As a lover of British literature, I was really jazzed about uncovering London’s literary walks and points of interest when I first moved to the city five years ago. But when most people think of London they imagine stoic and sophisticated Georgian homes, the grandeur of posh shops and upmarket restaurants, easily forgetting that this is a city with many faces. Like most big cities, London can be whatever you want it to be and is home to many diverse subcultures - whatever you’re into, you’ll probably find it here! So I’ve complied this list of the best points of interest for all-round geeks in London.
Forbidden Planet - Tottenham Court Road
Forbidden Planet is a mega-store for any ardent fan of cult films, TV series, science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction. They also specialise in comic books, graphic novels, video games, board games and collectible merchandise. You can spend hours sifting through specialist merchandise or flipping through Dungeons and Dragons strategy books, letting the bustle of London fade into the background for a while.
Freud Museum - Hampstead
Go and see the stately home that Freud and his family lived in after escaping Nazi annexation. Freud only lived in the house for a brief period before he died; however, his daughter Anna Freud continued to live and work there until 1982. In 1986 the house was opened to the public, with Freud’s consulting room, study and library all preserved exactly as he had them set up so you can examine his artefacts, ornaments, notes and of course the famous couch that his clients laid on during their sessions. The museum also features exhibitions, art installations and a video room. For anyone interested in psychology and history, or who just wants to experience a less well known museum, this is a great pick.
The Loading Bar - Dalston
This pub-like local bar is ideal for gamers or groups of friends who want to unwind. The bar is set over two floors in a relaxed and friendly environment with scores of board games available upstairs, and plenty of big tables to gather around. The downstairs basement is stocked with dozens of classic and up-to-date video game consuls, including Super Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation, Sega and more. The bar serves a delicious selection of cocktails, craft beer and wine and the best part is, as long as you’re ordering drinks and playing games, you can bring your own food into the bar or even have it delivered to you there!
London Transport Museum
Many tourists often overlook this absolute gem of a museum, which is especially great for children and families. The museum is dedicated to all aspects of transportation in the city, and is located right beside Covent Garden market, so it’s impossible to miss. The museum has many retired London buses and tube trains, including the first underground electric train from 1890.
Mega City Comics - Camden Town
This is a really community-minded comic book store with a fantastic selection, and the staff are super friendly and helpful. They have a comprehensive collection of current and back issue comics, graphic novels, books, T-Shirts and other merchandise.
Natural History Museum - South Kensington
The Natural History Museum is one of London’s most beautiful museums and has an impressive collection of over 80 million items on display. The museum specialises in botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology, and is also a world-class research centre and has important pieces like specimens collected by Charles Darwin, dinosaur skeletons and an extensive library.
CyberDog - Camden Town
CyberDog is a massive club wear store in Camden that specialises in designer cyber clothing and accessories for niche subcultures. Many of the clothes feature electronic components such flashlights, and they sell glow sticks, rave-wear and goa trance items. From the moment you pass through the enormous front doors guarded by two giant and imposing statues sporting the futuristic style, the rave music blares and occasionally two go-go dancers are on platforms up in the roof, dancing in time with the music. The shop is a must if you want to experience the weird and wonderful, and it’s right on the threshold to the Stable Markets at Camden Town.
Walks around Bloomsbury
Take the tube to Russell Square or Goodge Street and explore one of London’s most culturally rich neighbourhoods. See the British Museum, the British Library, literary points of interest such as the many blue plaques indicating the homes of past novelists, artists and thinkers who lived there, the University of London campuses and Senate House Library.
Draughts is another board game bar, but it’s a bit swankier and more upmarket than The Loading Bar. It’s also quite a bit smaller, and you have to pay an entry fee based on how many hours you want to spend inside. The fee is well worth it though, because the staff are all experts in gaming and will happily walk you though the hundreds of board games and suggest what to play based on your group’s interests. They also have a great selection of craft beers too, so you’ll want to stay a while.
Sir John Soane Museum
This museum is the former home of the neo-classical architect Sir John Soane, and the beautiful house has been preserved exactly as it was at the time of his death. From antiques to sculptures, architectural models to paintings by iconic artists like Turner, the museum is full of curiosities just waiting to be discovered.