London is an incredibly large city, spanning more than 1500 square kilometres and constituting its own county. One of the most influential cities in Europe, London is home to some of the most prominent attractions in Europe including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the River Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral. All of these sites, along with the Chilworth London Paddington Hotel, are located within the “ceremonial boroughs” of Westminster and the City Of London. Whilst these landmarks are definitely a must-see for a first timer in the city, there’s a lot more to the city than you might first think on your debut in the English capital.
The city of London is brimming with things to do, each of its 32 boroughs brimming with charm and individual character. No two areas are the same, and so when you visit a different district, you might get the feeling that you are entering an entirely new town or village to the last. For guests of hotels with afternoon tea near Paddington London, many of the city’s outer boroughs are incredibly easy to reach and provide a fresh view of the city. Below are some of the most popular with tourists and locals alike, boasting a wealth of culture, nightlife and history.
The borough of Waltham Forest in Northeast London has many areas for nature lovers, whilst its burgeoning dining, art and nightlife scene provide a wealth of entertainment. Mostly built up during the late Victorian era as a “village”, Walthamstow was once the home of William Morris, whose house on Forest Road still holds a free to visit exhibition on the life of the famous socialist printmaker.
It’s not just design aficionados who visit Walthamstow though, with the addition of the Walthamstow Wetlands, Marshes and enclaves of Epping Forest to the north of the borough, there’s plenty of walking trails and birdwatching opportunities for visitors. Redeveloped social hubs like the Blackhorse Road brewery including a range of London based breweries and taprooms, have become increasingly popular, whilst the Soho Theatre is soon to expand to this area. Guests staying at Central London spas near Paddington can reach this vibrant borough via the Victoria Line.
Richmond Upon Thames rose to prominence in the Tudor era when Henry VII rebuilt Richmond Palace after a fire at the Manor Of Sheen, a previous royal residence. This western borough of London was once predominantly a village and town grown around Richmond Park, where Queen Elizabeth I and other 16th and 17th monarchs enjoyed hunting deer in the newly developed Richmond Park. To this day, the park is home to herds of semi wild deer alongside landmarks and botanic gardens.
Richmond Park might be one of the main draws to Richmond thanks to its huge scale and beautiful woodlands, but there are many other aspects to Richmond that are worth exploring for visitors. For starters, Richmond’s pub scene is second to none, especially along the western trail of the River Thames. With a revitalised shopping and restaurant scene, the borough of Richmond has a wealth of royal history as well as shopping and dining opportunities. Visitors from accommodation in Paddington London can reach Richmond via the District Line or the London Overground from Highbury & Islington.
One of the most popular boroughs in Northeast London for tourists, Hackney has existed as a “manor” and parish since the middle ages but was integrated into the larger London diaspora in 1965. The area has developed into a hub for music, nightlife and dining, and when you incorporate the nearby Dalston and Kingsland Road, Hackney Wick canal district, Stoke Newington’s quaint village and the buzzing Shoreditch area, you have a revolutionary borough teeming with life and diversity.
The area is home to many popular restaurants, Turkish eateries and southeast Asian curry houses being particularly prominent, but it’s also a hub for music and the broader arts as well. Make sure not to miss the new writing and classic dramas performed at the Arcola Theatre, whilst EartH Hackney is just the most recent of an army of music venues. Green spaces in this beautiful borough include Hackney Marshes, bounded by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Hackney Wick canal and warehouse bar area as well as the popular Victoria Park, dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria. Visitors can easily reach Hackney and its many different areas via the London Overground line.
Though its Thameside area is part of Central London (look to Bermondsey and London Bridge), moving up into greater Southwark will see you pass Peckham, New Cross, Camberwell and Dulwich, popular Greater London districts that all have their own personalities and stories to tell. Dulwich is a quaint and rather leafy district that is home to the popular Dulwich Park and Horniman Museum.
The Horniman Museum is a rather quirky exhibition space that holds the collection of one Frederick Horniman, a tea entrepreneur of the late Victorian and early 20th century. This museum is perfect for kids, exploring ancient musical instruments, artefacts and taxidermy as well as temporary exhibitions.
The Peckham and Camberwell areas of Southwark are great for nightlife and art exhibitions at the Bussey Building Warehouse complex and Camberwell Art School gallery. Visitors can reach Southwark’s frontiers via the southbound London Overground.
Lewisham is another southeastern borough that borders the above-mentioned Southwark. The most prominent tourist draw in Lewisham is the beautiful village of Greenwich, where you’ll find the Cutty Sark and National Maritime Museum, both of which commemorate the ancient tradition of seafaring and trade along the River Thames. Greenwich Park is also a popular tourist destination, gifting visitors with a stunning viewpoint in the guise of the Greenwich Observatory, offering views over the Canary Wharf district and much of Central London. You can reach Greenwich via the Jubilee Line and DLR.
Other areas of Lewisham that are worth exploring include Deptford on the DLR line, which is home to a wealth of clubs, bars and entertainment venues. The area of Nunhead is a great area for walking, the Nunhead Cemetery being an atmospheric and green oasis of calm.