Tourism without tourists: get off London’s beaten paths I Athena advisers

15 June

If you change pavements when near Harrods and being around the London Eye is simply a case of crowd navigation, then you may be interested in our list of spots in London that are still relatively hidden from Mr and Mrs International Tourist.

Exploring on foot…

Legal London, the city’s roots of liberty and human rights, may only be a few minutes walk from Oxford Street and bordered by The Strand, but it is still very much unknown to the masses. Historic buildings house the country’s law societies, companies and institutions, as well as a large handful of historic drinking holes, some of which have barely changed over in a hundred years.  

If you like London’s green spaces, but fancy something a little quieter, then take a ride southwest to Richmond Park or Bushy Park. There, amid woods, grasslands and hills yet just a short journey from London’s popular districts of Chelsea and Kensington, you might get the chance to walk with deer and other wild animals. You can also take part in water-based fun such as windsurfing and paddle sports.

Food and drinks in unknown places…

Afternoon tea at The Ritz is so last century. The Dukes Hotel, also in Green park but frequented with less sightseers, has taken this important time of the day onto a new level. Yes, you can still enjoy the finest H. Forman’s smoked Scottish salmon and cucumber sandwiches, but this time it is the tea that’s given the twist, infused with an eclectic selection of fine gins. 

Longing for a night out

In London you could be hit the nightlife 365 days a year and still enjoy a different place each time. We’ve selected only one: a trendy spot in Shoreditch, one of London’s most distinctive, unusual and ethnically diverse areas. The Shoreditch House is a bar and nightclub located on the rooftop of a warehouse, is endowed with a swimming pool and benefits from a beautiful view of London. It is enough to take your breath away, if the dancing hasn’t done that already.

Shop without the crowd

Those who are fed up with the throng of Regents Street may want to head to Shepherd Market, a lovely square full of boutiques shops where you’ll find fine art, textiles, tobacco shops, salons, barbers and chocolatiers.

And if you’re staying with a friend or just somewhere with your own kitchen, get up early and venture east to Billingsgate fish market. The area isn’t much to look at, but that’s not why you’re there. At this buzzing commercial food hub you’ll rub shoulders with chefs from the finest London restaurants haggling over the day’s specials. Stock up on cheap lobster and king prawns by the kilo and treat your host to the finest fishy dinner they’ll have this year. Don’t arrive late though, if you’re there after 8am the best deals will be long gone.

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