When you’re in a city as old as London, feeling a little overwhelmed with all the many things to do and places to see is perfectly natural. After all, a 2000-year-old city is obviously going to have a LOT to offer!
Here are our top 5 alternative must-visit locations of modern London:
#1 East London
East London is where you want to be if offbeat is your thing. Try out any of the creatively laid out cafes, bars, bookstores or stores with the most outrageous things. In fact, ever since the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games, East London has become a must-see part of the capital, which is why it can get a little crowded during the weekend. Regardless, it has a lot to offer, and it’ll give you experiences that you can savour for years to come! Go over to the Eastern Curve Garden in Dalston, where you can find classes on everything from gardening to sculpting. If you’re hungry then go over to Brick Lane for a huge variety of delicacies. And if you’re looking for a watering hole, then you are sure to find one of the pubs on Limehouse an inviting place to unwind.
London has a plethora of markets that offer everything from antique books to exotic spices and much, much more! Here are some of the markets you should definitely check out:
Alfies Antique Market is an indoor market which boasts 75 dealers that offer some of the most offbeat antiques in the world. The Broadway Market in Hackney is one of the oldest chartered markets in London and has everything from shops selling local art, to unusual clothes, gift items and incredible merchandise. Finally, Covent Garden London is open every day of the week, and has a variety of different stalls selling jewellery, stunning handbags, clothing, sweets and homeware. You will also be entertained by street performers while you’re busy shopping here.
#3 Camden Canal
When you’re tired from all the hustle and bustle of the shopping streets, you might consider a quiet walk, bike ride or even a boat ride along London’s Camden Canal. Also called Regent’s Canal, the waterway passes through a zoo, the famous Camden market and various hangout places that are frequented by celebrities.
The Camden Market is particularly impressive! Found right on the banks of the Regent Canal, it’s made up of a large variety of stalls selling everything from crafts to clothes and great food. There are plenty of cosy pubs nearby, where you can stretch your legs after a hard day of fun and frolic.
There’s also the Stables Market which is a haven for people looking for art pieces, and clothing for alternative cultures such as Goths and cybergoths. The Buck Street Market, a close neighbor, also focuses on clothes and finally, be sure to not miss the Electric Ballroom (because it’s easy to walk past), which has been a nightclub since the 1950s. When it’s not playing music, the Electric Ballroom is converted into an indoor market during the weekdays, and it’s a great place to find unique designer items. Having been witness to some of the best, most memorable rock events, the Electric Ballroom is steeped in rock history and you are sure to find many memorabilia to buy here.
#4 Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill is one of the best and most fascinating parts of London! Situated between Camden and Regent Park, it offers one of the best, most panoramic views of London which you will not want to miss photographing.
You will find an eclectic mix of gentry at Primrose Hill, architectural examples from the Victorian era as well as from some modern architects, and finally some of the best bars and pubs in London.
Primrose Hill is also where a scene from the 2004 film Closer, starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman, was filmed.
#5 Tate Modern
And finally, no trip to London is complete without a visit to its gallery dedicated to modern art. Tate Modern invites a prominent artist to redecorate its huge, awe inspiring turbine hall from time to time. For instance, in 2010 the famed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei decorated it with 100 million hand sculpted and painted porcelain sunflower seeds, and Tacita Dean used 35mm film to project grainy films in an 11 minute loop onto the large screen at the end of the hall in 2011.
The museum is home to some of the finest works of Picasso, Rothko, Dali and Matisse and has one of the largest collections of British and international art in existence, with over 70,000 pieces from 3,000 artists from around the world.
Hallmarks of Modern London
Today, London is a mosaic of different people, races, cultures, languages, lifestyles and faiths which have become intertwined into a spectacular whole. The city is one of the most diverse, cosmopolitan and vibrant places in the world, and there are plenty of activities that can be conducted under its vast canopy of sprawling skyscrapers.