Everyone has their favorite city. For me, that city is London. I lived there for almost ten years and spending time wandering the streets, looking for something new to do always excited me. The great thing about personal exploration is that you always find new and different things to entertain yourself that tour guides don’t tend to cover.
When in any new city, most visitors tend to decide on entertainment and places to visit based on what’s listed in tour guides. Some follow the advice of friends and family who may have visited the area before, but the majority of the time their advice is based on experiencing things listed on tour maps. If you’re really looking for some new places to visit, then the best thing to do is to take the advice of a resident.
As I mentioned before, I lived in London for a very long time and wore out the tourist attractions within a few months. After that, discovering and venturing to different places was the only thing to do. There’s only so many times a visit to St. Paul’s can be interesting.
Here are a few ideas of alternative places to visit in London that the tour guides aren’t likely to tell you about.
Many people know that London’s West End is the place to go to see all those new and acclaimed theatre shows. From drama to musicals, there is always something to please both visitors and residents alike. However, what most don’t know is that there is still a traditional Musical Hall theatre in town, The New Player’s Theatre is located under the Arches off Villiers Street, right outside the North exit of Embankment tube station. This theatre promises a return to the classic British Music Hall variety shows that were popular in Victorian times. For a glimpse into British theatre history, the Player’s is well worth a visit.
London is famous for its guided tour walks. One of the most popular is the Jack the Ripper walk. While there are a number of tour companies offering Ripper walks, one of the best is Jack The Ripper Walks. The company, which was established in 1982, has many Ripper experts who will guide the unsuspecting visitor through the dirty back alleys and thoroughfares where the mysterious Jack once haunted. The tour is the only one of its kind to start in the actual area where Jack hunted his victims, and offers a more personal approach to its tours. It is advised to book in advance as places per tour are limited. This is a must for all true crime buffs.
Staying on a scary theme, one of the best family days out in London has to involve a trip to the London Dungeons. This tourist attraction is located on Tooley Street, close to the London Bridge railway station, and is a must for anyone looking for a bit of added adventure on their vacation. The Dungeons offer a unique look at the more brutal and sinister side of the Capitol’s history, with live actors guiding unsuspecting visitors around some very frightening exhibits. The dungeons is probably the best under-rated tourist attractions is London and is very popular with children. Be warned that during peak season, this can be very busy and lines to enter might stretch a little. Regardless of that, there Dungeon staff often offer on-street entertainment for would be patrons.
If you’re just looking for a nice relaxing and romantic stroll with a loved one, there is no better place to roam than South Bank. While South Bank is home to a number of well known tourist attractions, the best known being the London Eye, many people often forget that this is one of the best places to walk in the whole city. Walking along the Thames river, you will find a number of unusual spots that are well known to locals. There is a pretty hut market just beyond the National Theatre which offers some rather eclectic keepsakes. Additionally, walking down South Bank will insure you see the best sites of the city without all the bustle of walking down those busy main streets. The area is beautiful at night as it is well lit. Also, be warned that you might run into an eccentric bunch of street entertainers on the way.
There really is something for everyone to enjoy in London. While tour guides might lure visitors into expensive haunts, a resident can assist in finding something fun to do that won’t cost a fortune. Just remember, as with a trip to any new city, be safe and insure the area you plan to visit is easily accessible to public transport. Although, this is London and there’s a tube station on every corner.