by Nicole Clendinning
Not only is London the biggest financial Hub in Europe, it has been termed the world’s most innovative and influential global city. While there is no shortage of sights to see and things to do upon your first visit here, I’ve outlined some must see spots within London that are more off the beaten path.
There are currently around 280 markets in London, some outdoors, some indoors, and ranging from selling food to groceries to vintage clothing. While some smaller markets are only open on the weekend the following are open 7 day a week.
Brick Lane Market
Not only home to an international food hall, this market is also home to one of the largest vintage clothing markets in London. Underneath the main food hall you will see a neon lined stairway leading to an underground vintage clothing paradise! On days with good weather the market spills outside into the main courtyard with food trucks and other creative vendors.
Located right under London bridge, Borough Market is quite large and popular on weekends as they sell a variety of produce, cheese and meats that are harder to find in the grocery shops.
The exterior of Bridget Jones’ flat from the movie series can be seen here, as well as the exterior of the ‘Leaky Cauldron’ bar from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkeban!
One of the larger and more permanent markets in London, Camden market is comprised of shops rather than pop up stalls. Stables Market within Camden market has vendors selling out of what used to be horse stalls for the Pickford Horse Hospital and guests can find unique clothes, food and décor in the area. Surrounded by a network of canals and home to influential musicians such as Amy Winehouse and The WHO, Camden is a unique area popular for its rock music influence and is a London must-see!
Pop Brixton and BoxPark
Pop Brixton is a food and drink market located in Brixton. The entire market is self contained and made out of stacked shipping containers. Popular on a night out, visitors are ID’d at the door upon entry and are able to flow freely between restaurants, beer gardens, a small dining hall and a dancehall.
Located in Shoreditch, BoxPark has the same idea as POPBrixton but is a retail space as opposed to a food and drink spot.
Café’s and restaurants
God’s Own Junkyard
God’s Own Junkyard is a spot that screams Quirky. The shop is home to the largest stock of vintage and neon signs in all of Europe. Its free to enter and visitors can grab a bite to eat next door at the Rolling Stones café.
The Breakfast Club
A chain of restaurants serving all day breakfast around the city at a reasonable price. But before you go, be sure to check out each location’s website prior to arrival, as many of them operate secret bars within the restaurant, accessible by stating a secret phrase to the host.
Very well landscaped flower covered pub near Hyde park that boasts great pub style food and excellent photo opportunities!
- Dans Le Noir- Farringdon
Diners eat in the dark and served by blind staff. The restaurant’s website describes it as a ‘Unique sensory experience that allows you to re-evaluate your perception of taste as this sense is heightened with the absence of sight’. Definitely a cool experience!
The transportation system in London was designed to be efficient, considering it transports around 2 million people each day on busses and tubes. When out sightseeing an alternative to using London transportation is to purchase a ticket for a private hop-on-hop-off bus system whose routes are designed to showcase the city’s top attractions and sights. While these tickets can be pricey, I would suggest taking a ride on the DLR line or the London Overground. For the price of normal subway fares, you can ride these Overground tube’s which provide a good view of the city from above and have a couple lines each, allowing you to do the whole network for a max rate of £13.
Vauxhall City Farm
A notable quality of London is the lack of green spaces and nature outside of the designated parks as the city is so populated. In addition to Regent’s Park and Hyde Parks in central London, be sure to check out Vauxhall City farm just a 5-minute walk south of the river Thames. For a donation, guests are invited into the farm run by volunteers and able to participate in the petting zoo and learn about all the farm animals they have there. There is also a small restaurant guests can grab a bite to eat at, or a hot drink on a chilly day (as its open all year round)
Roman Temple of Mithras
The city of London is over 2000 years old and is full of history and culture. Although it is not hard to forget whilst walking around and admiring the architecture of the old buildings in central London, the Roman Temple of Mithras is a sure reminder of the city’s age. Just south of central Bank station, a Mithreum temple was discovered under one of the city’s busy streets in 1954 prior to a building’s construction that dates back to the 3rd century Romans!
Hidden just off the main road, Neal’s Yard is a colorfully decorated courtyard in Covent Garden. Tourists will find multiple restaurants with patios in addition to the Neals Yard Remedy flagship store. While you’re there, be sure to check out Homeslice pizza for a rotating menu of craft 20” pizzas to share or sold by the slice!