London is full of nooks and crannies of new and exciting things to see and do. I have my own long list of favourite places to visit when I’m not on the clock in the capital, but, for fear of London-complacency, and thanks to the overwhelming success of the Twittersource Whitley Bay experiment, I thought I’d reach out and discover a few new things. I asked the Twitterverse for their 140-character suggestions for their favourite things to do in London, and here are a few of the choice suggestions (eating, drinking and general sightseeing) that came back:

Serpentine Gallery & coffee
Smack in the middle of Hyde Park, the Serpentine always has excellent exhibitions. I saw an excellent retrospective on Takashi Murakami here. And the bookshop is excellent.

Check out what’s on if you feel the need to plan ahead, or just wander in. It’s free!

St. James’s Park
I love wandering around this park; it decompresses me between office-to-soho if I’m working in Victoria. I wrote some of my PhD thesis under a tree in it too.

According to the official website, three royal palaces skirt the park, including Wesminster (aka Houses of Parliament), St. James’s Palace (see it in this set of rushes from Digital Revolution) and Buckingham Palace.

And if you’ve got the hunger whilst worrying the pigeons, stop in at Inn the Park, one of my favourite restaurants in the capital.

Strand Savoy Hotel for tea
(jeremyet says it’s still shut for refurbishment)

From Wikipedia:

The Savoy Hotel is a five-star hotel located on the Strand, in the City of Westminster in central London. Built by impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte, the hotel opened on 6 August 1889 and was the first in the Savoy group of hotels and restaurants owned by Carte’s family for over a century. The hotel is now managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. It has been called “London’s most famous hotel” and remains one of London’s most prestigious and opulent hotels, with 263 rooms and panoramic views of the River Thames across Savoy Place and the Victoria Embankment, part of the Thames Embankment.

If it was open, I could go and enjoy, “formal afternoon tea with choral performances at Christmas time including soloists.” Next year?

Dean Street Town House for an amaretto
Sounds lovely. Next time I’ll dress more posh.

From the website:

Dean Street Townhouse is a 39 bedroom hotel and all-day dining room, located in the thick of buzzing Soho, in central London. The dining room is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.

The four-storey Georgian townhouse, once home to the Gargoyle Club, is rich in both its historic past and its Georgian architecture.


Busaba Eathai
“go eat at busaba eathai :) my favourite thai place in the whole world! Jasmine smoothie…yuuuuuum”

I agree. Very casual, very delicious, and the Wardour St. location is right in the centre of Soho. Nom.

Kew Gardens & the Orangery
“A nice walk around Kew Gardens stopping for coffee and cake in the Orangery. You can almost pretend you aren’t in London…” storagebod

Kew is a lovely place to be. It holds the largest collection of living plants across its 121 hectares. Lots of wandering possibilities here.

As an aside, I once filmed a piece to camera thigh-deep in a pond in one of the glasshouses. It may even have been in the Orangery.

From the website:

William Chambers was employed by Kew founder Princess Alexandra as an architect for the Gardens and tutor to her son (the future King George III). He completed the Orangery in 1761. Built of brick and coated in durable stucco, it is the largest classical style building in the Gardens.

As its name suggests, the Orangery was designed as a hothouse to grow citrus plants but the low levels of light made it unsuitable for this purpose. In 1841, Kew’s Director Sir William Hooker shifted the building’s ailing orange trees to Kensington Palace and installed large glazed doors at either end of the Orangery to improve its effectiveness. Thereafter he used the building to house plants too big for other glasshouses.

The building is now an airy and elegant eaterie capable of seating 180 visitors at any one time for lunches and afternoon teas.

“The Tree Top walk at Kew is lovely. I’d also recommend Thames River walk from Kew around to Richmond.”
aren’t in London…"

The 200m Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway was opened in 2008 and was dsigned by the architects behind the London Eye. Not for vertigo sufferers, it’s 18m off the ground!

Kew Gardens, views from Tree Top Walk May 2009 from Will Brown on Vimeo.

