With the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee dominating the London tourists’ itinerary this summer, anyone not interested in them can make the most of the rest of the city. When the sun’s out in England’s capital city it’s the best place to be in the world and there’s loads to do away from the tourist traps. Film, food and music festivals are plentiful, and there are also many parks to picnic in and tens of beer gardens to knock some Pimm’s back in.
Picnics in the park
The sun shining over London is enough of an excuse to picnic in Hyde Park or Victoria Park, on Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath, or in any of the other tens of big green spaces in the city. Take a Frisbee, a dog or just a few crisps and dip, and trust me, you can entertain yourself for hours.
Free swimming in the lidos and ponds
The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park and the Hampstead Heath Ponds are probably the most well-known of the free lidos and ponds in London. They open around April time. Pack your swimsuit, a flask of hot tea and a fluffy towel to aid your recovery – it’s cold! I can guarantee that the colder the weather the less of a tourist trap it will be…
Yay! Beer gardens
Summer in London means beer gardens. The best ones are the Spaniard’s Inn in Golders Green, The Albion in Islington, The Waterway in Little Venice and the Edinboro Castle in Camden. These diamonds in the rough are a little off the main London strips, so only the clued up locals might know about them, unless the tourists read this very article, they won’t.
Village shopping, in London
Stoke Newington is a lovely area with enough shops, bars and restaurants to keep you busy for some time. If you’re looking to buy fresh fruit and veg or just want somewhere to hang out away from the crazy hustle and bustle of the city centre this village atmosphere is a great place. Victoria Park is also right in the centre so buy a deli picnic and soak up the rays – there’s even a paddling pool.
St Johns Wood in the north east is another beautiful village-like area of London. You can see Lords Cricket Ground and just relax in the café and deli-lined shops while you admire the grand houses. I know it’s a bit touristy, but you can check out Abbey Road Studios too and photograph yourself walking the famous crossing before you write your name on the wall. If you want some cheap shopping, bargain cafes and budget boot sales Kilburn is just down the road, or head in the opposite direction and you’ll find the beautiful West Hampstead with all its second hand shops and restaurants.
This article was provided by HostelBookers.com who are based in London themselves so you know you’re getting the best insider advice!