Hi! I hope this isn't too much trouble, but I'm currently studying abroad in London and was wondering if you have any recommendations of places/things to see. Usually, I wander about and stumble across some really interesting things, but I wouldn't mind a few recommendations. :)
london is so big and strange and ancient and horrifying and wonderful, this list could have been ten times as long.
- markets: portobello, borough [obvious], old spitalfield, greenwich, leadenhall, brick lane, netil market [london fields], brixton village.
- amazing food: e pellici, bethnal green. tayyabs, whitechapel. book club, shoreditch. beigel bake, brick lane. mahogany bar, wilton’s music hall. fish central, king square estate [oh god best fish & chips in london]. mr. felafel, shepherd’s bush market [palestinian felafel to die for]. cafe in the crypt, st. martin in the fields [incredible atmosphere]. prospect of whitby, wapping [ancient pub on the river]. pie in the sky, bromley-by-bow.
- books: collinge & clark [second hand books; this is where black books was filmed]. word on the water [a book-barge, usually in paddington]. southbank book market. foyle’s on tottenham court road. forbidden planet, shaftesbury avenue. persephone books. london review. ripping yarns, highgate. 56A, crampton st. [great anarchist bookshop & archive].
- landmarks: floating gardens. john keats’s house. highgate cemetery [karl marx, douglas adams, christina rossetti, george eliot, et al]. doughty street [disappearing georgian london]. speakers’ corner. cross bones graveyard [paupers’ burial ground]. burlington arcade. freemason’s hall, holborn. the actor’s church. brixton windmill. canal paths. hackney marshes. aldwych, the abandoned tube station. art in the park. battersea power station [apocalyptic icon]. prince charles cinema [quentin tarantino’s favourite cinema]. rivoli ballroom [gorgeous 1950s music hall]. southwark cathedral [ancient & beautiful; shakespeare came here]. brompton cemetery. kyoto gardens. southbank graffiti tunnel [leake street]. old bailey.
- museums: tate modern [matisse!]. v&a [always something great here]. science museum. design museum. museum of childhood. charles dickens museum. british library [exhibition i’ve had earmarked for months, “comics unmasked: art & anarchy in the uk”].
- oddities: the old curiosity shop. dr. john dee’s magical items at the british museum [elizabeth i’s court magician]. the old operating theatre. the london dungeons. the london tombs. the wellcome collection [artificial limbs, mummies & bizarre medical ephemera from history]. hoxton street monster supplies. also, if you’re into the macabre, declan mchugh’s bloody london is a great guide to historic sites of horror and the occult.
London, can’t wait!
Robert Downey Jr., 2014