The Frommer’s EasyGuides are designed to give you a firm introduction to the sights, hotels, and restaurants that speak most to a visitor about what’s going on in each destination. But authentic London doesn’t begin and end with these pages, and if you dip into neighborhoods where more locals live, your visit will be immeasurably richer.
Day 1: Brixton & Bollywood
When Victoria was queen, families flocked to live near the incandescent lights of Brixton’s Electric Avenue, which in 1888 became one of London’s first shopping streets lit by electricity. Today, it’s a boisterous immigrant community. By day, explore the glazed awnings of its markets, where to inhale the aroma of meat and exotic spices is to walk through a portal to Jamaica, India, or China—and to be reminded that London, like few others, is a truly worldly city. In the evening, experience London’s huge South Asian population—Indians are nearly 2% of the population, and one of Britain’s richest men, Lakshmi Mittal, is Indian-born—by attending a Bollywood film at the Boleyn Cinema (www.boleyncinemas.com; Upton Park tube), a historic 1938 Art Deco building and the second-largest Bollywood screen in a country that loves the genre.
Day 2: Go Football Mad or Cricket Crazy
London hosts 13 professional football (soccer) teams, more than any other city on Earth. From mid-August to mid-May, catch matches at some of the best Premier League teams: Chelsea (www.chealseafc.com), Arsenal (London’s first club; www.arsenal.com), Tottenham Hotspur (www.tottenhamhotspur.com), Fulham (www.fulhamfc.com), or West Ham United (www.whufc.com), which took up residence in the former Olympic Stadium at Stratford. Filling the gap from April to September, and less likely to pelt you in the skull with a beer bottle, is cricket. Attend “test matches” at Marylebone’s MCC Lord’s Cricket Ground (www.lords.org) or Oval’s Surrey County Cricket Club (www.surreycricket.com). If you figure out how the game works, fill me in, won’t you? It’s a little like baseball—and a lot like watching grass grow.
Day 3: Ale, Yorkshire Pudding & Tough Questions
On Sunday afternoons, find a pub with an inviting garden for a traditional Sunday Roast, a spread of roasted meats with all the trimmings such as Yorkshire pudding (a popover-like pastry) and gravy, washed down with copious amounts of beer. It’s the more leisurely equivalent of brunch: After a long week of working to keep their exorbitantly priced shared flats, Londoners hang out until Monday. Some pubs also hold pub quizzes, another staple of British life. Form teams and answer trivia for lame prizes, but be warned: Foreigners always fold on the sports and politics questions.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.