12 authentic London experiences – off the beaten track…
London is a sea bursting with exciting experiences for those who seek them out. Now you're obviously going to check out the stand out tourist attractions like Buckingham palace, the London eye, Big Ben etc and I'll be the first to one to tell you that those attractions are amazing, they aren't popular for no reason! then of course you're sure to do the obvious things like see a west end show (Jersey boys is one of the best ones i've seen, the Lion king is brilliant too!) and go to a live music gig. But I want to mention a few other places to see and a few other things to do during your time in London which you might not otherwise think of.
Check out Camden;
Camden is like another world. One of the things that I love most about London is its diversity, you can jump on the tube and 20 minutes later you're in an entirely alien environment to the one you just came from! Camden is very alternative, you see alot of people walking around in bizarre clothing and with the most strange hairstyles but no one stares or judges because it's Camden and if you've got a giant purple Mohawk and are wearing tight leather pants, you'll fit right in. Camden has epic nightlife, an awesome little street food market, a gorgeous loch, and it's markets rock! I love exploring the rabbit hole maze of markets, seeing what nick nacks and funky items of clothing I can find to take home with me.
Take a long leisurely stroll right along Southbank all the way to Borough markets;
Southbank is the strip along the Thames where the London eye sits. Don't just see the eye and then turn around to walk back where you came from! Keep walking past the eye, following the river all the way along. You'll pass the Tate modern, shakespheres globe theatre, loads of inviting bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants and cool street performers too until eventually you'll come to a permanently docked ship. After a drink at the cute little pub that's right opposite the ship, continue walking following the path until you reach the borough markets which are located underneath the railway bridge. You can get some seriously good street food and coffee there! Great fresh produce too. The shard is a little further on down that road too so you can check out the tallest building in Europe while you're there!
Peruse Portobello road and it's vintage markets;
I seem to be listing all of London's markets here! but Portobello road is another funky street market to check out. It's got a very vintage vibe which I love. There's loads of unique and cute little bars and cafes along Portobello road too, you can go bar/market hopping 😉
Grab a bargain and a curry at Brick lane's funky street market;
Another epic street market! This one is probably my my favourite of them all, besides Camden maybe. Brick lanes markets are much bigger than portobello road and borough markets, extending the entire length of 'brick lane' it too has a vintage vibe about it and you can pick up some real steals! there's an enormous and buzzing food market that sells all kinds of cuisines too, but it's best known for its Indian. So head to brick lane for a curry and some bargain shopping 🙂
Take a walk through the gorgeous Royal parks;
The Royal parks are beautiful, I love strolling through them. You can hire what's called a 'Boris bike' - you must book online the night before, and spend the day riding around Hyde park. Or you can walk through them (there's eight of them) but four are within walking distance of each other. You can start at green park, walk through it and past Buckingham palace, then through St James park which is right by the palace on the opposite side to green park, st James park then becomes regents park as you continue on, until eventually you'll end up at Hyde park 🙂 take a picnic with you! Holland park is lovely too, it's not one of the Royal parks but it's well worth checking out, you'd need to jump on the bus for that one though.
Hit a British summertime festival in Hyde park;
Tickets to the british summertime festival are hard to get and expensive, but if you've got the money and can get a ticket - do it! If you can't get tix to that particular festival though, Hyde park often hosts either free or much cheaper concerts during the summer. It's such an enjoyable day out! take your picnic blankie and your basket of goodies including champagne of course and spend the day relaxing in the glorious sunshine with your mates enjoying the live music while you chat and laugh the day away.
Relax on Richmond's riverbank, jug of pimms in hand;
One of my favourite things to do in summer! head to Richmond and find your way to the riverbank - ask someone to point you in the right direction of you need. Once you're there grab a jug of pimms from one of the nearby pubs and sit on the riverbank drinking in not only the heavenly pimms but the sunshine, live bands and happy summer feels atmosphere too.
Cycle through beautiful Richmond park;
Richmond park is enormous, not one to walk around but it's great for cycling! it's one of the Royal parks and is gorgeous. It's also home to several herds of red deer, such magnificent creatures they are. I love cycling around Richmond park, take a backpack with a little picnic too! You can pick your favourite spot and watch the world go by in the British sunshine. If you haven't noticed, summer picnics in London's parks are one of my favourite activities!
Check out Tower hill;
Tower hill is where you will find the famous and rightly so 'tower bridge' commonly confused as being 'the London bridge' but even besides the bridge, tower hill is such a picturesque little area. Be sure to check out a pub called 'the dickens inn' while you're there too, it's the most awe inspiring pub I've ever seen!
Cocktail night at one of London's 'secret' bars;
London has hundreds of 'secret' bars dotted across it. ooooh a secret bar! i hear you say, well let me explain... it's a bar that's completely hidden from streetview, each one hiding underneath its own unique disguise. I've been to one that is hidden behind a fridge! you enter an unassuming cafe and then you must inform the waitress that you wish to 'see the mayor' you're then led to a fridge which upon opening you find a secret tunnel that leads you down to an adorable little cocktail bar. Another I've been to is hidden behind a 'bookshelf' in a bar that disguises itself online as a detective agency. In order to enter you must report a 'case' online which a 'detective' will question you about upon arrival. You're then led through the bookcase down a secret tunnel to the underground bar - awesome. Here's more; London's top secret bars...
Go on a Thames river cruise from Southbank to Greenwich;
Greenwich is the most picturesque little area, it's lovely and well worth exploring. It's also where you'll find the famous Cutty sark which was once the worlds sole surviving tea clipper ship. She was a working ship for almost 100 years before being permanently docked at Greenwich. You can catch the train to Greenwich of course, but why do that when you can catch a boat?! jump on at Westminster pier (right by the London eye) and it'll take you through to Greenwich, it's just under an hours journey. It's a lovely scenic one though, you'll cruise under beautiful tower bridge, past tower hill, and also the famous O2 arena (with the option to hop off and check it out) you can use your Oyster card to pay for the trip too which makes it even more appealing!
Pub crawl along the riverbank from Fulham to Chiswick;
Along the river in Hammersmith and Fulham there are so many great pubs! As a suggestion you can start at a pub called 'the crabtree' and from there follow the river along to 'the blue boat' then down to 'the blue anchor' and then keep going until you eventually reach 'the black lion' which is the last one. There's seven pubs along there in total. And the best part is you can't lose your way, just follow the river! It's a beautiful area too.