There’s nothing like getting the inside scoop on to-do’s from the locals, especially from people with similar interests… Sports, enjoying the warm summer weather, eating great food, destressing with a beer (or better yet, a Pimm’s!).
This list is a collection of recommendations gathered from field hockey players living in London. You won’t be watching hockey the entire time, you know! So go out and have some fun in one of the world’s most distinctive destinations. Here are the top 15 things to do in London when you’re not watching epic hockey!
1. Go to Covent Garden to shop and walk around
In the wonderous Covent Garden, you’ll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and additional entertainment. If you hope to bide your time in an upscale environment with lots of variety and hours of fun, this is the place for you.
Explore a host of shops featuring handmade goods, antique items, jewelry, and even militaria clothing items. Browse or shop to your heart’s content and then some. But before you get too tired, we recommend regaining your energy with a meal at the nearby Homeslice in Neal’s Yard. Their pizza is to die for!
(Don’t like pizza? Covent Garden has restaurants and cafes to boot, so take your pick!)
2. Pedalo on the Serpentine in Hyde Park
For those who don’t know, a pedalo is essentially a paddle boat. The Serpentine, as you may have guessed, is a lake vaguely resembling the shape of a snake with its single bend. While you will have to spend some money to participate in the water fun, a visit to the Serpentine is bound to be a memorable one.
Even if you’re not so keen on paddling or swimming, you can find some incredible historical landmarks around the area. From the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, just a walk around the Hyde Park area will ignite a sense of admiration and woe. Did we mention you’ll even find the Cockpit amphitheater here, where the Rolling Stones performed their 1969 “Stones in the Park” concert? Really!
3. Go to the Sky Garden
What’s a trip to London if the word “Wow!” doesn’t escape your lips? The Sky Garden is exactly what it sounds like, but more: A majestic dome of glass going up three stories, showcasing some of the best gardens, all while offering unbelievable interior beauty and some of the finest dining you’ll experience in London. (Be sure to bring some nice clothes to match the setting if you plan on going here.)
We highly recommend you visit the Sky Garden, even if for no other reason than to watch the sunset from its incomparable view. And of course, don’t hesitate to enjoy your favorite drink meanwhile.
4. Hang out on the giant steps at Kings Cross Granary Square and have a stroll along Regents Canal
Looking for a place to pass time that the kids will love, too? Kings Cross Granary Square offers the fun of individually controlled fountains for your young’uns to run and play in, an array of restaurants to satisfy your cravings, and a bold yet lighthearted atmosphere.
While you’re at it, we think you’ll enjoy a walk around Regents Canal. Simply put, this place is stunning. Not only will the scenery knock your socks off, but this route also provides a look into history. It’s a grand example of beauty persisting through rough patches, as it was nearly turned into a railway before people found a better use for it: cooling underground cables.
So, go out and enjoy the fun and natural majesty London has to offer here!
5. Head to Primrose Hill (Chalk Farm tube) for a picnic and great view of London
Not far from the Regents Canal dwells the lovely Primrose Hill. This is where the picnic of your dreams can take place, upheld by the fresh green grass, the fantastic view, and your favorite foods. So bring along your spouse, kids (there’s even a playground on the hill!), friends, or fellow hockey enthusiasts, and enjoy a picnic atmosphere only London can offer.
6. Go to Pop Brixton for some drinks and food
If you find yourself with a little extra time and a hankering for the food, wine, and antiquities that only independent businesses can offer, give Pop Brixton a try. Its trendy name alone should be enough to win you over!
Pop Brixton is unique and ambitious in its aim to not only support local start-ups, but to provide them with the space they need to succeed. On a walk through this vast marketplace, you’ll encounter a variety of restaurant options from pizza to ramen, top-notch wine and other beverages, and even a vinyl music shop!
Find your passion in Pop Brixton, support incredible small business owners in their passions, and kill time in a smorgasbord of entertainment!
7. Enjoy a meal in Pergola Paddington if it’s nice weather
Pergola Paddington is a fun yet classy area to dine, serving guests great food from its four vendors: Patty&Bun (burgers), Canard (French), MAM (Vietnamese), and DF/Mexico (Mexican with a hint of American).
Enjoy this mouth-watering variety seated in its decadent bottom floor or open top floor, where you can relish the lovely flora and warmth of summer. It’ll be like a picnic with added flair from the comfortable environment and undeniable appeal.
8. Spend some time at the driving range
Why not spend a little time sharpening your golf skills (or lounging around the course with your favorite wine)? There are two golf courses in London that we highly recommend, based on what you’re looking for.
