In my last blog post, I talked about the Top 10 Touristy Things To Do In London, but if you’re looking for things to do where you won’t be completely surrounded by tourists then you should check this list out. There’s so much more to the city than taking a ride on the London Eye or getting your photo taken in front of Big Ben. Try living like a local Londoner (sort of) for a day or two by checking some of these things off your anti-tourist to do list!
1. Go For A Bike Ride
London, like many other cities around the world, offers a bicycle hire program throughout the city. Barclays Cycle Hire has many docking stations within London where you can rent a bicycle for an hour or a whole day, and then return it to the closest docking station when you’re done. Exploring the city on a bicycle can be much more convenient and time efficient, but it can also be a bit stressful if you find yourself biking through tourist-heavy areas. My suggestion – take a leisurely ride along the River Thames.
2. Head Up To Primerose Hill For A Picnic
Primerose Hill is a green area a bit north of the city, right beside The Regent’s Park. Head on over to a local bakery or supermarket to grab some food and drinks, and then make your way up the hill for a little picnic. Though the views aren’t incredible, it’s definitely a quiet place to relax and take in a bit of the city from a different perspective on a nice sunny day.
3. Shop ‘Til You Drop On Carnaby Street
Though Carnaby Street is close to many other main areas of shopping, this smaller area offers visitors a more quaint shopping experience. You’ll find big name and little boutique stores, as well as some al fresco dining along the streets. Trying to keep your eyes in front of you while you walk might prove to be a difficult task, as the buildings are all so unique and colorful it’s hard to keep your eyes from wandering.
4. See A Play
Alright, so perhaps this is a fairly touristy thing to do, but it’s difficult to get around to going if you’re pressed for time. You can find some good discounted tickets for certain shows if you’re willing to go to a matinee performance or sit way up in the back. There are countless shows being performed at a number of venues throughout the city, giving you plenty of opportunities to finally go see that musical you’ve been wanting to see for years now.
5. Enjoy Some Incredible City Views The Cheap Way
You obviously want to see some fabulous views of the city from way up top, so you probably read about The Shard while you were Google searching away. While this would be a great touristy thing to do, your mouth quickly fell as you realized there is a £25 entrance fee.. Just to have a look at the city. Well, worry not because I have a much better alternative. Head to one of the restaurants/bars at the top of The Shard. We had originally wanted to go to Aqua, but it was closed for a private event, so we ended up at Oblix. No entrance fee, fantastic live jazz music, and incredible views, all for the price of a drink.
6. Eat Some Street Food Along River Thames
Just to the right of the London Eye, along River Thames you’ll find an assortment of food stalls scattered throughout the area, along with a few good restaurants as well. From ice cream to coffee to Mexican food, I’m sure there’s something there to satisfy your taste buds.
Bonus: Ride The London Underground
Taxi’s are expensive, buses are confusing, and you’re in an unfamiliar city, so what better form of public transportation to get you from A to B than the subway (or the Tube as Londoners call it). After living in HK and being blessed with their efficient and clean public transportation, I was not exactly impressed with the Underground (almost reminded me of public transportation in Toronto). Your task: try to enter a Tube Station during rush hour to really experience life as a working Londoner like the poor souls in the photo below.