Discovering London: What’s under the city?
- Published on Wednesday, 19 September 2018 15:24
- Last Updated on 19 September 2018
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
I love London so much that I have made it my adoptive city for the past 20 years and counting. I love discovering London from the inside out. Last Spring I started exploring what is under the surface of the city by going on the fascinating Mail Rail tour. London town has a vast history that dates back to the Romans 2,000 years ago. These explorers chose to HQ the majority of their lives around the area due to the river making an ideal port, and it being a great location for settlement. To this day, it still is and homes over 10,000,000 people.
You can visit London and experience all of the main tourist attractions within a few miles of each other: Big Ben, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, to name a few. All of these exciting landmarks carry heaps of historical value and make London an iconic city that is recognised worldwide.
The famous London Underground helps Londoners, commuters and tourists get around the 1,572km square city, but have you ever wondered what else lies beneath the British capitals’ surface?
The Churchill War Rooms is just one attraction beneath the London layer. Based in Whitehall, these bunkers allowed Britain’s leaders to plot the allied route to victory during WW2. The atmosphere and environment is very much still as it was in 1945 and to its visitors shows them what hidden gems are below the hustle and bustle of busy London.
Have you ever been to a bar that was formerly a public toilet? Well, this toilet-come-cocktail-bar is a tiny haunt in Soho that serves cocktails and beverages to its visitors. What once was a shabby lavatory is now one of the most popular and exciting bars in the area.
Many Underground stations still remain closed, unused and practically have been left in the era in which the doors to the platform were bolted. For example, South Kentish Road closed in 1924, when George V was in reign and IBM had only just been founded, so we can only imagine what it looks like down there in the present day.
Otherwise known as “ghost stations”, experts claim there are 49 abandoned stations in a number of London boroughs and gathering that the entire network takes up about 402 km, that’s a lot of wasted space just out of reach of the city surface.
There aren’t just abandoned tubes beneath London, though. You can indulge in bars, amphitheatres and bathhouses, too. If you want to take a look at some of the best sights that teach you about London but from a lower level, take a look at a map of London’s best kept secrets beneath the surface here, created by sightseeing cruise provider CityCruises.
The Billingsgate Roman House and Baths lays beneath the pathways of the Square Mile. One of London’s most fascinating remains, this bathhouse was discovered in 1848 and is a refreshing escape from the busy tourist traps throughout the capital city.
London has lots of variety when it comes to underground attractions, many of which carry huge historical value and make the average tourist learn a thing or two when visiting. Why not visit The Vaults of Waterloo to have an evening of dining and entertainment? Venture to the Kensal Green Cemetery to take a peek into the Catacombs there, or even travel underground to see the Underside of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich – one of the last tea clipper ships built in 1869!
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums