London often feels like its own little world. For those that live there, there is a never ending number of things to see or do, and new areas and places to explore. But visitors can often feel overwhelmed by the choice and fall into the trap of traipsing around crowded places in the centre.
We at Memrise love London, and we love showing the London we know to people coming to visit! Here are six of our favourite places to hang out in the capital, from abandoned graveyards to rooftop parking lot bars.
But shh! Most of these awesome places to hang out in London are still closely guarded secrets. That’s what keeps them so special! So don’t tell anyone about them…
1. Neon daydream at God’s Own Junkyard
Forget Piccadilly Circus! To get your neon fix, head down to God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow Central. This quirky East London warehouse is full of literally thousands of different neon signs, from vintage treasures right up until modern times. Vogue Magazine even chose God’s Own Junkyard as the site for a photo shoot recently!
2. Pensive afternoons at Abney Park Cemetery
Hidden away behind Stoke Newington Church Street is Abney Park. With mysterious and ancient vibes, until recently Abney Park was an active cemetery. Now it’s exactly the kind of place you’d want to stop at during a busy trip to London, to spend some time wandering through and spend a solitary, pensive afternoon wandering past the fading gravestones and impressive statues bearing the names of Londoners who’ve passed through before you.
3. Explore Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road Flower Market is London on a street. Here you’ll find the old East End market sellers flogging the planet’s most exotic plants and flowers for just a few pounds each, to tourists and locals from all over the world. The market is open on Sundays and closes in the afternoon, so is the perfect place to start your day at before heading to a local pub for a traditional Sunday lunch (and a frothy one).
4. Have a drink and admire the sunset at Frank’s Cafe
True Londoners avoid the city centre like the plague, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like looking at it (the city centre, not the plague). Undoubtedly, the best spot to enjoy a sundowner with a view of one of the world’s greatest city skylines is in Peckham in South East London, where there’s bar on the top floor of a ten-storey car park called Frank’s Cafe. Just off the high street, Frank’s Cafe is notoriously difficult to find, with a maze of pink corridors leading up to the summit. But if you can find your way up there, the views are more than worth it! (Not open in the winter)
5. Let your hair down at Ridley Road Market Bar
In the heart of Dalston, one of London’s edgiest and most up-and-coming areas, Ridley Road Market bar is unpretentious and low key. It’s also the kind of place where you can still buy a beer for £3. Whether you’re coming for an afternoon refuel out on the terrace, or want to dance the night away under the disco ball, Ridley Road Market Bar is where locals come to let their hair down. We’re a friendly bunch really!
6. Find urban bliss at St Dunstan in the East
Finally, one of London’s best kept secrets. Truly hidden away amongst the dreary office blocks of the financial centre is St Dunstan in the East. This church was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War, and rather than restore or destroy it, it was since turned into a park. You can sit on benches between the hollow walls of the ancient building and look up at the sky above you with a good book, or a takeaway coffee. This place really is urban bliss.