London is an incredible city with over 2,000 years of history. With all of that history and the different cultures that reside here a plethora of interesting things to do and see are easily found throughout the city, because of this London has become one of the top destinations in the world.
London is one of my favorite cities and I am very lucky to have visited many around the globe. I loved visiting all of the wonderful attractions in London including Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and Big Ben; but my favorite parts of London were the less iconic attractions including Camden Town, Portobello Market, and The Tate Modern.
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London and is a must see. Here you can find the Kensington Palace and Gardens, but my favorite attraction in the park is the Serpentine Gallery. The Serpentine Gallery is a beautiful contemporary art museum and the reason it is my favorite place is because of the outdoor pavilion that is open from June to October. Every year since 2000 The Serpentine Gallery searches for architects to make an outdoor pavilion, this year the pavilion was created by two architects from Madrid, José Selgas and Lucía Cano. They made a beautiful abstract structure like all the other architects before them, so I highly recommend visiting whenever the pavilion is open because it is such a unique experience.
Camden town is an eccentric area that reminds me a lot of Venice Beach, California. As you exit the tube stop you might be turned off by the streets filled with stores with peculiar exteriors selling knockoffs and cheap goods, but I promise that this is worth a visit. If you continue to walk towards the canal you will find a little market at Camden Lock with vendors selling all sorts of ethnic street food. If you do get tired of the hoards of people, try walking along the peaceful canal where there are beautiful houses and interesting graffiti murals along the walls. While the rest of Camden Town is all well and good, the real reason to visit is for Poppie’s Fish & Chips. This is one of the best places for fish & chips in London and I’m sure you will be charmed by the retro feel of the decor. If you are looking for a fun afternoon Camden Town is definitely a good choice.
Portobello Market in Notting Hill is one of the most famous street markets in the world. The full market runs every Saturday and is the perfect place to find antiques, secondhand goods, and plenty of food. A lot of people come to this market every weekend so don’t be surprised if you end up in a bidding war at one of the vendors. Notting Hill is also an excellent area for pubs, my favorite find being “The Cow” that is ironically famous for seafood. If you are willing to make the walk, you are sure to find some fantastic things to eat here.
Another excellent place to visit is The Tate Modern. They are constantly changing their exhibits and while I was there they had an interesting one on Pop Art. Once you have finished wondering through the (free) museum with numerous masterpieces you might want to step outside and walk along The River Thames. Along the river you can see the Globe Theatre and find some nice pubs to grab food. It’s also worth walking across the Millennium Bridge to get a good view of the city (mind you it’s a tad wobbly).
I had an absolutely wonderful time in London, and was able to visit a lot of other great iconic places such as Tower Bridge, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace; but I’m sure you’ve heard about all of those too many times already, so I thought I’d write about something more off the beaten path. I am still sad that I was only able to stay for 5 days and therefore unable to do everything on my list (although that would take years), but if you do have more time in London I also suggest stopping by Covent Garden, Brick Lane Market, and Borough Market; which were some of the places I didn’t have time to explore.