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What Would Londoners Do?

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Richmond, VA
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What Would Londoners Do?

For most of my traveling life, I've preferred to try to assimilate into the everyday life of the "locals" as much as possible.

While seeing the attractions of a world-class city, most of which are well-known, extensively written about and well-photographed, is interesting, I've found I have a tolerance for viewing museums, art galleries, cathedrals & etc.that lasts about two hours at most.

And that's about all the time I can give it for one day.

I'm always mightily impressed when I read travelers' trip reports that have them taking in the sights of five or six must-sees a day!

It's quite impressive and I'd really like to be able to do the same but I just can't bring myself to, I'm sorry to say.

Small doses of things have been just fine, we see one or two new things each time we go to London and enjoy them immensely.

But we vastly prefer to just "become English" for two weeks.

"Full-immersion tourism" we call it--with American accents!

We want to experience what it's like to live in London and not just visit it.

Even though of course we're very aware that we are indeed just visiting--until next time that is.

So my question is, what do regular Londoners do on Tuesday evenings, on Saturday morning? Sunday afternoon?

Londoners, where do you shop? go to get groceries? meet friends for lunch?

Surely most Londoners don't spend most of their time at the Tower or touring Windsor Castle?

May we take a peek at everyday life in London and share a little of it with you?

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1. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

Most Londoners don't live in zone 1, so lots of our lives take place in the more relaxed residential areas rather than the smelly theatre district. Get an all zones travelcard and explore the areas well outside of the circle line.

Go to places like Richmond Park or Clapham Common instead of Hyde or Regents Park; eat at a Bethnal Green 'greasy spoon' caff rather than at the Hard Rock Cafe; try a bit of local fringe theatre rather than the crappy musicals on Shaftesbury Ave; go to see a lower division football match and follow the crowds after to the noisiest pub with no gastro menu or tourists.

Or alternatively, do what I do and go to work all day, cram yourself onto a commuter train and eat a nasty Chinese takeaway infront of the TV and spend your holiday time escaping London. Actually, don't do that...

Hell, Norway
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2. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

Try the Roman Road market in Bow; all kinds of markets on Saturday morning. Wash the car on Sunday morning, go to the local pub for lunch. You're from Richmond VA. Visit the town your city is named after, Richmond, Surrey.

Destination Expert
for Belgrade
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3. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

I would invest in a travel card, and use the tube to tour many of the suburbs. As with many cities that attract mass tourism, few locals will be in the centre amongst the tourist throng.

Do a search of what interests you but specifically I'd say:

Breakfast in greasy spoon

Markets & Boot sales

Pub lunches

Walks. Go to some parks, Richmond park etc.

Just get out of Westminster and you'll have fun browsing high streets and neighbourhoods, you'll probably discover somewhere that you want to return to and stay next time.


Portsmouth, United...
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4. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

As has been mentioned most people live in the London Boroughs that surround zone 1 and so don't haunt the touristy areas, though alot of workers do stay in the area after work to use the bars and clubs etc...

To get a feel for what most Londoners experience you only have to go 10 minutes out of the centre...have a look at some of the thousands of pubs around London, that is basically what British life has revolved around for hundreds of years, you'll find lots going on from live music, comedians, quiz nights, big screen football, pool / darts competitions, to plain old drinking! There a few websites that can give guides and tell you what's on and that will give you a good insight into the average life of a Londoner. Maybe people on here can give you directions to their local.

London, United...
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5. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

Others have mentioned Richmond and I'd say that would be a good place to base yourself instead of in central London. It's a lovely area, with good shops (Waitrose is my supermarket of preference!) with lots to see around about - Richmond Park, Kew Gardens, Ham House, Orleans House, Osterley Park, walks along the river. There the kinds of places I go for a Sunday afternoon walk and tea and cake. There's also (a couple?) of theatres and lots of nice pubs. You'd be on the District line and have mainline trains too so pretty easy access into central London for some sightseeing there. No, I don't spend my time at tourist sights, but I do make occasional trips in especially in school holidays eg last time was to go on the London eye, next week I'll go to Tower of London. Enjoy!

Hampshire, United...
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for Amesbury, London
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6. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

Find a carboot sale! But then I'm not a Londoner, so my views may not count ;-)

Spend your free time perusing TA boards...

Go to church/mosque/tabernacle (other religions also available)

Wash the car (actually; I don't see that very often these days)


Visit a garden centre (seriously; some of those places are amazing!)

Wellington, New...
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7. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

Ok - here is an example of my Tuesday evening, Saturday morning and Sunday Afternoon from last week.

Tuesday evening - met friends at St Stephen's Tavern in Westminster (it being in the middle of where the three of us live).

Satuday morning - the regular visit to Borough Market

Sunday afternoon - Met a friend for coffee at Flat White cafe in Soho, before trying to steal a glimpse at the Olympic flame, then browsing a few bookshops and heading home to make dinner!

I've lived in London for almost 2 years now, but I'm an ex-pat so London is an interesting combination of a place to live and a place to visit. We try and do the odd touristy thing - this weekend we are going to London Zoo for example.

Bristol, United...
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8. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

Spend your free time perusing TA boards...Even on holiday - surely everyone deserves a two week break from that!? As has all been said - and I like Nicks advice on a footy match followed by rough old pub, would give first hand experience of our country's #1 sport - you don't have to go too far out the City to see typical London life. Regular Londoners without kids may well be catching up on some much needed sleep Sat/Sun morns & afternoons! Even with the shops open on Sundays (I don't agree with it, but there you go), it's still the best day of the week & one you will catch most London residents at their best. Footy, a pub lunch, a family picnic & stroll - in summer it's a glorious place to be so, no, you won't catch too many hanging around the Tower or Windsor Castle!

Halifax, NS
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9. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

Every so often I get on the tube, ride to the end of the line, pop up to the surface, and just wander around. I've explored some very interesting suburbs that way.

Ipswich, United...
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for Ipswich
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10. Re: What Would Londoners Do?

A couple of years ago Wanstead was described by the Evening Standard as 'London's best village'. Largely off the tourist trail, the Wanstead and Snaresbrook area is on the edge of Epping Forest and would make an interesting day out for anyone looking to see how suburban Londoners live. Here is a thread from a few months ago: