The Most Intriguing Culture Zones of London
Exploring the UK’s capital is like exploring a menagerie of treasures. Some are blatant tourist traps, that tend to draw in a large crowd due to the preservation of their historical influence, others are known for their lively local life and investment in their residents’ multi-cultural roots, however, there are some that just leave a feeling of unease within the visitor. It may not intend to hold a creepy essence, for it could just be a historical building or just an eccentric museum, but there is always something that just makes you feel a little nervous about being left in the room on your own. If you are the sort of person that enjoys receiving a slight thrill from an eerie room then you just have to visit some of these intriguing cultural areas around London!
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History
This little museum of horrors is famous for its strange and mysterious exhibits. If you can stomach a place having no rhyme or reason to the items it displays, then you will find yourself surrounded and drawn into observing some of the strangest wonders of London. Viktor Wynd, the chair of the museum’s society, claimed that the museum is
“is devoted to exploring and furthering the esoteric, literary and artistic aspects of life in London and beyond”.
When you enter the museum you will see a wide range of strange taxidermied creatures, skeletons, erotica, and even some wilder things like quartz dildos, vintage speculums, skulls, peacocks, polar bears, and bodily anomalies and even some “mermaids.
Whilst some of the exhibits are grotesque to view, there is a reason behind their madness. The website of this museum states that it is actually an “attempt to recreate or reinterpret, within 21st-century sensibilities, a 17th-century Wunderkabinett”. The main thing behind this museum is the idea of historical wonder. It takes a historical fascination with the weird and uncanny and preserves it for a modern audience.
If you are interested in some of the more macabre curiosities of this shop then it is certainly worth a visit!
Whispering Gallery at St. Paul’s Cathedral
When it comes to visiting a historical Cathedral, you may think that this is sort of cultural venue is the perfect place to either go with a date or maybe even one of the gorgeous escorts London supplies to potential clients. After all, a Gallery is full of culture, art and deserves to be shared with a loved one. Whilst the entire venue of St Paul’s Cathedral is a marvel to behold with any sort of friend or companion, as it holds a gorgeous interior and some of most beautiful collections of artwork, if you are ready to feel a little unnerved, why not go upstairs to listen to the soft tones of the “Whispering Gallery?”
Christopher Wren’s Great Dome is an architectural masterpiece that actually incorporates a trick of acoustics so that whispered words against the corners of the walls can actually be heard clearly directly across 137 feet. That means that if you and your partner stand at opposite ends of the dome you should be able to hear each other if you speak to the wall. It is a little spooky, but if you keep in mind that this is actually a scientific trick, you will truly enjoy the wonder of being to speak clearly to the dome to become one of the gallery’s whispers!
Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret
If you are looking for a truly spooky environment to give you the chills, outside of some of the hotter tourist spots, like “The London Dungeons”, why not go to the attic of St. Thomas Church, where you can see one of Britain’s oldest surviving operation theatres from 1822.
The whole surgery itself has been preserved and is extremely chilling to visit. After all, patients who entered this surgery were not unconscious. Instead, they were awake and were merely sedated with whiskey, opium or even hit on the head with a mallet. The faster a surgeon’s surgery was deemed, such as fast amputation, the better a doctor they were deemed. This is why so many patients died during the operation or afterward due to infection.
Not only does this museum encapsulate this terror, even including straw to mimic what was laid down on the ground to avoid the blood spillages affecting the churchgoers beneath. Should you visit this theatre, you can also visit the old apothecary, an upstairs garden, that was known as the “Herb Garret.” If you go there now, you can still see the beautiful baroque architecture, but you`must be aware that the venue is extremely small, lending itself to reliving the claustrophobia that patients were forced to undergo when they entered for their surgery.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
If you are looking for a museum that houses a gorgeous, yet clearly eccentric history, then you just have to visit Sir John Soane’s Museum. The museum is actually Sir John Soane’s House. As the Architect behind the Bank of England and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, it is not surprising that his home held a number of historical and cultural collections, including Egyptian, Medieval, Renaissance, and Classical Antiques. These included sculptures, casts, timepieces, furniture, stained glass, oriental objects, paintings and even over 30,000 architectural drawings.
His home itself is extremely unique, topped with a glass dome and hidden skylights, the rooms are actually lit up with hidden mirrors that improved their brightness. That way you can go around each room and marvel at the different collections he kept on display. The museum is truly a wonder to behold!
Ruins of the Crystal Palace
If you are looking that an eerie sense of time and its destruction of glorious monuments, why not take a trip out to see the ruins of the Crystal Palace? With only a few beheaded statues, two stone lines and abandoned stone steps that lead to nothing remaining, it is hard to imagine that a true glass masterpiece stood there during the Victorian Era. The Crystal Palace originally housed the world fair of 1851, an exhibition that displayed the wonders of technology and art. However, it was destroyed in 1936 when a fire blazed through it. Even now, no one knows if this was due to arson or accident. But a priceless monument was destroyed due to it. Whilst there is some talk of a new crystal palace opening, you can still visit this ruin and marvel in what beauty used to be held on its grassy plains.
Of Course, when you are exploring London, you may want to visit some of the markets in order to get a true sense of the capital’s culture, and also buy a few sweet treats to spoil yourself. If you are looking for a market that has a curious backstory, why not visit Stables Market? This Marketplace may look like a treasure trove of art and historical goodies, did you know that it actually used to be a catacomb? This is why the architecture of the stables is made of railway viaducts and giant bronze cavalry statues. You will love being able to explore the dark passageways whilst also indulging in the vintage stalls and delicious food stands and pubs.
The Hardy Tree
If you are looking for a place of tranquillity to rest from a busy day of touring London, and you are not frightened by graveyards, why not visit St. Pancras Old Church, one of the oldest churches in the UK for Christian worship, and you will encounter a wide range of stories. Not only is the church known as the place where Marry Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley planned their elopement, where a gravestone was the inspiration for the UK phonebox design, but the most famous site is “The Hardy Tree”. The Hardy Tree is an old ash tree that is encircled by a number of gravestones. They are extremely old and were actually laid there by the famous author, Thomas Hardy.
Why did he do this? Well, as a new train line was to be created through the graveyard, Hardy was given the unpleasant task of reburying the dead. When thinking of a way to deal with the gravestones, he simply laid them around the tree trunk. No one knows why he came to this decision, but nowadays, the tree is a haunting image of both life and death.
Ruined Victorian Folly
If you still are in need of some eerie tranquillity when it comes to your London trip, another option is to visit the remnants of a Victorian Garden Feature. This Victorian Folly sits in a public woodland and holds faux-stone archways and an ornamental stream. It is a fantastic place if you are looking to simply get away from the hustle and bustle of the world and just relax. Pack a picnic and take in the historical splendor of Victorian Garden Design.
London’s Magical World
Should you decide to visit London, then it is entirely up to you as to whether you visit some of the main tourist spots or decide to see some of the more unique destinations of the area. At the end of the day, London has a fantastic culture that is bound to ensnare the imagination of any tourist who visits. Enjoy your trip!
Content Writer: Hannah Fletcher