A trip to London isn’t that appealing for a lot of Brits. Once you’ve been there once, seen Buckingham Palace, Madam Tussauds, and the museums, you’ve seen it all. Not to mention that everything costs about twice as much as it should. Well, maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to write off our capital city. True, you’ve probably seen all of the tourist attractions countless times, and they start to wear thin after a while, but there’s plenty more to be found in London. The tourist areas only scratch the surface of what this great city has to offer, so why not try some of these alternatives?
The Tate and the Saatchi Gallery have lots of great pieces on display, but you’ve probably visited them quite a few times before. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a city like London has a vibrant art community that is not confined to the big galleries.
God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow is a collection that has been put together in an old junkyard by an artist called Chris Bracey. It is home to various pieces from throughout his long career. It includes work he did back in the 60’s as well as more recent work he has done for the movie industry. The whole exhibition is a sensory assault of neon signs and striking colours. It’s open every Friday and Saturday and even has a small cafe inside if you get peckish.
The Clowns Gallery is another unique and interesting display on show in London. It only opens once a month, on the first Friday, so you might not be able to catch it. It houses photographs and examples of the costumes and props worn by some of the most famous clowns in history. It also has a collection of a few hundred eggs with faces painted on them, this was traditionally done to stop two clowns having the same makeup.
London as a city has a rich history that has touched countries all around the globe. You’ll find a lot of this at the big museums, but there are better ways to immerse yourself in it. All around the city you can find history walks where a guide will take you around to places of interest and teach you the history of the area. The Jack The Ripper tours are one of the best ones, telling the story of one of the most famous criminals ever to have lived. It runs seven nights a week, starting at seven in the evening so there is plenty of time for you to go on one.
The Natural History Museum is great, but sometimes you want something a bit different. Dennis Sever’s House in Shoreditch is just that. It is part museum, part theatre experience. The house has been decorated in the styles of different time periods, ranging from 1700 to 1900. A guide will take you through each room, giving you a snapshot of life in that era as you surround yourself in it.
If animals interest you, why not visit the Grant Museum of Zoology. It is the only one in London, and it houses plenty of fascinating exhibits including animal skeletons preserved in jars.