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My friend has just arrived to London and she's trying to find some city areas to explore that are not yet overcrowded by tourists. She's looking for particular regions where tourists aren't as frequent and most people on the streets are Londoners.

Any suggestions?
More interesting places (i.e. a nice park, an area with good local clubs and so on) are better.

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Woah lots of list questions lately (not "one right answer") - are we making them community wiki or should we? –  hippietrail Aug 4 '11 at 6:45
    
Yes, q's like this will benefit from a wiki. –  fredley Aug 4 '11 at 17:37
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Oh now this is my question :)

If you like parks, there are the 'tourist' ones in town - Hyde, Regents, St James and so on. But take the tube down to Richmond and walk up the hill to Richmond Park. Firstly you'll get a great walk along the Thames on the way up, and then you're in the biggest open air space in London. Originally a hunting ground for King Henry the 8th, I believe, he built a wall and kicked the peasants out. Fortunately today anyone can go in, and there are still 2 herds of deer - 300ish fallow and 300ish red, plus squirrels, foxes and more. It's beautiful, and the view from Richmond Park to St Paul's is so special that it's protected by law!

For clubs, um....Clapham Common has a great number of bars and so on around it which won't get the tourist crowd, but you may get a lot of Kiwis and Aussies who live in the area.

For a market, try Borough Market - it's near the London Bridge tube station, Borough High Street exit, open from Thursday to Saturdays in the mornings. Lots of great food, a little expensive perhaps, but you can actually do well by eating the free samples ;)

One way we found to really get 'local' Londoners was to catch the long tubes to the end of the line - Cockfosters, for example, has a fantastic pub called the Cock and Dragon, and you're practically guaranteed not to find tourists there! Epping is similar, but you may experience the music-stopping-and-locals-staring feeling as you walk through the door of the pub.

London is huge, and so cosmopolitan that it's hard to even define what is a Londoner these days! But it's a great city and there's lots to find and explore.

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Parks - London has great parks. Richmond park is huge and great for a day hike. It also has a population of deer which is fun to see. Hampstead Heath is a great natural park for exploring and has Kenwood House and Parliament Hill with view of the city. North of Regent's Park is Primrose Hill which is popular for picnics and has a great view.

Theatre - The West End shows are popular with tourists, but there are plenty of other theatres around with quality performances. Check out Menier Chocolate Factory, Hampstead Theatre or the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park which I'd highly recommend in the summer.

Clubs - Look to east London for clubs and music that is away from the more tourist filled area around Leicester Square. Time Out is a great source for information on clubs.

In general, it'll be easier find local authentic experiences in Zone 2 and 3 (see Tube map) while the tourists flock to Zone 1.

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I second the recommendation of Borough Market (yes, all of the South Bank is touristy, but the Borough Market end is much less so), and add Clapham and Battersea to the pot: both are trendy/active residential neighborhoods catering to Londoners, with good dining/shopping/etc opportunities. Futhermore, Battersea Park is quite pretty.

Golder's Green, the traditional Jewish area, is another recommended neighborhood; not only does it have great food, but it provides insight into a part of London culture not traditionally associated with "the English."

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