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Discover an Alternative London

Finding a place to stay in London can be a pretty daunting experience. Being such a massive a various place can mean that merely deciding on what area of London you want to stay in can be a tricky business. Where once tourists would pitch up in Central London and tour the more predictable highlights – Houses of Parliament, Oxford Street, Madam Tussauds etc. – these days the tourist has evolved into a more discerning, adventurous creature, in search of that mythical nirvana of ‘authenticity’.

Of course, those old and well established attractions still draw a vast number of holidaymakers – but increasingly the slightly more outlying areas of London are attracting a significant number of visitors, seeking out a different or particular experience. Consequently, these areas have responded with a mushrooming of hotels, youth hostels and flats all over, meaning that a trip to Hoxton needn’t end with a taxi fare back to Baker Street.

For those whose urges lie in seeking out fashion, art and music – East London is the place to be. As the media continually remind us, London is a back as a world-beating hub for all things fashionable, and it’s pretty clear that most of this springs out of Hackney and Tower Hamlets – host to a dizzying array of art galleries, open studios, fashion markets and sample sales. Every weekend Brick Lane is descended upon by hundreds of wannabe fashionistas, hoping to pick up a bargain, or otherwise be spotted sipping an espresso at one of the many bars that pepper the area.

To the west, London goes upper class – with Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham playing host to an elite and fabulously wealthy clique of oligarchs, footballers, hedge-fund investors and minor aristocracy. Suitably, the restaurants become more fine-dining and less Aberdeen-Angus; the bars more exclusive and less happy-hour. It’s an expensive place, but there are some more democratic (free) attractions in the form of museums, parks and a distinctly traditional line in fine art.

South of the river there are beautiful parks (Blackheath), time-keeping ports (Greenwich); food and drink markets (Borough Market), and the continental-feeling Southbank. In each and every one of these locations you will find all manner of accommodation – almost certainly cheaper and more interesting than those that are the staple of the tourist industry in the centre – particularly the hotels. London, like so many locations around the world, is being visited by a more and more curious breed of tourist, and it is responding with an ever increasing and marvellous array of different, authentic and diverse experiences and sights.

There are numerous options available to those travelling to London from within the UK ranging from the budget Megabus option (tickets from as little as a pound from various cities) to the rather more extravagant option of a flight. Check out* to see how prices measure up, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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