It is understandable why London remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Centuries-old palaces, the very best in theater, comedy clubs, colorful pedestrian streets and markets are just some of the interesting destinations both visitors and residents frequent regularly.
Sure, you could go ahead and join a sightseeing tour. But why not spend a weekend in London exploring the most eclectic experiences the city has to offer on your own?
Hit the Markets
A couple in Covent Garden, London
Practice you bargaining skills and visit some of London's markets, located all over the city. Covent Garden, a popular shopping area located in the center, offers unique paintings, crafts, jewelery and clothing in its Apple Market and Jubilee Market. Or try the various markets in Camden Town, in the north part of London, for vintage, punk or goth-style clothing, smoking memorabilia and delicious street food. If you're into antiques, go to Portobello Road market, located on its namesake in west London.
41 The Market, Covent Garden Piazza
London, WC2E 8RF, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207-836-9136
Camden Rd, London, NW1, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 790-022-5240
Portobello Rd, London, W11, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207-229-8354
Hit the Ice
Go ice-skating at the beautiful Alexandra Palace. Known as "Ally Pally" to locals, Alexandra Palace is often used as a venue for conventions or special events. The rink is large and well-maintained. Ice-skating lessons are offered as well. Admission is not free and the rink closes in the late afternoon.
Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green
London N22 7AY
Tel: +44 (0)208-365-2121
Have some Drinks
Go pub-hopping with friends. Have some fried pub food such as battered fish and French fries, or, as the British call them, chips, if you're brave. Hit popular tourist pub-hopping spots such as Soho or Covent Garden or join the "locals" and venture south to trendy Fulham. Start at Duke on the Green and make your way up north to Belushi's.
Duke on the Green
235 New Kings Rd
London, SW6 4XG, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207-736-2777
498-504 Fulham Rd
London, SW6 5NH, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207-386-7577
Make it a Comedy Night
Visit one of London's comedy clubs for a great nights of laughs. The Comedy Store, located in the touristy neighborhood of Soho, helped start the acting careers of many local British personalities, such as Keith Allen of BBC's "Robin Hood." Or try the 99 Club in Leicester Square, which is located about two blocks away.
The Comedy Store
Haymarket House, 1A Oxendon St
London, SW1Y 4EE, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207-930-2949
28A Leicester Square
London, WC2H 7LE, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 776-048-8119
Take in a Play
Go see a musical or play to make a weekend night truly complete. Go to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square to buy discount tickets for same-day shows, as you cannot order them in advance. Or, if you prefer, order theater tickets online through Ticketmaster or buy them at the theaters. If you visit London during the summer months, watch a performance in Regent's Park's Open Air Theater.
TKTS Leicester Square
London, WC2H, United Kingdom
Regent's Park's Open Air Theatre
Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle
Regent's Park, London NW1 4NR
C.J. Heller is a journalist from Los Angeles. She has more than eight years of experience writing and editing stories for "Reuters", "The Syracuse Post-Standard" and the English newspaper "Haaretz" in Israel. She holds a Masters degree in communications from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.