No matter where you’re from, London breaks are always a great idea. Enjoy a day soaking up the capital’s culture, drop a few pounds on some of the best shopping in the world, and catch a glimpse of all those legendary historic and royal landmarks. But if you really want to visit London like a local, here are a few things you simply have to do.
There’s so much to see and do when it comes to visiting London, that’s why we’ve narrowed it down so you can spend more time exploring, and less time searching!
Pack a picnic
For a capital city, London actually has many parks, the most famous of which is, of course, Hyde Park. Hyde Park and the adjoining Kensington Gardens are located in the Kensington and Chelsea district and are easily accessible from central London. In summer, deck chairs are set out around the green spaces where you can relax in the sun with a BYO picnic. The Serpentine is the lake in the centre of the park with row boats and pedalos available for hire, or you can take it easy in one of the two lakeside restaurants. Swimming, cycling, horse riding and tennis are other popular activities, with an ice rink available in winter. If you continue wandering around, you’ll come to Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, where you can today visit the Italian Gardens, the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and the Peter Pan statue.
Where the wild things are
One of the most famous North London attractions is the famous ZSL London Zoo. Who doesn’t want to spend a day hanging out with four-legged friends such as tigers, zebras, giraffes and lions? Located in Regent’s Park in North London, the zoo has well over 17,000 animals, from a collection of 756 different species. Wander through the Tiger Territory, home to five Sumatran tigers, the Gorilla Kingdom and their adorable babies, an African-themed territory, a Rainforest Kingdom and the Outback, with unique Australian animals including kangaroos, emus and wallabies. There’s also the new Land of the Lions, where you can see endangered Asiatic lions in their huge enclosure that has been designed to look like the Gir Forest National Park in India. For a night you’ll never forget, you can even sleep over in the zoo’s luxury accommodation, just within roaring distance of these majestic beasts!
Go out on the town in West End
If you like musicals, you’ll want to get tickets to see some of the world’s longest running shows, such as the Lion King, the Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Les Miserables. Tickets are available online, or else there are often discount tickets available at vendors in the city. The major theatres are located around Leicester Square and Covent Garden, and there are many restaurants and bars catering to show times all around the area where you can stop in for a pre-show drink or a late night dinner. The iconic Piccadilly Circus also comes alive at night in all its neon-lit glory, and the vibrant Chinatown is just a short walk away – ideal if you’re on a budget.
To market, to market
Looking for what’s on in North London? The Lock Market in Camden is on every weekend and is a must-visit for both tourists and locals alike. You’ll find anything and everything, from jewellery and clothes to unique souvenirs and homemade food. There are actually several different sections of the markets all around Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road – there’s the Camden Stables Market, the Camden Lock Market, the Camden Lock Village and Buck Street Market. It’s worth spending a whole day in quirky Camden, London’s alternative and bohemian hub.