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.
We also found this nice little Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane, just around the corner from Sandy’s Row.
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.
Not a lesser known place or uncrowded, but a swing through Harrods is always fun, especially the food courts.
We 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.
We 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.
Another 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.
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.
Wembley 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.