When you make a trip to London, there are so many things you can do to have fun. However, sometimes you get sick of visiting all the classic tourist spots like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London. When you get tired of the tramping along the tourist trail, you should recharge your batteries by experiencing London like a local. There are some quintessential London activities you can enjoy to experience the city from a resident’s perspective. Here is a look at six of the places you must go to experience London like a local.
1. The Palm Tree
No city on the planet takes greater pride in its pub tradition than London. There are so many amazing pubs in this city that you could spend a month-long vacation exploring them and still barely scratch the surface. If you want to visit one of the very best pubs in London, head to The Palm Tree in the East End. This proud pub has stood isolated from the rest of the neighborhood ever since the surrounding buildings were bombed into rubble by Nazi planes during the Blitz. Order a pint and enjoy the marvelous décor that looks like it would be right at home in the 50s, the 1850s that is. The red velvet curtains, brown wallpaper and carpeted floor combine to instantly transport you into the London of yesterday.
2. Hyde Park
London’s most-loved park is an essential stop on any trip to London. The locals absolutely cherish Hyde Park, flocking to it every weekend and on holidays when the sun is shining. If you want to experience one of the most classic London activities for locals, stop at M&S Food to load up a picnic basket with all of your favorite treats and head to Hyde Park. The market has all the best food, wine and cakes in London. Bask in the beauty of this glorious park and enjoy watching a game of football or cricket being played by locals as you dive into a delicious picnic lunch.
3. Broadway Market
If you like farmer’s markets or shopping in general, then you cannot miss a stop at Broadway Market while on vacation in London. This is one of the most amazing markets in the world. As well as being packed with food vendors, Broadway Market also has lots of stalls selling crafts and antiques. There are also loads of amazing stores surrounding the market to explore. Plan on spending at least half a day here to do the Broadway Market justice.
4. Bonnie Gull
If you are in the mood for the signature dish of the city, then you better find a great spot for fish and chips while you are in London. Locals swear by the two Bonnie Gull establishments for the best fish and chips in town. You can go to either Bonnie Gull Seafood Bar on Exmouth Market or Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack on Foley Street in Fitzrovia. Both locations serve up fish and chips that are lovingly crafted with a supremely flaky tempura batter and served with homemade ketchup.
5. National Theatre
London is one of the best theatrical towns in the world, and there is no better place to take in a show than the National Theatre. Located on the banks of the Thames River in South London, the National has been a London institution since it first opened up in October 22, 1963 with a production of “Hamlet.” If you want to save money on tickets like a local, head to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square to get great deals for shows at the National.
6. Get a Bicycle
Taking trips on the tube is one essential form of local travel in London, but a more delightful way to travel like a local is to hop on a bicycle. Sometime referred to by locals as “Boris bikes,” you can rent Santander Cycles from docking stations all over the city for just £2 per 24 hours. If you are only going on a short ride, using one of these bikes for 30 minutes or less is free.
London is often remarkably thought of by some people as a tourist trap that does not have its own culture. As you can see, there are no shortage of fun ways to experience London like a local. The city is overflowing with enjoyable things to do that are off the well-trod tourist path. Make sure that you try a couple of these fun activities next time you are in London so that you can sample a taste of life as a local.