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10 Downing Street
City of Westminster, London
If you think you can stroll down Downing Street and might catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister behind the windows at number 10, you are absolutely wrong. The whole street is fenced off and heavily guarded by police forces with machine guns. Unless you are the head of some state or member of the British Parliament, the closest you'll ever get is the gated entrance at Whitehall.
Abbey Road is almost as famous as the Beatles. Besides being an ordinary residential street with Georgian townhouses, it is where the Abbey Road Studio is located and where The Beatles recorded their last album, "Abbey Road" (1969). The cover sleeve features The Fab Four crossing Abbey Road at the zebra crossing right outside the studio. Both the studio and the crossing are still there today, and crossing the road has now turned into a tourist attraction of its own. Visitors wait patiently at the curb until a gap in traffic and run out on to the road for a Beatles pose - some more true to the album cover than others.
The area around Brick Lane has become a very groovy place with fashion stores, markets for up-and-coming designers, trendy clubs, artistic cafes, cheap food stalls and endless rows of curry restaurants. Originally, the area was favoured by Jewish immigrants and was home to the Old Truman Brewery, whose chimney still stands today. Later, Brick Lane became a hub for London's Bangladeshi community, which led to all the curry houses the street is now so famous for. Then within the last decade, the indie art and design community has slowly taken over the area. Come on a Sunday, when the indoor markets are open and the street is lined with an eccentric selection of hawkers and street performers. You literally have to push your way through the alternative crowd to get down Brick Lane.
Camden Punk Market
Camden Town, London
Camden Town used to be the alternative scene of London. Here misfits, freaks, and punks hung out among shops with Dr. Martens and stud belts. Today Camden Market is still big on punk and goth shops including infinite number of tattoo parlors, but the edge has worn off. The few punks you do see are professionals and pose for pounds, the rest of the people are grownups hoping for a shock and Euro kids on school trips.
Camden Punk Market is only one of several markets near Camden Lock. The others are focused on food, clothes, independent design, home art and other knick-knacks.
Canary Wharf business district
Canary Wharf is London's second business district alongside the traditional City of London. Here skyscrapers shoot pompously into the air and create an island of reflecting glass and shinny metal with an endless maze of underground malls. The fancy street level cafes along the waterfront lie empty until beer-a-clock, when tie'n'suit dressed business men and women flock to celebrate another upswing in the market. However, the real dealmakers never leave their office, so during nighttime Canary Wharf is beautifully lit up.
You can follow the Thames Path from the city centre to Canary Wharf - an enchanting walk along the riverfront and through some marvelous parts of London.
Mudchute Park, London
Free ranging cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, ponies - yes, even llamas, City Farm at Mudchute Park is not your usual London Park. It feels like a happy hippie attempt to bring country life to the otherwise drab East London. In addition to the farm animals, there is also a big patch of green with grassy hills and farmland, a nice contrast to the backdrop of towering high-rises of Canary Wharf.
Going to London and not visit some pubs, is... well, not something that should happen. Pubs are just such a big part of British culture and history, that they have to be experienced thoroughly. Some of these drinking holes have been around for 400 years, though the building might have burned down a couple of times throughout history. Take for example the pub on the picture, Lamb & Flag on Rose Street in Covent Garden. It was first licensed in 1625, but probably goes back to the time of Queen Elizabeth I (end of 16th-century). Rumour has it that Charles Dickens was a regular here. Can it become more Londonish?
Hampstead Heath is not just another groomed London park - it's a world apart from downtown, though it is only a tube ride away. Parts of the park are unkempt woodland and wild heathland, where it's actually possible to get lost among the trees and bushes. Hilly meadows are covered in long grass and dirt paths make out the trail system. Even the groomed part of the park around the ponds is more free spirited with fishing, model boating and even swimming. There is even a (free) zoo for the kids. Hampstead Heath is a idyllic place for a lazy Sunday.
Highgate Cemetery looks like something from an old horror movie: tumbled over tombstones and cracked crosses overgrown by wild vegetation under huge trees. The Gothic tombs and mausoleums from the Victorian era just add to the creepy vibe. Among the famous people buried here are Karl Marx, Michael Faraday (physicist), Alexander Litvinenko (Russian ex-spy killed by poison) and the family of Charles Dickens (though Charles himself is buried in Westminster Abbey). The east section of Highgate Cemetery is open to the public, while the west section is only accessible on a tour.
Lost and found
TfL Lost Property Office, 200 Baker Street, London
Through times Transport for London has been collecting all those things passengers have forgotten in the tube, buses and trains - and what a rare collection. Ever lost some false teeth, an artificial limb, breast implants, wheelchairs, urn of ashes or sex toys? Well, someone has, for they have all been through the basement of TfL Lost Property Office (yes, breast implants too - we kid you not). A lot of things get back to their absentminded owners, but after three months, the unclaimed objects will be auctioned off (unless it is something very special, like the urn).
Until it is possible to tour the treasures of TfL's lost and found, you can swing by their office, right next to Baker Street Underground station, to browse their exhibition in the window.