I’m a self confessed London addict. I love everything about the big smoke, so I’ve made it my mission to fill you in on the bits you might have heard of and shed light on some you might not have!
Each year, tourists vacation in London to take in its unique charm and visit the popular sites. You’ve no doubt heard of Big Ben, seen pictures of The Queen’s digs and know of the iconic red telephone boxes and tour buses but if you’re visiting and you fancy some places not the norm then here are some of London’s hidden gems.
The name might not do much for you, but the food and the drinks definitely will! The beauty of this little street of gorgeous restaurants and bars is that it is accessible from Regent Street, one of London’s shopping heavens.
Once there you and feel secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city. The cobble stones are lined either side with funky bars and eateries to cater for every budget.
If you’ve got cash to flash The Living Room offers anything from £295.00 (About $485 US) Cristal to all day yummy cocktails for under a £5! However the coolest part of this street hides at the end of the street.
The Ice Bar, and it does exactly what it says on the tin! Absolut Icebar is one of London’s most unique venues because everything is made of ice, including the bar and the chairs! I’d highly recommend booking your slot before you go, especially if you’re visiting after 5:45 at the weekends. Tickets are £12.50- £16.00 depending when you go, this includes your first vodka cocktail, complete with ice glass! The session lasts 40 minutes, however this is all you need! You’re given a cosy cape and mittens to keep you snug, but don’t be as stupid as me and wear hotpants…
“My cousin’s gay. He went to London only to find out that Big Ben was a clock.”
– Rodney Dangerfield
Okay, so this one might not be that hidden but there definitely are some hints and tips to be given if you love a show! Leicester Square is home to London’s Comedy Store. Online they sell tickets for up to about £18, however take a wander round and you’ll see representatives selling tickets for that night at £6.00 with your first drink thrown in, bargain if you ask me! Same goes for the theatres in the area; there are booths always selling discounted show tickets, if you don’t mind what you go and see then purchase the tickets later, the closer to the show the cheaper.
However, if you fancy a lazy day then you can sit in the park with the iconic London pigeons, and I’d thoroughly recommend the caricature artists lining the side of the park. If they’re not busy you can get one for just £10.00.
The Boat Show at Tattershall Castle
This is an amazing venue sat right on the River Thames, right opposite the London Eye. The comedy boat is host to the best of the best up and coming comedians out there and has housed funny men like Graham Norton. When I visited the atmosphere was amazing, the drinks were reasonable and the comedians were hilarious. It is quite a compact place with lots of seating; they offer tasty pub-style munchies at good prices throughout the show and boast a club onboard so you can drink into the small hours.
This is London’s gay district. Soho won’t be suited to everyone but is one of the cities most popular and atmospheric places. It welcomes every walk of life and boasts sex shops, tattooists, strip clubs and a menagerie of bars, clubs and restaurants. I’d thoroughly recommend this to anyone. Just don’t get pissed and have the popular “I love Soho” symbol tattooed on your bum cheek.
Notting Hill Carnival
Sadly I doubt Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant will be anywhere to be seen. Notting Hill it London’s biggest street carnival and takes over the street for two days a year and is the 30-31st August this year. If you’re on a budget this event is fantastic because you simply have to take to the streets to see the magnificent floats, costumes and barrage of colour! You’ll see feather covered dancers, reggae beats and steel bands. The carnival is a diversity of people and perfect if you want to party. Warning, it can get very loud! If you like the ideas of outdoor events try visiting Clapham Common. This park is host to a delightful assortment of festivals, and due to the beautiful English weather, is best enjoyed in the summer. If you love wandering around looking for arts and crafts, or live music then this is the place to visit. July 2009 will be hosting the Ben and Jerry’s Sundae Festival, which is a dream for anyone who loves ice cream!
Perfect for all your souvenirs, and keeping the girlfriend happy! This particular market offers such a variation of goodies because one of the main rules is that to sell your product, it has to be different! So if you’re looking for a rain coat for a mouse, a one off vintage suit or just lunch then this is the place to go!