The Best Places To Die In England
I’ve never been to England, which you should know from my last post, and so I am making my dream list of places in England to see. Join me on my fantasy quest as I wish to visit all the places I someday will, and please do suggest some I might not find otherwise!
Travel guides and destination recommendations always tell you about the same places. Beautiful this, luxurious that, exciting the other thing. Whoopty freaking do – if I needed to know about the London Eye at one point I promise you, I no longer do. I get it. There’s a big bloody shiny ferris wheel in England. Do you also happen to have a giant clock and maybe a royal residence? Oh I do so hope! Come off it. I want the stuff people would rather avoid. I want to see the real places, the out of the way places, the creepy places, the scary places. Sure, there’s a tourism segment for this as well but I’m not interested in the cheesy. OK… maybe a little cheesy.
But the point is, just as much as I love a fine meal in a fancy restaurant with clean white linen tablecloths I want the hairs on the back of my neck raised. I love beautiful art and boutique shops but, really, you can get that anywhere. It’s the scary, historic places that make a place unique. Let’s look at a few of options.
First Things First: Creepy Lodgings
Let’s get the mood set right off the bat by choosing a freaky-deaky place to lay my head. I mean, you can’t be properly frightened if you know you’re going home to a well appointed, happy little hotel room. How about we stay… in a prison cell? All right, all right, put down your phones I’m not about to commit a crime just in order to get caught. I’m going to book a room for my imaginary stay at Clink Hostels on 78 Kings Crossing. What’s so creepy about a hostel? Nothing really… except that at Clink you can book an actual decommissioned jail cell for to stay in. While I wish it were a proper cell with dripping stone walls and peeling paint, these cells have been fixed up. The furniture is original (but clean), the paint is new, the doors are heavy, the windows are barred and you might be able to imagine yourself locked in with a murderous cell mate. Good to get the old ticker running.
Clink 78’s website makes it look like a pretty jumping little spot, sad to say, with all the bright lights and smiling youthful faces you could ever hate to see. A full bar, atmospheric lounging in an old court room and a big screen to watch movies on round out their offerings. So, when I feel like being cheerful, I guess Clink will be a nice place to get locked in. But you can’t stay in bed all day as Clink isn’t a real prison anymore. Time get out of the room and into the nice, lovely, English sun. And head underground.
A short ride from London is the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which makes for a nice little creepy day trip. And I do mean day. My first new morning in England will be a bright, beautiful, sunny day – no place for a vampire like myself to get caught out. I’d better retreat from the sun and into the shadows with a nice stroll in the eerie environs I prefer. So I’ll take a cab to the onion-domed entrance of the tunnel just north of Greenwich Park and take the spiral staircase down to the tile, concrete and steel sarcophagus that has become tomb to so many. OK, so, no that’s a lie. In reality the echoey, definitely-not-for-claustrophobes tunnel was built to allow dock workers to cross under the Thames instead of having to take a ferry to work. The tunnel is most creepy when you cannot see the other pedestrians… but their footfalls echo in the solitude. Savor that little chill up your spine.
When I emerge from the tunnel I’ll be on the Isle Of Dogs
The Hunterian Museum
All this walking has made me a might peckish, but I’m on a diet. Time to kill my appetite with a visit to one of Englands more visceral collections. Of actual Viscera. The Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons commemorates the efforts (and many failures) of the father of scientific medicine, Sir John Hunter. If there is one word that I would use to describe early modern medicine it would be “Brutal.” Hacking of limbs, leeching of everything, sawing of bones and don’t even think about early transplant experiments!
The Hunterian Museum (Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3PE) is a victorian era serial killer’s dream come true. Chock full o’ pickled corpses, organs and skeletons you just can’t get a better appetite suppressant than Dr. Hunter’s hall of horrors. But, sadly, a body must eat. And this body must find a suitably bizarre or scary place to belly up and tuck in. Let’s see. Let’s see.
Possibly taking its name from a number of pirates and criminals being hung in gibbets until they waste away to bone, the Isle of Dogs is not really creepy. Quite lovely, really. Not an island, either, anymore – it’s now a peninsula as the northernmost waterway has been filled in with land. But, for a time, the only way to get to the isle was via bridge or tunnel and so there are a number of unusual bridges of eclectic design to enjoy before heading on to the next attraction on my list. Let me just get out my guidebook, here. Ah, ha! This looks good!
The Intrepid Fox of Soho
The Intrepid Fox is exactly where a guy like me can go for a good old fashioned liquid meal served in anything but old fashioned atmosphere. A hard rock bar in the truest sense of the word, the place tries so hard not to be fashionable that it makes itself quite fashionable. Decorated to appeal to the punk and rock crowd, the Fox has been frequented by the actual bands and actors that define that era. Bats, skulls, skeletons and all sorts of gothy-punky-rocky schtick are exactly what appeal to this former New Orleanian’s sentimentality and so here is where I will unwind amid the leather and lace with a smile on my face and a big bashing brew in my hand. I’ll sit and I’ll think and I’ll have so many drinks that before I must leave I can’t stand.
Until next time, I wish I were in England.