When you’re visiting London for the first time, it’s understandable that you’ll probably be drawn to all the main sights and attractions: the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Covent Garden, the list is endless.
Truth is, London has a whole lot more to offer than just the places you know because… well, who doesn’t know them? Here are five areas of the city worth exploring that aren’t on every tourist’s bucket list.
If you’re a fan of the arts, Islington could well be the one ‘alternative location’ you should explore on your trip to London. With frequent live comedy nights on Friday and Saturday nights, more than one off-West End theatres, and plenty of live music venues, you’ll be truly spoilt for choice. If you’d rather enjoy the fresh air, though, you can take a lovely canal-side stroll here.
Ok, so Hampstead Heath is fairly well-known, in no small part thanks to the fantastic views it offers over the city, but go further afield and it’s unlikely the place will be overrun with fellow tourists. There are plenty of cute pubs, and several manor houses open for the public to visit. Hampstead High Street is great for a browse, with cute boutiques, or you can explore the quaint little shops on the backstreets.
Best known for its station – and bear – Paddington is a pretty cool area to hang out. Merchant Square, not too far from the station itself, is a bit of a hidden gem; with regular street food stalls and Floating Pocket Park, it’s a great place to spend a lunchtime on a sunny day and there are even paddle-boarding classes for anyone feeling adventurous. Be sure to make the most of the best restaurants Paddington has to offer, too.
For somewhere with a chilled vibe and plenty of places to eat, Brixton is undoubtedly the neighbourhood for you, with its food scene being one of the most dynamic in London. From mouthwatering street foods to top-class restaurants, this southern district is every foodie’s dream come true. There’s also an outdoor lido (for the brave) and Pop Brixton (for alternative shopping).
Hackney is one of the most up-and-coming areas of the city, and if you visit you’ll see why for yourself. Meeting the farm animals at Hackney City Farm is a family favourite, and for art lovers there’s Victoria Miro – an art gallery housed in a former furniture factory. Theres tons of trendy eateries, too, as well as a board game café, perfect for a rainy day.
If you’re looking to book one of the many London hotels special offers aren’t as hard to come by as you may think – plus, if Paddington takes your fancy, the Park Grand Paddington is a great hotel close to London’s most popular attractions, despite sitting in a more low-key area of the city.