Beyond The Olympics: Exploring London’s Lesser-Known Attractions
So you've been to London before. You've zipped through the Houses of Parliament, crossed Tower Bridge, messed with the guards at Buckingham Palace and fed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square. You've spent hours delving into the past at the British Museum and the V&A and been shocked back into the present at the Tate Modern. You've even forked over £37 ($58) to view the city from the London Eye. You've ticked everything off the must-see list. That's great. But here's another list for you to tackle: 10 of London's unsung attractions.
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Little Venice (creative commons/runintherain)
When poet Robert Browning coined the term "Little Venice" in the 19th century, he was describing the point where the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal meets the Regents Canal. Now, however, it refers to the whole area at the south of Maida Vale. This tranquil pocket of London is the perfect escape for an early morning stroll or a lazy afternoon meal by the picturesque canals watching the colorful Narrowboat cruises travel to Camden Lock.
How to get there: Take the tube to Warwick Avenue.
Chiswick House & Gardens
Chiswick House & Gardens (creative commons/paul robertson)
This quintessential British garden is the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement and has inspired countless other gardens around the world. At its center is a magnificent neo-Palladian villa built by the third Earl of Burlington in 1729 to show off his art collection. After a £12.1 million restoration project in 2010 (which included one of the most ambitious garden regeneration projects ever undertaken), the grounds now boast a cafe, play area and miles of winding paths.
How to get there: Take the tube to Turnham Green, and walk south for 10 minutes toward the Thames. (http://www.chgt.org.uk/)
St. Katherine Docks
St. Katherine Docks (creative commons/steve cadman)
St. Katherine Docks is easily one of Central London's best kept secrets, and many tramp right past it en route to the Tower of London. The docks of the capital's main marina are built on a site with more than 1,000 years of dramatic history and today house fantastic waterside restaurants, shops and cafes. Sitting in the shadow of Tower Bridge, this oasis is a haven of tranquility for luxury yacht owners, locals and tourists alike.
How to get there: Take the tube to Tower Hill, and walk five minutes. (http://www.skdocks.co.uk/)