Six fun things to do in London
Are you planning a trip to London? Don’t miss these six must do’s which Your Danish Life contributor Kirsten Bukager, a frequent London traveller, has shared with us. And if you plan it right – you can get a really cheap flight.
By Kirsten Bukager Pictures: Private & PR
Quick facts about London: The city is the Danes’ absolute preferred city destination according to Momondo, the travel search engine.
Due to London’s popularity getting there from Denmark is also easy from any of the three major airports. And if you avoid the school holidays (particularly the upcoming potato holiday in week 42), and some of the most popular December weekends – cheap tickets are abundant.
Here our SIX best tips for things to do
Visit markets! London offers markets for every taste and wallet: You may already know Notting Hill and Portobello Road Market in West London, famous for antiques and second-hand clothes. Less famous is the covered Old Spitalfields Market (lovely name!) in East London, very close to Brick Lane Market also called Banglatown by Londoners, great place for a curry, where Punks used to hang out.
Our favourite food market is Maltby Street Market in the previous “Oliver Twist” industrial and slum district of Bermondsey. It’s closed on weekdays – so go instead for a Saturday or Sunday lunch – open only until 16:00 though.
In good weather, take a Thames river bus to the small but nice Greenwich Market with a mixture of food and crafts. If you don’t mind crowds, visit the huge and touristy – Camden High Street and Market in the northern part of London, from where you can hop on the London waterbus to London Zoo and picturesque Little Venice (no booking needed).
If you want more speed, take a RIB-boat (rubberized inflatable) on River Thames, it’s a fun, adrenaline-kicking way to do a bit of sight-seeing. We went with ‘Thames Rockets’ by London RIB Voyages from St. Katharine Docks next to Tower Bridge.
Our 40 minutes trip went down the river towards Greenwich and back. The price was a bit steep (40£ per adult), but both young and less young had a great time. Don’t worry about getting wet or cold, they provide life jackets and raincoats.
For a cultural experience, watch a play in Shakespeare’s Globe. It is an outdoor theatre on the South Bank of the River Thames, where you choose to either stand in the yard for three hours, rain or shine, or to book seats in the lower/middle/upper galleries. Standing audiences are sometimes drawn into the play!
Lines are spoken in archaic Shakespeare English, and we missed a few, but it didn’t matter. A cheerful piece like A Midsummer Night’s Dream is recommended, where classic lines are softened by comedy, Indian flavour, funny props , and pop music.
Emusicals already in your life? Then go to a concert! London is a music hub with all kind of venues. And British concert-goers know how to create a festive atmosphere. For instance, we went to 02 Academy Brixton which is unimpressive from outside, but imposing inside with Roman pillars, statues, and a cleverly designed sloped floor allowing all standing guests a chance to see the stage.
To spot London concerts early, sign up for newsletters from bandsintown. If you already set a date, check out London concerts on songkick.
In East End, a short walk from Tower Bridge, is the listed Wilton’s Music Hall. It is a quirky place to watch a performance, have a drink, and feel a sense of history. Built in 1690, Wilton’s has served as an ale house for sea captains and rich merchants, a respectable music hall, a Methodist Mission hall, a warehouse, and a soup kitchen for starving dockers’ families.
After half a decade of derelict, fundraising and repair, Wilton’s is today becoming increasingly popular for its varied program and unique atmosphere: It offers comedies, dramas, classical and opera music, puppetry, cabaret, historical walks and talks, even dance classes. We watched a hilarious Jurassic parody: Simple props, but wonderful acting.
Any time of the year enjoy street food and outdoor entertainment on South Bank Riverside Walkway. There is everything – festivals, fairground, music, bites, and bars – with new events every season.
We bought Christmas presents there in December, enjoyed bratwursts and beer in February, and watched live Indonesian rock music in May!
About our writer:
Kirsten Bukager used to live in the Netherlands and is now based in Denmark with “one foot in London”as she puts it. With a background in communications she writes about travel, art, environment, and cultural subtleties on her blog kirstenbukager.com