Busy as you might be, if you’re visiting London on business then you may still find that you have some spare time to kill. |
If it’s during the day, many simply head back to their hotel rooms to watch TV or perhaps have a quick swim in the hotel’s pool – if it has one. If it’s overnight, then conventional wisdom is that you take in a West End show and follow that up with an expensive meal in a chain restaurant.
That might all be entertaining enough, but it has little to do with London. It’s something you could just as easily do, probably seeing the same show and eating the same types of food, in New York, Paris or Berlin.
So, if you’d like to do something that’s specifically “London”, what’s on offer? Daytime – Museums and walking
For too many people, museums and art galleries were places their school or parents used to force them to visit. So, they don’t always spontaneously pop-up in that list of ways to pass time in London.
Now that’s a pity because many of them are fascinating and not all are vast institutions!
Speaking of the good old days - take the charming Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, part of London’s still largely ‘undiscovered’ East End. It’s sometimes also called the “Toy Museum” and it has an absolutely fantastic display of ancient games and toys of childhoods past. In fact, there’s a fair chance your own memory will be jogged and nostalgia will kick in!
This is just a short taxi ride from the very centre of London and it’s a great way to pass an hour or so. Some of the capital’s smaller museums are equally attractive – such as the Old Operation Theatre near London Bridge or the gorgeous Leighton House Museum with its famous Arabic hall.
As another idea, why not try a simple walk? Avoid London’s major tourist-trap centres and just stroll around the streets of say Spitalfields on the edge of the City proper. You’ll see some great 18th century terraced housing and get a feeling for what London might have looked like about 200 years ago.
The West End and its theatres are justifiably famous, but if you’d prefer something different, why not try some of the following:
• Bat spotting in Hyde Park. OK, not for everyone perhaps, but watching them fly above the Serpentine is quite fascinating.
• Ghost Walks. These are very popular and regularly advertised. Usually starting with some liberal drinking in a pub, the tours take in various ancient haunted sites. Even if you think “bunkum”, it’s still great fun and you’ll learn a lot about London too.
• Try a club in Brixton. This area has changed hugely over recent years and there are now many trendy clubs playing funky music and with live bands almost 24x7.
• See/hear the dawn Buddhist chanting at the Pagoda Battersea Park. It’s very evocative and great for getting your spirits together for the day ahead.
• Watch the “Ceremony of the Keys” at the Tower of London. Held every night just before 10pm, it’s a very interesting link back to ancient history. A little preparation is needed here though because you normally have to apply in writing 2 months ahead of your visit but if you can, do so. It’s free and a good night out.
You never need to be stuck for things to do in London!
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you are visiting London for business, pre-book a direct transfer from London Airports to your hotel or meeting venue.
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