Despite all the hype, London still continues to be a hot spot with so very much to see and do. It’s a city that’s been welcoming travelers over the millennia so they know a thing or two about hosting visitors. There are scads of famous landmarks that you simply need to visit, but since London is such a classic business destination we bet our community will have the chance to see most of the obvious sites on different business trips. Therefore we’ve decided to put together a guide to some of our Editor’s favorite places that maybe aren’t so well traveled.
London is a large and sprawling metropolis so we’re going to split our article over two posts. Here then is the first part of our essential guide to enjoying London off of the beaten path.
- The East End
London’s East End is often said to be the coolest place in Great Britain. Lots of artists live in the East End, Jamie Oliver opened a social restaurant there and Damien Hirst made his name in a local gallery. Described as multi-cultural, fascinating and cool, you’ll enjoy the small shops, quaint hanging signs and vibe of the East Market, which is interspersed with many historical pubs. You can still see scores of Punks and Rastas hanging out and making the scene. Be sure to seek out the infamous Maureen’s Pie and Mash for lunch.
- Neal’s Yard
This is one of those places that if you didn’t know it was there, you might easily miss it. A brightly colored and eclectic feast for the eyes, this is the perfect place to have lunch outdoors in the summer, or to find a cozy corner to chat over a beer in the winter. Neal’s Yard is three minutes from Covent Garden tube station, although you may find yourself asking directions. Look for Monty Python’s blue plaque while you’re there.
- The Thames Barrier Park
The park was opened in 2000 and is a carefully designed sheltered microclimate for what is aptly described as a “Rainbow Garden”. A green trench runs through the park, designed as a reminder of the site’s dockland heritage and the park also boasts a dramatic view of the Thames Flood Barrier. Oddly located in the middle of housing, the park is a unique oasis and a must-see. Open daily from 7 am the park can be found at Barrier Point Road (Off North Woolwich Rd), London, Greater London, England.
- The Brick Lane Music Hall
An evening here is perhaps the best opportunity to capture a bit of old-England. Opened in the former Truman’s Brewery building in Brick Lane (1992), from where it takes its name, The Brick Land Music Hall is now located in the former St Mark’s Church, Silvertown, in the London Borough of Newham; this venue showcases music hall performances popular throughout the British Isles.
- Jamie’s Italian
Grab a meal at the chain created by Jamie Oliver. We think the Canary Wharf location of Jamie’s Italian delivers ambience and delicious quality food in a location that can’t be beat. So relax, eat, drink and explore the Docklands area before or after your meal. No, we didn’t get paid to say this.
Be sure to also read Part 2 of our series Day Off: Another Day in London for even more off of the beaten path suggestions of what to see and do.