There are so many more things to do and places to go in London. If you hate the generic touristy places like Buckingham Palace and Oxford Street as much as I do, here are 8 underrated places you should consider going on your next visit to the Big Smoke. Don’t know about you, but I am definitely going to these places the next time I find myself in London!
My parents came over to London in July for my graduation. Since we travelled to Poland, they actually ended up with only around 4-5 days staying in London. So we didn’t have the time to visit a lot of the places that I wanted to take them to. But specifically they didn’t have any weekends in London AT ALL, so there are many lovely places that only open on weekends which, unfortunately they couldn’t go. But here they are…so…mum and dad…if you’re reading this, these are the places that you should go the next time you fly to London!
We actually went to Shoreditch for a bit, but then again you miss out A LOT if you don’t visit the area on a weekend. The countless markets in the Brick Lane area – from food to handicrafts, homemade garments, posters, jewelleries – it goes on and on. And on.
Again, a market that only opens on Saturday. I’ve only been to Broadway Market twice (twice!! Within three years!! Can you believe it?!?!), but I already fell in love with it the first time I visited. So many vendors selling all sorts of food and merchandises. I like the area a lot as well, a very local and non-touristy market (unlike the ones in central *ahem* Borough). Also the gas holders nearby is a plus. I really like the food choices there too! There’s a shop that sells sea urchin and oysters (which I’m not a fan of, but anyway), and I had banh mi, haggis grilled cheese, and Nonna’s ice cream from the market. Oh of course don’t forget the shops along the road and the other streets nearby too.
Columbia Road Flower Market
And again, another market that only opens on Sundays. EXTREMELY crowded, there are some tourists, but not too many, so it still doesn’t stop me from coming to this market (mostly it’s because it’s only one stop on the tube for me so I’m actually bothered to go, lol). Relatively cheap flowers and plants, plenty of nice flowers to take photos of, talented buskers performing, and really lovely shops along the road. Among the shops include Pavilion Bakery, which is where I bought the first cardamom bun ever in my life. And it was HEAVENLY.
I found out about this cafe on Instagram (surprise, surprise), and I’m really glad that I discovered this place. It’s neither your typical Costa nor a hipster cafe, maybe somewhere in between? But it’s special in its own way, because it’s inside a church! It’s not everyday you could sip coffee and relax inside a church isn’t it? To be very honest I’m not too much of a coffee person, but I really enjoyed just chilling at this cafe. It’s perhaps one of the very unique things about London (which I like very much) – history blending in and coexisting with the modern world.
Located on the top floor of the 20 Fenchurch Street, aka the Walkie Talkie. Although advance booking is required, the Sky Garden is FREE to enter, and you can enjoy a spectacular view of London there. The Shard is right opposite, across the river, and it’s always a joy to see London up high above, literally ‘watching while the world keeps spinnin’ round‘. The garden space itself is also very nice – with all the plants and glass ceiling, it’s a relaxing space.
AND again, they only open on Sundays. Barbican itself is an interesting architecture already, and with the conservatory it is basically an urban oasis in the middle of the City. I also find it a bit conflicting and contradictory but in a good way, with Barbican Centre’s distinct Brutalist architecture that stands out, contrasting with the plants in the conservatory. Also, on a Sunday where the City is basically deserted and empty, I felt really calm and relaxed to be at Barbican and walking around the streets of the City.
Weather permitting, obviously. But on a sunny day you should get yourself to the area for a jolly picnic! I had a picnic with my friends back in June with pizzas and beer with a view of central London. It’s also a nice spot for people and dog watching. Also in the area are two of my favourite places – The Hill Garden & Pergola and Kenwood House.
I really like Primrose Hill, because it’s not too far from the tube station and Camden Market, and the view you get after a small hike is really stunning. Also not a bad spot for people and dog watching either. AND because Primrose Bakery is close by. AND the area is very pleasant and chill as well.
So here you are, 8 underrated places in London that I really wanted to take my parents to. Also a less mainstream London travel guide? I mean most of them aren’t really the typical touristy places, and they are all unique in their own ways. They all mean something to me personally.
TL;DR: little tip is to make sure your visit to the city includes at least a weekend, you’ll miss out so many great stuff if you don’t.
OH ONE MORE THING BEFORE YOU GO! I made a video to say goodbye to my favourite places in London, featuring some of the places I mentioned here! I spent a lot of time on it, give it a watch… 🙂
What are your favourite places in London? Comment below and share with me! 🙂
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