No homesick blues in London’s subterranean attractions
Date night drinks, vibrant graffiti playgrounds, war rooms of worldly significance and secret chambers of catacombs best reached by kayak – uncover what lies beneath the streets of London.
To get you started on your subterranean adventure, here are some of London’s best tourist attractions found underground.
While it sure is an experience worth trying; the chances of seeing much when wedged underneath a tall dude’s armpit on the Metropolitan Line is slim to none. However, if you get on and off trains as you move about the city you will be impressed by its unique stations like Baker Street with its Sherlock Holmes theme and the British pop art at Tottenham Court Road. Companies like The London Pass have itineraries and deals to help you navigate this.
Ye Olde London Underground
Did you know much of London’s Underground was used as bomb shelters in WWII? And, at 150 years old, it’s the oldest underground system in the world? It’s an intricate web of some 400-kilometres of track with much of it not in use today. Follow London Transport Museum’s latest ticket releases and you could catch rare glimpses of disused stations, such as the famous Aldwych Station (air raid shelter come movie set for flicks such as Atonement) or take a tour of Chislehurst Caves near Kent and learn about their many thousand years of history.
Graffiti’s hall of fame is 300-metres of amazing street and graff art located below Waterloo Station’s platforms. It gained widespread notoriety after Banksy’s Cans Festival unveiled this secret location in 2008. Also known as Leake Street (it’s located off York Street) or Graffiti Tunnel, this vibrant mismatch of graffiti and street art is accessible by foot. Be warned, Banksy’s original works have long-been overridden.
Churchill War Rooms
Winston Churchill ran his country from a bunker and secret underground rooms during World War II. Now this bunker forms part of the Churchill War Rooms, where you can learn about some of the most important events in our history right where it happened. The interactive displays, media reports, personal artefacts and myriad of other materials just adds to the experience of this amazing museum behind Westminster, Houses of Parliament.
A trip to London is incomplete without experiences the eccentric borough of Camden and its’ amazing vintage market, Stables. Spare a time between people gazing and head (further) underground to Camden’s Catacombs. Accessible through Dead Dog’s Hole at Regent’s Canal, explore hidden passages that date back to the 19th. Did we mention you’ll need a boat to get there? Yep, good luck with that!
Not in its traditional unconventional sense per se. From amazing Soho bars like Cahoots, located in an abandoned air raid shelter and modelled to resemble a vintage Underground station with real tube fabric, themed waiters a ticket master and cocktails served in clocks, to actual underground venues like Corsica Studios underneath Elephant and Castle that showcases up and coming live music, there’s plenty of night-time fun to be had underground in London! Ask around for the latest happenings and hotspots.
Get your flights to London now and see what lies beneath this great city. Don’t forget to tag Student Flights in your pics.
What a great Gap Year experience to look back on when you’re back to school or work next year.
*Note: Part of this blog was written with the assistance of written materials from The London Pass