London Off the Beaten Path: What You Haven’t Seen

Buckingham Palace. Westminster Abbey. Big Ben. Tower Bridge. Trafalgar Square. Covent Garden. Mind the Gap. Keira Knightley.

Yes, if you haven’t already guessed, we’re talking about London.

When you’re planning a trip to ‘The Old Smoke,’ it’s all about making sure you tick off all the boxes on the inevitably long bucket list. However, we want to give you the option of exploring deeper; traveling further; experiencing more.

So, we’ve put together 8 things that lie ‘Off the Beaten London‘ for you.

1. The Schwopping Project on Brick Lane.

Schwopping project by M&S on Brick Lane

Photo by Rob Watt

In April of 2012, Marks and Spencer and Oxfam teamed up to create the ‘schwopping project’–swapping while shopping. While patrons are shopping at M&S, they have the option to drop old clothes off into boxes to help Oxfam. To kick off the campaign, this building in the East End of London was covered with some of the donated items. It proved to be a real success with 6.9 million garments donated within the first year.


2. ‘Out of Order’ in Kingston Upon Thames.

Kingston Upon Thames is around about 25 minutes from Central London and is where you can find this fantastic piece of artwork titled ‘Out of Order.’ This disorderly display of the iconic red telephone boxes was put together by artist David Mach.


3. The ‘hidden’ umbrella installation at Borough Market.

Umbrella art installation at borough market

This vibrant and quirky example of public art can be found just off Park Street on the edge of Borough Market. Instead of the proverbial black umbrellas Londoners tend to be depicted with, this installation utilizes colourful pieces to counter the stereotype.


4. The Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Bookshelf at Sherlock Holmes Museum

Photo by Tom Page

Have you always wanted to visit 221b Baker Street? Luckily for you, it is actually a point on a map. You can reach the Sherlock Holmes Museum after a quick walk from Baker Street station. Inside, you’ll be able to view each fully-furnished floor of the townhouse. But most importantly, you can play dress up with the famous hat and magnifying glass.


5. The Royal Naval College.

Royal Naval College hall

Photo by The Planet D

Officially known as the Old Royal Naval College, this architectural masterpiece is just a ferry ride away from Central London. A part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich, it is famous for its grand painted hall. In fact, it was actually featured in the 2013 movie Thor: The Dark World.


6.  The Still Water Horse Head Statue in Marble Arch.

Still Water horse head sculpture in Marble Arch London

Photo by Iain Walters

This 35-foot tall, 6-ton heavy art installation was constructed by artist Nic Fiddian-Green and unveiled in 2009. Although it was only meant to be a temporary piece, it is now a permanent fixture in Marble Arch and is considered the tallest free-standing bronze statue in London. But what the heck is it? It’s a horse sipping water.


7. The view from The Shard.

While you can experience the top-down view of London from various locations including the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and The Monument, the view from The Shard is worth a visit if you want to see London from a different angle. A relatively new building, The Shard (sometimes known as The Shard of Glass) is the European Union’s tallest building at 306 meters.


8. Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden.

Photo by Kevin Stokes

Photo by Kevin Stokes

In this colorful cove of London, you’ll find cute and quaint shops such as the Neal’s Yard Bakery, Neal’s Yard Dairy, and the New Age Bookshop. Why haven’t you heard of it? It is basically hidden from view and is only accessible via two alleyways. One could say it is close to the beaten path, but not quite on it.

Itching for more of those hole-in-the-wall places in London? Check out our ‘Off the Beaten London‘ list.