London has again gained the distinction of being the most visited tourist destination of the world this year and rightly so, as it has so much to offer to its visitors. Whereas the famous tourist spots such as Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral etc., are well-known and form the usual sightseeing track of people visiting the city, you will find many more hidden spots in the city's underbelly that are not so famous and yet present a hidden side that is exciting and worth exploring.
The Phoenix Artist Club
Lying hidden under the Phoenix Theatre which has been showing Bond Brothers for nearly twenty years, there is a bar of the same name, The Phoenix which is little-known and is still a highly desirable place to visit as it is located centrally and yet it is not crowded. This interesting bar is spacious and yet it offers an intimate aura. Even though it is a members' bar and if you are not a member, you can still go there for a drink or a bite if you reach there before 8pm.
Although the coffee at this cafe does not have the insignia of the famous Starbucks brand and its mocha is not of the same standard as is available at Cafe Vergnano, its location and its adornments with wonderful vintage signs and dÃ©cor make it an ideal place to wait for a train near Waterloo, with a cup of coffee to give you company.
Afternoon Tea at the Howard Swissotel
If you wish to enjoy afternoon tea with a difference, you have to try the same at Swissotel. Although it may not come in the same league as the offerings of big names such as the Montcalm, Claridge's or The Dorchester, the whole setting is entirely different and you can get something that you will not get anywhere else, which is the Sight-seeing Tea. It is an absolutely wonderful and creative idea as they serve biscuits in the shape of black cabs, Underground signs, Tower Bridge, St Paul's etc, besides the usual desserts. The biscuits are designed beautifully and they are tasty. Clearly, innovation is the name of the game at this place.
The Lexi Cinema
It is a cinema venue that has all the qualities that are needed such as good sound and picture quality, an attached small cafe, screening of an interesting range of films and huge colour-changing light bulb chandelier. And the best part is that all its profits are donated to charity. What else can you ask for? Visitors to London will find it most convenient to stay at Shaftesbury Hyde Park hotel as they will be located close to most attractions of the city and they can get comfortable accommodation in central London at an affordable rate.
Syon Park's Winter Light Display
Residents of West London may be aware of this place but for visitors and for others it is something that needs to be checked out as its displays are simply fantabulous, especially during the days leading up to Christmas when it gets dark before 4 pm. It is beautiful and it is worth a visit as it will give your creative instincts a boost especially if you are armed with your camera.
If you are visiting London and if you wish to stay in the heart of the city, close to the main attractions, both famous as well as its hidden ones, staying at one of the hotels in London Hyde Park would be the best option.
For any fan of the Art Deco movement, this is a worth-visiting place as it is one of the best ones in London. It also holds an annual fair where it sells Art Deco products for the enthusiasts. The wonderful light-filled main room is quite a spectacle and the fine work done on its furniture, windows, walls etc, is simply unmissable.
Positively 4th Street
It is a small little bar that offers comfortable red leather banquettes, good value cocktails in the range of Â£6-7, atmospheric lighting and amiable bar staff. You must make an effort to visit this bar as it is slightly out-of-the-way being located on Hampstead Road, just a few minutes away from Warren Street tube station. The only negative aspect is that it is not located in the heart of London night life.
Leighton House Museum
Quite unlike other museums in London, the Leighton House Museum offers an impressive display of Arabic architecture inside an unassuming Kensington townhouse. The creator of the museum was Frederick Leighton who has displayed his collection of ceramics and tiles from his Middle Eastern travels. He was a major artist of his day and his collection has been displayed in the entire hall and room of his house.
Chinese Cricket Club
If you are a fan of good Chinese food, this is the restaurant to visit where you can get the best Chinese meals in London. It is not a pretentiously high-priced Asian eatery as others are and if you are looking for s quieter place where you can really relish fantastic food having classic influences but with a modern touch, this is where you should go. It is also ideal if you are going in a group as you can order and taste several dishes that you can share.
Sam Smith's Pubs
There are about 35 Sam Smith's pubs in London and they are definitely a valuable asset to the city, although all of them do not have the same standard. However, all of them provide the feel of a "proper pub" and offer low prices as well as generally amiable bar staff and also a bit of history at some of them. The most popular of them include The Princess Louise, Cittie of York, The John Snow, and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.
Contributed by: www.hydeparkint.co.uk