London is undoubtedly a city full of history, culture, and diversity. Visitors have plenty to explore and do things in London. While many know of the city’s famous landmarks and tourist hotspots, there is also a darker side to London that is worth exploring. From haunted buildings to true crime stories, London has a rich and eerie past that is waiting to be discovered. Here are eight unique ways to experience London’s hidden corners and secrets.
Visit the Clink Hostel and Prison Museum
Dating back to 1144, the Clink was one of the oldest and most harsh prisons in medieval England. Today, the old courthouse with prison cells has been refurbished into the famous Clink Hostel 78, where visitors can stay the night and experience the Clink in real life. You can also check out The Clink Museum, where you will find many of the Medieval torture devices, heads on sticks, and more.
Go on a dark-themed walking tour
Walking tours are always an excellent way to understand the history of a place. Themed tours are popular in London, and you can sign up for a dark-themed walking tour to learn more about the city’s dark side. There will be visits to haunted buildings, scary stories from the past, and also some new intriguing urban myths. Walking tours are also a good way to find some of the best local restaurants.
Have a picnic at St. Dunstan’s-In-The East
This is one church that has the most tragic story to tell. St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East was almost destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. After more than 150 years, it was rebuilt. However, the church was again destroyed during the Second World War. The city decided not to rebuild the church after that, and today its skeletal remains stand as a testament to what the city has suffered in the past.
Visit Cross Bones Garden
Located in Southwark, Cross Bones Garden is a public garden that was built on a medieval burial ground known as The Outcast’s Cemetery. It is estimated that more than 15,000 people were buried here during the 16th and 17th centuries. Most of these people were believed to be outcasts and prostitutes. It was in 1998 that a group of residents and volunteers uncovered this historic site and transformed it into a memorial garden.
Visit the Hardy Tree
The tales of London cemeteries are darker than you imagine. When the Midland Grand Railway decided to build a grand train station at St Pancras, the architect’s assistant Thomas Hardy was asked to dismantle the gravestones and move the bodies to a mass grave. A tree was planted in the middle of it as a constantly evolving monument. Today, the tree is known as The Hardy Tree and is a non-touristy location worth exploring.
Explore the Roman Temple of Mithras
London Mithraeum is the site where the ancient Temple of Mithras was excavated. Believed to be constructed around AD 240, this Roman temple was discovered in 1954, seven meters below modern street level. This significant archaeological site lets you revisit the bustling world of Roman Londinium and see some of the Roman artifacts that are excavated from here.
Chat with Jeremy Benthem
Jeremy Benthem was a popular English philosopher who wanted his body to be dissected and preserved as an auto-icon. Everything except his head, is still kept on display at the University College London (UCL. His head was stolen many times by university students and was permanently damaged. A wax head is currently replacing the original one.
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