London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. With its deep-rooted history, enchanting scenery, and rich culture, it’s no wonder that people flock to the area year-round.
But if you’re looking for a more unique way to explore the city – one that ventures away from tourist heavy attractions like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower Bridge – you’re going to have to step outside your comfort zone a bit.
If that idea intrigues you, take a peek at some of our suggestions for those looking to have a truly unique experience during their next trip to London.
The Taste of London
I found out about this annual celebration while browsing the “What’s hot in London” guide offered by British Airways. If you’re looking for a way to try the finest cuisines, from some of the most renown chefs in the world, this festival is your chance.
The event takes place between the 15th and 21st of June in Regents Park. Not only can you satisfy all your cravings at this food-fest, but there’s also live entertainment including various workshops and an ongoing presentation of the famous play The Seagull, by Anton Chekov taking place at the Open Air Theatre.
What Culture suggests visiting The Monument, a structure built to commemorate the great fire of London in 1666, for a unique experience. Similar sites usually appear in travel guides, but The Monument has long since been overshadowed by larger, flashier skyscrapers that offer ariel views. However, this historic spot “still offers all the thrills you would expect from an open air viewing platform, especially on a windy day.”
Unfortunately there isn’t an elevator, so you’re forced to walk up 311 narrow stairs to get to the top. It’s certainly not stroller-friendly or an ideal adventure for small children (unless you really want to tire them out), but if you kids are a bit older it’s great. Plus after eating all of that delicious English food, you probably shouldn’t turn down an opportunity for exercise!
Visit the Cabman’s Shelters
When you’re out and about walking around the city, you might notice a few of these small green cabins on the side of a road or in a nearby park. These little sheds are known as Cabmen’s Shelters—small stands constructed in the 1800s that catered to drivers of hansom cabs (horse-drawn carriages) and hackney carriages. They sold the drivers hot meals and drinks when they were unable to leave their vehicle posts.
Today you can grab a warm cup of tea and even a tasty sandwich from some of the stands still in operation throughout the city.
Just because you’re going to a popular tourist area, doesn’t mean you have to explore the same way everyone else does! Venture off the beaten path a little, and you might find the area is even more exciting than those mass-produced travel brochures lead on.