London is a tourist trap, it’s unavoidable. Now, there is nothing wrong with doing touristy things whilst you’re in London, there’s a reason that those attractions are popular; however, if you want to experience a more authentic London, read on.
It’s all about making the most of your time in London. First and foremost, consider alternatives to hotels. Hotels are great, but they do not lend themselves to a genuine view of London. Look into Air B&B’s or even rent apartment London. See London from a different perspective from the off, hotels are always going to cater more to the tourist than someone who wants a more ‘local’ experience.
London is best explored via foot so invest in some decent walking shoes beforehand (even if you choose to take the tube or the bus, odds are that they’ll be no seats, so you’ll still be standing).Taxis are expensive so choose to travel how the locals do – via public transportation. Most public transport in London accepts contactless which makes it easier or perhaps you would prefer an oyster card. Either way, avoid single fares and try to travel at off-peak times.
Especially if it’s your first time in London then undoubtedly there will be some tourist attractions that you want to see: Big Ben, the London Eye or the Houses of Parliament. Plan your own walking tour, there are plenty of things to see and do, so you can pick and choose where you want to go rather than paying a tour guide. Once you have a feel for the city, why not seek out some hidden gems such as the park of St Dunstan or St Bartholomew the Great?
Whatever your interest – art, history, architecture etc there is likely to be a museum about it in London and quite a few of them are free to visit. There are countless cultural attractions in London that don’t charge an admission price so why not take advantage of what they have to offer without paying through the nose for it?
When it comes to London there is no shortage of shopping opportunities. From Oxford Street – which is world-famous to the smaller markets like Columbia Road Flower Market (which as the name suggests specialises in all things floral). Don’t miss out on the markets. Portobello Road Market is a must for those who love all things vintage and antique or Camden Market for those who like to indulge in the best foods Leadenhall Market provides some great coverage for when it inevitably rains.
London is steeped in history and tradition waiting for you to discover it. The best way to do this is to simply walk around and see where you end up. See where your feet take you, wherever you end up they’ll be something to see or do.