These greater London tourist attractions may be off the beaten path, but are well worth the extra effort to visit when your family vacation brings to you London.
Sometimes the most memorable moments from a trip occur off the beaten path. When you step away from the crowds of visitors, you can see how people from the local culture live day to day. You may find yourself in a spot of such overwhelming beauty that you never want to leave, and you’ll have the opportunity to stay awhile because there is less likely to be a line of people waiting for you to move along.
We spend a lot of time on this site providing in-depth information about some of the most popular and iconic places in London, but we don’t neglect the lesser-known attractions. Many of them are easy to miss if you don’t know they exist, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less meaningful or exciting than the better-known attractions.
Allow us to introduce you to some of the best greater London tourist attractions off the beaten path. Some may take some extra effort to find while others are right under your nose if you’re paying attention. We want to make sure you don’t pass by some of the most rewarding experiences in London.
This is the palace to visit if you’re exploring London with kids. It’s isn’t a Royal palace, but it is a lot of fun.
Also known as Ally Pally, it has a rich history that includes being rebuilt after it was destroyed in a fire in 1873. It has served as a mass shelter for refugees arriving in London from Germany, Austria, Hungary, and other areas. It’s now better known as a public entertainment complex that has hosted concerts for major stars like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Jay-Z.
Besides relaxing on the lawn and enjoying the architectural beauty of the palace, you can now hit the ice skating rink year-round, take a boat ride on the back lake, climb a tree, putt around the mini golf course, or visit the Lakeside Café. Don’t forget the Little Dinosaurs amusement center designed just for children.
To reach Ally Pally, take the Piccadilly underground line to the Wood Green station. Find your way to bus stop A to board a bus that will take you up a big hill to the palace. You may need to reserve time just for this visit because it is a bit off the beaten path, north of Central London.
This cobbled street in the Tower Hamlets borough is filled with brilliant murals splashed across brick buildings. The street art will give you amazing backdrops for selfies and family pictures, but the magic doesn’t end there. You’ll find a variety of curry shops, cafes, and shops peddling everything from bowls of cereal to burgers and bagels.
You can also shop for clothing, jewelry, and a variety of secondhand and handmade goods in trendy boutiques. Grab a tall cup of coffee and spend some time wandering into side alleys to see what you discover in the streets that were once familiar territory to Jack the Ripper.
You’ll find Brick Lane on the east side of London. If you take the tube, get off at Aldgate East or Liverpool Street.
P.S: If you want more street art, go to Leake Street behind the Waterloo tube station and find an attraction known as the Vaults. It’s a series of underground tunnels that are constantly painted and repainted by artists from all over.
Find the canals running between Paddington and Camden to see the colorful boats lining the sidewalks and cruising through the water. Some are open for business as waterside tea rooms, pubs, or cafes. Others are residential boats used by locals and seasonal visitors.
If you enter the canals just north of Paddington, it takes about an hour to walk down to Camden. That will leave you near Regent’s Park. It can take longer if you stop for tea or a bite to eat. There are live entertainment options during the warm summer months as well, so you can spend more time in the canals if you choose.
You can also catch a boat ride to the London Zoo or all the way to Camden. The London Water Bus will take you to Camden Lock Market in about 45 minutes.
Monster Supply Store
Step into this quirky shop to pick up supplies for the living, dead, and undead. The shop is filled with quirky products that you won’t find anywhere else, and they make great gifts for anyone in your life with a sense of humor. You may also want to take home a jar of salt made from the tears of laughter or other silliness for your own enjoyment.
The Monster Supply Store is part of a literacy project that encourages kids to embrace creativity and become storytellers full of marvelous words. You’ll help a kid or two out while shopping for fairy dust, creatively packaged candy, and unique decorative items for your home or office.
The shop is located on Hoxton Street and maintains limited hours of operation.
From the Covent Garden tube station, cross Long Acre and walk up Neal Street until you find Short’s Gardens. Turn left and look for Neal’s Yard to branch off on the right. You’ll instantly notice a quieter tone and a more laid-back environment.
This small street is lined with shops offering handmade and organic products from soaps to home goods. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs for loved ones back home or just a few organic snacks for your family. If you need time to relax, sit on one of the wooden benches and just take in the scenery of this London tourist attraction off the beaten path.
Rub elbows with some of London’s most creative small business owners when you visit this colorful community space designed for work and play. Pop Brixton started as a piece of unused land in South London. It’s now a vibrant space with a variety of food stands, art galleries, and small clothing boutiques. It also includes a coworking space because it was created to serve local small business owners.
This is a great place to grab refreshments and get off your feet for a bit. You’ll find it on Brixton Station Road, right where it turns from Pope’s Road to Brixton Station. It’s between the Brixton Recreation Centre and the Brixton Fire Station.
Are you excited to get away from the crowds and explore something new in London? Work some of these lesser-known greater London tourist attractions and destinations into your itinerary for a well-balanced trip that delivers greater insight into the culture of London. Slipping off the beaten path will give you time to explore the lesser-seen sides of London while escaping the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowd.
Getting to and from the attraction is part of the adventure. You may discover new London favorites just by wandering around a bit.
Keep your mind open and pay close attention to your surroundings as you explore London. There are so many small restaurants and shops tucked into the corners and backstreets that you never know what you’re going to find. That’s part of the fun of traveling, right?