Secret London - An Unusual Guide

This is a book review, not a trip report, but it's about one of a series of travel books published by Éditions Jonglez that may interest RS helpline members. 'Secret London' and the other 'Secret' guides are authored by local writers, not by regular guide book compilers and they aim to cover a less well-trodden path than Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, or (dare I say it?) Rick Steves. 'Secret' here means unusual, small, not very well advertised, quirky. So rather than Westminster Abbey or the British Museum you find entries for things like the Kew Bridge Steam Museum, the Barbican Conservatory and Arboretum, Twinings Tea Museum and what might be described as an art installation of Tibetan 'singing bowls' in the lamp room of a former lighthouse by the Thames.

Arranged in sections by area of London and with indexed maps, many of the entries are for things that you might pause to look at for a few minutes while walking somewhere else, like 'Giro's grave' (Giro was an Alsatian dog that belonged to the German ambassador to London in the mid-1930s), or a 19th century sewer-ventilating gas lamp near Charing Cross. However, there are many other entries that look to be worth an hour or two, like New London Architecture which among other exhibits has a 1:1500 scale model of the whole of central London, or the Mediatheque at the British Film Institute.

You wouldn't use this as your only guide to London, but if you have been here before and occasionally tire of fighting the crowds at the more well-known sights then this book is full of interest and variety. There are 'Secret' guides for Paris, Venice, Rome, various other cities and even one for Provence. Around 350 pages, with alphabetical and thematic indexes, the London guide is published by Éditions Jonglez, 17 boulevard du Roi, 78000 Versailles, France - http://www.jonglezpublishing.com/en/english-catalog

Posted by Laurel
Arlington, WA
829 posts

I thought I had this book but the one I have is actually called city Secrets London. Robert Khan series editor. It's good too but I'm noticing that some of the places "your" book mentions are not in mine.