When people think of a holiday in London, their mind will probably go to packed shopping streets, the glittering lights of the West End – and rain. But there’s so much more to Britain’s capital than that, and a city break in London should include a few trips around London’s less touristy spots.
The heartbeat of North London, Islington is home to plenty of vibrant bars and restaurants. It’s not too far from the centre – in fact, you can walk there from King’s Cross – it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves from tourists. But stroll down Upper Street and pick out a drinking spot, or duck down into the hidden Camden Passage for a lovely walk down a cobbled path, complete with cosy pubs and market stalls.
On the other side of the city, Richmond Park provides acres of green fields – it’ll be hard to believe you’re in one of the world’s busiest cities. Deer stroll about with you as you take your walk, and there’s so much space that you’ll be able to see the scenery in blissful peace and quiet. Go on a sunny day and enjoy one of London’s most stunning spots.
You probably wouldn’t expect the home of British film to be in a leafy suburb miles out of central London. But Ealing Studios, in this green area of town, claims to be the oldest film studios in the world – and it’s certainly the most historic in the country. It’s been the location for numerous 1950s comedies and plenty of recent hits, including The Theory of Everything and the Imitation Game. So if you want to stumble across a star, jump on the tube, take a stroll through one of Ealing’s parks, and cross your fingers.
Quite possibly the coolest spot in London, Camden is where you need to head if you want to be hip. The market is stuffed full of alternative clothes, food and drinking spots, mostly at reasonable prices. And the art, music and culture seeps out of everywhere – spend a few hours in Camden and you’ll probably have a new favourite location in the city.
A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without some sport, which is why the home of English football makes the list. Check out the incredible Wembley Stadium for a jaw-dropping experience – if you can’t find a game, take the tour. And there’s plenty of spots across the city which offer equally satisfying sporting experiences. Twickenham, the home of rugby, actually has a museum dedicated to the sport – as does Lord’s for cricket.
And yes, there’s no shortage of pubs and bars showing live sport throughout the year. Place some quid on the horses and head to one of London’s many bars to see how you fare – the Cheltenham Festival in March is an annual highlight, and you can keep up with the latest news at Timeform so you’re one step ahead of the other punters.
London really does have something for everyone, but there’s so much more to the city than the hotspots – so be a savvy traveller and check out where the heartbeat of the city really is.