Type : City Break Best Date : Year Round Expense: Expensive Things to do : Relax, Sightseeing Points of Interest: Battersea Park, Albert Bridge, Battersea Power Station
Wandsworth is a London borough located south west of the city. It is not well known to tourists nor would the average Londoner visit the borough for amusement or leisure (unless off course they reside there).
However this area of London has points of interests which some deep explorers would find interesting.
As stated in the brief there is not too much to see in Wandsworth in a touristic view but in my opinion there are four locations which is worth seeing, one of which is a huge investment for the future, an attraction I can see being one of London’s latest places for tourist to flock.
Lets start of with what I believe is at this moment the central point for anything touristic in Wandsworth. Battersea Park, is a lesser known park in London but has the attractiveness to be so much more to both locals and tourists. The park consists of attractions like a small zoo, Go Ape (an adventure climbing activity) and so much more. More importantly the iconic peace pagoda is situated in this park.
The Albert Bridge located beside Battersea park is again one of London’s lesser known and underrated bridges. I think this is the result of its location down the river where not so many tourists flock. This bridge is especially a spectacle at night.
In my opinion the landmark in Wandsworth which has the potential to be one of London’s newest iconic place to visit for both locals and tourists is the Battersea Power Station. The historic building which used to power London is currently being renovated to be one of the city’s bustling multiplex’s having bars, restaurants and many entertainment facilities. Moreover there will be ease of transport for tourists as the port will be used for river travels. The power station is currently open but is expected to fully complete by autumn 2021.
In conclusion the Wandsworth is a lesser known place for tourist but has the potential to be huge in the future. Its park and bridges are some of the most beautiful but the complexity to travel to this area makes it difficult for tourists. I put this borough as one to watch out for in the future.
So as you may know because of this ongoing pandemic, travelling international has been impossible or difficult to say the least. However as the world starts to open up I have planned to start travelling in slow stages, taking the opportunity to explore local and travel domestically. My plans are:
Explore Local ⇓ Explore London ⇓ Explore England ⇓ Explore United Kingdom ⇓ Travel Abroad
I have already completed my first segment “Exploring Local” going around my borough Greenwich, luckily it is a place full of points of interests. I have just completed roaming London and I will write all about my experience in depth in several posts.
Roaming around my own city like a tourist was interesting, as it was just after lockdown there were no other tourists around making the usual photography opportunities much better as there were no crowds. However although the joys of no crowds there were the negatives of shops and restaurants still being shut which obviously acting as a tourist, had an impact on the day out. Furthermore because of the easing of lockdown there were still things that were not usual on a normal day such as face masks which are mandatory on transport and long lines on every shops. The huge positive for me is that the daily cost of roaming London was very cheap because I had very little to spend. There were no restaurants open nor entrance tickets (as entrance to attractions were closed) and there were no souvenir shops open, which I wouldn’t buy them for the city I live in anyway but you know what I’m trying to get at.
In terms of the attractions in London, it was much better seeing them without the crowds, it was so much more peaceful and as stated earlier photo or video opportunities are much better. However I wasn’t able to go inside any of the attractions as everything was closed, but sometimes (in London) the points of interest are best observed from the outside.
My plan was to visit some of London’s hidden beauties which aren’t advertised as a popular tourist destination. During my exploration I have found places I believe tourists are probably aren’t aware of such as Battersea Park, 02 Arena, Olympic Park, Hamstead Heath and much more (post coming soon).
Overall it has been an eye opening experience for me and something that made me think that if I visit other countries or cities soon after the pandemic, I probably wouldn’t see the full extent of what they have to offer, with attractions, museums, restaurant, shops and restaurants possibly still closed. In your own city this would be ok but to spend for flights and hotels only getting half of the experience may defeat the purpose and reason for travelling in the first place.
Here is a 30 second video of my experience and some of the site I got to see.
London for the past few years has been consistently top of the most visited cities around the world according to Mastercard’s Global Cities Index. London has many iconic areas, buildings and monuments which are famous around the world. Living here I don’t see things in a tourist’s point of view but here are my personal top 10 places to visit within the city.
10th) Kew Gardens
London’s Botanical Garden makes it to my top 10. This Garden houses a collection of over 50,000 living plants and is known to be one of the worlds leading Botanical Garden. An interesting note is that Kew Garden is actually a UNESCO world heritage site.
9th) Oxford Street
London’s and Europe’s most popular and busiest shopping street with over half a million visitors every day. A must for tourists who look to shop for the latest fashion trends. One of the oldest, largest and most famous toy store Hamley’s is located on Regents street another shopping road which connects with Oxford street. Other iconic stores which resides around or within Oxford street are include Selfridges, Liberty, Nike town and many more.
8th) Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar square is a public square in central London, commemorating the victory of the Battle of Trafalgar. Iconic for its centrepieces such as the Nelson column which honours the British admiral and the beautiful fountain right next to it. Nearby attractions are the National Gallery, Charing Cross Station, the Mall and many more. One of the best places in London to rest and have a snack.
7th) Shoreditch Graffiti
A new trend for London’s east, Shoreditch is home to a thriving and ever popular street art scene. Something new for London away from its traditional attractions, popular for the younger and more artistic travellers.
