Millions of us have enjoyed short break holidays in many of the world’s greatest cities, of course, and have been happy to sample a hot dog in Times Square and a gentle stroll along the Champs-Élysées. In most destinations, just about all of the major attractions will be located in the centre of the city itself, so the average tourist would never even consider visiting the outskirts.
Anyone who is planning a trip to London, however, should be aware that there are plenty of hugely impressive attractions to be found away from the city centre. The majority will be in the heart of the metropolis, of course, but it’s worth remembering that a visit to the outer regions could prove to be a wise move. Here are four that should be considerations for the must-visit lists of every London-bound traveller.
This stunning park, the second largest in London, was created by King Charles I in the 17th century, and it has been a favourite with Londoners for many years. It’s home to large populations of red and fallow deer, and provides the perfect oasis of peace and tranquillity in this teeming city. There are some wonderful views to be savoured, as well as a restaurant and tea rooms and even a couple of golf courses.
In England, football is more of an obsession than a sport, and at Wembley Stadium fans can get up close and personal with a guided tour of the game’s national home. The stadium itself is one of the world’s newer sporting citadels, having been completely rebuilt and reopened in 2007. In addition to hosting major football internationals and cup finals, it’s also used for rugby and American football, as well as several high profile music concerts.
London is divided more or less horizontally by the Thames, and those who live south of the river have Richmond Park on their doorsteps when they need a little peace. Those in the north have Hampstead Heath, a 320-acre open space that offers visitors a collection of ancient woodlands, ponds, hills and valleys, and all within easy reach of the city centre. One of the highest points in London, the views south to the centre of the UK capital are spectacular.
The devastating floods of 1953 convinced London’s authorities that the city needed greater protection against the forces of nature, and this concern led to the construction of the Thames Barrier, now considered to be one of the world’s most impressive feats of engineering. Boat trips to the barrier, located to the east of the city centre, are available, and there is a Visitor Centre at the Barrier itself.