Swingers – West End: For a fun, carefree golfing experience with to-die-for food and drinks, check out Swingers – West End. Essentially, this is where socializing meets golfing. With multiple bars, delightful grub from street-food vendors, and of course, a couple of crazy golf courses, the possibilities for fun and enjoyment are practically endless. The only downside is that you will need to book space for yourself ahead of time.
G1 Golf: If you’re looking for a more public and simpler option (that doesn’t require booking ahead!), we recommend G1 Golf. Here, you can spend some quality time on the course before heading off for a great meal at its top-notch restaurant. You’ll even get a sofa, coffee table, and bar service for your time there. Yes!
9. Throw some darts in the Flight Club Holborn
The thrill of playing darts is escalated and the game made more enjoyable by the Flight Club Holborn. This club offers what it calls Social Darts–a game of darts you can play even if your aim and skills are questionable. With its three throw lines and innovative touchscreen-style game setup, you’re in for a modern-day treat when playing at the Flight Club.
This joint also offers, you guessed it, food and drink! Taking into consideration the array of food tastes and preferences, the Flight Club is kind enough to offer menus for any palate–even gluten-free.
Be sure to book a spot if you plan on visiting this eccentric darts club during your trip to London.
10. Visit the London Gin Club for great gin and cocktails
This one is pretty self-explanatory: If you’re a lover of gin or have always wanted to try it, stop by for a drink at the London Gin Club. This little club boasts a host of gin drinks, each one crafted for fantastic flavor. The atmosphere doesn’t disappoint, either; the cozy seating arrangements and warm lighting will definitely put you in the mood for a good drink and conversation.
Keep in mind that this small club gets busy. You’ll most enjoy your visit here if you book a spot in advance.
11. Go for a stroll around Hampstead Heath
Watching field hockey is nice, but if you would like to catch some beautiful views of nature on your London trip as well, we suggest you visit Hampstead Heath. Here, you’ll find that there’s an array of possible activities to take part in: kite flying, fishing, and even swimming in the nearby Ladies’ Pond.
There are also several walking routes to explore in Hampstead Heath. If you’re willing to pay a small fee, you can participate in a monthly guided walk around the park to enjoy London’s natural beauty. Get ready to immerse your senses in this wondrous park.
12. Posh shop at Westbourne Grove and the Portobello Road Market
Westbourne Grove is one of the most upscale shopping environments you’ll find in London. Its stores promise top-notch clothing, shoes, and jewelry–all in-style and fashionable. You may also enjoy seeing what the Portobello Road Market has to offer, particularly if you’re a fan of antiquities. There’s so much to find in this area!
While you’re here, you can also explore the iconic Notting Hill to admire its constant vibrancy and diversity. Keep in mind that this area can get pretty crowded and hectic, so arrive ready for anything. More importantly, go have fun!
13. Stop by Kingly Court and The Rum Kitchen
Kingly Court… the place where you can eat like a king? Considering its plethora of high-quality dining options from Calcutta-inspired to Greek to American, we definitely think so. Kingly Court is sure to house your food niche, whether that be a cozy cup of coffee or a lavish ethnic meal.
If you happen to have a love affair with spicy food, we highly recommend The Rum Kitchen. This is one of the best places to get quality Caribbean food and refreshing rum drinks. Stop by any time after noon for a meal you won’t soon forget.
14. Enjoy food, shopping, and street art at Brick Lane
Brick Lane has a little something different to offer, and a little something whimsical: vivacious street art. Between your shop hopping and food tasting, you can experience London through the eyes of its street artists. These art pieces range from goofy to spooky, and from wild to empathetic. Visit Brick Lane and never again see London through quite the same eyes.
15. Embark on a day or two adventure
- Cotswolds: Walk the cobblestone streets of Cotswolds. They’ll lead you through a place that’s not short on wholesome entertainment or beauty. Whatever your fancy, be it a nature stroll, a trip on its steam railway, or a hot air balloon ride, you’ll find it here.
- Oxford or Cambridge: Nothing can really complete your trip to London but partaking in some of its traditions. Why not pay a visit to Oxford or Cambridge and partake in their traditional sport of punting?
- Snowdon in Wales: The Snowdon hike is one of the boldest to take, considering that its six different paths will lead you to the top of Wales’ highest mountain. If you’re feeling adventurous, the climb will be worth it on so many levels. This is a two day trip!
- The Southern Coast: There are tons of seaside towns along the southern coast with the best fish & chips in the world. Seriously, you can’t complete your visit to London until you’ve checked this out!
Also checkout our 2018 Women’s Field Hockey World Cup Preview