When you next visit London, forget the tourist traps and tour buses. Sidestep the big attractions and galleries. Immerse yourself in the culture and experience London like a true Londoner.
Take the Tube
Forget the open-top tourist buses and take the tube. Avoid rush hour. You don’t want the experience to be that real. Buy a travelcard for the day and experience the best of what the city has to offer. A little planning will help you make the most of your trip.
The downside of taking the tube is that you don’t get to see what’s going on above you. Buses are great for this. Just avoid the tours.
London is full of cafes, restaurants and delis, like L’anima Café. Ask the locals for tips on where to eat. Read guides and online reviews to get tips on up-and-coming eateries. London is renowned for its world cuisine.
The big shows on the West End are spectacular. But this is only a small portion of what London has to offer. Look for smaller and independent fringe theatres and check out what’s playing. You’ll find a rich and vibrant scene with intimate and unexpected venues.
Make Use of Green Spaces
Living and working in big cities is great. But after a while, you yearn for trees and green spaces. London has lots of hidden squares and parks, in among the streets. Grab some lunch and rest for a few hours, as you watch the world go by.
You will probably be familiar with some of the larger galleries and museums. The National Portrait Gallery, The Tate, The Museum of London all spring to mind. Each provides a wealth of things to do and explore. But don’t forget the lesser-known, independent galleries. They also have a rich and varied offering.
Stay in Someone Else’s Home
To really experience London like a Londoner, stay in someone else’s home. Hotels are usually in tourist areas or near large stations. However, houses and flats tend to be in residential areas. Instead of staying a hotel, rent a house or flat and immerse yourself in everyday life.
Go the Match
Brits and Londoners love their football. Visit one of the many football stadiums and watch the match. It’s a completely different experience than watching it on TV.
Go to the Pub
British pubs are a whole culture in themselves. London has many hostelries, from smart wine bars to traditional English pubs. When you visit, make sure you sample some of the speciality beers and ales.
Brunch is very popular in the UK, especially on Sunday mornings. It comes in many forms, from traditional sit-down meals to a quick bite from a food van. If you have time, try a few different variations. Ask around and look at reviews.
It’s hard to visit London without at least visiting the shops. There are lots of popular shopping areas and department stores. Don’t miss out on lesser-known areas. Do your research and shop wisely. London is awash with markets, home-made items, and vintage products.
When visiting London, it’s great to the tourist stuff. For example, going to a big West End show, riding an open-top bus, and visiting the attractions. But next time you visit, don’t forget to include London’s hidden attractions.