’s to an air raid shelter in World War II. Now they are a 22 mile long cave network with guided tours. Great for kids and adults alike this is a secret you will want to share.
For more exciting days out in London, visit Smartsave for discounts on top family days out.