5 Things to Do in London Off the Beaten Path

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If you’ve been to London before, chances are you’ve done the typical sightseeing route. Houses of Parliament and Big Ben? Tick. Buckingham Palace? Tick. Tower Bridge? Another tick. 

One of the best things about London is that there’s a never-ending list of things to see and do. All you have to do is look a little harder and you’ll find amazing off-the-beaten-path things to do in London, from discovering different neighborhoods to trying locally made food or embracing your adventurous side.

Here are some of my favorites.

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Explore London’s lesser-known neighborhoods

Regents Canal in Camden

While there is something special about walking along the South Bank at sunset, seeing a show in the West End, or exploring the markets and music scene in Camden, there are so many more neighborhoods to explore.

In fact, across London’s 32 boroughs, there are roughly 48 neighborhoods. Each has a distinct feel to it and an afternoon spent exploring them is a fun way to see a new side of London. Some of the best areas to explore include Brixton, London Fields, and Notting Hill. 

Brixton’s food scene shines through and wandering Brixton Village Market will give you plenty of choice when it comes to dishes from around the world. Just down the road, there’s Brixton Lido and Brockwell Park which are great for a picnic (and swim in the summer) and you can even see the London Eye from the top of the park.

London Fields is great for hipsters, with independent stores and boutiques along Broadway Market and a great farmers market on weekends. Not far away is trendy Shoreditch where you can step away from the tourist trails and follow a local guide on a private tour of Brick Lane, Old Spitalfields Market, and some of the area’s street art gems. 

Notting Hill is a great neighborhood to explore if you’re on the lookout for things to do in London off the beaten path. Explore the antique market on Portobello Road (it gets super busy on a Saturday but mostly with locals), get a pint at the Churchill Arms — especially in summer when the pub’s covered in flowers — and indulge in brunch at one of the beautiful cafes throughout the area. This Notting Hill walking tour will take you to the best local spots, as well as some of the locations made famous by its namesake movie.

Taste local beers while riding a beer bike

A BYOB bike tour

Head to a shop and buy some local beers from London’s ever-growing micro-brewery list such as Beavertown and Camden Town Brewery and — while it might take you back on the beaten path — booking a London beer bike with friends is a super fun way to enjoy them while you travel.

These beer bikes are BYOB-friendly so you’ll supply the drinks while they supply the bike and a (sober) tour guide/barman that’ll keep your glass topped up while you pedal. It’s sure to be a fun afternoon and offers a unique way to experience the city.

Adventurous things to do in London off the beaten path

Near the Westminster Abbey

London is home to many different adventures to try. Head off the beaten path on two wheels and explore the city by bike. Or, for a real adventure, try kayaking down the Thames or taking a speedboat tour past top sights like the Big Ben  and the London Eye. 

If you’re feeling more daring and aren’t afraid of heights, book to climb the roof of The O2 arena. You’ll get beautiful views over the river and the rest of the city, as well as enjoying an adventurous group activity. 

Take a ride down Regent’s Canal

Regents Canal in North London

London’s Regent’s Canal runs from Little Venice near Paddington to Camden Town in the north. You can walk or cycle along the canal but it’s a lot more fun to ride down it in style.

This waterbus boat trip takes you past Regent’s Park and through the 800-feet long Maida Hill tunnel. As you pass London Zoo’s aviaries and African animal enclosures you might even catch a glimpse of some decidedly non-English wildlife.

Before the tour, be sure to check out Little Venice itself and find cute bookstores on barges, waterfront restaurants, and traditional pubs. 

Add your own graffiti in The Vaults

Graffiti on Leake Street

The Vaults, or the Waterloo Vaults, are underground tunnels beneath Waterloo Station. This is more than just a place for street artists to express themselves, it is now a super cool destination for plays, music, and much more. Leake Street Arches also has a similar vibe and can be found just beside it. 

No matter how many times you visit this London hidden gem you’ll see something new since the art is always changing. If you bring your own spray paint you could even add your own creation to the walls of the Leake Street tunnel — it’s not only allowed, but encouraged.

More than just art, the tunnels often play home to live music, theater and parties. There’s even a House of Vans skate hall nearby. See what’s on at The Vaults.

That Adventurer is an outdoor adventure travel blog. From vanlife to hiking, mountain biking, skiing and other outdoor adventures, That Adventurer shows you the best places to get off the beaten path and experience natural beauty wherever you’re traveling. 

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