London is a surprisingly green city, with around 3,000 parks, hidden roads, and a vibrant network of canals, reservoirs, and riversides to explore.
A city with a population of 9.6 million people within an area of 607 square miles, there’s plenty of places to see.
I’ve lived there all my life, but there are vast areas of secret London yet to be discovered. If you are coming from abroad, catch a flight to London’s Heathrow Airport.
‘You have barely scratched the surface’ is your answer
Even your seasoned visitor to the capital may think they’ve covered the big city – St Paul’s Cathedral, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey – yet I’d be very polite to them and say: “You have barely scratched the surface. For those who don’t believe me, here’s a small morsel of what they might be missing.
If you want to sample a little smattering of Italy, even if the weather is not continental, then venture out to Little Venice, taking less than 10 minutes from Paddington train and Tube stations. Leave the station using the Grand Union Canal exit and walk north on the pedestrian street following the signs for Little Venice. Little Venice is a unique location, and comprises of numerous canals and waterways.
It’s where the Grand Union and Regents Canals come together. Here you will find welcoming pubs, canal boats that serve as tearooms for tourists, and places where you can catch a waterbus ride and more delightful scenery. Put on your walking shoes and take a stroll along the river to Regent’s Canal. If you like seafood, stop off for a table for two or more at The Summerhouse, a beautiful canal-side restaurant; or if Oriental cuisine is your thing, check into Pearl Liang for a great experience.
If you are into crime solving and serial killer murderers, then the world’s only Jack The Ripper Museum is just up your street. Be transported back to 1888, to a Victorian house in Whitechapel, and explore the six floors that are the Jack The Ripper Museum.
Observe the books, artefacts and films left behind that leave clues to Jack’s infamous crimes. Jack The Ripper killed at least five prostitutes. Can you solve those heinous murders? Open seven days a week, 09:30am-6pm, at 12 Cable Street, Aldgate, London E1 8JG. Booking available by calling 0203 978 0820.
The Thames Path
Prepare yourself for a potentially 40-mile walk, which is the length of The Thames Path. If you find it a struggle to walk, then hire a bike.
And when you are on your way, you might want to drop in on The Prospect of Whitby, a pub frequented by the Great British author Charles Dickens.
If you are a writer, you might want to get those creative juices flowing over a pint and a hearty lunch.
Japanese Kyoto Garden, Holland Park
Just a short walk from the tube station of the same name is Holland Park. Known for its Opera House, Orangery, statues and pathways, it also has a quiet area with well-dressed peacocks and called the Japanese Kyoto Garden.
The Japanese Kyoto Garden, opened in 1991, and was a gift from the city of Kyoto to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and Great Britain. It includes tiered waterfalls, stone lanterns, Japanese maple trees, and a pond with kai carp.
Close by is the Fukushima Japanese Garden, a place for quiet contemplation, built to remember the victims of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Another gift of friendship between our peoples’ due to their support following the natural disaster that struck in March 2011.
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It’s tranquil and easily forgotten amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, Chelsea Physic Garden, established in 1673, houses the capital’s oldest botanic garden, containing about 5,000 medicinal, edible and historic plants. Its living plant collections are among the largest and most diverse in the world.
The Physic Garden is great for family days out where children can have a lot of fun, with plenty of learning activities for them. You can find them at 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HS. Call 020 7352 5646 firstname.lastname@example.org