Top 10 Things Off The Beaten Track in London


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.


Temples

Now I don't know about you guys, but when I think about England I don't necessarily tend to think about elaborately decorated Buddhist temples, or big open mosques, or even Hindu temples made of marble. Well, because I love 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.

Cafes


Of course we all know cafes like Costa and Starbucks are prominent in England, and whilst you can get some super indie and adorable ones in London (like the one by Oxford Circus with the bamboo walls), the lesser known ones are always the best. My favourite cafe in London is one that I only went to for the first time this month, which is called the Cat Cafe, or "Cat Village". This quickly became my favourite cafe ever when we arrived into a little room filled with dozens of cats, and watched a movie whilst drinking hot chocolates. The cats lazied about and tried to steal our drinks, and it was pretty awesome being surrounded with cool people, hot beverages, and cats. If I could go every Wednesday I totally would.

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.

Cinemas


I for one am a massive movie fan, and watch pretty much every decent film that appears on Netflix or Amazon, mainly because what's better than chilling in a duvet with popcorn and a TV showing Ryan Gosling? So living on the outskirts of London is a massive plus for me, because you could find a small indie cinema even if you're just going down to a local market to buy milk, because these little buggers are everywhere. And so, this month I went to one of my favourite cinema brands - an Everyman. The one I went to was in Oxted, and has the same decor that it did sixty years ago, with the only exception being that now you have to turn off mobiles before entering. These cinemas turn it into more of an experience, with the option to sip wine at the front row, and being welcomed pre-movie by one of the people operating the film. It's a gazillion times better than a Vue, let me tell you.

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.


Tours


Naturally, London is teeming with tours about Jack the Ripper and the London Bridge, and as great as they sound, you'll often find that they are also swarming with tourists, and extremely expensive. That's why I prefer to look at slightly more obscure tours, which are often a lot better. This month I went to Harry Potter World in Leavesden, which is part of the Warner Brothers Studios. This tour was, to be completely frank, the best tour I've ever been on. First up, I am a Potterhead, and I have been wanting to try a Butterbeer ever since I knew they actually existed (heads up, they are the sweetest things ever). I am also extremely interested in cinematography, and learning all about the creation of the sets and whatnot was super interesting - especially when you're standing in the middle of the great hall or on Platform 9 3/4.

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


Regardless of where you are in England, you'll never be far from someone doing a live performance, and because they happen so often you can get them dirt cheap. For example, this month I went to a concert by a band called The Hunna, who I didn't particularly know all too well, but I'm Welsh and love any opportunity to dance - and the tickets were literally only a tenner each. So I went with my friend Shade who thought the band was a Jewish cult, and for the first half an hour of the set we danced like mad - until we found out that it was the opening act and not The Hunna themselves. It was an awesome concert though, with hundreds of teenagers all crowded into this one room filled with beer and sweat, with people hanging from shoulders, and cigarettes hanging from mouths.

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.


Festivals


You can quite easily find some kind of small festival happening in and around London on any day of the week - be it a food festival or an art festival, or even something like a festival commemorating 1960's dance. This month I went to a food festival that was pretty local to me, in Caterham, which was filled with people eager to try new things and spend lots of money on different types of homemade tea. There was another local one in Oxted that we passed by, and with so many opportunities to get some free food, it's a wonder I need to buy any food at all.

Parades


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


Anyone who knows anything about London would tell you that it's a city of art, and that the place is just swarming with paintings and music and food. There's also an incredible amount of museums here, and I've been to a couple this month about Hinduism, and, my favourite, one called the Hunterian Museum. This museum is basically just there for medical students so that they can understand a little bit more about the human body, but I went there just because it looked cool. It's basically filled with all these organs of people and animals in jars, which initially seemed like an intriguing concept, but after ten minutes made me feel as if I may pass out. If you're strong stomached and interested in things like this then I would suggest you go - but only if you're okay seeing eight month old foetuses with all their nails and hair, curled up in little jars from a hundred years ago.


Spend time with nature


Now for most people, I wouldn't expect them to automatically think of nature when they think of London, because city and countryside are two complete polar opposites. However, there are some pretty awesome 'off the beaten track' places to go to which are beautiful and covered in wildlife. If you're closer to central London, you can easily find places like Hampstead Heath, which are similar to Hyde Park but with a lot less tourists milling about (and a lake that you can actually go swimming in that isn't filled with rubbish). And then if you're slightly out of England, say around the Swansea area, you can find places like Penllergaer Woods, which you can spend the night camping in, with a waterfall to your left and endless forest to your right.

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?


WANDER


My utmost favourite thing to do around London is to just wander the towns and see where life takes you. I've had some of the best experiences by having absolutely no idea what I'm doing and just rolling with it. I've ended up with incredible views, meeting incredible people. I've been fed food, shown art, and photographed. I've gone on accidental dates, been sold mixtapes, and gone inside spooky barber shops with potential murderers (okay, that one was pretty dodgy). And so, the final place I can recommend is - everywhere. Wander, and go everywhere you can, because that's the only way to get the experiences and stories to come to you.

Now, go chase life!

- Amy

84 comments:

  1. Amazing palces and tips! Thanks for sharing!!
    Baci,
    Coco et La vie en rose - Valeria Arizzi

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  2. Nice post

    Love Vikee
    www.slavetofashion9771.blogspot.com

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  3. Ooo soo nice pictures. I would like to live in UK expectialy London.♥♥

    I am following you, so check my blog and follow me back please. :)
    worldarounyo.blogspot.rs

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    Replies
    1. Lmao that's so weird I'd love to leave and go to Russia where you are!

