Unfortunately I was unable to leave the UK this month (unlike the UK with the EU, amirite?), mainly due to the fact that I had a bunch of exams to take and no one else could make it either. So instead I invested my time and money into exploring the parts of England that are often overlooked in travel blogs and sites, which resulted in a pretty cool month filled with having super awesome experiences with super awesome people. And so, if you're in London or plan on visiting, here's my top ten favourite low-budget, low-tourist, things to do around the city.
e both beautiful architecture and the ideas behind having faith, I decided to check out a few local places of worship.
Firstly I went to the Buddhapadipa Buddhist Temple in Wimbledon. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but free meditation sessions with monks and drinks and conversations in his house afterwards wasn't quite it. The temple had the most incredibly stunning interior, with all hand painted, brightly coloured illustrations, and it was all so open, with everyone wandering from temple to house, drinking coffees and talking about life. Quite frankly, I didn't believe a place could be so friendly, but as it turns out, Wimbledon offers a place with literally the nicest people I've ever met. This is one of the places that I will definitely be going back to, because it was incredibly brilliant.
I also went to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London, which is a Hindu temple. Whilst not having any definitive religion myself, I do quite like the ideas of Hinduism and the equality that imbeds itself in the religion, so not only did I go to the temple but I also went into the little museum that is inside. The temple itself is insane, with all handcrafted marble decorating the ceiling and walls, I was quite taken aback. The only downside was that there isn't as much to explore, which is however understandable as it closes off most of the rooms for people actually practising worship.
Also, I found out that one of the largest mosques in Western Europe is in Morden, a place not too far away from me, called the Baitful Futuh, so obviously I wasn't going to miss out on visiting something so famed. My friend and I arrived at the mosque, to find that a security guard would happily give us a guided tour of the place, and then lead us to the kitchen and feed us, along with twenty other people, zarda and naan. It was completely unexpected, and reminded us that whilst the Muslim faith is widely negatively represented in the media, actual followers of Islam are just as friendly and accommodating as their religion preaches.
Another cafe that isn't all too well known is Draughts, the board game cafe. Basically, you arrive at the cafe, order a drink and some snacks, and then proceed to play against people in chess and scrabble and monopoly. Draughts has over 500 board games, and is definitely somewhere to stop by in London.
Another thing that's quite easy to find, especially during the Summer months, is an open air cinema. These are basically big screens that pop up around the city, where you turn up and sit in chairs to watch a movie as the sun goes down over the city. They're quite popular in Brighton too, with a couple showing on the Brighton Big Screen over the next couple of weeks, which you should definitely stop by and say hi to me if you do.
Another tour that I went on which was pretty interesting was the Shakespeare's Globe tour, because although it doesn't sound all too interesting, it genuinely was. We got shown around the old theatre, and our guide told us stories about what used to happen there and how much more hands-on it all was - say, if you didn't like the actor, you'd tell them why they sucked during their performance and they'd tell you why you're never going to do anything with your life.
Concerts and shows
I also went to the ballet, which is a complete contrast to The Hunna. I went with a super indie guy to see Swan Lake, which was something like three hours long. I thought it would be mind-numbingly boring, but was pleasantly suprised. It was incredible the way that the dancers had every single move calculated in order to give off such a flawless performance, and once I bought the program which actually explained what the hell was going on, I could enjoy it properly.
Also in London, you can find a lot of jazz bars. I didn't realise the sheer amount there was until I came across one called Ronnie Scott's, and another a couple days later. My guess is that these would be a lot more enjoyable if you're over 18 and can legally sip some cider whilst listening to smooth jazz, but I wouldn't want to miss out on one just because of that.
Parades are also quite prominent all over the country, from small religious ones that happen pretty much on a daily basis (looking at you, hare krishnas), to gigantic, planned ones such as Pride. I went to the latter to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and it was awesome. I strongly believe that everyone should go to a Gay Pride Parade at least once in their lives, regardless of their sexuality or gender. It was a day filled with music, cheering, and people giving out free hats and badges. It was a parade filled with positivity, and really helps give people like us hope for the future. One thing about the parade that I thought was awesome was the fact that there were toddlers and children partaking, wielding banners and giant smiles, because you know that they're just going to grow up so open minded. Also, seeing the older people waving flags and having their faces painted was nice to see, because it's obvious that they've grown up in a more conservative era, and now they're finally free to be who they want to, and love who they want to. As I say, it was brilliant.
Art exhibitions, museums, and whatnot
Spend time with nature
One of my favourite things to do is spend time by the ocean, and if you're willing to go a couple miles south of London you get beautiful beaches such as Brighton and Eastbourne, and if you go further North then you get places like the Mumbles. All these places are filled with insane beauty from both natural things like the ocean, and also handmade things like Pavilions. I went to Brighton just a couple of days ago, and the day was filled with culture, beauty, and, naturally, food. Is there anything greater than day at the seaside?
Now, go chase life!