People are visiting you in London and expect to get away with a good experience of the city they have heard you talking about for some time. Find this familiar?
Here are some tools to help you entertain them and that can make you enjoy yourself at the same time. Anything else that should be there, please let me know!
They can be most fun, they are free and many stay open late for child-free events.
- Fancy an interactive way of learning about human body, computer animations about space rockets, 3D documentaries or celebrate your birthday in London in a different way? Then visit the Science Museum. Us marketers will be interested in their take on gamification.
- Go underground at the Old Vic Tunnels! Last year, I saw this amazing night art exhibition on Dante´s Inferno.
- The Wellcome Trust tend to have exhibitions related to human and animal health which can compete with some of the exhibitions at the Tate gallery.
- Horniman Museum encourages wider appreciation of people and cultures – and yes, it was founded by the tea trader. See their overstuffed walrus!
- Modern Tate is one of my faves and couldn´t bear not to include it here.
2. Street Markets.
This is one of the biggest attractions in London. They are diverse, culturally interesting and crop up everywhere. There is this small area at the entrance of my local pub, where local producers now sell veg, cakes, savoury dishes I hadn´t seen before and ice-cream once a week. Imagine this at a bigger scale and add events.
- Camden market: music and comedy, world cuisines, fun, relaxed, exciting…
- Borough market: wholesalers and other customers can experience tasty venison, cheese, etc, from Britain and around the world.
- Old Spitalfields (check for events), Greenwich, Portobello, Brick Lane, … Take a look here.
3. Free music.
How can I not include it here? London exudes music all over. When I think London, I often think music.
- South Bank Centre, near Waterloo Station, is in an area where there are usually fairs and other cultural offerings during the year. In terms of music, Tom Jones sang outdoors a couple of years ago, just like any other busker! You can also here guitar concerts, lunch time concerts, etc.
The area is also home to the Mayor´s Thames Festival.
- The National Theatre, a few metres away from the South Bank Centre, where one can listen pre-performances and lunch time concerts. Styles vary from cool upbeat to jazz.
- Churches like St James´ Piccadilly (built by Christopher Wren) or St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Sq offer regular lunch time and other classic music events during the year.
- King´s Place is part of one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. The ground floor has an art gallery and offers regular free events.
- Rough Trade showcases new bands regularly at the Notting Hill Arts Club.
- Also, Covent Garden has regular buskers who play opera, classical and other styles following a certain schedule, just like in the tube!
- In the renewed Trafalgar Sq, there usually are different events celebrating Christmas, Australia Day, the Chinese New Year, etc. They usually include free music.
- There is a myriad of pubs and small venues all over London where promoters bring amazing bands who are not as famous as other musicians. OK, you might need to pay five quid or so, but that´s almost for free…
4. Picnic in the park!
London weather might not be the best, but parks and gardens in and around the city centre are well worth a visit. My favourite is Hampstead Heath, which is a huge and old open space embracing ponds, hills and recent and ancient woodlands. From Parliament Hill, you can enjoy one of the best views of London. One of Londoners´ fave open space areas, just 6km from Trafalgar Square.
5. London walks
As any old city, London has so much history and old places that are hidden to the eye. Walks are often a good way to uncover all those old secrets and the current and previous significance of a certain area or building.
Amongst the most popular ones is the Jack the Ripper walk. Watch this video to get you in the mood.
6. See a movie in 3D.
The Imax is one of the most amazing cinema experiences. They tend to have late night sessions too.
7. Have a drink or grabe a bite in Gordon´s Wine Bar, in St. Christopher´s Place, at the World´s End in Camden, have a midnight bagel (hot salt beef with English mustard) and get the most amazing croissants at the Beigel Bake in Brick Lane.