Every year, 30 million tourists flock to the U.K. to uncover the best experiences London has on offer. They’re given the same check-list of landmarks to see, restaurants to dine at, and tours to join. But London is a city of many faces, and those who don’t stray off the beaten path are missing out on some of its best adventures. To help you dig further into the city’s cracks and really experience London like a local, we’ve compiled an essential bucket-list for your next trip to England’s capital.
Float The Canals In A Hot Tub Boat
The banks of the Thames are a tourist melting pot, but wander just a few streets back, and you'll reach the hipster oasis of the London canals. Stroll along here to ogle at the graffiti-covered house-boats or steal a free peek at the animals in the Regent's zoo. Now, thanks to Skuna, you don’t even have to lift a finger (or a leg) to enjoy the sights. The company offers rides down the canal in electric, wood-fired, hot tub boats. That's right. A hot tub boat. You'll have to see it to believe it.
Mr. Fogg’s Residence
Tucked in a back alley in one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in the city, Mr. Fogg’s Residence may not appear like much at first glance. But in a city as populated as London, sometimes discreet is the aim of the game. You can’t wander up the steps of this bar at random. Reservations are essential to pass the burly security guard and enter the quirky pub themed after Phileas J. Fogg from Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. The cocktail menu follows the trend, offering delicacies from around the globe, and the decor is just as eclectic. If the sensory overload becomes too much on the inside, dip out onto the gin terrace for a quintessential English drink.
Go For A Dip In Hampstead Heath
Green space in a city the size of London is a luxury, and the fact that they've managed to preserve Hyde Park in the centre of it all contributes to its wide appeal. So it’s no wonder London residents prefer quieter escapes when recharging their batteries with a stroll in the park. Nestled just north of the city, you'll find the rolling hills and dense forest of Hampstead Heath. Picnic blankets coat the grass on summer days as locals strip their shirts, soak up their annual fix of vitamin D, and dive into their eskies of beer. When the temperatures soar high enough, dare a dip in the Hampstead Mixed Pond, a local swimming hole open to the public in the warm summer months. If that’s not enough, Hampstead Heath is seeped in as much history as it is nature. Venture along the northern trails to discover Kenwood House, a 17th century home built for the Earls of Mansfield. If picnics aren't your style, enjoy lunch at the Spaniard's Inn, famous for its literary references in Bram Stoker's Dracula and Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers.
Catch Some Alternative Theatre At The Old Vic
With over 230 theatres in London, choosing one to attend can be a feat on its own. While the renowned drama haven of Covent Garden is always a safe option, those seeking a more unique performance shouldn’t miss the opportunity to catch a show at The Old Vic. Run by Artistic Director, Matthew Warchus, this 201-year-old creative epicentre is one of the few independent, non-profit theatres in the city. With that, comes the flexibility to experiment, cross genres, and branch out into the unknown, all with the sole intention of creating ground-breaking, one-of-a-kind performance masterpieces. If you’re not intrigued enough, their philosophy that theatre should be enjoyed by everyone means that you can nab tickets for as little as £10 a pop.
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