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August 03, 2018 4 min read


Off the beaten path. That's usually where you'll find me.
A chance meeting on the way back to the ship in Marseille turned into a friendship with another like-minded traveler.  You’ll like Dee Serkin as much as I do, and what’s more, she’s a seasoned traveler who has a passion for inspiring others on their journey.  Now a travel writer and destination guide, she’ll be sharing travel tips with us during my Emerald Isles cruise on Viking Sky.
Like Minded Travel Lovers
It’s exciting to start any adventure, and this is an itinerary I have never traveled so I am looking forward to new explorations and inspirations. Between the two of us, you’ll discover travel…off the beaten path!  Lead on Dee!
Travel Tip: Arriving a day or two before embarkation gives you a chance to fully explore your port city!
If you are not on a guided tour, a fabulous way to get around is on the super simple and safe Tube. (Imagine the NYC Subway with an English accent….)  Taking the Tube is inexpensive and the only real choice when you’re trying to get around and cover long distances efficiently. (And it’s a great way to get a feel for the real city and the people who live there!)
If you have been to London before or are just inclined to stay away from “tourista” destinations, the suggestions below will be right up your alley. As with any city, there are hidden gems off the beaten path, that will make your visit unforgettable.
Off The Beaten Path
Little Venice: As its name suggests, Little Venice is London's answer to the famous Italian city. Home to waterside cafes, pubs and restaurants, the area comes alive in the summer months as Londoners jump on canal boats or walk along the riverside to nearby Camden or Regent's Park.
Camden Passage: Tucked behind Upper Street in Islington, Camden Passage is a treasure trove of cute cafes, independent boutiques, vintage shops – where you'll find everything from exquisite one-offs to fun party outfits – as well as an antiques market selling furniture, curios, war memorabilia and various knickknacks.
London's Thames Path
The Thames Path: The Thames is home to many of London's well-known treasures, but the 180-mile-long Thames Path has many quieter spots to be discovered right within London. The best way to explore is to rent a bike. Public beaches, one of Charles Dickens’ favorite pubs (The Prospect of Whitby) and the village of Rotherhithe are a few of the highlights.
Wilton’s Music Hall: A traditional Victorian music hall in London’s Tower Hamlets, Wilton's Music Hall has been fully restored in recent years to its former glory. Book tickets to a variety of performances, drop by for a drink in the impressive Mahogany Bar or simply take a tour of this wonderful, historic venue. (Not to worry, I won’t be singing there!)
Kyoto Garden
Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park: A twofer, The Kyoto Japanese Garden is a hidden gem wrapped in another hidden gem: Holland Park. The beautiful park is tucked away in Kensington and has plenty of its own hidden corners, with winding paths, statues, peacocks, an opera house and an orangery, alongside the tranquil Kyoto Gardens. (A piece of peace!)
Sir John Soane’s Museum: The former residence of Sir John Soane, architect of the Bank of England, is one of London's finest public museums. More than 20,000 architectural drawings and antiquities, including the Egyptian Sarcophagus of Seti, sit alongside works by Turner, Canaletto and Piranesi.
Eltham Palace: The unusual blend of a medieval palace and an Art Deco mansion makes Eltham Palace one of the most unique historical properties in London. Once a favorite hunting spot of Henry VIII, the royal palace fell into decline until the 1930’s when millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld turned it into a glamourous home for entertaining leading society figures.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chelsea Physic Garden: This tranquil green space is often forgotten by both Londoners and tourists. A walled space beside the Thames, Chelsea Physic Garden was established in 1673 and is London's oldest botanic garden, containing approximately 5,000 edible, useful, medicinal and historic plants. (No, I don’t think medicinal cannabis is grown here...)
Postman’s Park: Postman’s Park gained its name due to its popularity as a lunch spot with workers from the nearby old General Post Office. Now it's home to the unique Watts memorial, a gallery of glazed tablets commemorating tragic acts of bravery (why do I hear opera music in my head right now?). Fun fact, this corner of green space was visited by Jude Law's character in the 2004 film Closer.
Daunts Books
Daunt Books: The Marylebone branch of Daunt Books will make you feel like you’re stepping back in time (or into a Harry Potter film!) as you get lost in the beautiful wooden interior and floors of books. Best known for its extensive travel book section, you can also find books on just about any other subject.
London’s Neighborhoods: Don't only stick to central London, venture further afield to discover London's characterful neighborhoods off the beaten path and see the hidden gems that Londoners enjoy. Head west to tranquil Richmond, south east to Greenwich or north to leafy Hampstead.

Pubs: While you’re wandering around London, don’t forget to stop in at a pub and grab a beer as the city is known for its distinct approach to brewing. One very interesting establishment is Evans and Peel Detective Agency. You can’t get in without making an appointment with one of the detectives and presenting your “case”. You will meet with the detective in his circa 1920’s office and then be led through a secret door hidden in a bookcase and into the pub. (That’s what I call an undercover pub crawl!)
All this activity will surely work up an appetite. Include on your list of “must trys”: Bangers and Mash, Fish and Chips, Pie and Mash, Beef Wellington, Cockles or Sunday Roast with Yorkshire Pudding. For dessert try Eton Mess or Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Enjoy your time in London. It’s time to say goodbye for now.
Hasta la bye bye!
Dee Serkin is a travel writer who specializes in destinations, culture, travel tips and advice. She is dedicated to inspiring travel in all and loves to share her adventures with others. Contact her at or visit her site at

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