London: A City of Hidden Gems

A London local's guide to ‘The Old Smoke’

London is one of the truly great cities in the world. It combines culture, history, shopping, and sports into one amazing package that cannot be beaten. According to the Independent newspaper, from January to September 2017, London welcomed 30.1 million in-bound visitors. Many of those travelers experienced the great sights and scenes of London.

Travelling around the city in big tourist groups can be great, but using a CityPals guide can make a trip to London far more unique. A CityPals guide can curate an experience for a traveler giving them something far different than the typical holiday millions of others go on.

There are a number of must-see places in ‘The Old Smoke’, but not all are in the typical guidebook. It doesn’t mean they aren’t worth seeing.

Thames Path

The Thames’ Path is a brilliant 40-mile trail that follows the greatest river in England. Visitors can hire bicycles and pedal along the path for exercise or to do a bit of sightseeing. In the warmer months, there are public beaches to stop off at. There are also a few pubs along the way serving authentic British food and real ale.

Literary fans will love The Prospect of Whitby pub which is located along the Thames Path. It is claimed to have been one of Charles Dickens’ favorite pubs. Travelers with plenty of time, or who want a cool adventure, can follow the path outside of London and into the Cotswolds. From start to finish, the Thames Path runs 184 miles.

The Thames’ Path is a brilliant 40-mile trail that follows the greatest river in England

Bizarre Museums

London has so many museums it is difficult to get a true count of just how many there actually are. Of course, there are the big galleries such as the Tate, British Museum, and the Natural History Museum. All of these are free to enter and offer visitors hours of education and culture. Each will be filled with tourists and after a while, the artworks and exhibits blur into one.

The good news is London has a variety of off the beaten path museums featuring bizarre displays and interesting historical items. Some of these museums are free, but a majority will charge an admission price as they are private.

The Freud Museum is a popular destination away from the crowds. The museum is filled with antiques and paraphernalia from Freud and his family. Travelers interested in medicine may always want to visit the Old Operating Theater. Located above Old Thomas Church, the venue was an actually operating theater used before the discover of anesthetics. From cultural must-visits to bizarre and kitsch, London has it all.

The Freud Museum is a popular destination away from the crowds filled with antiques and paraphernalia from Freud and his family.

Watch Football

London is home to six English Premier League teams. It is also home to a number of clubs playing in the lower leagues. In 2018-19, there is a total of 11 professional football clubs in the city and several more semi-professional teams. Watching a football match in London is great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday, especially with a CityPals guide with in-depth knowledge of the sport.

Travelers can experience a unique setting at one of the lower league London-based clubs such as Wimbledon or Brentford. These teams don’t play in the Premier League, but the experience of attending their ground is second to none. It also gives visitors the chance to see the game away from the bright lights and TV cameras of the English Premier League.

While sports bars in England are not anything like they are in the United States, fans can still order some food, drink beer, and watch sports on a night out. Café Kick is one of the top sports pubs in all of London. The best lagers served are from continental Europe and guests can enjoy game after game of table football. Sports fans may even time their visits just right for one of Café Kick’s popular table football tournaments.

Café Kick is one of the top sports pubs in all of London.

Sapori Restaurant – Eating with the Cabbies

London’s food scene is diverse and filled with authentic cuisine from all over the world. You can find great European, Asian and Middle Eastern restaurants throughout the city but in this post we feature one place that is unique and definitely not in any London guide book.

Sapori is a small Italian restaurant located only a few hundred yards from Westminster Abbey. The restaurant is filled with cab drivers enjoying a quiet spot to eat (with available parking)  and a place to  escape the tourist crowds.  Cabbies come to take a break, to joke around with colleagues, complain about a hard day’s work and rant about local politics whilst diving into a plate filled with inexpensive and very tasty Italian food.

The cozy ambiance, the friendly service and the delicious home-cooked Italian food will leave any traveler happy and content. This is also a great restaurant for families with kids. With an assortment of pizzas, pastas and chicken Milanese on the menu even the fussiest kids, will find something to eat at Sapori.

At Sapori, local travelers can source information about London‘s hidden spots directly from the restaurant customers. The Cabbies, London’s original CityPals, know the city like no one else does. If asked politely and with a smile, they will be happy to provide local insight, advice and directions free of charge.

Cabbies taking their break at Sapori, an Italian Restaurant in Westminster, London.

Gir Lion Lodge

The Gir Lion Lodge gives travelers the chance to sleep next to the King of Beasts in the middle of the city. Located at the London Zoo’s Land of the Lions exhibit, which is a gorgeous attraction to take family and friends to, Gir Lion Lodge gives travelers the chance to experience a safari while staying in the big city.

The lodge allow travelers to sleepover in the zoo, something every child most likely dreamed of at one time. But there is much more to the Gir Lion Lodge than just sleeping over. Visitors are given three tours of the zoo after sunset allowing them to see the animals when all of the tourists have gone home. It also gives lodgers the chance to see the animals in a more natural state. Dinner and breakfast the next day is included in the price of the stay. The lodges have verandas and travelers have chance to sit outside and experience a safari atmosphere right in the heart of London.

Gir Lion Lodge gives travelers the chance to experience a safari while staying in a big city like London.

London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. It has some amazing attractions that visitors from all over the world travel to see. Yet, it also has just as many hidden gems. A local CityPals guide can help any traveler heading to London find those unforgettable, unknown places. It could be the one thing to make a holiday truly unique.

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