London has been around for centuries. Millions of tourists have walked its streets and experienced a true afternoon tea. However, there is more to this historic city that what is advertised by tour companies. Although tours are a great way to see the landmarks and discover places to get a delicious meal, to get an authentic experience you have to off the map. Below are the four places you must visit while in London.
- The Attendant – Don’t let the name fool you; you’ll have a great time in this place. It was a men’s public toilet during the Victorian era in London. After 50 years of disuse, the space was converted into a quaint coffee shop. The 19th-century tiles, porcelain urinals, and cast iron exterior honor the facility’s past, albeit with modern touches. The kitchen is housed in the attendant’s office where farm-to-table sandwiches are made. The coffee is also something to savor. The shop uses high-quality green coffee beans and milk from Jersey cows to create signature drinks.
- London Mithraeum – London is full of surprises, so to tour a Roman temple isn’t a big deal. The Romans invaded London and brought their innovations and culture, including their gods. They built a temple for the god Mithras under what is now Bloomberg’s European Headquarters. It was built 200 years after London was founded in the 3rd century AD. This site produced a number of Roman artifacts, from sculptures to tools. Admission is free, but you should book your tour in advance.
- The Clink Prison Museum – Now a museum, the site was once a prison called Bankside. Founded in 1140, the prison was famous for its torturous treatment of prisoners. It has stood the test of time with a variety of prisoners, from debtors and harlots to heretics and religious adversaries. The name “clink” is rumored to come from the sound made by blacksmiths hammering the irons around the wrists of prisoners.
- The Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret – If you have an interest in medicine, this museum is for you. Located in a church attic of St. Thomas’ Hospital, you’ll learn about the history of medicine and surgery of 18th century England. In fact, it’s the oldest surviving surgical theater in Europe. The attic is the herb garret, where herbs were stored to be used as medicines along with an operating theater. However, to visit it, you’ll have to climb a narrow 52-step staircase.
These are just a few of the unique places to visit while in London. They give you a different perspective of the city, which makes for a memorable trip.