I love living in London, and I like that so many people want to come and explore the city for themselves. However, often when you go to a new place, you only see it through the eyes of a tourist. Anyone who comes to see Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London won’t see the London that I know. If you want to see the city like a local, you have to be prepared to go off the beaten track. Don’t spend too long visiting the usual sights when there are so many places to explore. Here’s my guide to enjoying London like a Londoner.
Stay in an Apartment
The first thing you must do is avoid hotels. You can’t see anywhere like a local if you base your stay from a hotel room. You will only be able to eat in restaurants, and you’ll be surrounded by other holidaymakers. You can feel comfortable in a hotel, but you won’t ever feel at home. A better option is to visit HouseTrip or a similar site to book an apartment. Not only will a flat save you money, but you’ll be more relaxed too. You can cook your own food and come and go as you please, without having to let anyone in to clean your room.
Give the Sightseeing a Miss
Whenever you visit any new city, the first thing you want to do is go to all the iconic landmarks. It’s understandable, as they’re some of the things that make the city so great. But there are lots of reasons not to bother. For one thing, they can be very expensive, and for another, they get extremely busy. The truth is, if you walk around the centre of London, you’re going to see a lot of the famous landmarks anyway. If you want to see the sights, take an open-top bus around the city for a couple of hours and then be done with it.
A lot of people say that the best way to explore a city is to get lost. Of course, you don’t have to get so lost that you have no idea how to get back to your accommodation. But sometimes you have to take a chance and just start walking. Don’t plan your day and follow a map to where you’re going. Just leave your holiday apartment and go wherever looks interesting. You never know what you might stumble across. You could find an incredible restaurant, a beautiful park or something unexpected.
Eat Your Way Through London
London is a multicultural city, which means the food is multicultural too. From curries on Brick Lane to pop-up restaurants around the city, you could spend your whole holiday eating. Don’t just stick to restaurants and cafes, though. Explore the many markets on offer and keep an eye out for food trucks too.
You won’t become a Londoner on your first visit, but you can begin to see the city through their eyes. Put down your map and camera and see London organically to have the best experience.