Traveling London As a Local
January 1, 1970
by Kate Baron
The word London speaks for itself. Located in the United Kingdom, it’s where the fashion begins, celebrities wander, and the city is alive. Travelling to London is on everyone’s bucket list. While travelling in big cities, it’s easy to get caught up in the tourist attractions and almost impossible to spend a day away from all the tourist but amongst the locals.
I studied in London for three months and have visited once since then. There are a few main attractions that I must see every time and I don’t think I would have come across some of these if I never studied abroad and met local Londoners.
Here are a couple of local travel attractions to explore where you will feel like a local in London.
Primrose Hill is located on the Northern side in Camden London. Commuting around London can be a headache at times. Everyone is speed walking, bumping shoulders and talking on the phone, living their life with something that has to be done in the next hour.
This is the perfect spot to get away. Hike to the top and give yourself a 360-degree panoramic view of the city skyline. You’ll see families and friends either having a picnic, reading or enjoying the view silently. It’s a place to clear your mind of any unwanted thoughts.
Are you looking to have a nice dinner amongst the posh and lush Londoners? The top of the Shard is the place to be as it gives off another beautiful view of the city. The top is around 800 feet in the sky, letting you see about 40 miles ahead. The beautiful Shard is the only viewing platform to see the entire city at once – It truly is a special place.
(This is the view from my table in the restaurant!)
Are you craving a little more culture while in London? Head to Little Venice, London’s mini Italian city. There are a few ways to get there, but my favourite was taking a canal water boat from the Camden Lock Market. It lets you explore everything in between for 45 minutes from the water. On the way, you’ll see many waterside cafes, warming pubs, and restaurants you can’t wait to get into.
Maltby Street Market
London is known for the many markets taking place throughout the week/weekends. The most popular, Borough Market, is the place you must be if you’re a foodie; although, the busy-ness you encounter limits you to see the whole market. Maltby Street Market is similar but smaller than Borough Market. Maltby is the place to stroll with the locals. Just make sure you set some time aside because it is only open on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.
One of the best day activities is to wander around all the cool neighbourhoods/towns London has hidden away. Some include:
This is where all the artsy, young creatives and trendsetters flock to – Shoreditch is full of hipster vibes. You can’t visit and not take a look at the invigorating graffiti that takes over the streets. Take a walk into Shoreditch from Brick lane passing Redchurch Street and Shoreditch Triangle. You’ll pass jaw-dropping murals and vintage shops along the way.
One of the most vibrant, diverse, and lively neighbourhood. Soho is known for its live entertainment, captivating nightlife, and interesting food.
The posh of the posh. Chelsea is filled with your highest quality retail stores, restaurants, and more. A busy neighbourhood with hidden cafes, markets, and colourful buildings.
I lived in Chelsea when I studied abroad. I wasn’t as posh as the locals but I did present myself as one of them and even got the chance to dress up and go out for classy drinks. If I’m being honest, I’m more of a Soho / Shoreditch type of gal, but experiencing different environments is what I’m all about!
Did you travel to London in hopes to find someone famous? Notting Hill is the place to be. Last time I visited Notting Hill, my friend spotted Nick Jonas and his bodyguards from across the street! We kept our excitement to ourselves but it was hard to not run after him. Aside from celeb watching, the homes in Notting Hill are simply beautiful. They’re all pastel colours making it an enjoyable walk while imagining if this was your everyday home.
The most delicious cookies you will ever lay your hands on! Melts perfectly in your mouth and keeps you wanting to come back for more. Seriously, every time I go to London my firsts stop is at Ben’s Cookies.
Covent Garden is an all in one place. You have the options of spending time at a theatre, restaurant, pub or doing a little shopping. Covent Garden is a big area with a lot to do, but one thing I spent most my attention on are all the markets. Here are a few to check out:
This Market has a variety of good throughout the week.
Tuesday through Sunday, you’ll find handmade jewellery, artistic prints, and beautiful crafts.
Every Monday, antiques and collectables will catch your eye.
East Colonnade Market
Colonnade Market is open every day of the week. Filled with a variety of goods, you can find everything from handmade soap, jewellery, handbags, hand-knitted children’s clothing, yummy treats, artwork, and homeware.
Jubilee Market changes daily so be sure you’re paying attention to what day it is!
Mondays are dedicated to antiques.
Tuesday to Friday, you’ll explore a general market of traders selling house goods and clothing.
Weekends will be filled with arts and crafts.
I know we’re trying to stay away from the tourists this time, but one tradition for myself is throwing a coin into the fountain. I make a special wish (which may or may not be a wish for me to come back) and toss it into the fountain. It’s a feeling of being surrounded by royalty and making a wish that makes me feel like it’ll come true. Give it a try and see what happens!
London has permanently stolen my heart and each travel plan I make, I’m secretly wishing it was me going back. Talking about it warms my soul and I only wish these local travel spots will leave you feeling the same!