London is a very big place and no matter how much time you spend strolling around the streets and hidden alleys, there’s always something more to discover. Photographers and travelers from all over the world come to the city every day to try and discover something new in London.
If you don’t like following the crowd and you’re not a fan of tourist attractions, there are plenty of places near our hotels in Piccadilly Circus that offer a unique perspective on the city. The Shaftesbury Hotel is the perfect place to start your alternative adventure in London and discover some of these hidden gems.
Southbank Skate Park
Anyone familiar with the alternative underground scene in London will definitely have heard of this concrete playground but it often gets overlooked by tourists in a rush to see the big sights. If you want to experience the raw culture of London during your stay at the Shaftesbury Hotel, take a stroll alongside the Thames towards the Southbank Centre. There you will find an underground skate park that has become a popular hangout spot for some of London’s most talented skaters. The walls are covered top to bottom with amazing graffiti art which is great news for any Instagrammers looking for good photo opportunities.
St Dunstan’s in the East
Tower Hill, London
In the shadow of famous landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, many of the lesser known attractions in London often go undiscovered by tourists. If you’re not looking to follow the crowd, be sure to visit Dunston in the East. This semi-demolished parish church has been overrun by greenery and wildlife, making it one of the most beautiful areas in London. The mixture of gothic architecture and natural flora has resulted in a treasure trove of scenic photo opportunities.
People in the know will already be aware of the secret noses that can be found on the walls of Soho. For those unaware or confused, the story is this. In 1997, artist Rick Buckley set out on an artistic mission to decorate a number of walls in Soho with plaster cast noses. The aim of the public installation was to question the increasing presence of surveillance in London as the noses were placed underneath CCTV cameras. Over the years the noses have been the source of numerous stories and have gained a cult following of people trying to hunt them all down. There are seven in total so be sure to try and find each one as you explore an alternative London.
This one is a little out of the way but if you feel like an afternoon away from the busy city streets, there’s no better place than the Chislehurst Caves. This series of man-made tunnels stretches on for 22 miles and has been used for centuries as a strategic point for military action. In more recent decades it was used as a venue for secret gigs held by rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix. There is plenty of history to uncover and plenty of great photo opportunities so be sure to check it out.