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Cities Less Traveled: London’s Curious Corners

By February 27, 2015September 11th, 20206 Comments

off the beaten path in London

You’ve chosen London as your next destination, which is the easy part. Now, where do we explore first in such a giant, bustling city? Families staying in hotels in London for the first time, and even those who go back again and again, will never all have the same experience. It’s important to immerse in the culture and see as much as you can on a family vacation, but realize it can be just as satisfying to explore a small corner and get a look into pockets of life throughout the city.


Families can find a haven in Clapham, as it’s much more laid back and slower than some other areas of the city. Clapham Common provides a massive green space for kids to run around and blow off some steam while the cafes and shops provide endless hours of window watching and grazing. Visit in the warm months for farmer’s markets, festivals and outdoor performances in the squares. This can also be the perfect area to rent a holiday home with AirBnB, or have a stay in a charming authentic B&B if the kids are a little older.

brick lane in LondonBrick Lane

Super trendy and no longer a secret, the Brick Lane area is a whirlwind of color and spice. The main draw is the strip of authentic Indian restaurants that offer great specials for hungry families. One good option is Muhib Indian Cuisine for something more relaxed that’s catered to little ones. There’s also a fun shopping and creative center called Box Park in Shoreditch, which is made out of shipping containers and covered in artwork. Keep an eye out for great graffiti and street art that range from the weird to wonderful.

Canary Wharf

Vibrant and upscale, this area of London has all the shopping and sightseeing you’ll need. Families can enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding skyline while perusing through more than 300 shops, restaurants and art spaces. This is a great space to find exported goods and foods from nearby countries like Italy and France. Speaking of art, the area has tons of interesting installations outdoors that the kids can discover. Little ones may especially love the traffic light tree made by French sculptor Pierre Vivant. It’s made of 75 glowing, working lights that twinkle and light up the wharf day and night.

Cutty Sark, Greenwich EnglandGreenwich

With the neighborhoods and districts of London all having their own names, it’s hard to believe you’re still inside city proper sometimes. For instance, your family can take the subway, or Tube, down to Greenwich in about 45 minutes from the city center. This is still inside London. Greenwich has a rich nautical history and is home to great attractions like the Cutty Sark ship, massive Maritime Museum, and the Prime Meriden line kids can straddle for fun.

Choose a few neighborhoods to explore for a raucous time venturing through the London known outside of the main tourist area. Families who love a little adventure can tour the city and feel the fun spirit permeating through the city’s distinct corners, which comes together as one fun and exciting whole.

Let us know if we can help in achieving your travel goals, we love to offer personal tips and advice – ask away. 

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Instagram @Pure_Wander.

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