There are countless blog posts and guide books, each with their own opinion and thoughts on the best places to visit in London. Naturally, the target audience of these guides are usually tourists.
This is my list. Not a list based on what I think a tourist should do, but a list of my five most memorable places in London having lived less than half an hour train journey from the centre of London for 35 years.
1 – Natural History Museum & Ice Rink (South Kensington)
The ice rink is of course seasonal, but the museum is amazing year round. It is free, it is in a lovely part of London and you can easily spend the best part of the day walking around this amazing building. For both adults and children, it would almost be criminal to visit London and miss out the Natural History Museum.
The ice skating is limited to the winter and much smaller than Somerset House, but I prefer it and is a lovely way to end a visit to the museum.
2 – Little Venice (near Paddington)
Little Venice always feels tucked away from the surrounding busyness of London. It is a small canal area with the banks lined with pubs and places to eat. It’s very pretty, tranquil and one of my favourite places to talk a stroll and stop for a beer and something to eat.
Little Venice is the charm of London.
© Will Rodrigues / Shutterstock.com
3 – Watch a Football League match (various)
I love football, so I am bias with this one.
I don’t mean watching Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspurs. The Football League is the lower tiers of professional football, where the stadiums can be far smaller and sometimes means standing in the cold for 90 minutes rather than sitting in a sheltered seat.
By all means catch an Arsenal home game at the Emirates Stadium, but for a more grassroots and personal experience my recommendation is AFC Wimbledon. The ground is located in Kingston-Upon-Thames. A good alternative is Brentford, but I am sure fans of the many Football League teams based in London would recommend their own club.
The football season runs from early August through to May.
AFC Wimbledon (Kingsmeadow), Kingston upon Thames
4 – Hyde Park
Take a relaxing stroll through the park, enjoy your own company sitting with a book, a picnic with friends or family, a bike ride or just watching the world go by. I have been to quite a few urban green spaces and Hyde Park is one of my favourites. Hyde Park can also easily be combined with St James Park and Buckingham Palace; throw in a picnic and some British sunshine and you have a brilliant day planned out.
Hyde Park also hosts some fantastic open-music concerns (including Proms in the Park and British Summer Time) and Winter Wonderland in the winter months. These are of course tied to dates and seasons, but if you happen to be in London when they are running, try and get there.
5 – The Crystal Maze Experience (Angel)
“The Crystal Maze is a British game show devised by Jacques Antoine, in which a team of contestants take on a range of challenges set within a labyrinth of the same name consisting of four time zones, winning a “time crystal” (golf ball-sized Swarovski glass crystals) for each one they successfully complete. Reaching the centrepiece of the Maze, “The Crystal Dome”, the team work together collecting a certain amount of gold tokens to win a prize, with the allotted time inside the Dome being determined by the number of crystals they obtained in the previous zones.” – Wikipedia
The Crystal Maze Experience in Angel gives you the chance play the Crystal Maze. And it is so much fun. It is best done with team of friends (it can be done in a mixed group) and you’ll need to book in advance. It may not be the type of attraction you’d think to visit while in London, but if you are visiting London and have the time, take a look and you may be surprised.