London is a captivating city full of distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own character and charm.
If you’ve seen the sights and want to experience something more, here are five areas of London that are perfect for a weekend break.
1. Glimpse country life in Wimbledon
Head down to Wimbledon Village and you could easily think you’re in the countryside. With boutique shops, traditional pubs and the occasional horse rider trotting by, there’s a distinct country feel to this part of London.
Wimbledon Common borders the Village and is good spot for a stroll and a picnic when the weather is warm. If you don’t fancy eating outdoors, the Crooked Billet pub on the edge of the Common serves top notch British food.
Try not to miss the majestic Buddhapadipa Temple. The Thai-style temple with its red and gold ornate roof and well-kept grounds is great if you want to chill and be at one with the world.
Wimbledon is, of course, famous for tennis. If you’re visiting outside of championship season get a behind-the-scenes insight into the All England Tennis Club with a visit to the Lawn Tennis Museum and Tour.
The New Wimbledon Theatre puts on a good show, and there are plenty of pubs and bars for pre-show drinks. For a livelier night out, hop on the train to nearby Putney or Fulham for themed bars and nightclubs.
Getting here: Wimbledon railway station is a 16-minute train journey from Waterloo. Wimbledon Park is a 26-minute journey from Victoria on the Tube.
2. Experience East End cool in Dalston
Heading east and across the Thames is arty Dalston, a great base from which to explore hip and trendy east London.
Want to know what the next fashion trends will be? Grab a bench at London Fields, a large public park, and simply watch east London’s trendsetters go by as they drip with urban cool.
Visit BSMT Space to see the latest urban and contemporary art produced by UK and international artists. Or simply walk around the neighbourhood and admire the street art adorning the area.
Shop at Ridley Road Market for African, Caribbean and Asian produce or pick up a bargain at Hackney Flea Market. The highly Instagrammable Columbia Road Flower Market has plants, trees and flowers up for grabs every Sunday.
Getting here: Dalston has two Overground stations, Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland, both around a 20-minute train ride from King’s Cross station.
3. Go wild in Camden Town
From one market hotspot to another. North London’s Camden Town is known for its famous market, but also has a rich musical heritage.
From nightlife to wildlife, visit ZSL London Zoo and marvel at the lions, gorillas and rainforest creatures. If you’re feeling really adventurous, book a night at the luxury London Zoo Lodges located in the heart of the zoo.
From Camden Lock you can stroll along Regent’s Canal to Little Venice, and admire the pretty houseboats moored along the route. If you want to rest your legs, hop on a waterbus and sail along the canal in a traditional narrow boat.
Getting here: Camden Town station is a four-minute Tube ride from King’s Cross station.
4. Stimulate your senses in Brixton
Step out of Brixton Tube station and you’ll usually be greeted by the sound of a busker worthy of a record deal - it's a neighbourhood like no other.
Mosey on down to Electric Avenue and pop into Brixton Village, an eclectic mix of traditional fishmongers, greengrocers, gift shops and trendy eateries.
Head to Brockwell Park to recharge your batteries in time for Brixton’s energetic nightlife.
Pop Brixton is a stack of sea containers transformed into one of the hippest places to hang out in south London. There’s plenty to eat and drink here and the culinary offering is as diverse as the residents of this fascinating part of London.
Getting here: Brixton is a 10-minute Tube journey from Victoria station.
5. Hunt for a bargain in Hammersmith
From south-west London we head west to Hammersmith. Often overlooked for its richer neighbours Fulham and Kensington, this part of London has a lot to offer.
Hammersmith lies on the River Thames so there’s plenty of riverside pubs to enjoy. The cosy Dove Pub has some of the best views of the Thames and you could easily spend a whole afternoon watching the world go by.
For shopaholics, Hammersmith has you covered. King Street has the right mix of independent and high street shops. Grab a bargain in nearby Shepherd’s Bush Market where you’ll find fabrics, furnishings and homeware at reasonable prices. If you prefer more exclusive goods, head to The Village inside Westfield shopping centre for luxury designer boutiques.
If gigs and shows are more your thing, the Apollo and the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire regularly host big name acts and comedy shows. For more cutting edge productions, head to the Lyric Hammersmith and enjoy the best off-West End theatre.
Getting here: Hammersmith is a 22-minute Tube journey from Paddington station or a 16-minute Tube journey from Victoria station.