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10 Alternative Places in London And What They Offer

Why visit alternative places in London when you can be strolling through some of London’s best museums? Don’t get me wrong, when I visit a new place  I always do…

Why visit alternative places in London when you can be strolling through some of London’s best museums?

Don’t get me wrong, when I visit a new place  I always do all the touristy things. But to really get a feel for the place, you need to find places where the locals love to frequent. Sometimes we all need a bit of quietness and don’t want to be surrounded by big crowds with selfie sticks.

When you start frequenting the more alternative places in London (or in any other city that you visit) is when the real fun begins. This is the reason why I compiled my list of the more alternative places in London!

Freud’s Museum

Freud Museum

Photo: Freud Museum by Matt Brown on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

You can tell a lot about a person by their apartment. When you step into the Freud Museum,  you step into his home. Therefore you get a chance to peek into the private space of world’s most famous psychoanalyst.

After fleeing from the Nazis, Sigmund Freud and his family made Hempstead their new home. In this house, he has produced some of the most noteworthy works in the field of psychology. Everything in his Hempstead home remained the way he left it. The interior was decorated due to the help of Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud’s daughter.

You can see the waiting room, his study, and the famous couch! The museum offers an all-around insight into his cultural environment much as the trajectory of the development of psychoanalysis.

2. Barbican Conservatory

Photo: Barbican Conservatory by Sascha Pohflepp on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

Barbican Conservatory is the second biggest conservatory in London. The building is also one of the finest examples of brutalist architecture, therefore, an interesting choice for a conservatory. One of the things that makes it special, is that this little green oasis is hidden in the midst of London. It houses over 2,000 species of tropical plants, trees and various exotic fish. If you want to be surrounded by tranquillity and escape the crowds of London – this is the perfect hideout.

It has amazing exhibitions and workshops throughout the year, so keep an eye out for interesting events.  The only downside of this place is that it’s only open on Sundays!

3. the Indian YMCA

Lamb curry

Photo: Lamb curry by pelican on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

By all accounts, the Indian YMCA is an institution. They’ve existed around 60 years and during all those years they’ve created an impeccable reputation and they uphold it to present day.  So what do you get at the Indian YMCA? The best and most affordable Indian food in all of London.

Notoriously known for their curries (they offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian options). Everything is cooked home-style and spiced accordingly. A number of different dishes, all with rich aromas and low prices. Consequently, you will definitely find yourself coming back during your stay in London.

4. Trinity Buoy Wharf

Trinity Buoy Wharf

Photo: Trinity Buoy Wharf by k_tjaaa on Flickr (under CC)

First of all, Trinity Buoy Wharf was just another engineering establishment (iron buoys). Since the late ’90s, it transformed into another center for the arts and creative hubs. What makes Trinity Buoy Wharf a fascinating place?

It is the origin of Container city and home to London’s only lighthouse!

Container City is a new model of eco-friendly building design! Recycled shipping containers are used as living and working quarters. The Container City now counts over 70 containers. In addition to being good for the environment seems like it’s even more beneficial for your wallet!

London’s only lighthouse is interesting due to its unusual purpose. Jem Finer developed a musical composition that has been played since the 31st of December 1999. The composition will continue with no repeat until the year of 2999. You might think that listening to a 20 minute and 20 seconds piece would get tiring (and you’d be right!) but this piece is using an algorithm. The algorithm gives a large number of variations therefore making the composition to go in improvised directions.

If you want to find out more about the Trinity Buoy Wharf click here.

5. Jack The Ripper Tour

East end alley

Photo: East end alley by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

This tour is not for the faint-hearted. It is taking you on the route of the notorious Jack the Ripper, a murderer that terrorized the streets of East End London. The 125-year-old murder mystery to this day baffles world-class crime investigators and historians. This tour transports you onto the streets of 19th century East End.

Explore the gruesome details of East End’s dark cobbled streets and dimly lit passageways. The whole route is constructed as an investigation, as a result, making you feel as if you fell into a Victorian detective novel.

6. Speakeasy Bars

Aviation

Photo: Aviation by Adrian Scottow on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

I am obsessed with speakeasy bars. The better hidden, the better. If they have a password which is hard to come by I am particularly amused. The charm of speakeasy bars stems from a multitude of reasons. First of all, all that playing around with hidden locations, entrances cleverly disguised as phone booths brings out our inner child. Secondly, it feels as if you’re a part of some secret club as if you’re in on a secret. It makes every night out that much special.

When coming to a new city – I always try to find out what’s their take on a speakeasy bar. London doesn’t disappoint!

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is hidden under the Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane. The Breakfast Club looks like a typical New York breakfast place. If you’re in for more than a breakfast ask the waitress to see the Mayor. You will be led to the entrance. The entrance is hidden in a fridge! The underground bar serves brunch and delicious cocktails.

Other very popular speakeasies are Evans & Peel Detective Agency, the Experimental Cocktail Club & the Nightjar.

7. Magic Circle Museum at the Centre for Magic Arts

17/365: i could be your magician

Photo by Jin on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

A secretive group of illusionists who made London a centre of magic (yes, way before the-Boy-Who-Lived) swore to keep their magic a secret. While we aren’t privy to their illusion tricks we are allowed to take a peek. As a result, the Magic Circle Museum is opened! The impressive collection has a number of interesting illusionist’s tools. Some of them are the same guns used in bullet illusions or pieces from Houdini’s act. Make sure to see some of their magic acts!

