When planning a trip to London, you often get quite similiar tipps on what do to there from the internet or your friends. In this post, I want to tell you about four different places that are not that commonly known, but really amazing.
My first recommendation is a visit to the Sky Garden. To enter the Sky Garden, you can either book tickets in advance online or try to get ‘walk-up’ tickets, that do no require advance booking, but are only available for certain time spots. I booked my tickets about two weeks in advance, as tickets sell out really fast.
Unfortunately, the weather was not that good on the day I was visiting. However, I still think the Sky Garden is one of the best touristic attractions in London.
After passing an ID check, you are taken 150 meters up to the Sky Garden by an elevator. There you find three levels of landscaped gardens, areas to sit down and relax and even an open air terrace. The architecture is quite futuristic and while walking around, you get an impressive 360 degree view across London.
You can also visit some very modern restaurants and bars up there. While some require bookings, e.g. the Skypod Bar is open to all visitors and sells snacks and drinks.
What was really unexpected for me, considering this is London, a visit to the Skygarden is completely free of charge 😉
Address: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF
Website: Skygarden London
As a lover of Italian food, it was a blessing for me when a friend of mine took me to the pizzeria “Franco Manca”. They serve pizza that is made from slow-rising sourdough and baked in a wood burning brick oven.
Franco Manca offers the typical pizza types and you can add extra toppings, so basically create the pizza on your own. The taste is just amazing (have not had such a good pizza for a long time), I became really addicted and took all my other friends there afterwards. What I really like is, that they offer vegan (pizza dough does not contain milk or eggs) and vegetarian options.
On top, the prices are really cheap for London, starting with a Margaritha for 6 pounds. As Franco Manca is really popular, you have to expect to queue a short time (never waited longer than 15 minutes) before you get seated, as tables can not be reserved. How you are seated depends on the different restaurants: It is always a bit “cozy”, since the tables are placed next to each other relatively close and sometimes there are long tables you share with other guests. However, I think that just creates the special atmosphere of the restaurant.
Address: different locations all over London, e.g. Covent Garden, South Kensington, Soho
Website: Franco Manca
Newport Street Gallery
The Newport Street Gallery has opened in Vauxhall in October 2015. It shows the art collection of Damien Hirst (British artist) in form of special exhibitions. I saw “Power Stations Paintings” by John Hoyland and at the moment the gallery shows the exhibition “Now” by Jeff Koons, who is famous for his balloon dogs. I really hope I get to see this one as well (:
Entry to the gallery is for free, as for most of the art galleries in London. I think the Newport Street Gallery is worth a visit also because of the building itself. It was not crowded and you could really enjoy the minimalistic, but interesting design, which was emphasized by the modern paintings that were exhibited.
Address: Newport Street, London SE11 6AJ
Website: Newport Street Gallery
Portobello Road Market
When you are in London and plan to visit one of the famous markets, I would recommend to go to Portobello Road Market.
You will find many cute houses there, lots of independent stores plus the typical market stores selling antiques and stuff like this. As further you go on Portobello Road, the more food market stores you will find.
To be honest, I am not really that person that likes flea markets, but I enjoyed Portobello Road Market. You also find regular stores on Portobello Road, for example the All Saints flagship store.
The market is really crowded on weekends, but I guess that just belongs to the market experience. If you have some spare time, walk around the area of Portobello Road and you will discover many pretty and fancy looking houses in great colors.
Address: Portobello Rd/Westbourne Grove, London W11 2DY
Website: Portobello Road Market
Feel free to share your thoughts on the different places in the comments if you have already visited them (: