In the effort to cover the best of London, we often limit ourselves to the attractions in Central London without realizing that there are some true treasures in the Greater London area that go undiscovered.
From fantastic green open spaces to exciting theme parks, there’s a wealth of things to do in Outer London. Here are the things that you should not miss in the suburbs of London:
1. London Wetland Center, Barnes
Image Source: Laurence Arnold/ Flickr.com
The London Wetland Center is an urban oasis spanning 105 acres. It is home to exotic wildlife and over 150 species of birds. This expansive wilderness consists of sparkling ponds, flowery meadows, marshland and lakes. There’s a number of things to do for kids and adults alike. What’s more, its only ten minutes from Hammersmith!
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2. Eltham Palace
Image Source: Gary Bembridge/ Flickr.com
If you have ever wondered how the rich and glamorous lived in the early 1900s, Eltham Palace will be an interesting visit for you. This art deco mansion is audaciously luxurious and features many of the original fittings and artwork. The surrounding gardens are a sight for sore eyes.
3. Wimbledon Windmill
Image Source: David Geen/ Flickr.com
A charming windmill with an equally fascinating history, this landmark stands proud in the Wimbledon area since 1817. Now a museum with interactive displays and exhibits about its own timeline, the Wimbledon Windmill makes for a great visit for people of all ages. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful little café nearby too!
4. Hampton Court Palace and Maze, Richmond upon Thames
Image Source: Elliott Brown/ Flickr.com
Commissioned by William III and created by the whimsical imagination of George London and Henry Wise , this maze has been confusing visitors since decades. The adjoining palace is only one of the two surviving palaces built by King Henry VIII and is a unique example of the amalgamation of Tudor and Baroque styles. From the world’s oldest grapevine to the royal tennis court, there’s a lot to see and experience in outer London.
5. Kenwood House, Hampstead
Image Source: Steve Cadman/ Flickr.com
A great free attraction in London, Kenwood house is a brilliant mansion featuring magnificent interiors and a stellar art collection that acquaints us with the life and times in the early seventeenth century. Its detailed architecture and gorgeous gardens are a true delight to visit. There are plenty of experiences for kids here too.
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6. Royal Observatory , Greenwich
Image Source: Paul Wilkinson/Flickr.com
Experience the rush of standing on the Prime Meridian of the world and the home of Greenwich Mean Time at the Royal Observatory. The observatory in outer London played a paramount role in the fields of astronomy and navigation and offers a rare insight in these subjects. After you’re done taking in the gorgeous views of the surroundings, visit the planetarium theatre and observatory museum to see exciting horological artefacts.
7. Syon Park, Hounslow
Image Source: Derek Winterburn/Flickr.com
Syon Park is counted amongst one of the great houses of London. Its immaculately maintained interiors and inspiring art collection are much appreciated and spoken about. Set amidst forty acres of gardens is the house of the Duke of Northumberland that is resplendent in its historic glory. It is interesting to see how the architect Robert Adam derived his signature design for the house by combining influences of many styles. Syon Park sits on the banks of Thames and boasts of over 200 species of rare trees.
8. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green
Image Source: Sarah Ackerman/Flickr.com
This gem of a museum is absolutely free to visit and is an incredibly fantastic activity to plan with the whole family. It houses a collection of childhood objects that date back to 1600s and throw light upon the evolution of home, childcare and kids’ entertainment through the ages. Here, visitors can see some rare hand crafted toys, dolls, costumes and puppets too. An absolute joy to visit for both adults and kids alike, this museum is an impressive place that is educative as well as fun. Certainly one of the best things to do in outer London with family on a weekend.
9. Hogarths House, Chiswick
Image Source: Matt Brown/ Flickr.com
The home of the great artist William Hogarth, this historic museum makes for a lovely visit and is absolutely free to enter. Built in the early 1700s, this house is beautifully maintained and exhibits the living conditions of the Hogarth family very well. You will be greeted by an ancient mulberry tree as you step through the gate and inside you will encounter original furniture and objects that weave an interesting tale about the artiste.
10. Highgate Cemetery
Image Source: Dario Susanj/ Flickr.com
Many fascinating stories lay buried at this great Victorian cemetery. This unlikely attraction features Victorian chapels, buildings, catacombs and also the Lebanon circle and Egyptian Avenue that are noted for their historical significance. It’s a great experience to visit Karl Max’s grave in the East cemetery. Apart from that, there are a number of great people who are laid to rest here. Take a guided tour of the West Cemetery to uncover the true glory of these grounds.
11. Sherlock Holmes Museum
Image Source: Jose Maria Mateos/ Flickr.com
Dedicated to the most loved detective of all times, Sherlock Holmes museum is a privately run attraction that is a must visit for all his fans. Even though he was an entirely fictional character, it’s compelling to see Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s imagination come to life. Cherry on the cake, there’s a beautifully curated gift shop next door!
So step out of the mainstream mindset and explore beyond the usual, there are many treasures waiting to be discovered in Greater London!