Top 5 quirky attractions in London
London is not just Trafalgar Square or Big Ben. We’ve collected some of the most unusual places that are a must-see if you want to show off among your friends and flaunt a familiarity with some offbeat parts of London!
The Smallest Square in London – Pickering Place
Pickering Place is near St. James’ Street and is worth a visit because it still has original gas lamps and architecture dating back to 1730. It owes its name to William Pickering, the son of the woman who opened the grocery store (today a liquor store) Berry Brothers and Rudd in 1698 – still visible on St. James’ Street. To find the smallest square in London, you need to walk through an alley right next said store!
Pickering Place is also the place in London where the last duel in London took place: being so well-hidden it was a good location for such activities.
If this wasn’t enough, Pickering Place was also where the embassy of the Republic of Texas was established from 1842 to 1845 before its annexation to the United States. You can still find a plaque that commemorates it, if you look carefully.
Pickering Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1EA
The Traffic Light Tree
The traffic light tree is the fruit of the imagination and skills of French artist Pierre Vivant. This 8-metre high tree-shaped sculpture was installed in 1998, and contains 75 traffic lights that activate the classic red-yellow-green lights continuously and totally randomly. It used to be the nightmare of drivers and riders that over time have learned to ignore it, but has now become an integral part of Canary Wharf. The continuous dance of lights reflects the never-ending activities of this part of London.
5TG, Trafalgar Way, London E14
Battersea Power Plant
Made famous by Pink Floyd, who used a picture of the Battersea power plant as the cover of their album Animals, this steam punk-like building can be considered an icon of industrial archaeology.
The Battersea power station is a majestic building located on the bank of the Thames.
Built in 1933 and abandoned in 1983, this former power station dominates the skyline of southwest London. It was then recovered as a building of great historical importance. Today, it is being refurbished as the new Apple headquarters in London by the year 2021. The new headquarters should bring together all the Apple employees in London, about 1,400, who are currently located in eight different buildings.
188 Kirtling St, London SW8 5BN
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History
Don’t be fooled by the scruffy and outdated appearances of this place; this museum only opened in 2014, but it features a timeless collection of oddities, creepy curiosities, mythological monsters, mysterious objects, rare books, and more.
This surreal extravaganza is in Hackney, East London and the genius who has spent many years gathering weird material is Viktor Wynd, self-described perfectionist, pataphysic (ie scientist of imaginary solutions), and amateur antiquarian. Mr Wynd has even written a book where he gives an outlook on the content of his strange museum.
If you are not intrigued enough, this is the official website to learn more about this crazy, wacky microcosm.
Admission fee is £5 and it includes a cup of tea.
11 Mare St, London E8 4RP
The Kensington Roof Gardens
The Kensington Roof Gardens in Kensington, London, on the terrace of a 7-storey building, is a great place to enjoy a relaxing break from the daily hustle and bustle.
Walk among the trees of the Spanish Garden, take a photo to the animals that live in the English Garden and be charmed by the elegance of the Garden Tudor.
The gardens were commissioned between 1936 and 1938 by Vice President of John Barker & Co., a former English department store. Initially, the entrance fee was a shilling and the earnings were donated to charity. Today, however, admission is free.
There are multiple gardens – the English Garden is home to some very old trees. The blossoming of flowers is a must-see show: depending on the season, you can enjoy a kaleidoscope of colours. At the centre of the garden there is also a picture-perfect lake home to ducks and flamingos.
In the Spanish Garden, you’ll recognise some trees typical of Mediterranean vegetation.
The Garden Tudor, instead, has three courtyards, elegant arches and the traditional red brick-walls recreate the atmosphere typical of that time.
In the shadow of a gazebo or inside the covered pavilion in winter, treat yourself before plunging back into London hasty life.
99 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 5SA
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