A Local’s Guide to London, UK


Travelling to London and want to experience the city like a local resident? We hear you. We’ve compiled a guide on how to visit London off the beaten track during your stay at Park Grand London hotels.

How to get around London 

Londoners understand that sometimes it is far quicker to walk than take public transit. Follow in their footsteps, literally, and pack a comfortable pair of trainers. This way, you can save money and time by walking between nearby attractions.

For example, never ride the tube between Leicester Square and Covent Garden. Parliament Square is a 5-minute walk from London South Bank. Walk from your Kensington hotel London to the major museums and Buckingham Palace – you’ll be surprised how close they are and how agreeable the journey is on foot.

When you do need to use public transport, only pay using a contactless credit or debit card or an Oyster card. Paper tickets work out more expensive. Bus journeys are cheaper than the London Underground and provide a scenic perspective. 

Do download the free app, Citmapper, so you can stay ahead of delays, road congestion, and plan your trips around the city. 

Where to stay in London 

When deciding where to stay in London, you need to think strategically – exactly as a Londoner would. These are the key ingredients to consider when selecting a hotel for your city break. 

  • Proximity to a London Underground station or bus stop
  • The location of the hotel should be a quiet street where you can get your shut-eye but well-connected to neighbourhood cafes and amenities 
  • Simple touches that maximise comfort, such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast included, and a 24/7 reception team

Check out the Park Grand London hotels portfolio. We can say with complete confidence that all properties tick the right boxes. 

Where to eat in London 

Restaurants in London cater to all budgets. Yes, the city is partial to high prices but deals can be sought. 

First, check whether your Park Grand accommodation includes breakfast.

Londoners are a laid-back sort who often prefer to tuck into a picnic in the park rather than sit in a restaurant at lunchtime. Pick up sandwiches, pastries, and fresh fruit then find a grassy spot in a park. You’ll save a fortune and get your much-needed top-up of vitamin D.

Keep your eyes peeled for “early bird” dinners and “pre-theatre” menus. These usually offer exceptional value but require eating a little earlier.

Where to sightsee in London 

It’s a myth that Londoners do not enjoy visiting the city’s tourist attractions. But, residents are tactical about when they visit places. 

Do visit popular attractions earlier in the day. This is especially important if you visit London on weekends or during the summer months. Arriving at a museum or palace for opening time means that queues will be shorter and you’ll likely be in the company of locals rather than other tourists. 

Stay ahead of new exhibitions, new stage shows, and newly opened bars. You will want to swoop in and secure tickets before everyone else cottons on. 

Here are some of the best offbeat tourist attractions in London.

  • Museum of the Home: This East End museum explores how domestic interiors have evolved while urging you to reflect on what “home” means to you. Free to visit.
  • British Film Institute (BFI): Located on the South Bank, the BFI contains a library of 11,000 titles from British film and television. Settle down into a booth and watch a film for free. Alternatively, you can access the archive from your device and stream films from the sanctuary of your Park Grand accommodation.
  • Holland Park: Often overlooked in favour of better-known parks, this West End park has a local vibe. Visit the Japanese Garden and the Dutch Garden for a moment of pure solitude. 
  • Hampstead Heath: This sprawl of wilderness contains three bathing pools (mixed, womens, and mens) where you can indulge in a spot of wild swimming. Do pack your bathers if you’re ready to rise to the challenge! 
  • City Farm: If you’re staying in London airport accommodation, we implore you to visit the Hounslow Urban Farm. What’s better than befriending farmyard animals while at the same time learning about sustainable practices?

Where to shop in London 

London is teeming with premier shopping districts that work with all budgets and requirements. But, we recommend that you visit a neighbourhood to browse beyond the crowds.

Marylebone High Street and High Street Kensington are a delight for those staying in a Paddington or Kensington hotel London. Each street has a mix of high street, designer, and unique boutiques where you can purchase fashionwear, homeware, and gifts. These zones have a local vibe that almost resembles a village. 

Do visit the South Bank on a weekend for the opportunity to purchase secondhand books at a great price point. You can also roam the rare and antique bookshops of Charing Cross Road.

How to watch the theatre

Catching a West End theatre production is a bucket list item for many visitors and the shows truly are a spectacle. You can make a saving on high-value shows by booking tickets with restricted viewing. These seats will have a column partially blocking the stage but you can still see the action. Besides, you will save a packet. Londoners love snapping up these deals. 

Do also check out venues beyond the Covent Garden area. The National Theatre and Barbican Centre hosts contemporary ensembles that are often far more reasonably priced.

Not forgetting that during summer you can purchase standing tickets at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Where to party in London

There are several nightlife spots dotted around London but a lot of the bars in the central zones charge inflated prices. Head to Islington where traditional pubs serve quality food and drink in a relaxed environment. 

If you’re in the mood to dance, check out the lively bars in Shoreditch or Brixton as an alternative to the larger joints near Leicester Square. On the other hand, the comedy clubs of Covent Garden and Soho are a huge hit for laughter-loving Londoners!