This is your guide to non touristy things to do in London – from a local! Do you love exploring the hidden gems of a city you visit? I sure do! When I travel, I want to do what the locals do, not what the tourists do. In fact, the first time I went to London in 2012, I didn’t like it so much because all I did was go to the main attractions like London Eye, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. I’m not saying they aren’t worth seeing but I wanted to show you a different side of London – the side that made me fall deeply in love with the city. I moved to London 4.5 years ago from America and since then, I’ve explored so much of it and these are my recommendations. If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path things to do in London, then this post is for you!
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Non-touristy things to do in London
These are the top non-touristy things you can try in London instead of the more popular and even more expensive attractions in London.
When I moved to London I had to buy this book from Pretty City London as it helped me find some of the most picturesque streets and hidden places in London. It is my favorite London book for sure.
Go to Primrose Hill for a View…. not the Shard or London Eye
Instead of paying £27 to see the view from the Shard or the London Eye, go to Primrose Hill and see the view for free. Have a picnic in the summer and enjoy the view like a local would!
Instead of Camden Market… Go to Maltby Market
Camden Market can be overcrowded and touristic. I love Maltby Market as not many know about it and it has amazing food and coffee. It’s located on a small side street a short walk from London Bridge. I recommend getting the Steak & Chips from @TheBeefsteaks. It’s amazing! Nearby is also the more well-known, Borough Market, which I also love (a foodie paradise).
Instead of shopping on Regent St, shop in Chelsea & admire all the beautiful homes nearby…
Regent Street is iconic to London especially when it comes to shopping. But it comes with fighting the crowd (pre-covid at least!) If you want to shop in one of London’s most beautiful neighborhoods go to Chelsea (near Sloane Square & Duke of York Square). The houses are so gorgeous in this area.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Instead of going to Starbucks, Pret, or Costa, go to a local coffee shop.
I am all about supporting local businesses. I would recommend the following & I have a dedicated post to this because I’m that obsessed. You can find the post linked here along with a map of 100 small business coffee shops & cafes.
☕️ Monocle: for a latte after a pretty walk in Marylebone
☕️ Grind: For chic, fun interiors & an espresso martini, and coffee subscriptions are delivered to your door.
☕️ Farm Girl: for an açai bowl and a rose latte!
☕️ Daisy Green: for bottomless brunch at £30
More of my favorite things to do & see in London:
Lina Stores: they have an Italian deli where you can make your own custom panini and they have a sit-down restaurant with delicious pasta.
Favorite London Neighborhoods
Hampstead! It’s so beautiful. Read my guide on it here. Tucked away in Northwest London only a short tube ride from Central London, this gorgeous neighborhood feels like a village far away. With quaint and narrow cobblestone pathways, cute boutiques and cafes, and a large park you could easily spend the perfect day here.
Notting Hill, South Kensington, Belgravia, & Chelsea also have the most gorgeous London homes and streets.
Favorite flower market
Columbia Road Market! Every Sunday, you can find fresh flowers sold at this market. It’s so pretty!
Favorite thing to see
The pretty mews in London – Mews are old stable houses. Tucked behind hidden corners, you will not want to miss them. The most notable is St Luke’s Mews in Notting Hill & Kynance Mews in South Kensington.
Favorite cupcake shop:
Peggy Porshen: They have not only the cutest facade decked in all pink but the prettiest cupcakes too!
Favorite Vintage Market
Brick Lane Market: In the edgy East London, you will find great vintage shopping. This is more of an art scene area and going out area. It is edgier than the West of London. I love the beauty of West London but the artsy side of the East.
The V&A Museum is my favorite, especially on a rainy London day! I love the jewelry showroom as I make jewelry myself and it’s so fun to see.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite things to do in London as a local!
You might also like these posts!
🏠 Hampstead in London: London’s prettiest neighborhood
🍺 The best Pubs in Hampstead
💜 Visiting the Mayfield Lavender Field near London
🛣️ Most Beautiful and Famous Streets in London
📸 The 5 Most Instagrammable Cafes in London
☕ Best Independent Coffee Shops and Brunch Spots in London
🧳 The perfect trip from London: Cornwall!