8. Chislehurst Caves

A church service in Chislehurst Caves during World War 2, recreated with wax figures

Photo: A church service in Chislehurst Caves by Ben Sutherland on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

Chislehurst Caves are chalk caves that were mined by hand for over 8000 years. They were mined for flint and lime, and later on served as an ammunition depot during First World War. The 8000 years old history is divided into Druid, Roman and Saxon times. But nowadays they opened up new passageways which guide you through time to present day! It is especially interesting to visit during Halloween due to their special events!

If you want to find out more about Chislehurst Caves click here.

9. British Library’s Treasures Gallery

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The Sir John Ritblat Treasures aka the British Library’s Treasures Gallery is one of the most popular museums among the Londoners. It covers 2000 years of history! What makes it so interesting is the rather eclectic collection. You can find anything from Da Vinci’s or Jane Austen’s notebooks, Magna Carta to the Beatles’ lyrics.

Time Out magazine described the British Library’s Treasures Gallery as “The Holy grail for history buffs.”

10.  The Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection

And I saved best for last! The permanent exhibition of Henry Wellcome’s amazing objects features the history of science and medicine in a rather interesting and fun way. In addition to the permanent collection, there are a lot of great temporary exhibitions as well. They cover a vast array of universal topics, such as sex, sleep and death.

The Wellcome’s collection of weird objects won’t let your excitement fade away. Therefore you will find random objects such as Napoleon’s toothbrush, a DNA sequencing robot, an ancient mummy, Darwin’s walking stick and much more.

If you want to find out more info about the Wellcome Collection click here.

Also, don’t forget to check out these 5 places to visit in UK besides London.

What is your favourite quirky spot in London? Share in the comments!

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5 Places To Visit In UK Besides London

This is a guest post by Craig of My Gay Globe. You can also follow his adventures on Twitter. Those heading to the United Kingdom often head to the cosmopolitan…

This is a guest post by Craig of My Gay Globe. You can also follow his adventures on Twitter.


Those heading to the United Kingdom often head to the cosmopolitan capital. London is a magnificent city but there are numerous fantastic destinations to explore beyond Europe’s largest urban area. Here are five incredible places to visit in UK besides London;

Manchester

Manchester Canal Scene at Night

Photo: Manchester Canal Scene at Night by Smabs Sputzer on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

This northern powerhouse is often cited as the UK’s second city. Famed for its rich industrial heritage, today Manchester is thriving with world-class music venues, an array of bars and restaurants and a burgeoning tourist scene in its own right. Culture is high on the agenda here.

The impressive Whitworth Gallery set amidst verdant gardens and The People’s History Museum, charting the history and important figures of Manchester, are just two of the many to visit. The Northern Quarter is the city’s premier entertainment region with excellent pubs and restaurants to match.

Cornwall

Causeway at low tide.

Photo: Causeway at low tide by Simon Harrod on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

Nestled in the rugged south western corner of England is the stunning region of Cornwall.  The mystical home of King Arthur is rather isolated from the rest of the UK and thus remains delightfully unspoiled. There are countless coves and beaches and areas of natural beauty to be explored. A few of Cornwall’s must-see localities include Porthcurno, Wheal Coates and Penzance.

Travel to the very edge of the country at Land’s End or head to Bodmin Moor to make the most of the enigmatic expanse of this impressive area of natural beauty. Cornwall is also ideally suited to those who enjoy outdoor pursuits. Rock climbing and surfing opportunities are ubiquitous and there are plenty of hiking trails for those who want to remain on terra firma.

Brighton

Brighton P310 170717 -045

Photo: Brighton by Peter Rowley on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

Located just 50 miles south of London is the charming but lively seaside town of Brighton. Known for its lefty politics and LGBT community, Brighton is home to one of the country’s most vibrant bar and restaurants scenes. The North and South Laine are a cavernous collection of shops and cafes located in a range of small streets and alleys which give Brighton its kitsch and cool vibe.

The beach, of course, attacks big crowds in the summer. However, the ample beach space means a 15-minute walk from the central area near the iconic pier and you’ll be able to find your own spot of serenity.

Cambridge

The Cam river

Photo: The Cam River by Francisco Anzola on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

This stunning university town is famed for its classical architecture, historic market square and quaint cafes, shops and bars. Cambridge is best explored by bike and the city boasts an extensive cycle network – if you prefer, the city centre is very walkable, though you might need to use the excellent transport networks to reach some of the peripheries of the city.

The university is the principal attraction here and is actually a collection of independent colleges. Some of the more interesting and opulent are Queens’ College, King’s College and Trinity College.

Museum and cultural attractions are not in short supply here and The Fitzwilliam Museum and The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences are two of the best.

The River Cam is the lifeblood of Cambridge and a hub of activity in the summer months. Either take to the water for a spot of punting and rowing or enjoy the grassy banks with some prosecco and sandwiches and enjoy the delights of this sleepy but seductive university city.

Edinburgh

Old Royal High

Photo: Old Royal High by Magnus Hagdorn on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

Scotland’s traditionally Celtic capital is one of the UK’s finest cities and has plenty to offer those who choose to visit north of the border. Most of the activity is based around Edinburgh’s historic centre. The city’s Medieval heartland is famed for the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyrood and the home of the Scottish Parliament.

Many of the best sites are located on the famous Royal Mile around which much of the ancient city was constructed. Adjacent to the Old Town is the New Town – where you’ll be privy to the city’s newest and hippest bars and restaurants as well as plenty of shops selling everything from clothes to books.

Once you’ve had your fill of the pubs and museums, Edinburgh is ideally situated for exploring further afield and seeing more of Scotland. You can reach Glasgow in under an hour and there are plenty of smaller, authentic Scottish towns which make for the perfect half-day trip.

Convinced? Check out Momondo for cheap flights to the UK and EuroTribe’s guide on finding cheap accommodation.

Featured photo: by Joe Reed on Unsplash

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