You’ve seen the usual suspects of London. Now you’re looking for something ‘off the beaten’ track. Look no further than the following …
Brixton and Dulwich
Brixton Market is a pleasure for the sense and well worth discovering and enjoying. Electric Avenue is not just so-called for its being the first street to be lit by electricity, but also for its atmosphere. Food from all over the world will tempt you at every stall. Following a lively morning, head to the village suburb of Dulwich where white picket fences and fine mansions present a more relaxed picture. But for some really fine paintings, take a tour of Dulwich Picture Gallery to discover London’s first purpose built gallery.
Deptford and Greenwich
Time flies in Greenwich where you will see where east meets west and where the central time zone is marked at the Royal Observatory. Take a look at the heavens in the Planetarium and enjoy the views of London from the hilltop of Greenwich Park. The market, naval college’s painted hall and chapel are all well worth a good morning of sightseeing and not forgetting the opportunity to climb aboard the majestic tea clipper The Cutty Sark. Going back through the vibrant market town of Deptford you will find an unusual looking dance school, a Hawkesmoor church and
a colourful train café to name a few things on the way home.
Wimbledon and Barnes
Anyone for tennis? Visit Wimbledon Museum to find out about the history of the All England Club and some of its champions and wander around its famous courts. Visit the Wimbledon Windmill and then head to Barnes where you can either enjoy throwing bread into the duck pond and wandering through the village or heading into the Wetlands to try to spot some of London’s rare birds.
End the day heading through Tooting with its vibrant Indian street market and take a peek inside its bingo hall… or stay and play !
Walthamstow and the Lea Valley
London is old, but not all of it is obviously so. A visit to the London suburb of Walthamstow will take you back 500 years where you will visibly see the old village green and its surrounding homes. Down the road is the world’s longest streetmarket, where you will find colours, characters, smells and sounds that show you really how vibrant Londons suburbs are. The afternoon will be spent
discovering some of the wilderness of the Lea Valley. It’s not just the Thames that flows through London. The River Lea and the meadows that line it are well worth a visit.
Step into Kenwood House, Fenton House, Keats’s House, Burgh House, 2 Willow Road and Freud’s House to really appreciate the diversity of architecture and characters who have nested in this pretty village standing high on a hill overlooking London. If you like psychoanalysis, music, embroidery, poetry, art and architecture washed down with some village charm then this tour will be a real delight.
Mansions along the Thames: Osterley House, Ham House, Marble Hill and Strawberry Hill
The previous owners of these large riverside homes are long gone, but what they have left behind is there for us to expore and discover. Not just the beautiful architecture but the furnishings and fittings of homes that are 300 years old. This tour will take you into 3 or 4 stately homes where you’ll discover more about the fringes of London through the eyes of some of its most colourful residents including a kings mistress and a Prime Minister’s brother.
Most people don’t step beyond the Tower of London, but further East you will discover the real East End… a borough that, more than any other, can chart a clear social history. The stories reveal philanthropists working alongside psychotic criminals, dockers, matchstick girls and boxers from all over the world and Britain hoping to scrape together some work. Today the ultra modern worlds of the Olympic Park and Canary Wharf stand alongside the old docks and tidal mills of yesteryear. This is a fascinating tour involving markets, architecture, sport, canals and pie and mash !