Samuel Johnson once said the following:
“when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
It’s true. Of course we all complain about the Tube and how busy the streets are, but as sure as Santa and his elves are dosing up on coffee right now in preparation for the 24th, you’re certain to find a few interesting things to do in London:
I’m not talking about the usual spots either. I’m sure you’ve been to, or at least know about the famous museums of South Kensington; The Victoria and Albert is my personal recommendation, for those who haven’t been yet. I have no doubt as well that you’ve braved Oxford Street for some shopping. But what about going off the beaten track? All those little side roads and alleys into the unknown; have you explored any of them yet? If not, you really should. Adventure is out there, after all! (points for whoever gets the reference)
For those of you who enjoy museums, or who have an appetite for history, I’d thoroughly recommend The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret on St. Thomas Street, in the borough of Southwark.
The Old Operating Theatre will give you insightful access to an actual Victorian era hospital, where operations took place in front of a live audience of medical students. Yes, you read that last part correctly; hordes of students would pile in to the operating theatre to watch skilled doctors perform surgery. Perhaps I should have mentioned that having a strong stomach would also be a good idea?
Well, regardless of the strength of your stomach, I’m sure by this time you’ll appreciate something to eat. Luckily for you, a stone’s throw from St. Thomas Street is Borough Market, an overhead market that is said to be one thousand years old.
I often hear the criticism that in terms of weather, London is quite dreary at this time of year. If you share this belief, I implore you to make the trip to Borough market; the rainbow of colours and aromas will more than make up for any overcast days. If you do go however, be sure to indulge your sense of taste, as well as your senses of vision and smell. I’m sure though, that with food from all over the world (Spain, France, and Mexico, to name a few), you’ll come away with a full stomach and a smile.
Should you over indulge though, why not try some exercise? And, sticking with the theme of this article, maybe it’s time to try something different.
A little further away in Walthamstow, you’ll find Gravity Circus Centre, a warehouse that has been converted into a training space for aerial and acrobatic disciplines. If you’ve ever wanted to climb a rope, experience life upside down, or perhaps one day try out for Cirque Du Soleil, this is the place for you. You can expect training to be hard, but the achievements you’ll make and the stories you’ll have to tell will certainly make it worth the effort.
I’ve barely scratched the surface with this list. If you know of any little-known places, why not recommend them to someone the next time someone says that they are tired of London? Keep venturing down rabbit holes, everybody; You never know what wonders you will find.
Ken Carlile – Teacher at The English Studio