Things to do in LondonEdit This
There are so many areas in London, that it would be tough to list them all here. But one standout worthy of a mention is the Brixton area. The area offers a wide variety of London activities, London restaurants, and a good number of London hotels if you decide that you would like to spend a few days here. Continue reading through this London travel guide to learn more about Brixton and other fun and interesting things to do during your stay in London.
Brixton sits in South London, right at the bottom of the Victoria Line. It has a large Afro-Caribbean population, orginiating from the 1940s and 50s, when Britain invited large numbers from the West Indies to fill the job gaps. It still has an edgy reputation left over from the race riots in the 80s and the drugs problems that still plague the area. However you're only likely to hear a hushed whisper of "skunk, weed", just ignore it and keep walking.
Brixton is a colourful, unique area, that is like nowhere else in London. There are several markets stretching across the town where you can pick up all manner of exotic foods, textiles and jewellery.
Brixton has several galleries to peruse, there's a photographer's gallery called Photofusion which is an interesting little gallery with darkroom facilities. But also check out Brixton Art Gallery, which has been around for over 20 years and continues to hold contemporary multicultural exhibitions.
There is a large evangelical Christian presence in Brixton, and there are plenty of entertaining preachers spreading the message. From lone preachers, to choirs to groups of MCs, all can be seen outside KFC (Brixton's Speaker's Corner).
For entertainment there's the Ritzy Cinema, which shows a mix of foreign films and Hollywood hits as well as hosting different cultural events in their two bars. And there is the Brixton Academy, which regularly attracts some of the biggest artists to play there (including Madonna's last UK gig).
If you fancy some fresh air, then try a ten minute walk from town centre to Brockwell Park, a huge expanse of green hills. It contains the famous Brixton Lido, as well as a park for the kids. Stand on the highest point, and you see a good view of London.
If you are especially interested in the history and culture of Brixton, then try Brixton Tours (www.brixtontours.co.uk). Or try Brixton's Library (next to the Ritzy Cinema), which has a few books on the local history of the area.
There are too many bars and clubs in Brixton to mention here. For a quick tasty bite try Fujiyama (Japanese noodles), or for something a little more swish try Bug, hidden under St Matthew's Church. The bars vary from a few remaining old man pubs, to stylish bars and full on clubs, it all depends on your taste and the size of your wallet.
Palm House at Kew Gardens
photo by: Joseph Hollick
The 300-acre Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew features more than 60,0000 species of plants as well as dozens of decorative structures, museums, galleries, glasshouses, and wildlife areas. Plan on spending at least half of your day exploring the more than seven different zones and dining at one of the garden's tasty restaurants or cafes.
Located just off King's Road, Chelsea Sports Centre features an early 20th-century swimming pool that's popular with kids and adults alike. The 32 by 12 meter pool is indoors, of course, and it costs as little as a cup of coffee and a pastry to enjoy the facility all day.
Playing tennis in Holland Park is probably one of the most scenic places to enjoy a game or two. Considered London's "prettiest" places to play, Holland Park has six hard courts. The 54-acre Holland Park is located in Kensington, north of Kensington High Street, W8 and north of the Commonwealth Institute site. To find out if a court is available call Holland Park at 02 076 022 226. Holland Tennis courts are open year round.
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Running is a lovely experience in just about any London park. Jogging is also a popular activity here, so expect crowds on most paths. An excellent jogging path is located in The Green Park -- one of London's Royal Parks. The 47-acre park is located between Hyde Park and St. James Park -- yet another excellent place for a run.
Offered through London Bicycling Tour Company, visitors can take a 3-1/2 hour bike tour of the East End and West End. If you prefer to bike on your own, you can rent a bike for the day for £14 ($27US) or by the hour for £2.50 ($5US). Tours cost £15 or ($29US). LBTC also rents rickshaws, rollerblades, and tandems as well.
Sail along England's longest river and see the city from a different view -- one of the best London has to offer. During a docent led tour you will sail past museums, churches, palaces, theaters, and pubs.
Head to the Oval, home of Surrey County Cricket Club, and grab a ticket to watch a real live London cricket game. Your chances of seeing a game here are much better than Lord's (www.lords.org). Tickets to Oval cricket games are sold on a first-come first-served basis beginning in late October.