There’s so much more to London than Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and David Beckham. With its streets teeming with history and culture, the British capital never runs out of things to see and do. And yet, most travelers limit themselves to cliché tourist hotspots. Don’t be that traveler.
Instead, arrange an itinerary that shows you the real face of London. Get to know the man on the street, find places reflective of the city’s character. There are plenty of these kinds of activities you can do, so much that Airbnb recently included London in the launch of its latest feature, called Trips.
Basically, Trips lets visitors connect with in-the-know hosts, who could show them around. And by connecting with these locals, travelers can get a more immersive and authentic experience. Think fire spinning lessons in Miami, a motorbike tour of Nairobi, or samurai training in Tokyo (yes, for real).
Here are some of those Airbnb experiences you can find in London – as well as some that could – and perhaps will – have made the list:
Score British heirlooms via a tour with London antique dealers
Being one of the earliest civilizations in the world, it’s safe to say that there are tons of antiques in London. Now you get to scavenge these with the help of professional antique dealers in Airbnb’s We Find Treasure.
The three-day tour features bargain hunting in Hackney Wick, a trip to Sunbury antiques Market (one of the largest in the UK), and cocktails a secret bar.
Go white water rafting… in London
No, you won’t be rafting in the River Thames, but rather, you’ll be doing it at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, the former venue of the 2012 Olympic Games.
The good news is that you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to paddle here. The centre offers courses for beginners too. Other activities include canoeing, hydrospeeding, and kayaking.
Learn how to ride the iconic Penny Farthing Bicycle
Sure, the Tube is a quick way to get around, but wouldn’t it be fancier to wander London 1800s style?
The founder of Penny Farthing Club will teach you how to ride the iconic high wheel bicycle, then you’ll go on a leisurely tour of St. James’s Square, Trafalgar Square, Palace of Westminster, and Buckingham Palace.
Bonus if you arrive in a suit and black top hat!
Find out what it’s like to be a London milliner (hatmaker)
Why bother buying a bowler hat when you can make one instead?
In Hatter’s Delight, another Airbnb experience, you’ll meet a London milliner and be introduced to the city’s fashion industry. During the two-day tour, you’ll go to the Fashion and Textile Museum, learn how to make a hat using traditional techniques, and meet local designers and makers.
Grab a cup of coffee in a late-19th-century public toilet
Coffee shops are a great place to relax, but none more so than a public toilet – at least in London.
Attendant is a coffee bar that was built in a late-nineteenth-century men’s toilet. You read that right. The urinals have been repurposed as tiny booths with tables, with additional seating at the back. Oh, and the coffee and sandwiches are amazing too.
The place gets packed during peak hours, so you’ll have to arrive early, otherwise you’ll just have to… piss off.
Walk in the footsteps of classical music’s great composers
This Airbnb tour, called A Classical Wander, takes you on a nice stroll of London’s classical music history.
Led by a music writer, you’ll visit Steinway & Sons (piano makers for composers like Rachmaninov and Lisz), St George’s Church, and Wigmore Hall (said to be the world’s best music hall chamber).
Go back in time to a house stuck in 1900
No TARDIS needed.
18 Stafford Terrace looks like any other London home. Once you step inside, however, you’ll be transported to a late Victorian era setting.
Apparently, when cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne died in 1910, no one bothered to change anything inside the dwelling (even the newspapers). The house later became a museum, serving as the perfect snapshot of what middle-class aestheticism looks like.
Check out AirBnB trips now!