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I love the exciting energy in London, England. It’s a beautiful and fascinating city to explore whether you are visiting for the first time…or tenth. For all the fun places to visit on a first visit, check out this POST.
If you are looking for things more off the beaten path, these non touristy things to do in London are perfect. Enjoy adding one of these places…or all of them…to your next London itinerary.
Non Touristy Things to Do in London
London is a sprawling city containing 32 boroughs and home to more than 9 million people. There is always something going on in the city. When you want to get away from the crowds for a time, these places offer a peek into other beautiful or unique parts of London.
Explore Brick Lane
Brick Lane, in the borough of Tower Hamlets East London, was formerly known as Whitechapel Lane. Its current name comes from the brick and tile manufacturing that began there in the 15th century. The area drew immigrants from various countries over the centuries. Today it is the heart of the city’s Bangladeshi community in addition to offering vibrant street art, galleries, fashion and night clubs.
Enjoy the art, music, trendy shops and social life on Brick Lane. And check out the Backyard Market there. Open only on Saturdays, the market is a bustling place filled with various stalls offering vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, street food and more.
View London from One New Change Rooftop
Want to appreciate gorgeous views of London, without paying a hefty fee to do so? Check out One New Change, a dining and shopping spot with a free rooftop deck.
Take the elevator to the top to enjoy those amazing views and the London skyline while capturing unforgettable photos.
Walk Along Regent’s Canal
Regent’s Canal stretches from one end of London to the other. Walk along this beautiful hidden gem to escape the busyness of the city. Slip away from the noise. Stroll past fun locations such as Little Venice and Camden Market. Sit and people watch as joggers and walkers go by. Or enjoy a boat ride.
Dine at Leadenhall Market
This covered market on Gracechurch Street dates back to the 14th century. Leadenhall sells fresh foods, flowers and many other wares.
A variety of shops occupy the impressive structure. Find a treasure or eat lunch here, where filming took place for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Due to its cobblestone floors and gorgeous, ornate ceilings, Leadenhall Market provided the backdrop for scenes near The Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the film.
Explore The Hill Garden and Pergola
This is a fairytale place, built in the early 1900s, with views over nearby Hampstead Heath. Wander along the gorgeous terrace and enjoy the old Georgian arbor. There’s a faded beauty to this hidden treasure, with its overgrown plants and exotic flowers. Some even find Hill Garden and Pergola mysterious and a bit eerie, with its grandeur from the past. See how the energy there feels to you!
Take a Dip at Hampstead Heath Park and Ponds
After The Hill Garden and Pergola, stop by Hampstead Health, with its park and bathing ponds. High up on a sandy ridge, the park provides a magical place to picnic while enjoying stunning views of London. Walk through the surrounding natural wonderland.
And if you feel like a dip, indulge in one of three ponds. There are three murky ponds to choose from: one for women, one for men and one for both. The park and ponds are favorites of local Londoners. Join them for a unique, authentic experience.
Paddleboat at Battersea Park
Located in the borough of Wandsworth, 200 acre Battersea Park sits on the south side of the Thames River. This 150 year old park contains hidden gems such as a temple, an art gallery, a circular road perfect for walking or biking, a pagoda, fountains, beautiful trees and a picturesque lake. It’s the perfect place to unwind for a few hours. You can even ride on a swan paddleboat in the lake.
Wander Through the Sherlock Holmes Museum
If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, visit this museum. The fictitious sleuth is so connected to London that the city made the address 221B Baker Street real. The building there duplicates Sherlock’s home with small artifact filled rooms and a narrow set of stairs.
The ground floor contains a lobby and gift shop. On the second floor is the room where Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes spent many hours together, solving crimes. And on the top floor are rooms that display crime scenes.
Check out the museum’s website for more info.
Watch the Deer at Richmond Park
Richmond Park is a Royal Park and home to protected deer. There are acres of park to wander in, through grasslands and gardens and near waterways. Bring a picnic lunch or simply relax in nature. And while there, note the view of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. That unobstructed view is protected by law!
Creep Along in Highgate Cemetery
While cemeteries may not be a typical place to visit, many contain fascinating architecture and nature paths to explore.
Highgate Cemetery in North London originally opened in 1839. The city needed more space to bury its dead. Due to its Victorian gothic architecture and elevated position overlooking the city, the cemetery became a desirable resting place for the wealthy upper class. After WWI, the cemetery fell into disrepair. The area became known for ghost stories and mysteries.
Today a group of charities oversee the upkeep of Highgate. It’s still atmospheric, if somewhat less creepy. Author Douglas Adams is buried here, along with Karl Marx. It’s a wonderful place to explore architectural features and narrow, overgrown paths through graves.
Favorite Non Touristy Spot in London
Did you find a new place to explore in London? Which place would you visit first?
I look forward to another trip to London. I’ve seen many of the major tourist attractions. I look forward to getting to know the city at a deeper level by exploring more of her hidden treasures.
Click on the photo below to order a map of London’s streets and boroughs.
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4 Replies to “Non Touristy Things to Do in London”
What a fun list of things to do. I always love adding some non touristy things when I travel!
I love your way of exploring, similar to mine!
I’m heading to London in the fall. Love this guide to the non-touristy things to do. Especially want to check out Highgate Cemetery in North London.
I think all of these places are new to me…so they are probably the perfect non-touristy spots I need to visit!