When you’re walking around London, doing all the touristy stuff and snapping selfies in front of famous landmarks, what you may not realize is that there’s some cool places to visit beneath the actual city, so get off the beaten track, and dig into the subterranean pleasures Londinium has to offer.
1. Churchill War Rooms. For all history buffs, this is a must-visit. Located beneath the treasury building in Whitehall, Westminster, this underground complex served as the British command center during World War II. The bunker was Sir Winston Churchill’s headquarters, used round the clock, with military advisers and ministers planning war-strategies to overcome the Nazi threat.
2. Cafe-in-the Crypt. Nestled under St. Martin-in-the-Fields church at Trafalgar Square, this underground eatery is a great place for a wholesome English meal. It was originally the burial vault of the church, so you’re actually dining with ghosts from the past.
3. The Vaults. For art-aficionados, this subterranean gallery located off Leake Street, famous for its graffiti, is a year-round delight with an ongoing program of exhibitions by local and international young artists. The 17,000 sq. ft space features an art gallery, restaurant and theater. Serving as a morgue in past times, it now hosts an annual underground Arts Festival.
4. The Roman Ampitheatre. Built around 70 AD, the Colosseum-like ampitheatre had a capacity of hosting over 7,000 spectators, watching animal fights and executions, true Roman-style. It was rediscovered in 1988 by archaeologists working on the site of the new Guildhall Art Gallery. A short walk from St. Paul’s cathedral, it’s an exhibit worth seeing for anyone interested in the history of London.
5. Gordon’s Wine Bar. The oldest wine bar in London is still open for business at Charing Cross. It has been maintained in its present form since 1890, so you feel you’ve stepped back into the Victorian era as soon you enter. The bare brickwork in the vaults and the flickering lights make it a classic London experience, which can be perfected with a traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding meal on Sundays.