1. Explore: it’s really as simple as that! Walk the streets, perhaps beginning in Piccadilly Circus or near Big Ben, and just have a wander. It’s amazing the things you’ll find and see when you just follow your nose, instead of staying right in the popular, touristy areas.
2. Watch a ‘football’ match. I didn’t personally make it to an actual game, but going to the Ruse Bar in Borough was still pretty damn fun. The crowd! The crowd was so into it, you couldn’t possibly not be. Although neither Liverpool nor Arsenal scored, the synchronised chants and songs were frequent and super enthusiastic. Definitely a must have experience, even if you’re not a mad sports fan.
3. Go to a local pub: don’t expect to find a pot and Parma for 10 bucks though. At ‘Duke on the Green’, a local one in Parsons Green, I had seared scallops with cauliflower purée and prosciutto for entree, stuffed chicken breast with broccoli and sweet potato rosti for mains, and finished the night with a slice of apple pie. Don’t worry, these were all shared! Having a night out in a suburban area was a nice change from the big cities which I’ve become accustomed to.
4. Go to a rooftop bar. It’s the best way to get a great view of the city. I went to ‘Duck and Waffle’ on a Sunday night and the view was spectacular. I didn’t want to go on the Eye, so I’m glad I did this.
5. Go shopping. Even if you have limited funds (like me), it’s still fun to visit the local chain of Primark, and if you have a bit more money, Harrod’s Selfridges and the other pricey ones on Oxford street.
6. Ride a bike: explore on two wheels – vey authentic and you can see more in one day than when you walk places. Also is a great way to burn off some of those European desserts!
7. See the deer at Richmond Park. It was like an oasis in the middle of a dessert. Grassy plains as far as the eye can see, while you know you’re actually only 20 minutes from one of the biggest cities in the world. It was quite serene after so many hours spent in the hustle and bustle of touristy London Town.
8. Check out a West End show. Since doing this, I’ve been to New York and seen the Jersey Boys on Broadway (which was amazing), but the theatres in London are gorgeous and an experience in themselves. Also, you can get lucky with a free, balloted ticket every afternoon, or find a good show for between 7-30 pounds, depending on what you’re interested in,
9. Go to the Harry Potter Studios. This is a must for anyone who has seen the films. I didn’t realise before going, but the movies were actually shot there, so there are hundreds of props and sets to explore. Plus you get to have all of the touristy photos on Privet Drive, with Buckbeak and even Harry and Dumbledore themselves. Also, it fulfilled a wish that I’ve had for years – to try Butterbeer! Believe me, it did not disappoint!
10. See greater England if you have the chance. I had a quick day trip both down to Brighton beach and pier, and also up to Cambridge. Both towns are absolutely amazing in their own ways, but if you only have time for one, choose the latter. The gorgeous grounds of the different colleges are just incredible, and the town itself is quaint and just what to expect of an English, University township. The highlight here was going punting down the river.. and no, I had no idea what that was until I did it either!