Exploring, London, Staycations, Things to do, Travel

Things to do in London: Swap This for That

London can be a hugely scary place. A massive (and I mean enormous) sprawling city in the south east of little ole England. One of the busiest cities in the world, with literally 1000’s of things to do and places to see. But what happens when you have seen Big Ben, been on the London Eye and checked out the Queen’s digs?

I have come up with some alternative ideas for your next trip to London, stepping away from the postcard stuff in favour of some (slightly) quieter jaunts.

SWAP: Hyde Park in Central London

FOR: Richmond Park, Surrey

Created by Charles I all the way back in the 1600s, Richmond Park is the biggest Royal Park in the city. Deer roam freely and the park (and Richmond itself) tends to be a lot quieter than central London. Richmond is at the end of the District Line on the London Underground and there are buses from there directly to the park.

deers under trees
The deer have no fear…

SWAP: Covent Garden

FOR: Old Spitalfields Market

Located in London’s East End, Spitalfields is another covered market in the capital. This one has been here for over 350 years and is a short walk from Liverpool Street train station. Open 7 days a week, different days of the week often mean a different event – such as Thursday Antiques market.

SWAP: Oxford Street and Regent Street

FOR: Westfield White City

In the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, this mall is one of the biggest in Europe. Shops offer fashion, food, beauty and so much more – there is something for every budget. Shepherd’s Bush Market, White City, Shepherd’s Bush and Wood Lane tube stations all service the shopping centre. Westfield gets bonus points for being indoors – always useful in rainy London.

photo of people walking on regent street, london
The famous curved shopping street leading towards Piccadilly Circus

SWAP: Buckingham Palace

SWAP: Buckingham Palace

FOR: Alexandra Palace and gardens

Slightly outside of the city, in North London, Alexandra Palace was declared a nature reserve a few years ago. The Grade II listed building is serviced by Wood Green tube station and the W3 bus. A perk of being in a park outside of London; you can see the whole city on a clear day.

hedges cut into the words ally pally
Known to locals as ‘Ally Pally’, the palace offers stunning views of the whole of London

SWAP: Trafalgar Square

FOR: Grosvenor Square, Mayfair

A little corner of London dedicated to America and a good spot for some people watching. A lot quieter than Hyde Park, the square features a 9/11 memorial and a Statue of President Roosevelt. Dating back to 1726, this London green space is the perfect place to relax in the heart of the bustling West End.

Usually never this quiet, this picture was taken at 8am on a Monday morning on a National Holiday.

SWAP: Piccadilly Circus

SWAP: Piccadilly Cirus

FOR: A West End Show

If it’s bright lights you love, get tickets to a West End show. Most theatres offer daily tickets for about £25, on a first come, first served basis, on the day of the show. It is a big saving compared to normal prices and you get to see the same show for less money. Winning.

Red bus drag race anyone?

SWAP: Leicester Square

SWAP: Leicester Square

FOR: Camden Market

This infamous market is located in Camden Town on the Northern London Underground line. From a weekly craft market set up in the mid 1970’s, the market developed into the labyrinth of stalls it is today, offering crafts, music, clothes, fast food and much more. Still very popular with around a quarter of a million visitors each week, it won’t be ‘quiet’ by any stretch, but definitely worth checking out at least once.

gray and black dress pins
There is really something for everyone at Camden Market

Obviously, all of the places on this list are fantastic to visit and my ideas for swaps are only suggestions. I’d never suggest skipping the main attractions, but rest assured my alternatives will be just as Instagrammable.

15 thoughts on “Things to do in London: Swap This for That”

  1. Oh these alternatives are amazing. There’s loads of fun hidden in London and who’d be the better person to ask, but You !! Cause it’s Ellie’s London 😃❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love these ideas! I’ve seen the tourist attractions so many times before and am always on the look out for new places to visit so this was really useful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😘 I’m happy you like my suggestions. I’m always on the lookout for *alternative* things to do in London because the touristy stuff can be so busy! You’ll have to let me know if you go to any of my suggestions xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t forget that Richmond Park has the Isabella plantations a long hike but the flowers are beautiful. I didn’t know about grosevnor square until I read this! I live in south London and I’ve wanted to do some reviews on places to visit as south London tends to get ignored in what to do in London guides.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Richmond Park and it is maybe four miles from me…😍 I’ve never been to that plantation! I think I’ll need to look it up! Grosvenor square is so nice to sit and relax and watch the world hurry by. South London does tend to get ignored; anywhere outside zone 1 is overlooked a lot of the time!


      1. I’m planning on going on the 6th October but with someone whose never been before! I bet we’ll end up at the usual touristy places lol, but definitely next time

        Liked by 1 person

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