20 Unique Things to Know about Visiting London
- Street and market food is where it’s at. Borough Market, Brick Lane Market, Camden Lock Market, Berwick Street Market… see them all. Eat them all.
2. Buckingham Palace does not have a moat or crocodiles and is basically impossible to take pictures of.
And there are too many people. Put it in your itinerary for about 10 minutes or to see the guard change and then move on.
3. Shoreditch is a groovy little area that seems very gritty when you first arrive, but is definitely worth exploring.
Hello street art and adventure.
4. Leadenhall Market will literally make you feel like you’re in Diagon Alley – and it’s not overrun by tourists.
Please don your appropriately packed Gryffindor scarf upon arrival.
5. Go off the beaten path – even in cities.
This was the shortcut I took every day to the grocery store. It was always peaceful and charming and full of characteristically European things that you would miss if you stuck to the google maps plan.
6. Find Little Venice up in Paddington for a break from the chaos and a quiet afternoon walk.
Maybe nice rich people will invite you aboard their afternoon party boat. You can dream.
7. Walk through all of Hyde Park when you finally get a non-rainy day.
It’s absolutely gorgeous – especially the Italian Gardens.
8. If you’re a Bull-in-a-China-Shop type of person, Harrods is not for you, seeing as how everything is priced for the wallet of the Queen. If you’re able to keep your limbs close to you at all times, then you could probably peruse the gift shop.
9. Berwick Street is both the Bee’s Knees, the Cat’s Pajamas and whatever else you would consider “cool funky, and totally freakin awesome.”
Record store, coffee shops, awesome people, cool bunch spots, street food, and places where you can simultaneously get your bike fixed while drinking a cup of Joe. I TOLD YOU IT WAS FREAKIN AWESOME. I dream about going back all the time.
10. There is a coffee shop literally located in the middle of the street in Notting Hill.
11. Speaking of Notting Hill, it’s a little overrated and touristy but you should go just to say you did it, and to see the famous Travel Book Shop.
The Portabello Road Market is a little overpriced — see #12 for other suggestions.
12. Apple Market is an adorable market in Covent garden where you can find of plenty of adorable antiques – and negotiate prices.
I ended up there my last day in London and I am soon glad that I didn’t miss it!
13. The Whole Food’s in Kensington is the most amazing grocery store in the world, if you’re into eating and staying alive and all that stuff.
Three stories. Need I say more?
14. Neal’s Yard is a fantastic little spot to take a break from shopping in Covent Garden. Look for the little sign above an alley way and don’t worry about getting mugged – the end of the alley is a little square of bright colors and cool shops.
15. The Tower of London and the Tower Bridge are two different things.
Perks of the bridge: you can walk across it for free. Perks of the Tower: it’s probably freakin cool inside. I’m just not one to spend my days paying to fight third grade field trips to see things, so I skipped it.
16. The Brits eat a lot of really weird food. Like Marmite and Haggis. The good news? Fish and chips abound, as well as a ton of other cuisine. The stereotype about their food is true, but Britain is diverse enough to still offer everything else you could possibly want to eat.
17. That “bridge in Harry Potter” is called Millennium Bridge, and there will be 55 people on it to ruin your shot.
18. Personally, I wouldn’t pay to go inside a lot of the big tourist attractions. You can still go and see the outside and gaze at the architecture, but save your money for other activities, like a concert a Wembley or dinner and a show in Leicester Square.
19. London is huge and you’re going to need to use the Underground quite a bit – unless walking 10 miles in the rain is your idea of a good time.
I actually found myself loving the Underground, and even bought an oven mitt with the map on it.
20. Keep your eyes peeled for art. London is full of characteristically British qualities, along with newfangled ideas, and it’s a fantastic place to spend a lot of time exploring with a camera.