We’re all aware of London’s main tourist attractions. For countless years, locations like the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Buckingham Palace have drawn day-trippers, weekend breakers, and holidaymakers to England’s capital city in their droves.
However, the ‘Big Smoke’ also has plenty of concealed cultural treasures, lingering discreetly in the shadows of this famous old city, and situated off the beating track of those classic tourist destinations. We take a brief tour around London to uncover some of the city’s hidden cultural gems.
Shakespeare in London
Our first pitstop is Shakespeare’s Globe, an accurate reconstruction of the historic Globe Theatre, which was opened to the public in 1997. Staging re-enactments of the playwright’s most-celebrated productions, Shakespeare’s Globe seats just 1,400 spectators, which makes acquiring tickets for these shows a notoriously difficult task.
However, if you don’t manage to secure entry, the theatre’s ‘globe player’ application allows you to stream live performances from any device.
Indeed, streaming technology has revolutionized the way we consume entertainment-based content, with plenty of other industries utilising similar platforms to engage remotely with audiences and deliver an authentic and immersive experience for those tuning in.
For example, in the gambling sector, players can unlock the sights, sounds, and ambience of brick-and-mortar casinos when streaming ‘live’ games online, such as live roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. These casino games with live dealers are becoming increasingly popular with players, as they provide a fresh perspective on traditional gambling verticals.
Painting in very different contexts…
Next, we head southwest towards Waterloo Station, dipping under London’s murky surface to enter a series of networked tunnels known as ‘The Vaults’.
Clad from top-to-bottom in graffiti, the tunnels are a vibrant mesh of bright colours and are illuminated by an extensive row of purpose-built spotlights. However, there’s more than just street art in this intriguing underground arena.
At the Waterloo Vaults juncture, parties, theatrical performances, and even musical concerts often take place, the sound of which can be heard echoing around this web of intriguing walkways.
We then travel southeast, through Bermondsey and Deptford, before making our third scheduled stop at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the banks of the River Thames and positioned approximately two miles south of the Millenium Dome, the college is registered as a World Heritage site.
Within this incredible building lies a stunningly ornate dining room, which was beautifully hand-painted by eighteenth-century artist James Thornhill. Appropriately dubbed ‘The Painted Hall,’ the space is enveloped by dramatic imagery and rich, striking colours, providing a truly awe-inspiring spectacle for those fortunate enough to visit this remarkable venue.
The power of pop-ups
Throughout the full calendar year, various pop-up shows and exhibitions serve to provide unique experiences and often offer an alternative or niche insight into a particular topic or event. We’ve highlighted several that are occurring throughout the summer below:
1. ‘About Face’ at the Lewisham Museum – An artist’s depiction of what it means to be a British person of colour, focusing on his own experiences as a child of Windrush parents.
2. Vinterior x Selfridges – A bespoke collection of homeware items – the product of a collaboration between pre-owned furniture restorers Vinterior, and high street giant Selfridges – are available to purchase at this pop-up store. Location – Selfridges, Oxford Street.
3. ‘After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art’ – exhibition at the National Gallery, showcasing the work of European artists who had significant influence in the post-impressionist era. Includes pieces by Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, and Cézanne.
Alas, our whistlestop tour of London’s secret wonders is over; however, there are always new things to discover. Why not embark on your own adventure, and see what gems you can unearth…