How to Live like a Local in London
by Becky on 28 September 2011
Welcome to my world! London is a thriving city that's rife with all manner of markets, clubs and hidden hot-spots. Check out this handy guide on how to live like a local in London.
Pick up a bargain at a market stall
London is awash with all manner of markets, so it’s no wonder the locals like to trawl through them at the weekends. Market stalls in North London near Kilburn and East London near Whitechapel are great for getting fresh fruit at a bargain price. The famous Portobello Road market is perfect for scouting out those one-off vintage handbags and quirky antique pieces, while Camden Lock market is a haven for alternative fashion.
If you’re off to the thriving town of Camden be sure to check out the weird and wonderful rave shop, Cyberdog, where you’ll be welcomed by throbbing dance music and scantily-clad dancers who enjoy strutting their stuff on podiums! If you fancy a look around Portobello Market be sure to make a pit-stop at the Hummingbird Bakery, which has a delicious array of beautifully decorated sweet treats and cupcakes.
Take a dip on Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is a far cry from the neatly trimmed lawns of Hyde Park, but its wonderful wildness is what makes it so special in the eyes of local Londoners. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Hampstead Heath is a vast open space that’s teeming with untamed greenery and luscious forest land. It’s the perfect place for relaxing on a lazy summer afternoon with a glass of Pimm’s in one hand and a bowl of strawberries in the other.
Contrary to popular belief London can get quite hot in the summer, so you might want to take a swim at some point. What better way to cool down than to brave the icy British waters? The Heath has three swimming ponds – one exclusively for ladies, one exclusively for men and a mixed pond for both sexes to enjoy. The ponds are open from 7am to 6:45pm from May to mid-September (presumably because you’d freeze over if you tried to take a dip in December!).
Flick through a Metro on the Tube
When you go to London, you might at some point see a red-eyed commuter awkwardly attempting to turn the pages of a paper as they struggle to move in the jam-packed morning Tube. This legendary paper is the Metro, also known as ‘every Tube traveller’s favourite time-wasting reading material.’
The Metro gives you a daily dose of news as well as a few pointless statistics that you don’t need to know but will inevitably read because it’s 7:30 in the morning and you can’t be bothered to think properly. Oh, and it’s completely free!
Eat lots of Frogurt
Don’t worry, Frogurt isn’t some sort of dish involving frogs’ legs. It’s simply a trade name for frozen yoghurt, which is possibly the most delicious dessert ever to arrive on our shores. Introduced in New England in the 1970s, frozen yoghurt has been around in America for donkey’s years, but for us Brits it’s a relatively new-fangled thing.
Over the past year or two, frozen yoghurt shops have been popping up all over the capital city. Marketed as being 0% fat, it’s no surprise that the tasty treat appeals to the hip trendsetters of London. Snog in Soho has adorably cute décor so it’s great for a sit-down dessert, but you simply can’t beat the great taste of frozen yoghurt at FRAE in Notting Hill.
Go Clubbing in Camden
Checking out the nightlife in any new place can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re in a big city like London. For a fun night out where all the creature comforts (kebab shop, anyone?) are within walking distance, head to London’s quirky clubs in Camden. KOKO on Camden High Street caters for all kinds of music lovers, so whether you’re into Brit-pop or hard rock you’re sure to have an amazing night.
The former cinema/theatre has been renovated but it retains many of its old features, so it’s fantastic for fans of funky décor and classical style. A word of warning, though – for themed nights like Buttoned Down Disco you always have to book in advance and you need to be at the door before 10pm to get free entry.
Images thanks to the author Becky Sage