There’s no shortage of London guides online. But once you’ve done the museums, been to Westminster and taken a spin on the London Eye, what next?
The below is a list of things that I’ve enjoyed whilst living in London over the last 6 years. So here’s my see London guide.
1. Canal Walking
London has some lovely tow paths to explore. There are access points across the city, including in Camden, St Johns Wood and Angel. Once on the path you can walk for hours, checking out the canal boats, marvelling at the mansions backing on to the canal and watching the ducks.
Pedestrians have right of way on the towpath, but cyclists don’t always observe this so make sure you pay attention to what’s around you.
2. Attend A Lock In
A lock in is when a pub reaches its licenced closing time but doesn’t want to close yet. So rather than throw the patrons out, it locks them in. The doors are closed, shutters drawn and everyone parties on to their hearts content. Anything goes at a lock in. I’ve seen smoking indoors and drinking straight from taps.
It’s not legal for a pub to keep serving after its licenced hours so you tend to find lock ins more in local pubs in residential areas where police interference is much less likely.
3. Spend a Day in a Park
Everything they say about British weather is absolutely true, so a sunny day should never be ignored. Appreciation of sunshine combined with high density living sees London’s parks flocked to whenever the mercury climbs above 15 or so.
My personal favourites are Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill & Regents Park, but London is blessed with so many more than these to choose from.
One you’ve picked your park, get ready to camp out there all day. Make sure you bring food, drinks and anything else you might feel like – football, shisha pipe, etc.
4. Drink Craft Beer
London loves it’s craft beers and they can be consumed in many pubs around the city. My personal favourite is Brew Dog. They started in Scotland but are rapidly expanding and now have 3 bars on London – Camden Town, Shoreditch and Shepard’s Bush.
5. Eat Somewhere Unusual
If you’re willing to venture slightly off the usual tourist trail you can find some great places to eat that aren’t inundated with buses full of people snapping away with their over sized lenses.
One of my favourites is Dirty Burger. This rusty tin shed sits in the carpark of a Kentish Town restaurant and has only 3 menu items: cheeseburger, fries & onion fries. What they lack in options they make up for in taste. Though it is a little tough gazing across the carpark at a gym whilst clogging your arteries with this greasy goodness.
On a much classier level is the Spaniards Inn. Situated near the Kenwood House entrance of Hamstead Heath, this locals pub has the best beer garden in London. It’s not the easiest to get to which makes it such a well kept secret. All food here is fresh on the day so they do run out when busy. Try the fish and chips!
6. Day Trip to Brighton
Since the introduction of cheap flights and package holidays, many seaside towns around the UK have become sad shells of what they used to be. Brighton on the other hand is as popular as even.
You can get there by train in around an hour from London Victoria which makes it a great distance for a day trip.
Spend the day wandering the pebbled beach, playing arcade game, going on rides on the pier and tasting traditional British seaside food – eel anyone?
Brighton also had a great nightlife and with trains running back to London until quite late it has a habit of turning into a very big day out.
7. Weekend in Europe
With 4 airports and the Eurostar, it’s so easy to just pop over to another country for the weekend. There are seemingly endless destinations just an hour or two flight away.
So you could find yourself spending a weekend in Edinburgh, Paris, Brussels, Munich, Budapest, Bratislava, etc
8. Ice Skating at Christmas
During December ice skating rinks pop up around the city. My favourite is Somerset House. The house is lit up beautifully and there’s something so nice about grabbing a mulled wine and going for an spin around the ice.
This is probably not the best option for serious skaters as there are a generally lot of first timers and boozers about.
9. Go to a Festival
No matter what your taste in music or how much time you have to spend, there’s a UK festival for you.
There are many day festivals in Hyde Park and Clapham Common (including SW4 & High Voltage). Then there are weekend events such as Reading & Download.
Then there’s the marathon that is Glastonbury. Glastonbury has been my festival of choice in my time here. It runs 3 years out of every 4 over 5 days and is the biggest of the UK festivals.
10. Attend a Street Party
When I think of London Street parties, two things spring immediately to mind; Pride and Carnival
Both include a parade and several stages, music, food and a whole lot of partying. Grab some drinks (it’s perfectly OK to drink in public), head on in to the festival zone and let your hair down!