This article is brought to you as part of Corona's 'Someplace Else' series: Travelling The Strangerlands with Warhol's Children. You can check out all the pieces here.
London is one of the busiest, most picturesque cities in the world. Millions of tourists will travel to London every year, capturing a glimpse of Buckingham Palace, the London Eye on Embankment and Big Ben—not to mention Picadilly, Trafalgar Square and the British Museum. Tourist attractions are what London is good at. But what most tourists fail to see is the alternative side to London, where the magic happens, the real London. Here are five things to do in London that will make you ALMOST feel like a local:
1. Walking tours
Founded by Gary Means, the Alternative London walking tours are the perfect way to experience a different side to the city. Take some time to discover the East End, visit graffiti art galleries and marvel over London’s underground street art and music culture. Walking tours also provide street art workshops and biking and walking tours of markets in the city. And to top it all off, the tours are free—that is you only have to pay if you feel it's necessary.
2. Maltby Street Market
Nestled amongst the tourist attractions, this street market often goes unnoticed. In comparison to other markets in London, it is significantly smaller, but the goods here are what matters. Visit Maltby Street for homemade burgers and chips, quirky cafes and bars and street stalls for antique goods and clothing. This market was made for food lovers and shopaholics alike.
3. Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
Are you in London or have you just stepped into a portal and travelled to Kyoto, Japan? These gardens, in the heart of London, make it difficult to distinguish the difference. With elegant ponds and a rushing waterfall, the Kyoto Garden is one to visit should the weather permit. It also has peacock and koi fish, which all adds to the charm. The positive side is that it isn’t St James or Hyde Park, so it isn’t as busy or noisy.
4. Neals Yard
Neals Courtyard is a quirky little spot, bright with colour and full of homeopathic natural remedy stores and organic food markets and cafes. Visit for a quick uplift if you’re feeling unwell, or if you just fancy having something delicious and healthy to eat. The Neals Yard remedies store also sells organic skincare and has been around since the 1980s. Keep in mind, it is quite a small courtyard and can be difficult to find. The nearest underground station is Covent Garden, off the Picadilly Line.
5. Camden Town
Arguably the biggest market in London, there’s no doubt you can’t overlook Camden. It brings in a few million tourists every year, but unlike shopping in Kensington, the prices aren’t ridiculous and you can pick up vintage clothing, jewellery and goods. There are also a lot of talented musicians on the main street. Stop, listen and dance for a while to their music. Then carry on with your shopping.