England’s capital, London is a truly remarkable city. Filled to the brim with ancient history, rich, diverse culture and plenty of awe-inspiring sights, fun-filled attractions, museums in London and wonderful places to explore, it’s no surprise why so many visitors continue to flock to the city each year. London’s charm lies in its diversity, its history and its unique local culture and heritage – indeed, you would be hard-pressed to find a city like it anywhere else in the world! Plus it is so easy to find flights to London that you would be silly not to go and visit the big city.
However, if you are not a frequent visitor to the city, it can be hard to escape the trappings of the usual tourist trail and make the most of the real beating heart of the city – the part of London most tourists don’t get to see. Of course, this doesn’t mean sleepy early morning commuter trains or nondescript buildings that you could see anywhere else; this means experiencing the capital like a Londoner born and bred in the city.
If you are keen to get to know London behind the scenes, here are some top tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your next visit.
The tube may seem like a novelty, but if you are intending to travel on the Underground, make sure that you are prepared. In summer, temperatures on the tube can soar (especially on the Central line, in particular) even in comparatively cool outdoor temperatures so make sure to carry a bottle of water with you and be mindful of the heat. Where possible, most Londoners will also avoid the tube and busy stations during peak times – the last thing you want is to end up squashed up against the tube door with no room to move and no concept of personal space.
Expensive restaurants with candlelit tables for two or cheap chain outlets filled with harried-looking parents laden down with bags of shopping and overtired toddlers… These are not the haunts of the peckish Londoner. To dine like a local, search for eateries outside the main tourist areas and try to pick somewhere with a reasonably-priced menu. Carveries and Sunday roasts are always popular British favourites, but you could also try a freshly-made curry or some traditional pub fare or famous London brunch for the real London authentic experience.
Sightsee without the Crowds
Have you ever visited a popular tourist attraction just to spend half your time queueing up, waiting to take photos without other people getting in the way or just simply complaining about the sheer amount of people there? By avoiding attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye, you will get to experience more of the city while everyone else is queueing up to see sights you’ve probably already seen. Similarly, you will probably find that the city has much more to offer than you might initially think. For instance, if you fancy a bit of fresh air and a stroll in the park, your first thought will probably be to take a walk through Hyde Park. Instead, why not visit one of London’s many other Royal Parks or wonderful green spaces? Hiking near London near Richmond Park, Victoria Park and Hampstead Heath are all great alternatives to help you beat the crowds.
Remember, while the capital can seem like an open and friendly place, it is still a big city and it’s important to be prepared for your trip.
Every now and then, planning the perfect stay requires that all-important insider info. Whether it’s knowing the best places to get sushi in Soho, booking tickets for either Wicked or Les Miserables, or finding a handy shortcut from one shopping street to another, sometimes all the research in the world simply isn’t enough to compare to a lifetime of knowledge gained from walking the capital’s streets. However, concierge services in London can provide the perfect way to bridge the gap between tourists and locals while making sure that you get as much as possible out of your stay.
Whether you choose to go it alone or enlist a service to help you out, the fact remains that London has so much more to offer than you might initially realise. England’s capital is crammed full of amazing things to see and do, so make sure you don’t miss out!