      Amy;
      Little Moon Elephant

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  4. Love these! You are so lucky to live so close to London </3 It's v cool you got your get up and go and got up and went!

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    1. Thank you, but I don't think I'm lucky at all because you get bored of it going there every day.. and I love how you worded that c':

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  5. Fantastic! I've just added some more places to my list for when I go back! :)

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  6. Great roundup, dear! I'm surprised to see such a beautiful temple in London. TGIF, babe! xoxo

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    Replies
    1. I know same here, but now I go like every week!

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  7. That post is amazing! Thanks for sharing!:)
    http://freshisyummy.blogspot.com/2016/07/in-my-blood.html

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  8. Thanks for the tips :-) I'll definitely keep them in mind next time I need to explore!
    xoxo
    https://gingersnaphattie.blogspot.co.uk

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  9. Thank you for sharing this, being born and raised in England I am tired of people only talking about central London.... there is so much more.

    Filipa xxx
    PlayingWithApparel.com | Instagram

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    Replies
    1. That's exactly right, people miss out on so much by not digging deeper!

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  10. Ohhh this makes me want to visit London SO BADLY. And also be slightly jealous that there's so much to do there!! I live in a town of like 20,000.😂 So we're not really busting with exciting events or interesting icons to go visit. BUT ANYWAY. Just makes more reason to travel someday, right?! I love your photos!

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    1. There is an abundance of things to do, so I guess you're never really bored here with so many opportunities. AND THAT'S EXACTLY IT! And thank you so much, Cait!

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  11. London is beautiful, great tips:)
    kisses

    http://irreplaceable-fashion.blogspot.com/

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  12. Amazing :) I love your blog

    www.infashionchains.blogspot.com

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  13. This is such a great list. Going to London is on my bucket list:) As a Potterhead, going to HP World would be like heaven...seriously! And I love how that cinema asks you to turn your mobile off. I wish all theatres would do that.

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    1. I didn't realise I loved HP as much as I did until I went and was literally so fascinated with every little bit!

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  14. Wow sounds like you've had a super busy month! It's so nice to explore England and something I should really do more! I LOVE the Harry Potter studios, really makes me wish I worked on the films (in my dreams haha)
    Amy xx
    www.callmeamy.co.uk

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    1. I genuinely have :,D and omg I would love to work on the films too, tbh

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  15. so interesting and unseen - I have to keep in mind next time.
    xxx
    mari
    www.ilovegreeninspiration.com

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  16. Excellent post (as always)!Thank you very much :)

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  17. nice foto http://bysinkj.blogspot.com/

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  18. Thanks for sharing these photos, beautiful locations.
    www.effortlesslady.co

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  19. Great ideas!
    Would you like to follow each other? Let me know))
    www.recklessdiary.ru

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  20. Useful tips and also some really nice photos ;)

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  21. I was planning on going on a study abroad programme to the UK and after this post i'm even more excited!Thanks for sharing!

    http://nownotforever.blogspot.co.ke/

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    Replies
    1. Lmao that's convenient c,: and omg no problem!

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  22. Wow I definitely didn't know there were Buddhist temples there! The parades look fun too!

    Tina
    www.justatinabit.com

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    Replies
    1. I didn't even know about them myself before I went!

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  23. Thanks a lot, my dear :D

    Wooow, I really love this kind of useful post. Perfect travel guide :D

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    InstagramFacebook Oficial PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

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  24. Thanks for sharing

    http://www.melodyjacob.com/

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  25. Che immagini bellissime!
    Un bacione grande
    Manu

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  26. Omgzzzz, such An awesome post. Must try out some of these activities when I'm next in London :))))

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  27. Oh very beautiful pics, lovely post darling
    xx

    www.sakuranko.com

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  28. Good for you! I've been reading This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick which is about loving the place that you live, so I've been inspired to explore more of the amazing things around where I live. Canada is full of beautiful sites that are sometimes passed over for tropical vacations.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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    Replies
    1. Omg that book genuinely looks so good for me because I'm currently slightly tired with not being somewhere hot and exotic, so I might genuinely get it. Thank you for the advice!

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  29. ¡¡Hola Amy!! No he visitado aún Londres, pero está en mi futuro destino de viajes, así que tendré en cuenta tus consejos para mi visita. ¡¡Muchas gracias!! Besitos.

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  30. This is such an awesome post! Have a great new week. :)


    Style For Mankind
    Bloglovin

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  31. Oh wow, is so beautiful! london has been on my list of places I want to visit for a while now..
    would you like to follow each other on google friend connect and google plus? If you follow me,
    I will follow you back after it. ^^
    www.tomntins.com

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  32. I love the idea of exploring venues outside the usual tourist attractions when I travel! Will definitely have to keep these in mind for my next trip to London! Thanks!

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    1. Ah no problem, I hope you do and have fun doing so! c:

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  33. Very lovely! I like this so much,

    ** Join Love, Beauty Bloggers on facebook. A place for beauty and fashion bloggers from all over the world to promote their latest posts!


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  34. Though I am Thai, I have never been to the temple in London. Next time, I will!


    www.thequinoxfashion.com

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  35. Nice photos! I was in Harry Potter studio too, and I think it's awesome! :)

    MERI WILD BLOG

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  36. Hola!
    Aaaaawww que lindas fotos nos compartes, tengo muchas ganas de conocer Londres, a ver cuando me puedo dar ese lujo.
    Besos

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  37. There is a lot I did not know about, like the temples, the open air cinema, i would really love going to on of those. I went to a gay pride parade in Manchester a few years back and it was really awesome.
    Really amazing post!
    xo
    Sauniya | Find Your Bliss

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    1. They're all super cool places you must go to! And omg that sounds good!

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