If you’re visiting London for a few days, an alternative way to see the city is to organise your trips around the Overground and DLR networks, instead of the tube. You’ll find some wonderful London deals in and around the popular destinations that the London Overground and DLR serve, from restaurants to full blown experience packages.
With the completion of the Overground ‘circle’, places like Crystal Palace are now even more accessible. Get off at this station and you’re in for two surprises – firstly it is the home of the physical remnants of the vast iron and glass structure that formed the centrepiece of the Great Exhibition of 1851 (although the ‘Crystal Palace’ wasn’t sited in the park until some four years after the exhibition ended). Despite being destroyed by fire in the 1930s much of the surrounding superstructure remains – terraces, balconies and even some statuary can still be seen, which give you an idea of exactly how vast this piece of Victorian architecture was. Crystal Palace is also famous for being the home of the most unusual creatures to be found in any London park – a whole host of dinosaurs, which have been there since 1854 (and are now Grade I listed). Another pleasant daytime stop on the Overground route is Forest Hill, which is just a short walk from one of London’s finest suburban museums, the Horniman, which is surrounded by several acres of landscaped gardens.
Night-time brings a whole new aspect to the Overground, because you can use it to travel to some of London’s trendiest hotspots – Hoxton, Shoreditch High St and Dalston Junction are all really buzzing parts of town these days, and while they might be a little less hip than they used to be alighting at Camden Road or Highbury & Islington will also put you within easy walking distance of some of London’s best live music venues, and one of it’s most well-respected pub/theatres, the Old Kings Head.
The Docklands Light Railway provides quite different opportunities for sight-seeing – with Bank and Tower Hill (just up the street from the Tower of London) at one end, the driverless trains can whisk you away to areas such as Canary Wharf (which is surprisingly well-served with shopping opportunities in the subterranean shopping malls beneath the skyscrapers) or Greenwich – Cutty Sark station is right in the middle of all of that particular area’s historic sites, including the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum. Head out east on the DLR rather than south and you can visit the Royal Victoria Docks, where the new Emirates Air Line cable car connects with the Greenwich Peninsula, which provides even more entertainment opportunities. In addition to what you’ll find inside the O2 you can also climb the exterior of the dome these days, and for beer fans there’s a well-kept secret just down the main road – the Meantime Brewing Company’s brewery, which offers guided tours and beer tastings several times a week.
If you’re visiting London for the second or third time, the Overground and DLR are definitely worth considering if you want to see a different side of the city.
This is a guest post.