The off-beat guide to London
Forget the tourist traps and take advantage of London’s best-kept historical secrets
Perhaps more than any major world city, London is a paradise for the amateur history buff. having been around, in one form or another, for about 2,000 years, London brims with historical sites detailing the rise and fall of the world’s great civilisations.
the big attractions are known the world over—big Ben, the houses of Parliament, the tower of London, Buckingham Palace. But the thousands of daily tourists who visit them make it difficult to appreciate the history that the buildings convey. and plus, when everyone knows the stories behind these attractions, how much can really be learnt by diving into the throngs of people jostling for the best view?
Instead, history buffs are now looking for London’s best-kept secrets—the sites that illustrate the city’s millennia-old culture, without asking visitors to fight their way through unending crowds to appreciate it.
It should be noted, however, that many of London’s off-the-beaten-track attractions do connect rather well with the more gruesome parts of its history. the southwark needle by London Bridge, for example, is a svelte spikelike monument made of Portland stone. But it marks the approximate spot where, for around 400 years, the heads of traitors were impaled on wooden spears—the first of whom was said to be William ‘Braveheart’ Wallace in 1305.