Untouristic in London

Friday 27 June 2014

A few weeks ago, I turned 31.  I've been lucky the last couple of years as my birthday has fallen on or around Whit Sunday & Whit Monday which are public holidays in Norway resulting in long weekends perfect for a birthday getaway.  We tossed around a few ideas as to what to do and where to go but left booking anything until mid-May.  When we finally got around to seriously planning, the prices of flights had doubled on our original itinerary so I jumped on Skyscanner, put in our dates and chose 'anywhere' as the destination.  London was the cheapest so London it was.

We had visited London last year in early Spring and were pleasantly surprised by the city but our stay was short and there was certainly a lot of the city we didn't experience.  Despite an abundance of sites and museums to visit, we did practically nothing a typical tourist might do in the city.  We didn't catch a glimpse of Big Ben.  We didn't saunter by Buckingham or peruse the V & A.  The only time I saw the Thames was from the airplane.  In fact, I left my camera in the hotel room for two of the four days we had in the city.

However, we did love exploring Marylebone, the neighbourhood we stayed in.  We spent some time in Regent Park and trekked up Primrose Hill for views of the city (pictured above.)  We took in The Book of Mormon in the West End and laughed so hard and picked our jaws off our chests at the highly inappropriate jokes.  We shared a lovely breakfast with Jess at Le Pain Quotidien; we got completely overwhelmed by Harrods and we took the tube out to suburbia for a little shopping, North American style (i.e., in a mall.)  We made our way through the market in Camden and bought fudge and frozen lemonade.  We wandered through Covent Garden and we traveled by train to Bath for a day.

While we might have been terrible tourists, it was nice to just be in the city without thinking about checking things off a list.  It felt less like travel and more like regular life.

Regular life as a 31 year old.

The Details
-For the second time, we flew direct with Norwegian to Gatwick.
-We stayed at Dorset Square Hotel.  It was lovely.  Designed by famous English designer Kit Kemp, each room was unique.  We liked the location - close to 2 tube stops, an easy walk to Oxford Street & Regent Park yet quiet and residential feeling.


  1. It sounds like you had a fabulous birthday. I truly love doing normal, untouristic things in cities I've already seen while traveling. As much as seeing Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are ggod to see, there's an entirely different side of the city most tourists won't experience. Besides, all of the places you visited are just as historic in their own right.... I'm starting to much prefer that.

  2. Happy belated birthday! Sounds like a great little getaway, I'm definitely envious that you got to see the Book of Mormon! :)

    Beautiful shots by the way!

  3. We've started exploring London this way on our most recent few visits, not worrying about the touristy stuff and just enjoying the city and it's so fun to do that! Where'd you guys end up staying?

  4. happy birthday!
    i love to explore places or spots that are not in the radar of tourists. and this place looks beautiful too.

  5. What a lovely way to spend a birthday :)

  6. aw yay, what a perfect little trip for you *three* :) happy birthday!

  7. London is the perfect city to not be a tourist in :) Your pictures are lovely! Was so thrilled we could meet up! xx

  8. if this is regular life for a 31yo, sign me up! ;) happy (belated) birthday dear! im so glad (and jealous) you got to meet up with Jess..

  9. Absolutely love your photos, I think they show a totally different side to London. Sometimes I think it's fun not to do a touristy things. It looks like you had a wonderful time and happy belated birthday!


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