Unique things to do in London
Book unforgettable activities hosted by locals on Airbnb.
Travel like a local
It may be one of the most recognizable cities in the world with its iconic landmarks and signature style, but delve deeper and there’s a side of London you never expected. The food is better than what you’ve been told. The history goes beyond the Royal Family. And there’s more ways to get around than the Tube. When exploring the things to do in London, don’t stick to what you know: Zip along the River Thames on a speedboat, go on hidden history tours, and take cooking classes, among other activities with Airbnb Experiences.
Loved by locals
What London has to offer
Things to do near Shoreditch
Things to do near Soho
Things to do near Canary Wharf
Your guide to London
What do locals do in London?
Enjoy the art scene
London is home to some of the world’s finest art institutions, but you are more apt to see in-the-know locals in places such as the Somerset art center, scoping the galleries in King’s Cross, and simply enjoying the street art that can pop up across the city at any given moment. For the best experiences, visit places such as the Tate with an art historian, or hit the streets with a local art lover in places such as Notting Hill. Londoners can still be spotted walking the famed corridors of places such as the National Gallery, Tate Modern, the British Museum, and the National History Museum — usually for traveling exhibits.
Head outside to the parks
London might have a reputation for dreary weather, but locals know how to navigate the weather reports — especially when the forecast is sunny. Picnics on Primrose Hill, bike rides around Regent’s Park, and the always-on Hyde Park (think concerts and events) only start the list of public parks enjoyed by Londoners.
Relax on Sundays
Brits have been doing Sundays right for quite some time (case in point: the Sunday roast). When it comes to truly relaxing, Londoners end the week with cozy meals, a stroll through Columbia Flower Market, and visits to neighborhood cafes with a good book in hand. For those looking to experience the feeling firsthand, consider booking a Sunday cooking class to learn how to make pastas, Indian food, and other soul-nurturing meals with local hosts.
Where do locals eat in London?
Soho is a go-to for some of the best no-reservations restaurants in the city, offering up menus that represent the globe such as Taiwanese cuisine, Spanish tapas, and South Indian dishes. It’s also where many famous figures past and present have called home, including Mozart, which you can learn more about over pints on a pubs-and-music walking tour led by local historians.
This south London neighborhood is electric (it was one of the first areas of London to receive electricity in the 1880s, after all). It’s where locals go for casual eateries, great shopping, and nightlife. Afro-Caribbean culture influences everything here: from the intricate murals and street art to the food stalls and fashion within Brixton Village. It’s also a great place to grab a drink or a bite before catching a gig at Hootananny or O2 Arena.
The East End district lives up to its cool reputation with Banksy art, top shops, and eclectic dining. Consider Shoreditch for Spitalfields Market plus nearby Brick Lane, which is famous for Beigel Bake and curries.
City dwellers don’t mind sharing this fabulous market with visitors. Located on Southwark Street, just south of the London Bridge, this is one of the oldest and largest public markets in the city. The site has history that dates back to the 1270s, which is best learned on food walking tours inside the market, where you’ll find fresh, sustainable fare. When you’re done, head to London’s oldest pub, the George Inn, for a pint.
What are the best ways to go sightseeing in London?
See the highlights with a historian
London is home to some of the world’s most famous attractions, including Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the London Bridge, the Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Buckingham Palace. The best way to truly experience these places is with a historian as your guide. Customs such as the Changing of the Guard are explained to you in real time by the people who know it best.
Ignite the imagination on Harry Potter tours
Start at Diagon Alley, pop down to see the Ministry of Magic, and find out which Leaky Cauldron has the best taco on an amusing tour of Harry Potter’s London. You can even do an afternoon tea, HP-style, in Soho.
Soak up the pop culture
Stories about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and David Bowie abound on tours to their favorite haunts; meanwhile, a black cab tour of the city’s highlights is a quintessentially British way to travel.
Enjoy a night in the West End
Some of the world’s biggest theater shows are hosted here, and a musical theater tour is a great way to learn the history of this district in central London. For those who want to let loose, consider a night out here for live music, cocktails, and more.
Take a day trip
Stonehenge and Bath are both day trips worth the time. For those looking for something more low-key, head out to Brighton, Cambridge, or Oxford — all of which are about an hour away from the capital.