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Five Alternative Places To Visit In London

When I travel anywhere I don’t want to visit the same old touristy places that you see recommended on all the tourism brochures. I want to be like YOLO, explore, seek adventure, go off the beaten track, be like Christopher Columbus and discover new places.

That’s why, when it comes to London, I like nothing better than finding alternative places to visit. Sure Buckingham Palace is great, the Tower of London gets thousands of visitors every week and if you visit the British Museum you will find one of the world’s finest collections of antiquities. But if like me you want something different, here are five alternative places to visit in London.

1. Ridley Road Market

Ridley Road market

I bet you didn’t know that in the 1970’s a young businessman, Alan “You’re Fired” Sugar, rented a couple of floors at 89 Ridley Road, where he sold audio equiptment.

Situated just across the road from Dalston Kingsland Station in Hackney, this market was first opened in the 1880’s. It sells everything from domestic and exotic fruit and vegetables, fish and meat to incense, bric-a-brac, clothes and even wigs if you want one.

The fruit and vegetables here are so cheap that for less than ten pounds you’ll easily be able to get a weeks worth. The colours, people and atmosphere of Ridley Road market are vibrant.

The best day to visit is Saturday when the hustle & bustle of this market, along with the music played by the local stall holders will make you feel like it’s carnival time. Come to think of it, the market hosts the annual Hackney One Carnival in September when the street becomes one huge party.
All the stall holders are very friendly so why not go along and spend an hour or two.

2. Hackney City Farm

Hackney city farm

Unlike London Zoo where it costs Adults around £25 and children around £20 to get in, Hackney City Farm is a place where you can see animals for free. You won’t get the large number of exotic reptiles and other animals like in London Zoo, but what you will get is a range of farm animals including donkeys, geese, pigs, sheep, rabbits and chickens.

The chickens and ducks lay eggs daily that can be purchased from the farm shop and you can even buy honey made from the bees on the farm. There is also a cafe where you can sit down to a meal made with farm produce.

They have different events weekly pottery classes or allowing you to volunteer to work in the garden that you can find details here

This is a lovely little city farm with friendly staff who treat the animals on the farm with care and affection.
The farm is located just off Hackney Road with the nearest stations Hoxton or Cambridge Heath Road and is open every day from 10am to 4.30pm every day apart from Monday.

3. Little Venice

Little Venice

You wouldn’t believe Little Venice with it’s beautiful canals and tranquil waterways is in London. It’s just north of Paddington, right where Regents Canal and the Grand Union canal meets.

You can take a canal boat down from Camden Lock down to Little Venice which takes around 45 minutes but I was made of sterner stuff and decided to walk all the way. It was Sunday and the weather was great for it and so was the scenery.

It took me about 90 minutes and by the time I got there I had built up a healthy appetite. But then again I can build up an appetite just by looking at food so no surprise there.

There are many waterside cafes and restaurants to choose from in Little Venice or you could pack a picnic basket and eat in the lovely Rembrandt Gardens.

Seafood lovers would enjoy the fresh seafood at the Summerhouse or if Chinese cuisine is to your taste then Pearl Liang would be just up your street. If you fancy a pint as well as a view then the Bridge House is a typical traditional British pub that overlooks the canal.

The nearest station is Warwick Avenue Tube Station which is around 6 minutes walk away.

4. Museum Of Brands, Packaging & Marketing

Museum of packaging and advertising

Someone once called me a Philistine because I they said I was uncultured when it comes to art, but I guess my eye for art is somewhat more quirky than mainstream. So when it comes to museums to visit, I would take the Museum Of Brands, Packaging & Marketing over the British Museum any day.

If like me you are sometimes nostalgic about bygone days, you will love visiting this gem of a place.
Just around the corner from Portobello Road market, it has a plethora of everyday items that will bring back memories of your childhood and younger years. Chock full of retro designs from over 200 years ago up to the present day, you will see how items have evolved over the years.

Without a shadow of a doubt you will spend an enjoyable hour or two wandering round and looking back in time.

The nearest station is Ladbroke Grove which is just a minutes walk away.

5. Brick Lane

Brick lane

Why is it that I always come back to food? Back in the 70’s and 80’s when I used to be out raving every weekend, Brick Lane was the place we would go for our after party sustenance. Forget the protein shakes and bars, ours was a salt beef or cheese bagel, washed down with the can of red stripe or special brew we had pocketed before the off-licence closed.

Fast forward 30 plus years and you can still get scrumptious bagels from Brick Lane. Come here for some fabulous Indian food from the many Indian restaurants on the lane or browse the clothes shops from vintage to designer and modern day chic.

The nearest stations are Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street.

Why not try one of these alternative places to visit in London and let me know what you think of them.

About the author

Michael lives in London most of the year and has for many years had a penchant for travelling around the world.

He has been to many countries including Spain, France, Barbados, The Bahamas and the Dominican Republic to name a few.

His favourite destination is the Dominican Republic not just for the climate, but also for the lovely people and their way of life.

Michael loves playing table tennis, poker and watching his team Arsenal, although lately that hasn't been so much of a pleasure as an endurance.

10 comments on “5 Alternative Places To Visit In London”

  1. Travelquartz Reply

    Little Venice was a surprise to know about. How come I haven’t visited this place despite being London multiple times. Thank you for awesome information.

  2. Helene Choo Reply

    Great suggestions! I love the Hackney markets, they’re way less crowded and expensive than the more famous ones like Borough Market…. From what I’ve heard, Brick Lane is becoming a lot more touristy now though, which is a shame. Thanks for the recommendations!

  3. Lyf&Spice Reply

    How cute – I’d love to visit Hackney City Farm, beside Little Venice and Brick Lane of course. 🙂

  4. TooChineseForU Reply

    Awesome Post! I love reading about other places you can visit besides the touristy ones! Also I’m a fan of weird museums. The Museum for Branding and Packaging would be interesting to visit!

  5. heraafarooq Reply

    London is a great place and I haven’t seen this side of London before. Good share

  6. Noel Cabacungan Reply

    It seems you’re also a fan of off-beaten tracks. And that Little Venice is the bomb.

  7. DTG Reply

    As a fellow Londoner, I am glad to say I have visited 4 out of the 5 places on your list, will try and get to the, Museum Of Brands, Packaging & Marketing looks like a really interesting place to see.

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