London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a number of reasons. The history, the culture, the restaurants, the atmosphere and, for course, the Royals. For travellers who have done it all before, however, and are keen to experience London as its natives do, there is far more to see and do than the Tower of London and the West End. In fact, in a city as vast and eclectic as the big smoke, you could live multiple lifetimes and still not see everything.
Little Venice – Tucked away in the northwest of the city within spitting distance of the famous Paddington area, this idyllic space is named for the Italian city for obvious reasons. It’s a stretch of canal buzzing with waterside attractions and canal boats offering on-the-river dining and plenty more besides. A hive of activity during the summer months.
Live music – Located in the Tower Hamlets area, the recently restored Wilton’s Victorian music hall has yet to be discovered by the masses but is a firm favourite hangout spot for locals. The range of shows is also incredibly impressive for such a small venue. For something more modern, meanwhile, Camden is brimming with small stages and fresh young bands, whilst Ronnie Scott’s is one of the world’s most famous jazz clubs.
Speakeasy bars – One of the latest trends taking the city by storm is the ‘speakeasy’ trend. These are secret bars styled after the illegal speakeasy joints of the 1920s and are often accessed through hidden doors. The Little Yellow Door in Notting Hill and Evans and Peel in Earl’s Court are famous examples, but in truth, there are new bars opening every week so keep your ear to the ground!
Tooting – In the south of the city you’ll find a number of distinct areas, each with their own atmospheres and activities. Tooting is primarily a residential area, but in recent years it’s been transformed into one of the most exciting and affordable areas for a night out in the city. The restaurants, in particular, are incredible and outrageously cheap given their location.
Epping forest – Located just north of the city in Essex, this is a truly gorgeous and sprawling hidden gem. The ancient woodland will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time at least a hundred years and it’s remarkably easy to get to with season train tickets.
The Thames path – If you enjoy seeing a city by bike then this is really not an opportunity you should pass up. The 40-mile long path takes you on the length and breadth of the expansive city and its suburbs, taking in on the way a number of public beaches and some of the best pubs in the world.
Pie and mash – As a cosmopolitan city with a diverse range of inhabitants, you’ll find every kind of food under the sun in London. However, if you want to enjoy something a little more traditional, we recommend checking out a proper east end pie and mash gaff. You’ll be forgiven if you want to avoid the jellied eels, though!