Darby's Destinations Luxury Travel - Italy

Five Experiences in London to Feel like a Local

Where to go, eat, shop, and relax like a Londoner

March 15, 2024

London is teeming with iconic landmarks that you’ll find it hard to resist checking out on your first or even your fifteenth trip to the English capital. Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum, and the London Eye are all must-sees for good reason. However, you can supplement your stay in London by throwing these five non-touristic experiences into the mix. 

Dine at Shepherd Market

Shepherd Market is an 18th-century square nestled between the luxury hotels of Park Lane and Mayfair’s upmarket restaurants. These grand Georgian townhouses have several excellent dining options, gastropubs, and premium stores. Start with a pint at the Kings Arms where you’ll rub shoulders with local workers. This classic watering hole stocks local ales and European wines in a relaxed environment while the food is of a high standard. Expect to find traditional British fare including fish and chips, pie and mash, Sunday roasts, and Scotch eggs. Reserve a table at Kitty Fisher's, a romantic restaurant popular with Londoners. 

Seek culture at the Barbican Center

Tourists flock to Covent Garden and Sohot to catch West End musicals and stage productions. As the home of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Barbican spotlights classical music as well as innovative dance ensembles, arthouse cinema, and inspiring talks. It’s a fine destination at night in London away from the hotspots. You may also want to visit the Brutalist building and roam through its secret rainforest. The Barbican Conservatory hosts over 2,000 plant species and occasional art installations. 

Relax in Holland Park

One of London’s loveliest green spaces sits less than a mile to the west of its most famous. Holland Park is less than half the size of Hyde Park with just as much charm. Enjoy the serenity of the Japanese Kyoto Garden, marvel at the springtime tulips in the Dutch Garden, and stroll around the magnificent Orangery before ordering lunch at the Tuscan-inspired Belvedere Restaurant. You can coincide your exploration with a trip to the Design Museum.

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

Shop at Marylebone Village

Marylebone High Street is a small shopping zone that feels akin to a village, hence its appellation. Choose Marylebone Village for a quintessentially British shopping experience where bistros and cafes jostle beside designer boutiques selling fashion, homeware, accessories, and gifts. It’s where locals come out for leisurely weekend brunches or grab a coffee in between browsing the latest releases or attending yoga classes. Don’t miss Daunts Bookshop, the Sunday farmers’ market, or the Wallace Collection art gallery. 

Unwind at AIRE Ancient Baths

The Romans played a part in establishing the City of London and you’ll likely encounter relics and heritage sights during your time in the capital. Located in the chambers beneath what was the residence of J. M. Barrie, AIRE Ancient Baths recreates the bathing culture of the civilization through candlelit suites. 

The signature treatment takes you through the Caldarium (104ºF), the Frigidarium (57ºF), the Ice Bath, the Tepidarium (96ºF), the Balneum (Thousand Jet Bath), the Vaporium (an Aromatherapy Steam Room) and the Flotarium (Salt Water Bath). Other luxury packages include soaking in antioxidant Spanish red wine grapes while sipping a glass of vino before having a wine massage.

Contact Darby at Darby’s Destinations to experience London like a Londoner. 

Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?