Everyone knows that London is a great place to visit, whether you want to spend hours taking in the exhibits at its world-class galleries and museums or prefer to go sightseeing to Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. But what about the things that not everybody knows about? We’re talking the experiences that will make a trip to the capital, but aren’t necessarily on the average to-do list. Here’s five of the best things to pack onto your London itinerary:
The O2, originally known as the Millennium Dome, is a familiar landmark in Greenwich, with its majestic spikes sticking out from its perfectly arced roof. Taking in a concert at this venue is a great thing to do while you’re in London, but you could go one step further and do something even better. You can spend an hour and a half on top of that iconic roof, scaling it with a guide along a fabric walkway, which is suspended two metres above the surface of the roof. You’ll be 52 metres above the ground and have incredible views of the surrounding area, with landmarks 15 miles away visible on a clear day. Choose to climb the O2 during the day, at sunset or during the twilight hours.
We’re not talking about scoffing down a pre-bought sandwich as you go between Old Street and London Bridge, but a proper meal with a table and everything. This is the latest pop-op restaurant from Basement Galley and the hottest ticket in town at the moment. We’re talking a Scandinavian-style four course tasting menu served aboard a decommissioned 1967 London Underground carriage, complete with cocktails and single estate wines. And there’s also an Underground Bruch Club – yes please!
- Have a whole apartment to yourself
Everyone knows that square footage in London is at a premium and you’re lucky if you get a shoebox to stay in. Not with a serviced apartment. Think prime locations with a whole bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room all to yourself. Now that’s what you call living the London life. So think beyond the idea of a hotel and be suitably impressed by just how much space you can have without breaking the bank.
- Swim outdoors
OK, so this might not hold huge appeal at the beginning of March, but visiting one of London’s historic outdoor lidos is certainly something to look forward to in the summer months. The 90-metre long Tooting Bec Lido is one of the biggest in Europe and offers a great opportunity to sunbath as well as swim. Brockwell Lido has been welcoming visitors since 1937 and continues to charm with its art deco period features. Having been reopened in 2006 after being closed for 18 years, London Fields Lido is now heated all year round, making it the perfect place to swim in all seasons.
If you’re the kind of tourist that spends half their time hopping around wondering where the nearest loo is, then this is the quirky activity for you. Take a tour of London’s toilets with a knowledgeable tour guide who will fill you in on the fascinating history of the capital’s lavatories and various pieces of trivia along the way. Tours set off from Waterloo Station, of course!