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London is a behemoth of a city. Plenty of visitors arrive, believing they can see all the city has to offer in just a few days – and are left somewhat disappointed. Still, it’s a reason to visit time and time again. Not only are the main attractions plentiful, but the sites you may not know about are enough to fill the Albert Hall (which is, incidentally, an attraction you might well know about).
Perhaps, you’re visiting the city, having been before, and seen all the big hitters. Or maybe you’re something of an alternative (or hipster) traveller. Whatever reason lies behind your quest for the unknown, it appears you’re looking for something a little different. And here are some suggestions.
OK, so maybe you have heard of this one, or it might just ring a bell, given the second part of its name. But we wanted to include it, since it’s not so centrally located, and perhaps therefore not often on the lists of top highlights in London. But the beautiful tree-lined canals of Little Venice that run between Camden and Paddington are truly a sight to behold. Waltz along the shores with your friends or loved ones, and pop into
one of the café boats on the water. Rent your own canal boat and take a tour of London at its most picturesque. You might even see the monkeys and birds among other animals in the London Zoo before you stop off for the sunset views at the top of Primrose Hill. After some boat time, you might want to stretch those legs on a London walk.
For something a little alternative on your trip to London, why not consider bingo? This Foxy Bingo list identifies some of the most famous bingo locations around the world and describes Beacon Bingo in Cricklewood as the largest bingo venue in Europe. Up to 3,000 players can come together to socialise and play, with it all to win. The site is even a Guinness World Record holder for the largest single prize of £100,000. Just imagine taking home such an amount after a few rounds of bingo.
The Painted Hall
After spending all that time on the canals and hills of London, it’s time to admire the beauty within. That is, we’re taking you inside The Painted Hall, in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. It was painted by artist James Thornhill from 1707 to 1726, and entirely done by hand. The BBC shows how the most recent renovation of this baroque treasure is said to have been successful. Take in the immense power of the artwork, and consider its relation to the might of Britain in that bygone era.
If you think we were a little canal-heavy before, just wait for this section. The truth is, a lot of the hidden intrigue in London is centred around these waterways, while the main attractions tend to border the River Thames. The site lies inside a former warehouse that stored ice brought from Norway in the 1800s. Its exhibits piece together not only the history of the canals but the lives of the people around them over the centuries.
Kensington Roof Gardens
Atop the sixth floor of what was once the Barker’s Department Store lies this picturesque set of gardens. Climb to the top terrace for stunning views of London, right above High Street Kensington. It’s one of the top shopping areas in the city, with all sorts of upmarket cafés and restaurants. And My London reports that it has been open for 40 years. What’s more, it’s a relatively well-kept secret, even today, so get out there before others find out about it too. Bring a camera for some snaps by which to remember your trip.