“When one is tired of London,” Samuel Johnson famously said, “one is tired of life.” If you’ve never lived there, this may be hard to imagine. We’re all vaguely aware of iconic London landmarks like the Millennium Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben, and the London Eye. But if you visit the city and see only those landmarks, you’re really only getting the Disneyland version of London.
London is an infinite city, a world within a world, a city of wharfs, cathedrals, shops, pubs, synagogues, outdoor markets, hotels, museums, parks, and rivers. To live there is to know it as it deserves to be known: to see the frosty sunlight gilding the parks of Russell Square of a fall morning; to experience the cramped commotion of the side streets near Charing Cross and the constant shuffle of feet; to hear the peal of bells from the churches along Kensington High Street. The following are some can’t-miss places to visit on your next trip.
9. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
The area surrounding Fleet Street in the City of London (London’s historic financial district) is a virtual rabbit’s warren of streets, pubs, and alleyways, with seemingly every new turn leading to some historic site or monument. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, though not one of London’s better-known locations, has been immensely popular among writers and intellectuals for at least 400 years. Some of its most frequent visitors have included Lord Alfred Tennyson, poet and novelist G. K. Chesterton, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Samuel Johnson, who lived just a few streets away. The pub is famously mentioned in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.