Despite not living in London, I’ve been mulling over with friends and family a list of sights to see while in the capital. Of course you have to visit all the main sites; Big Ben, The London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, etc. etc. etc. However, I’m also interested in seeing a few things that are off the well worn, weekend tourist path.
To help get a few ideas before I leave, I called into my local library to see what travel books on London were available. I picked up one called A Walking Tour: London – Sketches of the city’s architectural treasures… by G. Byrne Bracken. After having a read through, it is clear that the book takes a decidedly architectural approach to looking around London, which I suppose is quite fitting given the book’s title! It covers over ten walks through different neighbourhoods and points out all the famous landmarks (Big Ben, St. James’s Palace, the London Eye and the ‘Gherkin’ for instance). However it also includes other smaller, less-famous landmarks that I bet are just as interesting.
Using these as inspiration I’ve created my first London Sights Wishlist.
1. St Bartholomew-the-Great
Having been established in 1123, it’s pretty damn old. Although it was rebuilt much later than this after falling into disrepair, it still houses some of the oldest and best preserved medieval Norman architecture in the city. The exterior architecture and buildings sound equally impressive, including the stone archway built under an old three-story Tudor house.
2. Royal Exchange
Okay, so the Royal Exchange is not exactly ‘un-famous’, but nonetheless quite a cool looking building with a fair bit of history behind it. To be honest it reminds me quite a lot of the Pantheon in Rome. It’s also where they announce the new monarch, which hopefully won’t happen for quite some time…
3. Shakespeare’s Globe
I don’t think this really needs an explanation. It’s Shakespeare. Only the most influential English writer to have ever lived. It’s also pretty famous, so may not necessarily belong on this list, but what the heck, why not mix it up a bit!
4. Imperial War Museum
I think everyone should take the time to visit a war museum no matter what country or city you’re in. They serve as a timeless reminder of the horrors and atrocities of war, but also tell us about the courage and diligence of people who were much stronger than I ever will be.
5. The Sherlock Holmes Museum
After watching the BBC’s Sherlock I realised that Mr. Holmes was really quite a cool guy (even though he is “made-up”). The Sherlock Holmes Museum located in Baker Street looks like it is worth a visit and also has the rooms of Dr. Watson and Mrs Hudson for all of our viewing pleasure. If I wait long enough Benedict Cumberbatch may just appear for tea and scones.
I’m sure I could go on and on adding London landmarks and exquisite buildings to this list but for now I will leave it at these five. If you have any other great places you recommend on visiting (famous or not-so-famous) please leave me a comment, I’d love to hear!