When you think of London, you probably think: Harry Potter, Big Ben, that giant ferris wheel, and the Spice Girls. And if that’s all you’re excited about, that’s great! You’re already a step ahead of the game, and this travel guide may not be for you. But you know there must be more to see and do than try to get a peek at the Queen of England (and you’re right, of course).

The heart of London has a lot of charm, after all, but to get the real experience, you should check out these three spots:

1.) Banksy Was Here:

Graffiti can be pretty awesome, but it’s never been this cool.

David Bukach/Shutterstock

David Bukach/Shutterstock

The Alternative London Street Art Tour will lead you safely down London’s darkest alleyways in the East End for a true taste of the local color, and all the history and speculation that comes with it. The East End sits outside of the traditional Roman boundaries of the City of London, and was initially composed of small villages and hamlets around a Roman road that lead from London to Colchester. It was once a green and open space, compared to the crowded streets of the city, and has evolved over time as the working class neighborhood, with cultural treasures galore.

While you’re in the area, swing through Banksy Tunnel, under Waterloo Station. The tunnel was organized by the artist Banksy as a public space for local artists to contribute their own street art, and changes on a daily basis as a living work of art. It doesn’t get any more London than that, so be sure not to miss it!

BMCL/Shutterstock

BMCL/Shutterstock

Tours happen daily and there’s no admission, so tip well and enjoy seeing all of East London’s nooks and crannies, at your disposal. You’ll have plenty of ammo for both Instagram and trivia night. Who could ask for more?

2.) Drink Like a Local:

Pub crawls can happen anywhere, right? You’ve probably organized (or at least taken advantage of) one or two in your life. Well, in Camden, it’s a little bit different—because they happen pretty much every day, with tickets available online.

Alexander Ishchenko/Shutterstock

Alexander Ishchenko/Shutterstock

Venture off the tourist trails to drink like a local in Camden. Dozens of strangers will meet up with the same goal in mind: to get plastered and take advantage of the alternative culture that’s all part of Camden’s charm. Live music, shopping, outdoor markets, and adorable gardens await you, so grab a pint and drink up!

After a pub crawl this legendary, you might get a bonus peek at this view:

Jose AS Reyes/Shutterstock

Jose AS Reyes/Shutterstock

Don’t worry—we won’t judge.

3.) Shop for Antiques, with Celebrities:

Head to Notting Hill Station and stroll down to Portobello Road for a view of the brightly painted townhouses.

JoffreyM/Shutterstock

JoffreyM/Shutterstock

Portobello Road Market will greet you with fresh fruits, meats, and antiques galore, for those who are itching to bring a piece of London culture home for the mantle, or maybe vintage tees for everyone else.

francesco de marco/Shutterstock

francesco de marco/Shutterstock

History buffs, take note: the Electric Cinema first opened on London’s Portobello Road in February of 1910 and was one of the first buildings in Britain to be designed specifically for motion picture exhibition.

If you’re a bit of a celebrity stalker, keep your eyes peeled! Portobello Road’s Market or the Electric Cinema and Diner are notorious for sightings. If you’re not lucky enough to spot a celebrity, the shows and food are quite enough reason to visit, and the classic theater’s architecture can certainly hold its own.


London really does have it all, and now you know a little bit more about its culture and history than JK Rowling could ever tell you.

What little secrets did you discover on your trip? Tell us in the comments below!

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About The Author

Katrina Koski

Katrina Koski writes content for CheapOair and OneTravel. When she's not traveling or writing about travel, she spends her time strategizing Scrabble and Words with Friends moves -- her magnum opus was 'unrequited' for 139 points. Katrina's favorite words are 'kiosk' and 'usurp.'