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London’s top ten impossible places to get into

Posted at 5:15 pm, August 17, 2013 in Food & Drink, Fun London, Secret London

1. Prince George’s christening 

Put it this way: if you didn’t get an invitation to the wedding, you sure as hell won’t be getting into this bash. As with previous royal christenings, it’s expected to be a small, private affair, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Buckingham Palace, with only family and close friends in attendance. If you do fall into that group, well, this list really isn’t for you.

2. The top of the BT Tower 

It’s weird to think that one of London’s coolest restaurants used to be in a building owned by British Telecom. It’s a bit like going for cocktails at the Network Rail offices. Nevertheless, dining in the revolving restaurant at the top of the BT Tower was a London must-do until its closure in 1980. Since then it’s been nearly impossible to access – there are very occasional tours but they pretty much fill up before they’re even announced.

BT Tower

3. Dabbous 

Can ordinary Joes like you and I get into avant-garde restaurant Dabbous? Yes, absolutely. Its booking system is as democratic as they come. But because the Fitzrovia joint is the hottest place to eat in London, everyone and their uncles and their uncles’ mates are trying to get tables, so the wait is absurd. Fancy trying your luck? Be our guest – how’s your diary looking in spring 2014?

4. A hot ‘fast food’ restaurant 

Fair enough, we can’t have Dabbous. How about we go for a quick burger, some fried chicken or pizza – surely a fast, simple, egalitarian option? Think again: hip new diners like Meat Liquor and Chicken Shop regularly feature queues longer than an NHS heart-bypass surgery waiting list. Not to worry, maybe there’s a Wimpy round the corner.

MI5 Photo: Philmeskips

5. The nuclear bunker beneath the MOD 

Rest assured, when the nuclear holocaust comes, you’ll be wiped out in a split second and won’t have to endure the horrors of life in a postapocalyptic city. Those poor buggers in government, however, will no doubt retreat to this not-so-secret underground command centre (also known as Pindar) and attempt to carry on dismantling the NHS from behind heavy blast doors. Unless you’re a member of the cabinet, a military official, a major royal or in possession of 10,000 bottles of fine wine, you’re unlikely to be invited along.

6. Annabel’s 

Forget the Groucho, Soho House and the stuffy St James’s set: London’s ultimate sell-a-kidneyto- get-in members club is this uberelite Berkely Square institution. Famous faces to have graced its plush interior include Prince Charles, Richard Nixon and a slew of musical and cinematic high-rollers (Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and so on). Ridley Scott is making a documentary about the place, Lady Gaga played a private show there in 2011, and it’s the only London nightclub to have been visited by the Queen. Yeah, you’ll fit right in.

7. A burial plot in Westminster Abbey

God-fearing you might be, but it takes a lot more than a bit of Biblebashing and a penchant for hymns to bag a resting place next to the titans of British history. There’s only room for ashes now (it’s getting a little cramped), and the last person bestowed with this honour was Laurence Olivier in 1989.

8. The Duke of York Column 

You’ve probably walked past this Nelson’s Column lookalike many times and always assumed that, like its Trafalgar Square neighbour, it was just a plain old statue, as interesting on the inside as any other lump of masonry. Well hold on to your hats, because inside this column is an old spiral staircase which leads to a viewingplatform
at the top. When it opened in 1834, members of the public could pay a shilling to ascend the 168 steps and gaze down on Whitehall. But it closed more than 100 years ago and is now as impenetrable as, well, Nelson’s Column.

Strand Station

9. Abandoned Tube stations 

The city’s 40 or so ‘ghost stations’ are the Holy Grail for subterranean London geeks (you know who you are). But, sadly, virtually all of them are inaccessible except for occasional events. Strand station is the most famous (renamed Aldwych in 1915) and it closed to all services in 1994. There are still occasional tours of the station, but you need to be faster than a runaway Tube to nab a ticket.

10. A Tom Ford show 

The fact that US designer Tom Ford (whose HQ is incongruously in Victoria) bans virtually all press and uses the likes of Beyoncé and Julianne Moore as models should give you some idea about the exclusivity of his catwalk shows. These aren’t just events for fashion insiders, but for fashion insiders who also look stylish enough to hob-nob with Kanye and Lily Allen. We’re not sure how much fun it is, but if you’ve got a plus-one, we’ll tag along for a laugh.

Read more London top tens.

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