Getting a properly diverse taste of London can be tricky, because there are just so many elements to take into consideration. You don’t want too much of one thing, and you don’t want to miss out on anything. So here are a couple of suggestions within all realms of activities available in London so that you get a varied, diverse and action-packed experience.
If you are staying at The Marble Arch Hotel London Oxford Street, then you will learn pretty quickly that shopping is an institution in London. Oxford Street is the city’s capital when it comes to shopping and you can visit some of the country’s most iconic shops. Running parallel to Oxford Street is Regent Street, which is where you will find even more iconic London flagship stores. The diversity even within the shopping spectrum is large – you can get everything from high street fashion to luxury brands and boutiques.
If you are a foodie in London, you are never going to run out of things to do. However, if you are visiting briefly and want a diversified agenda, then you can’t spend the majority of your time eating. The best way to tackle this is to head to key areas. Chinatown, for instance, is a vibrant area of Soho decorated with traditional Qing Dynasty designs and packed with delicious Asian food options. The most diverse part of London is arguably the number of cultures and cuisines that are packed into it, from Italian pizzerias to French bistros, sushi bars to Indian BBQs. If you can think it, you can probably taste it in London.
You can’t visit London without partaking in a bit of theatre – it is all part of the big, diverse package that is a top-class trip to the city. There are a number of musicals and shows on in London’s West End, with great ticket prices available if you are not fussy about what you watch. The best way to make the most of these deals is to head to the ticket office on the day and see what they have on offer. From the National Theatre to Shakespeare’s Globe, the city is in no short supply of iconic theatre venues which are visual experiences in themselves.
Though you don’t want to spend your entire time in London busting like a sheep from historical landmark to monument, you have to do it to some extent. The city is so richly populated with historical significance that you would be really missing out if you chose to avoid tourist traps altogether. The best way to see what you want without having to grin and bare your way through the things that you don’t want is to take one of the hop-on, hop-off tour buses around the city. The joy in these is that if you wanted to get off at every stop you could. But if there are just a few major landmarks, like Big Ben or Buckingham Palace, for instance, which you wanted to see, then you can just get off at those stops. Don’t, however, underestimate how enjoyable it can be visiting all the famous buildings that you have seen so many times on TV and in literature.
London is very well-known for its markets, and these are something you should aim to visit if you are looking for a truly diversified trip to London. One of the busier markets – but certainly a note-worthy one – is Borough Market, wholesale and retail food market in Southwark. If you are looking for something a little more hip, head to Camden Market or Brick Lane. Another unmissable experience is visiting the Columbia Flower Market – even if you don’t intend on buying any flowers or plants, it is a cultural experience like no other that is steeped in history and the rustic charm of London’s east end. Have you seen Notting Hill? Well, head to Portobello Road Market and feel the cinematic nostalgia take over.
Similarly to doing sight-seeing tours, visiting museums can often be written off by visitors because it seems such an obvious thing to do in London. The truth of the matter is that it is popular for a reason. London is teeming with both free and paid-for, niche museums that cater to every interest. Whether you have a particular interest in the history of children’s toys, or rather the works of Signund Freud, there is something for everyone. If you want the full, diverse London experience, you need to visit one of its exquisite museums.
London has some of the world’s most impressive parks – which, when in the hustle and bustle of the city, can be just what you need. Though luxury hotel rooms do a good job in keeping you refreshed and relaxed during your city break, there is nothing quite like a stroll through Hyde Park to free up the mind and bring you back to earth. From the middle of Richmond Park, you would never know you are just a bustling, loud train ride away from being back in metropolitan mania. Even the smaller of London’s parks, like Regent’s Park, can feel far removed from inner-city living. A great hybrid of city and nature can be found at Primrose Hill. This park, backing on from Regent’s Park, seems like a steep hill and some trees. However, when you reach the top of the hill and turn around to see the view, you realise you have the whole city skyline in front of you like a postcard.
There is no one part of London that is more “London” than the other – that is what makes the city so special. Rather, it is the combination of the elements which make it its truly unique, dazzling self. “A little bit of this and a little bit of that” should be your mantra while exploring the city and you are guaranteed to have a diverse, alternative but unquestionably London-y time. A morning in London’s Design Museum, followed by some dim sum in Chinatown, followed by a smashing musical and a skyscraper cocktail – if that range doesn’t explain London in a nutshell, nothing will!