Where have all the people gone, less traveled London

This is a compilation of places that are lesser known and not as busy and crowded as the major tourist sights.  London can be very busy and crowded in the summer tourist season, but if you know where to go you can avoid a lot of the crowds.  Most of these sights are fairly small involving quick visits and can be combined with others for a very pleasant day of exploring.  First off is Shoreditch in the East end of London.  We went there to see Brick Lane and try one of their curry houses and to explore Spitalfields Market and the surrounding area.


Brick Lane.
Lots of street art.


Dark Sugars Cocoa House.
Amazing display of gelato.


Chocolate everywhere.


Christ church Spitalfields.  Right next to Spitalfields market which we didn’t really find that interesting.
Sandy’s Row

We also found this nice little Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane, just around the corner from Sandy’s Row.IMG_9719.jpg

You walk into the Breakfast Club and ask to see The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.
Step into the refrigerator.
Go down the stairs.
To a wonderful little bar.


We liked this area and plan to return on a Sunday for The Columbia Road flower market. Another day we went to the Chancery Lane area to visit John Soane’s House museum but missed the tour we had planned on so will return to that later.  Also on Chancery Lane is the London Silver Vaults.


These are true vaults, two floors underground, and look at the size of that entrance door to the vaults.  The walls are almost 4 feet thick and lined with steel.  During WWII a bomb destroyed the building above with no damage to the vaults.
Each of the over 40 silver shops is a vault with another safe door.
These shops have each been owned by the same family for over 50 years.  The proprietors are very friendly even though we weren’t buying anything.  We asked David Shure if he knew every article in his shop and he had us pick up anything in the shop and show it to him.  He gave us the exact description written on the tag.
There are numerous halls with vaults on both sides.

Not a lesser known place or uncrowded, but a swing through Harrods is always fun, especially the food courts.

IMG_9314IMG_9315We walked to Harrods and then headed north through Hyde Park on our way to Little Venice which is where Regents canal and Grand Union canal meet.  We have walked quite a bit of Regents canal in the past but never made it to Little Venice.

On the walk to Little Venice we stopped at Princess Diana Memorial Fountain to watch the kids play.  We took Sophie here in our last blog.
Italian Gardens at Lancaster Gate.
Little Venice.
Our lunch view.  The canal is covered with Duck weed.  It looks like you could walk on it and reportedly dogs tumble into the canal when they mistake it for grass.  It gets much worse with hot weather.
A small Mezze platter for lunch on the canal.

IMG_9331We mentioned The Troubadour in a prior blog, we did try it one evening and heard a couple of soloists who wrote and composed their own works.  Nothing memorable and we have forgotten their names already.  It is a fun eating/drinking venue with live music both up and downstairs.  Upstairs is free, we went downstairs.IMG_0597

IMG_0673IMG_0675Another interesting visit was to Leadenhall Market, one of the oldest markets in London, dating from the 14th century.  It is located in the historic centre of the City of London financial district.IMG_0677

It is quite small, this is almost ½ of the whole market.

St Dunstan-in-the-East was a Church of England, parish church, on St Dunstan’s Hill, halfway between London Bridge and the Tower of London. The church was largely destroyed in the Second World War and the ruins are now a public garden.

This is a quiet, green hidden retreat in a busy part of the city.

IMG_9519IMG_0681Wembley Stadium was built on the site of the original Wembley Stadium which was razed in 2002.  The new stadium opened in 2007 and hosts numerous football games, concerts and even some US NFL games.

The Wembley arch is 134-metre-high (440 ft) and serves aesthetically as a landmark across London as well as structurally, with the arch supporting over 75% of the entire roof load. The archway is the world’s longest unsupported roof structure.


This is the main entrance from the nearest tube stop.


We took a tour of the stadium.


The roof is retractable but does not cover the field as football is meant to be played outdoors in any type of weather.  The roof does cover the spectators though.
There are four different dressing rooms, soccer only needs two but NFL games need two/team.


This is the view from the Royal Box.
The three lions come from the Royal Arms of England.
Our next outing was really quiet, no one else on the tube with us.
Destination Hampstead.
We stayed for one week on Frognal Lane in a friends flat after running the London Marathon in 1999.
Had some great Thai food at Patara in Hampstead.