More lovely images at The Guardian. More information at BBC.

“Go up the monument. Great climb and fantastic view. And it’s cheap” robram

Get a certificate for making it to the top, and catch some great views too!

From the website:

Sir Christopher Wren’s flame-topped Monument to the Great Fire of 1666 is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. Completed in 1677, The Monument stands 202 ft high and is positioned 202 ft from the spot in Pudding Lane on which the Great Fire is believed to have started. Every year, over 100,000 visitors climb the 311 spiral steps to the Monument’s observation gallery to enjoy unique and exhilarating views across the Capital.

Oldest London Pubs
“walk east along Thames from Tower Bridge stopping in oldest London pubs: Dickens inn, town ramsgate, Capt Kidd, Prospect Whitby” PaulRobinson

for tea and cake

Kiren and cake

My oh my. No trainers welcomed into this Mayfair hotel. Their afternoon tea is legendary. I’ve not yet partaken, forsaking it for a Fortnum and Mason tea with the PhD ladies on an afternoon out several years ago. Next time, Claridges.

Monmouth Coffee
“try coffee at Monmouth Coffee co. Utterly amazing. Great cakes too.” oli

Great suggestion oli. My favourite Monmouth Coffee location is in Borough Market, my epicurian mecca. I recommend getting down there before the market opens on a Saturday morning (around 8 or 8:30) to settle into the chaos. Many a special day has started with a fine cuppa.

Sir John Soane’s House
“Sir John Soane’s house is pleasingly nuts.” IanDouglas

Blueprints for Sir John Soane's house
Image from the
British Library’s online gallery

A house of madness from the new-Classical architect of the Bank of England: jam-packed with things and nooks and crannies. From the website:

Soane designed this house to live in, but also as a setting for his antiquities and his works of art. After the death of his wife (1815), he lived here alone, constantly adding to and rearranging his collections. Having been deeply disappointed by the conduct of his two sons, one of whom survived him, he determined to establish the house as a museum to which ‘amateurs and students’ should have access.

Columbia Road Flower Market
“Columbia Road Market & brick lane, early on a Sunday morning!” AliceNWonderlnd

I do love this market. It’s in the heart of the East End, which means I can stop into Spitalfields for a browse or head down Brick Lane for a curry after being thrust around the foliage along this packed lane. Wikipedia has the history, of course.

From the website:

On Sunday the street is transformed into an oasis of foliage and flowers. Everything from bedding plants to 10-foot banana trees are up for grabs. The air is intense with the scent of flowers and the chant of the barrow boys “Everthin a fiver”. A lot of the flower sellers grow their own plants.

Get directions from Londontown.

Hawksmoor Churches
“tour round the Hawksmoor churches in the east end – they’re beautiful and slightly frightening.” richstrach

Nicholas Hawksmoor built six churches in London’s East End, including one of my favourites, Christ Church in Spitalfields, which features in Alan Moore’s bio pic in the back of my copy of his graphic novel, From Hell.

From The Guardian:

It has taken nearly 250 years for Nicholas Hawksmoor to emerge from the shadows of his more famous collaborators, Christopher Wren and John Vanbrugh, and despite his ascent up the league of great British architects, there is still something of the night about him. Hawksmoor’s churches, in particular, have always seemed better suited to funerals than weddings. In modern times, he has become a poster boy for occultists, studious goths and historical conspiracy theorists – he has even been labelled “the devil’s architect”.

They’re positively enormous. London Footprints has an excellent overview of each. Take Affects Me’s walk and let me know how it goes.

“great to geek out while eating. better food at Thomas cubitt.” bierbelly

Inamo is an ‘interactive’ restaurant. From their website:

At the core of inamo™ is its interactive ordering system, E-Table™. With an E-Table™ system, diners place orders from an illustrated food and drinks menu projected on to their table surface. Customers also set their table ambience, discover the local neighbourhood, and even order a taxi home.

See it in action:

Any other suggestions?