In recent times, the vast number of web start-ups appearing around Old Street has lead to the area being dubbed Silicon Roundabout – a name which perfectly captures the quirky and adaptable nature of the East End. This got me thinking about the best places to go in London if you’re a geek – a Lonely Planet for technophiles, if you will. So here’s my top 10, ranging from futuristic buildings to tech-focused museums.
10. IMAX Cinema
The crazy structure on Waterloo roundabout may look like a UFO’s just landed, but it’s in fact an IMAX cinema with the biggest screen in Britain. Geeks will want to check out the immersive 3D experience, while because it’s run by the British Film Institute there’s always a range of good independent films on.
9. Google Campus
Since East London became the new Tech City, even Google has set up shop with its new Google Campus co-working space. Rent your own desk, or if you’re just passing through chill out in their café for ultra-fast broadband and the chance to network with other web wizards.
8. The Shard
Looking like something out of Blade Runner, London’s newest building towers above every other structure on the skyline. In fact, it’s the tallest building in Europe and an incredible technological achievement that’ll have geeks gazing on in awe.
7. The Wellcome Collection
You may have thought that London doesn’t need any more museums, but it does when they’re as cool as the Wellcome Collection. Examining the connections between medicine, science and art, exhibitions explore things like technology and the human body.
6. The Zetter Hotel
There are many amazing London hotels, but The Zetter wins the prize for the most tech-savvy. Each room is equipped with free Wi-Fi, iPod docks and flat-screen TVs, along with a massive choice of films to keep technophiles entertained.
5. Science Museum
A perennial family favourite, the Science Museum offers five floors of hands-on exhibits and scientific demonstrations for kids and adults alike. Geeks should check out their space section for a mind-blowing range of genuine rockets, space capsules and spacesuits from back in the day.
Gamerbase, the ultimate playground for tech-heads, is located in the basement of HMV in Trocadero. Some of the most sophisticated gaming computers in the world are here, along with an epic range of games to choose from. Pay by the hour – or if you’re really hooked, by the day.
3. Invader’s Street Art
OK, so it’s not a place, but rather a bunch of cheeky alien mosaics dotted around the city. They were created by French street artist Invader, a genius and obviously a retro gaming fan; each piece is a character from Space Invaders. You might have trouble finding them, as many are quite small and sinisterly watch you from above eye-level, but this app should help you out.
2. Inamo Restaurant
For geeks feeling peckish, hi-tech Japanese restaurant Inamo should be their first port of call. Here you can order food from a touch-screen menu on the table to avoid talking to the waiter – and if you’re that way inclined, you might change the table design or watch the chef cooking via web cam.
1. iPilot Flight Simulator
Why not head over to Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush to have a go on this super-realistic flight simulator? It’s the same as the ones used to train real pilots and lets you fly to over 500 actual airports. There’s even a flight instructor on hand to help you find your way around the cockpit.
Matt is a technology and travel fan living in East London. He writes for accommodation provider HotelClub, where he helps others find the best things to do in the capital.