People who live in London sometimes take the city for granted. Sure, it’s busy and polluted, but it’s also considered one of only three or four truly global cities and ranks among the like of Tokyo and New York City, two of the greatest cities on Earth.
London has a lot to offer families, partly because of it’s long and winding history, and partly because of the capital’s uncanny ability to bring different cultures and experiences together. But when you go to London, the best way to have an authentic experience is to live life as a Londoner would for a couple of weeks. Here’s what to do.
Get Around Like A Londoner
London is famous for red buses and black unionised cabs with high fares. But that’s not the only way to get around in the city. Over the last decade or so, London has experimented with new transport options designed to make getting around the capital a little easier.
One idea begun by the former mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was to introduce hire bikes to the streets of the city to help people get around. Officially sponsored by Santander, Boris Bikes, as they came to be known, allows visitors to pick up a mode of transport to take them around the city without having to pay for the tube or pay the congestion charge. Another idea has been the Oyster card, a card that automatically debits your account when you use any part of London’s public transport network.
Staying In London
London is home to some of the swankiest hotels in the world. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay out big money to find somewhere to stay. Many people opt to homestay in London, sharing a house with people who live there all year round and using it as a base to explore the area. If you’re an explorative type who’d rather spend money on experiences rather than hotel bedrooms, this is definitely an experience you’ll love. Homestay accommodation is almost always higher quality than equivalently priced commercial rooms in the city, meaning you’ll get better value for money.
Get In On The City’s Food Trends
London has been an international crossroads for centuries, meaning that they city is home to a wide variety of foods and culinary practices. One of these practices is the weekend brunch, a kind of treat for hard-working office types who’ve spent all week in a soul-destroying job in the city’s square mile. Weekend brunches include things like Welsh rarebit, poached eggs, sourdough bread and onion jam. In other words, it’s worth getting up for.
Then there are the city’s food trends. The best places to go to experience what London foodies are eating this week are the street markets, like Exmouth Market and Kerb near the King’s Cross railway station.
London is also famous for it’s Sunday lunches, served at outlets across the capital. Sunday lunches might be old school, but they’re also a great way to sample the traditional food of the city. The Albion in Islington is a great place to go for an original roast experience.