All Londoners know the familiar dilemma of cobbling together an itinerary when friends come to visit. With so many famous attractions, museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars our nation’s capital can be an embarrassment of riches. Maybe you don’t want to force them to endure all the familiar (and overpriced) tourist traps. Perhaps you want to show your friends that your city has a sense of humour, a sense of adventure and a taste for the theatrical beyond the lavish shows of the West End?
Show your friends a different side of London by…
Taking them to a speakeasy
You may well want to celebrate your friends’ arrival with a few drinks. But taking them to a homogenous chain bar? Ugh! Show your friends that Londoners like a sense of adventure and theatricality with their tipple. The city boasts many hidden bars and some legitimate speakeasies, that offer a fun alternative to the discerning drinker. Take the Evans and Peel detective agency; a 1920s themed private investigator’s office. You’ll have to approach them with an intriguing case and if they decide to take it, you’ll be let you through the hidden door in the bookshelf to a hidden rumpus room for some contraband cocktails.
Just don’t tell them who sent you.
Taking them to where the UK’s shisha craze started
London has been a hub of multiculturalism for centuries but the boom in immigration of the 1970s helped to create the colourful and diverse cultural palette that we know today. If your friends have taste for tobacco or just want to try something new then take them to the Basrah lounge, the first shisha lounge in London. If you’re not a smoker yourself, there’s still a huge selection of drinks, foods and freshly baked goods to tempt you.
Take them to Sherlock Holmes’ gaff
Not many people know that there was no 221b Baker Street at the time of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing.The street, however was later extended and up until 1990 the site of 221b was actually an Abbey National Building Society (now Santander). In 1990 the building was lovingly converted to match the descriptions of the great detective’s famous flat.
If you have a friend who’s an avowed Holmes scholar or who’s just plain crazy for Cumberbatch they’ll get a kick out of the Sherlock Holmes museum at 221b. There’s a 45 minute minute tour of the building that’s packed with Holmes trivia as well as a gift shop bursting with books and DVDs.
Take them for a cappuccino in Little Venice
Camden town used to be a cool, trendy place where like minded artistic types could meet, eat, drink and make merry. Nowadays it’s an over-crowded over-priced theme park. However, close to the famous Camden lock lies a bustling canalside hub with vibrant cafe culture along its shores that liken it to that of the famous Italian city. Here you’ll find a diverse range of cafes, restaurants and bars by the waterside along with a friendly, jovial atmosphere.