Non-Tourist Activities in London That Visitors Must Try

It’s time for a more immersive London experience that will give you some real insight into the city’s living, breathing culture.

So you’ve seen Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament.

While tourist attractions are fun, they present a rather polished and inauthentic side of London.

Perhaps what you need are more immersive experiences that will give you some real insight into the city’s living, breathing culture.

If so, head on over to the Rooftop Film Club. This outdoor cinema shows both classic movies and modern blockbusters in a cozy rooftop setting complete with blankets and pillows.

Photo Credit: Roof Top Film Club / Go London

Meanwhile, the giant courtyard at Somerset House also sometimes turns into an outdoor cinema – perhaps the grandest in London – with a more interesting lineup of movies than the average cinema in the city. However, if you’re looking for a truly unique way to spend the night, your best bet is to check out The Nomad. With unique screening venues, such as the Hyde Park Lido or Brompton Cemetery, outdoor cinema organiser The Nomad goes to great lengths to provide its audience with a truly immersive viewing experience.

You’ll find these and more outdoor cinemas at various venues across the city of London. Any of them is a good way to spend a night in the city, as well as getting to know the Londoners who like to spend their time watching great movies under the night sky.

Another good way to see what London is all about is by getting out of its urban areas. Head to the green spaces at the Isle of Dogs in the East London countryside. There, you’ll find Mudchute Park and Farm, a 32-acre facility where you can pet farm animals and learn about environmentally sound farming techniques. There are plenty of activities to do including eating authentic English country grub at Mudchute Kitchen, taking a quick course on keeping chickens, or learning how to spin wool.

Photo Credit: Mudchute Farm / Time Out

Time Out describes the Equestrian Centre as the main attraction of the farm, complete with an all weather arena. The perfect place to ride a horse. Entrance to the park and farm is free, but donations are encouraged.

Getting around London should be easy enough. Traveling Islands’ overview of the city’s public transportation system will give you a good idea of how to use it to get anywhere. If you’re confident enough in your knowledge of moving around London, it’s time to check out some of its strangest and most unique pubs like BYOC Camden, a speakeasy that takes the concept to the next level by requiring guests to bring their own booze, and mixing cocktails on the spot.

You can also check out the Ice Bar London – the place to be if you’re out to “chill” for the night. Meanwhile, The Last Tuesday Society is also a good place to stop by for a drink – along with viewing unsettling antiques and memorabilia from London and beyond. Any of these bars can give you a sound introduction to London’s cocktail culture.

If these are still too touristy for your taste, why not take part in a physical challenge? Kayaking along Thames River is a great way to see a side of London that not many of the locals know about. Look for the guides who can take you kayaking through the city for a modest fee. You can also join a Tough Mudder challenge. Save the Children states that this particular physical challenge takes place all over the country, so there is bound to be an event near you.

Photo Credit: Tough Mudder / Save The Children

This is a great way to try something different, meet new people, and even help good causes across the globe. It doesn’t get any less touristy than that.

Go ahead and explore London from the other side of the fence. This ancient city is rife with history and culture, and there’s no shortage of new things to try, even without your trusty tourist’s guidebook.

This article was written in collaboration with David Barns.