There aren’t many things that better represent London than the London Underground. We know you’re not from here when you don’t stand on the right, don’t allow passengers off before boarding the train, and think that there’s an actual light here for the RNIB (that joke is based on a true story). Annie Mole runs Going Underground, a blog about the wonders of the tube. She’s chosen us five secret London spots, only one of which is a tube station, but all of which are worth a visit. Ashleigh Arnott
Alfred Hitchcock Mosaics at Leytonstone Tube, Underpass at Leytonstone Tube Station
Forget the mosaics at Tottenham Court Road – Alfred Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone in the East End of London in 1899. In 2001 a series of mosaics illustrating his life and scenes from films were installed at Leytonstone Tube Station. These are a badly lit but totally fascinating glimpse at some of his most famous films in mosaic form.
Postman’s Park, Off Little Britain, London,
This small green space in The City just off Little Britain (the street not the TV series) is home to walls of over 30 decorative tiles, recording the heroic deeds of ordinary Londoners who lost their lives to save others. It was erected to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. For me it’s a fascinating way to spend an hour or so’s diversion even if not you’re not fans of Jude Law or Natalie Portman (it was their meeting place in the film ‘Closer’).
Tucked away in a residential street in Notting Hill you can have a Chinese afternoon Tea ceremony and learn how to serve and drink tea the authentic Chinese way. I loved how you could tell the owner, Pei Wang how you’re feeling and he will “diagnose” the tea to suit your mood. Snack on some of the most delicious vegetarian dim sum I’ve tasted and Chinese petit fours at the bargain price of £2 to £3 too.
The Phoenix Garden
A small garden off Shaftesbury Avenue where local office workers have sandwiches in the summer time. It’s one of the wilder gardens in central London but has lots of quirky touches like benches dedicated to blue tits, green flies and a some striking graffiti stick people (STIK) keeping a watchful eye over the grounds. Go there for some peace if you’re looking to escape the nearby hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Road and Soho.
Memorial to Unknown Husband, Bench on the South Bank, near the BFI
I love sitting on this bench, a nodding reference to the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. It’s a memorial to the unknown husband. ‘Often Imagined, Much Desired, Never Found’. It also reminds me of the memorial to EastEnders’ Frank Butcher in Albert Square – ‘Frank Butcher 1940 – 2008 – Husband, Father, Pilchard’.