By SHERYL LOVENKRANDZ
Few capital cities can be considered as famous or diverse as London. With iconic structures such as Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and Big Ben (which is coincidentally the name of the bell and not the tower) found at every corner it is no wonder that millions of tourists visit London each year.
Yet, there are plenty of lesser-known attractions found in England’s capital city and here are five of these secret wonders:
Smallest Police Station in the World
The city of London holds many accolades – from being the first city in the world to benefit from an underground rail network to earning the title of the biggest city in both Britain and Europe. One merit you may not have heard of though comes in the form of a police station found in the south-east corner of Trafalgar Square – the world’s smallest police station to be precise!
So small is this station that its total prisoner capacity is just two persons and the main purpose of it was to hold a single officer. Even more strangely, it’s set within a hollowed out light fitting – making it virtually undetectable to the untrained eye.
Temple of Mithras
For visitors to London, museums and historical sites are always popular – hardly surprising when the city has 22 national museums and more than 200 other museums to its name. The London History Museum and Imperial War Museum may be venues you’re familiar with, but have you heard of the Temple of Mithras?
Uncovered during the post-war reconstruction of the city, this is a fantastic archaeological find which dates back to the Roman Empire. In fact, the temple was considered so significant that it was moved 90 yards from its original site after discovery to aid preservation.
There are now plans to return the temple to its original site with a full restoration planned for completion by 2015, meaning this may not remain a secret attraction of London for much longer.
Centrally located on Walbrook Street, it is easily accessible from a variety of accommodation options from hotels to rental holiday apartments in London.
The Only Lighthouse in London
As a landlocked city you wouldn’t expect to see a lighthouse in London – but that doesn’t mean you won’t find one. Built in 1864-1866, this venue was originally used to test new lamps for lighthouses found around the country – noble work which helped keep sailors safe from harm.
Located in Trinity Buoy Wharf, the unique appeal of the lighthouse doesn’t end with its odd location. As part of the millennium celebrations, a continuous piece of music which will last 1,000 years was switched on and plays in the lighthouse. Known as Longplayer, this piece of music will continue to echo from within the structure until 31st December 2999.
London isn’t all about urbanised landscapes and manmade structures – there is plenty of greenery too. One park you might not have heard of is the London Plane: a fascinating corridor of greenery running from Temple to Richmond.
The first plantations occurred around 1,550 years ago but a large number of the trees you’ll find there today are just 300 years young. With an unusual bark and dappled trunk, they’re easily identifiable and an interesting natural feature of England’s capital.
Once the venue used to hang convicted pirates and now the home of the Slice of Reality sculpture, Blackwall Point is another interesting site on the map of London. You’ll find it at the northernmost point of Greenwich and whilst it once saw countless ships pass through its waters it was drained and made fit for habitation in the 16th Century.
Sheryl Lovenkrandz is an energetic travel enthusiast who has travelled the world and learnt a lot from her adventures. She loves to give travelling advice and she currently works as a freelance travel blogger for Loving Apartments.