Off the Beaten Track: Revel in London’s Alternative Attractions

If you’ve travelled to London before and stayed at top notch accommodation (like, for example, the Grand Royale London Hyde Park hotel), you’ll doubtless be aware of many of the capital’s most talked and most visited attractions; not doubt because you too have been one of their visitors. But if you are such a London visitor and you’re looking for somewhere a little different to give a go next time you’re in town, then how about one, two or even three of the following options…?

For those who’ve done the South Bank… try Trinity Buoy Wharf

(64 Orchard Place E14 0YP)

Located practically on the tip of the Leamouth Peninsula (opposite the O2), this is a terrific if secluded arts hub that’s more than worth visiting, to say the least. Here you’ll be able to discover and interact with a sculpture park, hear a piece of music that’s set to play for a thousand years inside a lighthouse (Longplayer), explore a diminutive museum dedicated to the life of the great Michael Faraday and step inside the waterside Fat Boy’s Diner for a milkshake.

For those who’ve done the British Museum… try the British Library’s Treasures Gallery

(96 Euston Road NW1 2DB)

British Library

For lovers of history, literature and music, this small space within the voluminous and mind-boggling British Library is, well, mind-boggling in itself. And that’s because it’s simply brimming with written artefacts – everything from a small section of the Magna Carta to the genuine Lindisfarne Gospels and John Lennon’s hand-written lyrics to Strawberry Fields Forever to a number of Leonardo da Vinci’s handbooks. A fantastic permanent – free – exhibit to check out, especially if you’re already making a saving through one of the many hotel rewards programs available, such as Premier Club Reward.

For those who’ve done the V&A… try Sir John Soane’s Museum

(13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3BP)

A neoclassical architect of the highest order, Sir John Soanes was also an avid collector of curiosities and, thanks to his extraordinary and extensive collection of art, furniture and architectural ornamentation (such as an alabaster sarcophagus carved for the pharaoh Seti I) on show here at his equally eccentric yet elegant home, it’s now hard to suggest he’s not more famous for the latter.

For those who’ve done Oxford Street… try the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising

(111-117 Lancaster Road W11 1QT)

To be found leading off Notting Hill’s famous market street Portobello Road, this museum is a paean more to high-street shopping; or at least the high-street of yore, containing as it does in excess of 12,000 different objects that, together, paint a florid picture of just how the nation that’s the UK has gone about buying its commodities over the decades. It’s full then of the likes of wrappers, posters, toys, boxes and all manner of collectibles, all of them arranged according to date order – one for those who fancy a trip down the memory lane of shopping and especially if they’re based nearby at the likes of the Park Grand London Hyde Park hotel.

For those who’ve done Shakespeare’s Globe… try Wilton’s Music Hall

(1 Graces Alley E1 8JB)

Finally, you may not have heard of the Victorian- and Edwardian-era popular theatre tradition that was music hall (it was, effectively, a somewhat unruly forerunner to variety entertainment), but step inside this venue, the oldest surviving music hall you’ll find anywhere on Earth, and you’ll doubtless feel the magic of the thing wash over. Renovated in recent years to preserve it to an extent that it perhaps never actually enjoyed in its former life, the Grade II-listed building still features its original cast-iron pillars, curved balcony and (somewhat) crumbling walls. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, its bar’s a pretty awesome place to enjoy a beverage too.

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