15 off the beaten path bucket list items in London
We all know the compulsory London attractions: a picture in front of a red phone box, a selfie with the Westminster Abbey. These are all interesting if you are in London for the first time. However, if you are like me and moved to the city temporarily and you are tired of all the touristy areas or you just simply have a long vacation in the city, you might want to head to some hidden gems.
At 20 Fenchurch Street you can enjoy stunning 360 degree views across London with an amazing huge glass wall. The best thing it’s for all free. Make sure you book your appointment ahead, as they tend to fill up quickly. There’s also a beautiful landscaped garden, a café, bar and restaurant.
Photo: Vincent Sautter
This place just simply amazing. They offer comedy nights every day of the week, for free. The quality was always great, so funny stand up comedians. At the end of the show you can put some money in the hat, which is suggested as these guys deserve it. They start at 8 pm, but I advise to arrive at least an hour early in order to get in. As you can imagine they are very popular. Besides you can enjoy some drinks while you wait in the queue.
London has many beautiful parks, but Kyoto Garden is quite unique.It’s located in Holland Park. Strolling around the garden, you will feel like in Japan. The peacocks and huge goldfishes in the pond are the biggest attractions.
If you are feeling adventurous you can climb the O2. It looks like a lot of fun and it’s something I’ll definitely want to do while I’m in the city.
-Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Did you know there’s a foot tunnel under the Thames? Ok, it’s not exactly pretty, to be honest! It’s cold, dark and ugly, but at the same time it’s quite interesting and exciting to walk under London’s main river after a day out at Greenwich.
-Have a swim in the Olympic Pool
Cool architecture, good quality water, nice pool with 50 m lanes. Not many of us can say they swam exactly where Olympic winners have before. The price is really reasonable as well. After your exercise you can stroll in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park or go shopping to Westfield.
-Go to Hogwarts from the Harry Potter 9 3/4 platform
Harry Potter fans, if you can’t afford to pay the 33 quid for the Studio Tour, you can snap a cool picture that is guaranteed to make all your HP fan friends jealous. Head to King’s Cross Station, wait in the queue for your big moment. Once you are up an assistant will hand you a scarf that he throws one end in the air to be captured by the photographer. You can buy this photo or you can take your own for free.
+Tip: try the giant swing outside the station. It’s fun!
I known you probably think I’m crazy! How often does London have outdoor swimming weather after all? Well I mean for us non British.. as it seems it’s never too cold for the locals to wear shorts or have a dip in the ice cold water. Anyway in those 3 summer days that London has head to Hampstead Heath or to Hyde Park to have a nice swim.
-Jump on a Double Decker
Don’t make any plan, just randomly sit on a double decker go upstairs and sit at the front. You will see London from a different perspective!
-Snap that iconic Beatles Photograph on Abbey Road
Go to Abbey Studios. It’s a great place to visit for an hour or so. You can see the outside of the studio. The wall is full of graffiti and writing! You just can’t help but join the people before you and put your name on that wall. Cross that now famous road. You will have to wait, especially if you want to take a picture as well, but you can cherish that shot forever. 🙂
-Visit a West End show
I’m dying to go to the West End and see a show. I’ll update you once it happens. One is for sure, there are many shows you can choose from and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. Go to the TKTS office on Leicester Square to get cheap tickets for the day!
-Picnic at Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill is one of my favourite spots in London. It’s not exactly a hidden gem, but it’s so pretty that I can’t not include it in the list. The park is nice and you can have a lovely picnic up the hill overlooking the city. Camden Town is also just a short walk away, where you can find some crazy shops and any kind of street food you can imagine. (Check out the Hungarian restaurant if you are there!)
You get to see the Royal Docks in a new light with a view from the top of the cable car over the Thames. It’s especially fun with kids or people who have a fear of height. 😛
-Visit Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
I’m a huge cat fan. It was heart breaking to leave all my 1000 cats at home in Hungary. (Ok it’s a toy cat collection, but I hope you understand my pain..) I haven’t been to this place yet, but as soon as I do I’ll tell you about it! They require booking weeks/months ahead, so it might take a while till I get there.
-Go deer watching to Richmond Park
You can’t miss them there are so many! Make sure you bring your camera to take a picture of these lovely animals! Richmond park is the perfect place for cycling, jogging, dog walking, flying a kite or just strolling around.
If you would like to visit London and also give back, check out this post about responsible tourism options in London.
I’d love to hear your favourite secret spots in the city. Leave them in the comment below! 🙂
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