If you’re wanting to experience London without getting caught up in the crowds at the most famous attractions, then this off-the-beaten-track guide to London will give you a great experience, enabling you to learn about the past of the city, visit historic buildings and enjoy some of the best food and drink there is.
Start Your Morning at Grind & Co.
Having started with one site in Shoreditch, Grind & Co now have shops all over london. With great coffee and unique interiors, each shop is a destination in itself. Accompany your coffee with a breakfast burrito, which of course has avocado in, it is in Shoreditch afterall! If you fall in love with the place, try popping back in the evening once it has transformed into a bar to try the espresso martinis. To experience a bit of the hipster lifestyle in London, start your day at Grind & Co.
300-Year-Old Tea Shop
If you’re a tea lover rather than coffee, visiting the Twining’s Cafe on the Strand is a must. It opened in 1706, and has been providing the royals with tea since 1837. Shop a range of blends, gifts and teas from all over the world. Also, you can sample new flavours or even take part in a masterclass. Unlike many other tea shops, the prices are affordable so you can definitely take home a souvenir from the shop.
Chill Out at Chin Chin Dessert Club
This Soho dessert club is very quirky, in that the ice-cream and desserts they offer are nitro-fuelled. There’s some seriously elaborate stuff going on in this place, and it is perfect for experiencing something new and cooling off. Prices start at £4.45 so no matter the budget, it’s worth checking this place out. The Observer coined Chin Chin as being ‘the future of ice-cream’, so whether you’re in Soho, Camden or Shoreditch, you can make the most of these stores and be apart of something new and exciting. Try the burnt butter caramel ice cream with grilled white chocolate and handmade torched marshmallow for something indulgent, or go for a mango lassi for something a bit more refreshing.
Visit Platform 9 ¾
For all the Harry Potter fans out there, take a trip to Kings Cross Station, as it pays tribute to its role in Britain’s best selling book series. Allow plenty of time to cue if you want to pose with the magical trolley as there are lots of people wanting to experience the magic. We all know that the best route to Hogwarts is on the Hogwarts Express. However, only you can be held responsible for any injuries if you run into the wall and don’t make it to Hogwarts…
Experience Authentic Italian at Satyrio
This fine-dining Italian restaurant and wine boutique is for those with a slightly larger budget, and you’ll struggle to find a more delicious Italian. With a seasonal menu and the freshest ingredients possible, you won’t be disappointed. For the wine connoisseurs out there, the selection of global wines will leave you amazed. The head chef Danny Martin created the menu which combines traditional Italian cooking with newer techniques through a combination of cooking with his mother, as well as his vast amounts of experience in Michelin star restaurants. The Satyrio explosion which is ravioli filled with mushroom cream served on parmesan fondue and topped with crispy crumbled Norcia sausage, parmesan tuile and fresh black truffle is sure to make your mouth water, as the tradition of homemade pasta and the new techniques used by Martin are combined. For a special end to a special trip, visit Satyrio for dinner.
Take a Solar Powered Boat Ride Along the Serpentine
The Solarshuttle was designed by Christoph Behling and ferries passengers between the Diana Prince of Wales fountain and the Boat House on the North of the Lake. If you’re visiting between March and September, you can take a peaceful and eco-friendly cruise to take a break from the hustle and bustle of London. Carrying up to 40 passengers, you can enjoy the trip with friends and family whilst enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Hyde Park from the water. There are daily cruises which operate at weekends and school holidays between March and September, with full time hours during June, July and August. Get a unique view of Hyde Park on the Solarshuttle.
Play Bingo in a Grade 1 Listed Cinema
If you’re a regular at Buzz Bingo and are looking for something different, the former Granada Cinema in Tooting is going to blow your mind. It was built in the 30’s in an Art Deco theme, and the breathtaking arches and intricate designs are enough to put you off your game, so be sure to concentrate!
Stargazing at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich
For those of you who are interested in astronomy, you can’t beat an evening with the stars. You can look through telescopes, meet astronomers and also see a planetarium show. The tickets sell out quickly so plan your trip in advance to make the most of this spectacle.
Take the Parkland Walk
For those wanting to temporarily escape the city experience, visit the Parkland Local Nature Reserve which offers a 2.5 mile walk suitable for pedestrians and cyclists alike. There are multiple different entrances to the route, meaning you can access the tranquility from many places. It offers an unbelievable amount of habitats and wildlife, with over two hundred species of wildflowers being recorded, as well as hedgehogs, foxes, butterflies and many different birds.
David Bowie Graffiti Mural
Situated on a wall of Morley’s department store, just around the corner from where Bowie was born, the amazing graffiti which was completed in 2013 features Bowie as seen on the cover of his 1973 album, Aladdin Sane. The mural became particularly popular following the death of the star in 2016 as fans visited to pay tribute. Many choose to leave notes or flowers at the mural as a sign of appreciation for what Bowie did for the world of music, as well as his ability to break rules and boundaries set by society.
Alice Porter is a travel blogger, working closely with Dines to share her travel tips and insight with tourists who would like to visit London.