No one would argue that the City of London isn’t well-established on the world stage. But the rest of the world is only really shown a cross section of big-name sights; cherry-picked by tourism boards to showcase the most mainstream attractions the city has offer. London is so much more than Big Ben and Buckingham Palace – it is a vibrant culture of people and places with so much to explore beyond the obvious tourist spots. Below is but a taste of some alternative areas of London which we think you’re going to love.
This East London cultural treasure trove offers an insight into the “Edgey and artistic” side of London as described by visitbricklane.org
. Rivalling the world’s most happening trend hubs, Brick Lane is a testament to the creative influence of the city’s young inhabitants.
For a glimpse of how London’s creative culture is thriving, pop into the famous Brick Lane Bikes and check out the amazing range of beautiful bespoke cycles the crew have built. Even if you’re a cycling newbie, BLB is like a pick ‘n’ mix sweet shop of engineering and design – truly a feast for the eyes.
When you get hungry, stroll down to Hoxton for some bacon and banana French toast and an Elvis – a peanut butter and banana milkshake – at the ever trendy Breakfast Club Café. Despite its name, the Breakfast Club serves all kinds of food throughout the day, and caters to all tastes including allergies. If you don’t go you’ll be missing out.
Knitwear, Art Deco Furniture and Victorian Lampshades. No, this isn’t a description of your gran’s living room, but rather a description of some of the weird and wonderful things you can find in Brick Lane Market. Open Sunday from 9 – 5, you’re guaranteed to witness some interesting happenings even if you’re just browsing.
If you just so happen to have brought your skateboard with you (and even if you haven’t) the South Bank must not be overlooked. Right on the bank of the River Thames, the area boasts art galleries, bistros, skate spots and modern after-hours bars.
Take a turn down the riverside to get some snaps of the South Bank Seven – a world-famous skate park that attracts some of the best skateboarders and BMXers in the world. There’s also the opportunity to marvel at some of the city’s finest street art, as the undercroft of the Southbank Centre doubles up as an immense graffiti canvas.
When it comes to places to stay
, London hotels aren’t known for being particularly cheap. But if you’re looking for a balance between quality, price and location then the London Bridge Mercure is a sure-fire winner. It’s the perfect central basecamp after all that walking and more importantly, it won’t eat into your valuable spending money.
You might also want to head into black+blum to pick up a lunch pot if you’re planning on a picnic in one of the South Bank’s parks; or if home cooking isn’t your thing you can grab a bite to eat in the Benugo Bar & Kitchen where lunchtime cocktails (including the appropriately named ‘the south bank’) are a popular choice.
If you’re in town during the Mayor’s Thames Festival, head to the prominent OXO Tower for entry to the Riverview Café & Bar where you can enjoy a glass of wine and some of London’s most beautiful night time city views. This is your chance to admire some of those cherry-picked attractions anyway just to make sure you get the full London experience.