Hampstead is well known for its large heath.
Walking across the heath to Parliament Hill.
Great views of London from Parliament Hill.
We walked south towards London for more great views from Primrose Hill.

Another place that we like a lot and have returned to many times is Holland Park which lies just a little west of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.  It also connects Kensington High Street with Notting Hill.  There is a very interesting Design Museum on the edge of the park which we saw last summer.  We like running to this park and on one visit went into Kyoto Garden.IMG_0730

Kyoto garden, opened in 1991, was a gift from the city of Kyoto.  These are Koi Carp in the pond.
A tiered Japanese waterfall.
Don’t know who this is.

The Royal Albert Hall is a fascinating venue for a multitude of events. It is host to more than 390 shows in the main auditorium annually, including classical, rock and pop concerts, ballet, opera, film screenings with live orchestral accompaniment, sports, awards ceremonies, school and community events, and charity performances and banquets. A further 400 events are held each year in the non-auditorium spaces.  The BBC Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually which we intend to take advantage of.

The Royal Albert Hall was opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria. The hall was originally supposed to have been called the Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, but the name was changed unexpectadly to the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences by Queen Victoria as she was laying the Hall’s foundation stone in 1867.
We took a wonderful tour of this venue which we highly recommend.
There are 20 seats in the Royal Box.  If no Royals are attending, the tickets are given to the staff of Buckingham Palace.


The Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens as seen from The Royal Albert Hall.

We are ¾ of a mile from the river Thames and we enjoy running to the river and then continuing along The Thames Path.  We ran and walked a bit of it last year when we were here and are doing the same a little further east this year. The Path follows the greatest river in England for 184 miles from its source in the Cotswold hills to the sea.  It passes through peaceful water meadows, unspoilt rural villages, historical towns and cities, and finally through the heart of London to end at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich.

The old Battersea Power Station is being renovated and brought back to life as a mixed-use-neighborhood with restaurants, shops, parks, cultural spaces and loads of riverside apartments.
The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park.


Running The Thames Path.


Houseboats along the Thames.

The Sky Garden is a glass enclosed atrium on the top few floors of “The Walkie Talkie” building in London.  One can book free tickets to visit the Sky Garden a few weeks ahead of time or book a reservation at one of the bars or restaurants or just walk in and hope for openings.  We booked the free tickets at 2pm and a restaurant reservation at Darwin Brasserie.  It made for a very pleasant afternoon.IMG_9525.jpg

View south across the Thames to The Shard.  London Bridge on the right.
Looking east down the river.  London City Hall is the helmet building in the upper right.
Tower of London in the foreground and Canary Wharf in the distance.


Lunch with a spectacular view.


Very nice close up of The Tower of London from above.

In the middle of all these explorations we squeezed in a competitive race, running the Virgin Sport Asics United London 10K.  We ran it last year and Sandy came in first in her age group giving her a free entry this year.  Unfortunately she was bumped to second place this year as younger runners entered her age bracket.

Leaving home on Sunday morning for the run.
Walking from Picadilly Circus to the starting line.


Running through the very welcome misting station.
Jim had his best run in years, running the whole 10K without walking.


7 responses to “Where have all the people gone, less traveled London”

  1. I am so happy you had success running the London 10K! Your pictures continue to be mgnificent!

    1. It is such a fun run and a good tour of the city. We love it and Jim felt so good running the whole 10K.

  2. Great London tips, thanks

  3. Victoria Kinnally Avatar
    Victoria Kinnally

    Well you two remain amazing with your running and multiple adventures and tedious work of recording all it. I am continuing to enjoy your travels and blogging.

    1. So happy that you enjoy them. We are really doing it for ourselves. Recording memories to return to someday. It is not tedious but fulfilling. Our pictures record each activity and then we go back and do the research, learning more about where we are and where we have been. We are still awestruck by what we are doing. Our home is leased for another year so we continue to plan our future out for another twelve months.

  4. Anette Johnson Avatar
    Anette Johnson

    Love the pictures and your writing. Again, I am jealous but thrilled for you.

    Can’t resist mentioning the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury. It’s small but fascinating history of public policy and activists for orphan care going back 400 years….I went with Lemn Sissay whom I’m sure I’ve told you about. If not I’ll fill you in.

    Have fun, stay cool😊

    1. The Foundling Museum is on our list. We went to Sir John Soane’s House Museum Today, spectacular 1 hour tour.

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