I’d like to call this second post about London, the “additionals”. Because in here, I feature those places that deserve the visit, but only if you have the time. I mean, on my personal opinion, I wouldn’t run around Notting Hill to make the time and be able to go to Apple Market, at Covent Garden. This doesn’t mean Apple Market is not worth the visit. And that is why you will find it listed in many London guides.
But let’s be honest. If we go to London on a 3 days trip, there is no way we will make it to see everything. And hurrying up is not an option. Believe me, I have done it and at the end you didn’t enjoy a single thing.
So, shall we list the additionals then?
To start, if there is something I consider a plus when visiting new places, its to enjoy from panoramic views. Seeing a destination from above always adds different perspectives to our travel experience, as well as great memories and pictures. And is specially in big cities like London, that sunsets are a big luxury you can afford from those spots up high.
One of the most known attractions in London is the London Eye. And yes, I didn’t mention it on my main guide last week. I left it out only because I don’t consider it a must place to visit due to its pricey ticket. The views from the top are gorgeous and I am not going to debate that. I am just saying that I rather list the London Eye into this guide and if you have plenty of time in the city, let you decide if it’s a price you would like to pay.
In case you take the ride, obviously my tip here is to go at sunset, to enjoy the city views at a dimmer light.
Another building that offers great city views from the top is the Sky Garden. Just like its name indicate it, the terrace offers a garden in the sky with a restaurant and bar to benefit from a drink or two while admiring the view.
The entrance to the Sky Garden is free, although prior reservations are required. The place only takes a certain number of guests per hour, so booking your spot online is almost mandatory. To do so, you need to head to the Sky Gardens website and take a print copy of your confirmation with you that day.
A different panoramic spot can be found at Hampstead Heath. Considered one of the oldest and biggest parks in London, this heath is located in Hampstead, a few kilometers away from the main city. Luckily for us, is easily reachable by underground, making it a great option to spend a day at.
The Heath includes a few hills, being Primrose Hill the one from where you can enjoy amazing city views, while surrounded by a green, natural and relaxed atmosphere. If you have the time, and the weather helps, do not hesitate for a second on going for a picnic with family and friends or by yourself for some quality time reading a book and breathing some pure oxygen.
When visiting Hampstead Heath, continue your walk up the hills towards Kenwood House. Formerly a state home, this aristocratic mansion from the 17th century housed the Murray and Guinness families, as well as several other important tenants. Today is an English Heritage site opened to the public for admiration and history purposes.
Kenwood House is a hidden gem that if you have the time I would consider visiting. You will be able to experience the life of the high society and relax at the beautiful green park that surrounds the house.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, then this paragraph is for you! Since 2012, you can tour the film sets located in London and learn all the tricky secrets that made the movies such a success. The Warner Bros. Studios, The Making of Harry Potter is now one of the most visited attractions in all London, and is not only for fans. Any cinephile would enjoy this little trip into the studios and the process that takes place when working in a film.
I wont go into much detail, because I believe the magic of this tour lays on the surprise by what you see and learn along the way.
If you travel to London with kids, this may be a great plan for them. But wait. This attraction has nothing to do with the Harry Potter’s theme park run by Universal Studios. The Making of Harry Potter is a visit to the film sets and its main focus is on the filming process and the secrets behind the magic tricks.
Last, but not least, my two remaining additionals are Shoreditch and Covent Garden’s market.
Shoreditch used to be an industrial and working class district. That is why the industrial style is so prominent in its construction and architecture.
On the last few years, emerging tech companies and entrepreneurs have been stablishing their offices at this area, giving a new opportunity to Shoreditch. Today, many old industrial buildings have been restored as office buildings, bars and night clubs have been emerging, as well as art galleries and independent designers. The area is also known for its street art, adding to that bohemian and hipster character that makes Shoreditch so different and unique.
If you go to Shoreditch, then you can’t miss the Spitalfields Market. Opened daily, the market has been functioning since 1638. Like Borough Market, it is a great option for a meal on the go and to try local food.
And talking about markets, my last additional London spot for the day, Apple Market. As the name may disclose, the place was formerly a fruits and vegetables trade market. Located in the area of Covent Garden, today offers a huge variety of handmade products, jewelry, crafts, artwork and you can even find live music or juggling acts going on.
Remember this guide is a second part post for the London basic places you can not miss.