When you think of London what springs to mind? black cabs, red buses and the Queen? Yes, you may be right, but after spending some time now in our East London based studio, we can confidently say that there’s so much going on it’s hard to keep up at times. Think exquisite restaurants, incredible markets and plenty of exciting events and activities to suit all. So we thought we’d share a few of our favourite spots within London which may be a little less popular than the queens hoose, but still a must see in our books. So, if you crave the city buzz and want to experience something a little different, we’ve got you covered!
The Vault at Milroy’s – Whisky bar
Image Credit: thevaultsoho
So we had to respect our homeland and kickstart things off with some fine Scottish Whisky! Milroy’s of Soho, the oldest whisky bar in London, was founded in 1964 by the famous Milroy brothers and offers a selection of over 250 whiskys available to try. Why not pop into this charming bar to sample their exquisite selection. However, if whiskey isn’t for you, fret not as a secret hidden door disguised as a false bookcase (not so secret now) will lead you to The Vault; an unexpected, underground cocktail bar. With atmospheric lighting, bare brick walls and handcrafted wooden tables, this innovative bar offers a unique and enjoyable experience with an extensive array of cocktail choices to suit every taste bud. So, if you fancy exchanging the chaos of busy city life for a relaxed evening with great drinks and ambiance, this is the bar for you.
Church of Sound
Photo credit: clashmusic
Taking over the beautiful St James the Great Church in Clapton, East London, Church of Sound gifts us with some of the finest, cutting-edge Jazz musicians London has to offer. A gig like no other, this event is a magical musical experience from the stunning venue, to the set up of the performers. As the musicians are placed in the central stage, crowds are given a panoramic view of the action which allows for an intimate and community felt atmosphere to be created. The audience has a shared passion for music and are there to truly enjoy the performance, which we found very refreshing. There is even a bar and a small food stand for visitors to enjoy. We loved this experience and as architectural lovers; Church of Sound couldn’t have been held in a better venue. We think this is the perfect night out in London to share with fellow music lovers and friends. So, if this sounds like your kind of jam, we have faith you’ll love this one.
Image Credit: broganabroad
Greenwich Market is London’s only market set within a world heritage site and is extremely popular amongst design lovers for very good reason. Don’t expect any traditional ‘London tourist stalls’ here, as this market only offers the best collection of goods from British designers, including handmade trinkets and treasures, arts and crafts and homeware and accessories. With the eclectic range of goods offered, this is the ideal spot to find that perfect gift. Also make sure to explore the surrounding stalls and shops as they offer an incredible range too with beautiful photography and modern art. And if you get a little peckish with all that shopping, we highly recommend you check out the amazing food stalls as there’s something for everyone; Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai and Ethiopian to name but a few (drool). With lots to see, and even a sheltered roof protecting you from the elements, this market is a great day out for any age no matter the weather!
Image credit: fashercise
Located in Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley, BOXPARK is a quirky pop-up mall which offers London a unique shopping and dinning experience. Constructed of refitted shipping containers, BOXPARK brings together local and global clothing brands, bars, galleries, cafes and restaurants, where visitors are invited to experience the convenience of accessing the variety of brands and amenities all in one location. Events also form a large part of BOXPARK where DJ’s, musicians and spoken word performers take to the stage to perform to the city of London. Even Stormzy has performed here! We love the innovative design of BOXPARK and think the cool vibe of this place makes this an experience like none other. We were super impressed and we’re sure you will be too!
