London might be more closely associated with its main attractions than any other place in Europe. That is, if you’re visiting London, you probably already have a list of places you’d like to see before you even start thinking about it. But it also happens to be a huge city with a lot of really interesting stuff going on, which means it’s a good idea to look past the guidebook headlines and top-10 lists you’ll find when you do start thinking about what to do and see.
The following aren’t exactly off-the-beaten-path destinations. Some are very prominent, and some are quite famous. But they still represent a deeper layer of London landmark tourism than, say, checking out Big Ben and Buckingham Palace!
Hampton Court Palace
Buckingham Palace gets so much attention - and deservedly so - that you almost wouldn’t know there are other palaces nearby. But Hampton Court Palace is another sensational royal residence that you can visit as a tourist. And it’s arguably a more entertaining place to explore. There are all kinds of activities for visitors, from exploring a 300-year-old hedge maze to attending festivals to touring the rooftop.
There are a few different parks in London that get a lot of attention as traveler hot spots, like St. James’s and Hyde Park. But the South Bank might actually be the nicest outdoor area to explore for a few areas. Essentially a sort of tree-lined promenade on the Thames, it’s a very welcoming stretch, lit at night by lanterns along the walkway and with tons of restaurants in close proximity.
Here again, we have a spot that is simply overlooked in comparison to other, similar attractions. The Tower Bridge is a mighty, impressive landmark and one of London’s most famous sights. The Millennium Bridge, however, is also a gorgeous piece of engineering, and one every visitor to London should explore. Built via Britain’s Heritage Lottery Fund, it was actually created to celebrate the year 2000 and still seems to be one of the city’s more modern features.
Natural History Museum
It’s easy to forget that there’s a selection of museums in London given that the British Museum commands so much attention and other attractions like Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey have plenty to say on their own about British history. But there are other museums, to be sure, and the Natural History Museum is frankly incredible. With displays dedicated to dinosaurs, outer space, recent science, human history, and more, it’s quite the learning experience as well
The Kew Gardens also get overlooked sometimes because of some of the popularly recommended parks around London, as well as because some of the royal palaces and castles in and around London have their own meticulously kept grounds. But this is one urban botanical garden you should make time for. Claiming to have the largest botanical collection in the world, it makes for a beautiful excursion for anyone who enjoys nature. And make sure you don’t miss the Temperate House - it’s a massive Victorian glasshouse with upwards of 10,000 plants inside.
This stadium doesn’t actually exist yet, and what’s more, we don’t know for sure what it will be called. But Tottenham Hotspur, which plays its home football in London, is transitioning from White Hart Lane to a new arena that’s quickly taking shape and is expected to be ready for the 2018-19 Premier League. These days it seems that any new football stadium in a prominent country or league is magnificent, and by the look of things, Tottenham’s new home could become the new best stadium in London (which is saying something).