Five Secret Sights Of London

Not everyone likes to go through life with a guidebook. Sometimes you need more than just the typical tourist fare. If you feel like straying from the straight and narrow and seeing some of London’s more unusual sights, here are a few ideas to get.

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Noses and Ears

There’s no better way to really get to know a city than by going on an old-fashioned treasure hunt. You could start your journey by seeking out the Seven Noses of Soho. Back in 1997 the artist Rick Buckley created around thirty-five plaster casts of his nose and attached them to various buildings. He told no-one about his project, but gradually the public became aware of this interesting commentary on the pervasiveness of CCTV observation. Today between seven and ten noses remain. Once you’ve spotted them all, you can look for Tim Fishlock’s follow-up installation where he placed copies of his ear all over town.

God’s Own Junkyard

Would you go looking for fun in an old industrial estate? Worth visiting for the name alone, this spot houses Europe’s largest collection of hand-made neon signs. Part museum, part art installation, you will be surrounded by thousands of glowing, blinking signs and movie props. Once you’ve had your fill of flashing lights, there’s even a gin palace next door.

Dennis Severs’ House

If you visit a city as old as London, you will be met at every turn by ancient and interesting buildings. But have you ever thought about how people actually inhabited these dwellings hundreds of years ago? Dennis Severs’ House is a fascinating time-capsule dedicated to showing the typical life of a family of 18th Century Huguenot silk weavers. Experienced in complete silence, it displays the sights and smells of a seemingly just-abandoned home, where the inhabitants have stepped out for a moment to allow you a secret glimpse into their private lives.

The Pretend Number 10

10 Downing Street is known the world over, but did you know that a copycat exists just down the road? 10 Adam Street is eight hundred metres away from the real deal, but is much more accessible, and only the most eagle-eyed observer will tell them apart. You won’t have to contend with any heavy security or inconvenient government business getting in your way here. Take as many photos as you like, your friends back home will never know the difference.

The Pelicans of St James’s Park

Could you really pass up the chance to have lunch with a tame pelican? Back in 1664 the Russian Ambassador made a gift of the birds to the park, and over the years more than forty birds have made their home there. Currently there are three birds in residence. They are fed their favourite snack of mackerel at 2:30pm every day. The pelicans have always been loved by the locals and hark back to a time when the park housed many strange and exotic animals including crocodiles and elephants.

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