London’s stairway to heaven
(Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)
Head to the Tate Modern in Southwark and you could find yourself lost in a dizzying maze of 15 interlocking wooden stairways. The gravity-defying stairs, located on the outside lawn, might lead to nowhere, but the impressive structure – a landmark project of the London Design Festival 2013 – is an architectural and engineering feat that is still worth climbing.
The interactive installation Endless Stair takes its inspiration from a drawing by Dutch graphic artist MC Escher. With a total length of 436m – four and a half times the height of Big Ben – the staircase is made from American tulipwood. Known for its excellent structural properties and impressive weight-to-strength ratio, the wood allows the seemingly free-standing installation to safely accommodate up to 93 people at a time.
Climb up and down the 187 steps (don't worry, there is a banister to hold); some lead to a dead end, others will take you on a confusing detour, while the tallest ones lead you so high you can see the city's skyline across the River Thames all the way to St Paul's Cathedral.
Endless Stair is open from Monday to Sunday, 9 am to dusk, until 10 October.
Malika Dalamal is the London Localite for BBC Travel