From Big Ben to the London Eye, the Big Smoke has its fair share of well-known tourist attractions that can be found very much on the beaten path. But what about some of the city’s lesser-known delights? In the second of our public transit series, we take a look at six of London’s hidden treats, and the different modes of transport to reach them.
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Discover Little Venice
Just north of Paddington is the appropriately named Little Venice, a picturesque series of canals leading straight to Camden Lock. Getting to Little Venice is simplest by tube, with Paddington, Edgware Road and Warwick Avenue all a short walk away.
Getting from Little Venice to Camden is similarly easy, with London waterbuses making regular trips along the canals, moving just slowly enough so that you can take in the scenery.
If you’re feeling more energetic, the walk from Little Venice to Camden will take you straight through London Zoo, and there are plenty of delightful cafes and pubs lining the river to rest your weary limbs.
Boat to Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is one of London’s less talked-about attractions, partly because the only way to visit the palace is by booking beforehand.
If this doesn’t put you off, the palace is well worth a visit, with tours taking you through the beautiful building, including the Great Hall, the 13th century chapel and the crypts, with an expert guide providing some of its rich history.
Getting to Lambeth is also fairly straightforward, though for those visiting London it may be worth travelling by boat. The Thames Clipper, which has several pick-up stops along the river, offers a unique look at some of the city’s most famous landmarks. For the palace, hop off at Millbank Pier, which is a mere ten-minute walk away.
Take a tram to Croydon Minster
Croydon isn’t generally known for its beauty, though tucked away in the concrete jungle is Croydon Minster, a richly decorated church which holds medieval artefacts and monuments.
If you’re travelling to Croydon why not take the tram, running from Wimbledon and stopping on the high street, only minutes away from the Minster. While there it would be a shame not to stop at Wandle Park, an excellent picnic spot with a tram link just outside.
Bus to a Hindu Temple
Situated in Neasden, near Wembley, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a Hindu temple of striking beauty.
As Europe’s first traditional Hindu stone temple, the mandir includes exhibitions and a cultural centre, while the temple itself is mostly hand-carved from marble.
Getting to Neasden can be tricky, though two buses (224, 206) stop directly outside the temple, with many coming from all around London, and stopping in the local area. These can be found here.
Ride the railway to Kew Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew is an absolute must for those tired of the city’s concrete trappings, and ready for a bit of fresh air. Kew Gardens is an enormous site, boasting a vast array of flora, gigantic greenhouses, and towering walkways from which to view them.
Situated in leafy Richmond in South London, Kew Gardens has its own overground train station, making it easy to reach and a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of both the tube, and central London itself.
Fly to Greenwich
Greenwich is a much-loved area of London, with the market, observatory and Cutty Sark all drawing countless Londoners and tourists each year. It deserves a place on this list, however, thanks to a mode of transportation not seen anywhere else in London.
The Emirates Air Line travels between North Greenwich station and the Royal Docks on the other side of the river, and offers fantastic views of the O2 arena and Canary Wharf. Britain’s only urban cable car is accessible using an Oyster card, which makes it even easier to visit one of London’s best-loved areas.
What are your favourite hidden gems in London? Let us know in the comments below.