Explore London

Great Things to Do in London Now

Whilst many of us are eagerly awaiting the changes that will come into force throughout July - with bars, restaurants and more re-opening throughout the UK - there’s plenty to do in London already, with the added bonus of quieter streets and venues for leisurely browsing! In this blog, we take a look at some of the best things to do in London right now.

Markets
Photo Credit: Flickr/Barney Moss

Markets and Shops

London is home to some of the best food purveyors in the world – and there’s no better way to sample what is on offer than with a trip to an outdoor market. Outdoor markets have been open for visitors since June; and whilst not every vendor is up and running yet, there are still lots of great stalls to peruse.
London’s famous Borough Market has been partially open throughout lockdown, supplying produce and food to locals, but their Borough Market Kitchen traders are now selling hot food to takeaway on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week. It’s a beautiful location, brimming with history (the market is thought to be over 1,000 years old), so it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Brixton Market and Camden Market are two other favourites – we advise checking websites and social media for the latest information as more and more vendors are now opening for trading. Most London markets have cleverly redesigned their layouts to adhere to social distancing guidelines, with one-way systems and hand sanitisation stations widely available to ensure you can browse safely.

What about splashing the cash on a new item of clothing or a bit of jewellery? Most of London’s premiere shops – from the designer boutiques of Bond Street to the budget behemoths of Oxford Street (like Primark!) – are now open. Whilst public safety restrictions mean that your visit might be slightly different (no changing rooms, for example), this can be a bonus: the shops are remarkably quiet and free of foot-traffic, meaning that you can take your time and enjoy a peaceful, pleasant shopping experience.

Thinking of heading to a food market? Check out our blog, ‘London’s best pop-up food markets’ for more suggestions of where to go!

Galleries
Photo Credit: Flickr/R Boed

Galleries and museums

Museums and galleries are readying themselves to open throughout July; and we were delighted to hear that The National Gallery will be among the first. Host to over six million visitors a year, the National Gallery contains some of the most famous artworks in the world (including works by da Vinci, van Gogh, and more), so it’s usually extremely busy, especially at weekends – but if you decide to visit after the re-opening on 8th July, you’re likely to experience a much quieter atmosphere than is customary during the summer months. Booking in advance is required, but it’s easy to do via the National Gallery website.

Many other museums and galleries will be opening throughout the month; the Royal Academy will re-open to the general public from the 16th July; the Barbican from the 13th July, and the Tate’s venues from 27th July onwards.

As an additional bonus, admission to many museums in London is absolutely free! If you’re looking for other free London activities, check out our ‘Top Ten Free Things to Do in London’ blog.

Parks
Photo Credit: Flickr/R Hobler

Parks

It’s hard to choose just one London park: there are so many amazing green spaces in London, and they remain one of the safest – and most beautiful – places to spend time in.

Hampstead Heath is one of the biggest parks in town – and one of the most diverse. Witness the stunning view from atop Parliament Hill, or wander through the ancient woodland and bask in the history of this magnificent space. It’s the perfect day out in North London!

For another blast of history, head over to Alexandra Palace Park (also known as ‘Ally Pally’). Alexandra Palace is an incredible example of Victorian architecture, and has served as an entertainment venue, a refugee camp, and a WWII staging area. The palace itself is currently closed, but it’s still worth gawping at from the outside – and the park itself remains open, with fantastic views for miles around.

Or, if you’d like to feel the grass underneath your feet in a more central location, pick one of the three parks making up London’s ‘Green Lung’: Hyde Park, St James’ Park, and Green Park. Hyde Park is arguably the capital’s most famous, and includes the Diana Pricess of Wales Memorial Fountain, as well as Speaker’s Corner.

Another wonderful thing about London is that where there is a lovely park, there’s bound to be a lovely pub nearby! And whilst pubs are currently closed, some of London’s best watering holes are offering takeaway drinks, meaning that you can fill your cup and wander into a local park to enjoy it in an al fresco setting. Cheers!

Would you like to take your four-legged friend with you whilst you get close to nature? Our rundown of ‘London’s Best Dog-Friendly Parks’ will help you get started.

Are you considering your next trip to London? The city has everything you need to enjoy a fantastic staycation, with stunning scenery, top-notch shops, and amazing cultural pursuits right on your doorstep – or just a few stops away (read more on how to travel safely in London). Best of all, if you book a stay with UnderTheDoormat before August -for any time in the future – we’ll give you £50 off! All you need to do is quote the discount code SUMMER50 when making your booking.