You may well be familiar with the London Underground – or Tube – map; it’s revered as an iconic work of art, not just a route guide for a subterranean urban railway. Take a good look at it and you’ll observe that the dark blue line on it (the Piccadilly line) runs north-east to south-west – and vice versa. Granted, it looks no more distinguished than the others, but that belies the reality. For to get about the city on the Piccadilly line is to open yourself up to a small yet wondrous world of fantastic attractions…
If you’ve made the West End your place of stay, then the first attractions along the line are some of the city’s real big hitters. Jam-packed full of world-class theatres, globally renowned restaurants and nightclubs, flagship cinemas and casinos and major high-street retailers and department stores, the centre of town’s always a hub of vibrant colour, electric energy and dynamic diversity. Small wonder then so many visitors base themselves in hotels in Piccadilly Circus, not least because there are so many London hotel packages to take advantage of in the area.
From here, if you travel south-west along the line you’ll quickly reach the riches of Knightsbridge. Famed for the luxurious department stores spearheaded by the world-famous Harrods, this is undoubtedly one of the city’s most expensive neighbourhoods – the average property value here’s in the region of a cool £2 million, while almost as expensive sports cars sit waiting at the curb for their owners to emerge from the likes of Harrods following a small fortune’s worth of a shopping spree. It’s all right for some!
Continuing on your way, you’ll soon get to the marvellously elegant environs of South Kensington – and especially the wide, sweeping avenue that (named after Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert) is known as ‘Albertopolis’ and adored for its major public attractions: the Science, Natural History and Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museums. What the first two are all about is obvious; the third is dedicated to the decorative arts – but all three are magnificent and brilliant for kids. Just a few minutes’ walk north of them too you’ll discover maybe the greatest of London’s Royal Parks, the majestic Hyde Park which runs into the glorious Kensington Gardens, of course. Together, they combine as the host for many a summer music event and winter festival, as well as the perfect refuge for family picnics.
As you’ve maybe gathered by now, a journey along the Piccadilly line really does afford you the chance to catch many of the capital’s very best venues. Indeed, if you head in the opposite direction (north-east) you’ll quickly reach the Holborn/ Bloomsbury area, home to the unrivalled largesse of the British Museum (maybe the greatest museum in the world) and, a little further, the transport hub that’s King’s Cross which offers, in the major railway station that bears its name, Platform 9¾, ‘made famous’ by the writing of J. K. Rowling – a magical attraction if ever there were one!