6th) Piccadilly Circus
Just like Trafalgar square, Piccadilly Circus is also a public space. However instead of it being surrounded by Museums, Piccadilly Circus is surrounded by shops and restaurants. This intersection connects the busy shopping district to the parliament square and Green Park. Nearby places are London’s china town, Leicester square and many others.
5th) The Shard
Europe’s tallest building makes it in my top 5. One of the newest skyscraper in the city the glassed building includes hotels, restaurants and an observation deck at the top. Considered to have the best views of London, so visiting here would could be very valuable.
4th) Tower of London + Tower Bridge
The Tower of London is the most popular historic castle within the city. The castle has lots of exhibits including the castle itself, the yeoman wanderers, various ghost stories, tortures and execution but most importantly the crown jewels.
Right next to the castle is another of London’s iconic structure the Tower Bridge. Sometimes confused as London Bridge due to its popularity. Visitors may go up the towers for panoramic views of the city and have a walk on the glass walkways.
3rd) British Museum
Quiet to my own surprise the British museum has constantly been high on respectable travel guides such as Lonely Planet and Timeout. Unofficially dubbed as the treasure chest of the world’s cultures, the museum keeps the most comprehensive collection of historic artefacts from around the world. Although many of the exhibits are not of British culture this place is a must visit whilst in the city.
2nd) Buckingham Palace + Green Park
One of the most popular and important building (in my opinion) in the capital. Buckingham is the residence and administrative headquarters of the royal family. Popular for tourists due to special royal events, the changing of the guards, summer floral displays and many more. Surrounding the palace is Green park which is also very popular for a walk.
1st) Parliament Square + London Eye
The centre of British politics and the area I believe is the cover attraction of the city. The Parliament square includes many popular monuments, statues and structures including the Big Ben, Red phone boxes, Winston Churchill Statue, the Parliament itself, Westminster abbey and many more. The London eye which stands just across the bridge is also one of London’s top icons and below this are attractions such as the sea life aquarium, London dungeons and more. I cant think of any other locations which would beat these in London.
Non of the photos used are my own please see below where I got them from
10. Daniel Case https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daniel_Case
9. Tony Webster https://www.flickr.com/photos/diversey/12297634063/
8. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
4. Diliff Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
3. Eric Pouhier https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Eric_Pouhier
2. Diliff Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Travelling in London is very easy, maybe even one of the easiest in the world (in my opinion). Buses, Underground, Overground and even the Thames clipper connect every region and area within the city. London prices are determined by zones and the duration of travel, buses are £1.50 (as of 2018) for any 1 hour of travel, meaning you can use as many buses within the hour. The underground is charged through the number of zones you pass through, zone 1 is the most expensive to travel, overground is the same whilst the Thames clipper is a little different. London transport are also connected with the Oyster card which is used instead of cash and the paper tickets. Oyster cards can be used with any of mode of public transport apart from the taxis.
The iconic London buses is great for tourism as they journey to nearly every location and attraction in the city. Each driver or conductor (which some buses have) are trained very well to answer any enquiries from tourists. London buses are also very easy to ride as you will just tap your oyster card or credit/ debit card upon entry. You may ask the conductor or driver for assistance whilst audio and visual aid are also available to determine the current location. Like many cities across the world bus journeys are determined by the number and destination at the front of the bus. Be aware that London buses no longer accepts cash and tickets (fares) must be bought before including oyster card credit unless you are using your contactless enabled debit/credit card.
Underground (tube) in my opinion is more comprehensive than its European equivalent, it is a quick and convenient way of getting around London especially for longer distances. The only downside could be in peak times (rush hours) around 07:00 – 09:00 / 15:00 -17:00 when the underground is jam packed full of people, which is undesirable to tourists. Oyster cards are used in tubes and are credited depending on the journey you take (not the time). The tube system is divided into zones, with zone 1 being the most expensive and outer zones being cheaper. The London underground basically covers 80% of the city’s area and there are many different lines specified by colour and special names (such as jubilee line, Piccadilly line and many more). Many of the Underground stations are just a 15 minute walk form each other so going to your target attraction could be accessible by 2 or even 3 stations.
The river transport called Thames clipper is an incredible way of getting around London however can be varied in destination and somewhat slower than other modes of transport. Nonetheless the Thames Clipper has the best views and go to the main riverside sites such as Westminster, Temple, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Greenwich and many more. The Thames Clipper can also use the oyster card but will be more expensive than other modes of transport.
Taxis in London are one of the most iconic in the world, they are also known as the “London Black Cabs“, they can be taken and stopped anywhere in the streets or designated taxi bays.
Santander Cycles or better known as the Boris Bikes are available and used by both locals and tourists. All you will need is to find a cycle bay, input a credit card, take a bike and ride until your heart desires (or when you reach your destination). It is charged by how long you use the bikes, and when you are finished you simply find another bike bay and re- dock the bike so that the timer stops. The charge will be put on your credit card.
As a tourist there is no need to rent a car as London has one of the most accessible public transport in the world. However walking is not advisable as London is one of the largest city in Europe.
Overall London is a very tourism friendly city in terms of transport, unlike many places around Europe, London have help present in every underground stations, whilst bus drivers would be happy to help with any knowledge they know. All transport is safe and very comfortable.