London is one of the best known and most visited cities in the world; it is therefore not rare to have been to the English capital more than once. This is why there is a great desire to know a non-touristy London, unusual and alternative places in the English capital.
I've been to London 4 times, and for once I lived there for four months working as an au pair. During these stays I enjoyed wandering around as much as I could and discovering places to visit in London that were a little different from the more popular ones. Aware that a city like London never stops to surprise you in fact, despite all the time spent in the city I could have continued indefinitely to find new things to do and see.
Here is a list of experiences and places to visit to discover a non-touristy and alternative London.
Hampstead is a neighborhood in north London where you will feel like you are walking through a typical English countryside village, rather than in one of the most chaotic metropolises in the world. In Hampstead, to which , lpyou will feel like you are returning to a life on a more human, more authentic and more peaceful dimension. You will enjoy an alternative London with stately homes - among the most expensive in London - flowers on the balconies, quaint pubs, gardens, children on scooters and ladies with dogs on a leash. In addition to enjoying an afternoon away from the chaos of the city, in Hampstead there are several things to see, such as the Burgh and Kenwood House, but above all Hampstead Heath: a large green area where you can not miss the romantic Pergola.
Multicultural neighborhood par excellence, considered dangerous until a few years ago, protagonist of riots in the 1980s, home to David Bowie and a large Afro-Caribbean community. In Brixton, you can let yourself be overwhelmed by the chaos of its famous and colorful market, eat in an ethnic restaurant, go shopping at Pop Brixton which houses stores inside containers, admire the famous mural dedicated to David Bowie (on Tunstall Road, opposite the tube exit) or look for his birthplace (Stansfield Road 40), or watch a screening in the iconic Ritzy cinema founded in 2011. A must visit neighborhood if you want to London not touristy but more authentic.
Saint Dunstan in the East Church
In the heart of the London city, among austere high rises and skyscrapers, men in ties and career women who walk in a hurry, there is a little fairytale oasis that is not very frequented. Among the places to visit in London, Saint Dunstan in the East is certainly the magical place par excellence where you can take a break to collect your thoughts, reflect on the itinerary and eat a bite. Originally built in 1100, the church was seriously damaged in the great London fire of 1666, then restored and finally destroyed by bombing in 1941. Today the ruins have been transformed into a secret little public garden full of charm.
Starting from the more famous Little Venice - a corner of the canal colored by many houseboats - you can follow the course of the river and start a quiet walk of about 2km that will take you to Regent's Park, passing by the London Central Mosque (an interesting detour since visitors are allowed inside). The peculiarity of this walk is the fact that along the river you will find many non-tourist houseboats, where normal people really live; here the residents have embellished their houses on the water with small gardens and lots of plants, but you will also find clothes hanging and tables set for lunch. A nice surprise that I discovered by chance.
Perhaps not located centrally ,these beautiful botanical gardens are still part of non-touristy London; in fact, the Kew Gardens are located about 10km from the city center - in the southwestern area . The gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and house six wonderful greenhouses, a Palm House dating back to the 19th century, the Princess of Wales Conservatory - which houses 10 different climatic zones -, a pagoda from 1762, the herbarium, a panoramic walkway suspended between trees and finally museums and galleries. The Kew Gardens complex is really huge, I recommend you to take half a day time free to visit Richmond Park
Richmond Park is located near the suburb of Richmond upon Thames, near Kingston upon Thames and Wimbledon. With its 9.55 km² of surface, it is the largest park in London and the largest enclosed urban park in Europe. Unlike many city parks, I found Richmond Park to be much wilder and more authentic. Among the main reasons to visit the park is the free presence of deer, fallow deer and many other wild animals. Another attraction of the park, to be included among the unusual places of my non-touristy London, is certainly the Isabella Plantation: a wooded garden with numerous botanical species.
The Barbican Estate
The Barbican Estate is a residential complex built on a 140,000 m² area bombed during the Second World War. The residential buildings - including three of London's tallest skyscrapers - are clustered around an artificial pond and green spaces. This central area of the complex - Lakeside Terrace - has become public and hosts an outdoor bar. Among the various activities that the Barbican Estate includes , the largest theater center in Europe that hosts concerts, theatrical performances, exhibitions, cinemas, a public library and three restaurants. Why visit it? It is certainly one of the most important and famous examples of marvellous architecture in Europe.
In the Shoreditch neighborhood, not far from Bricklane, in an area that not long ago was abandoned to itself, degraded and frequented by bad people, today there is a colorful and lively place open to everyone. A small community took matters into their own hands and transformed a no-man's land into a garden full of vegetable gardens, works of art, sculptures, shops and a restaurant on a Piaggio bee. Today these Nomadic Gardens are also home to street art lessons, a space for theatrical performances and events of various kinds. A place to meet up with friends for a beer, take a break from reading a book or listening to music and make new friends. Definitely a perfect place to see an alternative London!
Broadway, London is probably the most famous theater scene in the world. During my stays I had the opportunity to attend two musicals: The Lion King and The Book of Mormon. I always wanted to see a musical in London for a long time, but the ticket prices are very high, it is not an experience that can be done every weekend. Living in London, however, I also discovered some tricks, so I was able to go to the theater twice, spending very little. it's not that impossible. Seeing a musical is definitely one of the experiences to do in London, it's worth trying!
When you have the opportunity to return to London several times or to live there for a while, you immediately understand that there is no shortage of opportunities to have interesting experiences and see new things. For example, who would have thought I'd be at Harry and Meghan's wedding in Windsor! Or that I would go on a hunt for the best London bookshops to see.
This city will never disappoint you! Each time you can discover an alternative London, a non-touristy London made up of real Londoners, unusual places and exciting experiences.
Cool places to see in London
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Lubnaa Parvez