Hyde Park Parakeets
Nested in the heart of Westminster; London’s Hyde park is one of our favourite city getaways. This idyllic park offers the chance for people to reconnect with nature and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities. Swimming, cycling, horse riding and tennis are all on offer to take part in. However, don’t be too shocked if a little green bird lands on your shoulder, yes, Hyde park is also home to lots of little ring-necked parakeets (you read that right). With lots of stories about how these birds came to London- with some thinking that they set up home after their shift as an extra on The African Queen film set- truthfully, no one really knows how they got there, but we do know one thing; they’re super cool to see in person and they sure do love a snack. On your visit, bring along some juicy apples or nuts and simply hold out your palm; you’ll sure have a little green visitor munching away soon. We think this park is a real treasure and one that’s suitable for any age. With some of London’s greatest landmarks including the Princess Diana’s memorial fountain, a playpark for children, and the Serpentine Gallery which showcases some of the best British contemporary architecture and art and design, there’s something for everyone here. Also, if you are visiting in the summer months, be sure to check out Hyde Parks solar-powered boat which transports visitors across the lake. This is a lovely experience and the perfect way to watch the world float by on a summer’s day.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Image Credit: static.guim
As interior and architectural obsessed photographers, we love this history-packed hidden gem. Sir John Soane is classified as one of the most inventive British architects of his time and is renowned for his work in the rebuilding of the Bank of England, Dulwich College Picture Gallery and his own home, now known as the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Sir John Soane was a Professor of Architecture and a dedicated collector of art, architectural fragments and models, books, drawings and furniture. In 1833, Soane negotiated a private act of parliament; to preserve his home and collection. So, after his death in 1837, a board of trustees granted his wish and his home was preserved. The museum now showcases his extensive collection ranging from Ancient Egyptian items to Roman sculptures to visitors from around the world. On arrival, the museum looks rather regular but be prepared as once stepped inside, opens a giant cabinet of curiosities. This was right up our street, and an experience packed with amazing things to see. So, you crave a bit of history or if you’re a design lover like us, we would definitely recommend you check this one out.
Rooftop Film Club
Image Credit: rooftopfilmclub
The Rooftop Film Club is one of our firm favourites in London. This venue offers the ultimate cinematic experience with amazing panoramic views of London City (the perfect photo opportunity for the insta). There is a wide selection of movies from cult classics to brand new releases meaning there’s something for everyone. Concerned about the city sirens? Worry not, as at the Bussey Building and Queen of Hoxton venues, customers are provided with wireless headphones and at Rooftop East, amplified speakers are used so you never miss a moment of your movie. Ever go to the cinema and the worlds tallest person is sat in front of you? Thankfully, Rooftop film club has come to the rescue by providing us with height adjustable deck chairs, so you never miss a thing, (perfect for all the fellow shorties out there). This experience is great for that romantic date night, family fun night out or a chilled one with friends. Just remember your camera and lots of snacks… obviously.
Dans le Noir
Image Credit: londontown
This restaurant offers a complete sensory journey by inviting customers to dine in complete darkness. Hosted and served by visually impaired people, this unique experience encourages visitors to re-evaluate their approach to eating by focusing on only the taste, smell and texture of the food. On arrival, we were presented with four colour coded mystery menus and then led conga-style down a darkly lit corridor to a set of blackout curtains into the restaurant. It really is pitch black in there and you can’t see a thing! We loved the concept and enjoyed trying to work out what we were eating and where it was on the plate. We think this is a must do experience for anyone looking for an adventure in London city… also a true blind date location… hahaa.
Hampstead Heath Ponds
Image Credit: hamhigh
An oasis of respite, Hampstead Heath Ponds is the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to relax, revive and reconnect with nature with a refreshing outdoor city swim. This excellent de-stressor allows visitors to swim amongst the beautiful plants and birds, including little ducks and herons! The water is cool, but we found ourselves quickly adjusting to it and it somehow added to the soothing nature of this place. You’ll even find some daredevils swimming in the winter months with temperatures as low as 2 degrees!! An experience like no other, we thoroughly enjoyed our paddle in the ponds and with it open to all ages, with 2 gender-specific ponds and one mixed, this activity makes for a great day out for friends and families. Why not bring along a picnic and enjoy the view on a sunny afternoon- we’re sure you’ll have a splash-tastic time.
House of Dreams
Image Credit: secretldn
We’re ednding on a wacky one… the House of Dreams! Designed by artist, Stephen Wright, features an exuberant expression formed from his personal life experiences. Stephen has hand selected an eclectic range of out of the ordinary materials including photographs, dolls, letters, paintings and bottles to create an extraordinary visual representation of his life within his home. Although appearing as a visual riot, Stephens designs are carefully planned, and each item represents a story. This whimsical experience is truly inspiring, and visitors are even encouraged to visit with their own personal belongings to include within his new designs. In the past, people have even brought their false teeth and cut hair to include! This house is every creatives dream and as Stephens displays are always evolving, there’s something new to see in every visit. This one’s a little different from the interiors we usually see but still one we highly recommend as it is truly magical. You won’t want to forget your camera for this one!
So, there we have it, a line up of some of our favourite places to visit in big bad London Town. We hope you enjoyed our recommendations list and are inspired to check out some of these amazing places. We promise you won’t be disappointed.