How to experience London like a local

Thursday 20 July 2017

One of the best parts about travelling to London is visiting all the popular tourist attractions (hey, they’re popular for a reason, right?). But, it can be equally, if not more exciting, to spend the day experiencing the city like a local. You just never know what you’ll discover! In the mood to toss your guide book aside? Here’s what we’d suggest:

Rent a bike and see the sights

London’s public bike-sharing scheme, Santander Cycles, is available 365 days per year, 24-hours-a-day. Plus, with more than 700 docking stations and 11,000 bikes to pick from, you can ride for as long (or as little) as you’d like – no advance booking required. Cruise around the city, popping into local shops and cafes when the whim strikes, or follow along one of the leisure bike routes created by Transport for London to see some of the city's most celebrated sights and hidden gems.   

Browse the local markets

Whether you’re on the hunt for antiques or olive oil, you’re bound to find it at one of London’s bustling markets. For vintage finds and one-of-a-kind kick-knacks, check out Brick Lane Market in east London. Good to know: on weekends, the street comes alive with stalls full of vintage clothes, shoes, and accessories. For more fashion from yesteryear—and tons of classic records—be sure to make a pit stop at Portobello Road. Touted as the world’s largest antique market, you’re bound to score a pair of funky sunglasses (or at the very least, an amazing Instagram snap of the candy-colored houses). For fresh blooms, plus a great selection of cards and jewelry, be sure to swing by Columbia Road Flower Market.

Take a load off in the park


Need a little break from biking? Grab an iced coffee and pop a squat in one of London’s picturesque parks. Luckily, they’re all over! Hyde Park is always amazing, but if you’re looking for somewhere a little less trafficked, consider Richmond Park, Regent’s Park, Victoria Park or Hampstead Heath.

Wander through museums… at night

Everyone knows London boasts some of the best museums in the world, but only locals know that most stay open extra late on select days of the week. Sayonara school tours and strollers! Best of all, many offer exclusive talks, screenings, DJ sets, and alcoholic beverages if you’re feeling extra festive.  

Enjoy Sunday roast

Want to dine like a true Londoner? Throw on some stretchy pants or a loose fitting dress and treat yourself to a deliciously filling Sunday Roast. Expect traditional favorites like roasted meat and potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, sausages, stuffing, vegetables, and gravy… plus dessert. We told you it’d be filling!

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