Don’t Be A Tourist! 9 Places Only Hardcore Londoners Know About

‘That’s very touristy’ is possibly one of the most heinous comments a person could make about your chosen bar, place or activity. In London, no one wants to look like a tourist. When it comes to finding out the best places to try (for both Londoners and tourists alike), it’s hard to decipher what’s good when researching online. (Unless, of course, you read SL *wink*). There is, however, a brand spanking new app launching their beta version in London – Cool Cousin – which will help you find amazing places to try, as recommended by locals – the people who know best. The app allows you to find and chat to ‘Cousins’, people who live in the city you’re planning to visit and who will give you real, tried-and-tested recommendations of cool places to try. Here are some places in our city, shared by some of the London Cousins.

1 brixton

1. Pop Brixton

Recommended by: Adrianna, Yoga Teacher
Adrianna says: The latest edition to the community, Pop Brixton is an open-air style market, which personifies the spirit of Brixton. Here you’ll find a combination of restaurants of all cuisines, local fashion designers, bars, and a health food café called homegrown (a personal fave) There is a greenhouse style seating area for when the days are well, like London, but the most wonderful thing is to sit in the sun, cocktail in hand as the sun is setting while listening to love music, because there is an event space called Pop Box, which hosts various events from live music, to movie, to yoga and capoeira.
49 Brixton Station Rd, London SW9 8PQ


2. Champs Barber

Recommended by: Barrie, Owner of Scotch & Limon
Barrie says: Run by an ex Colombian boxing champion, champs is pound for pound the best barbers in London. No need to book, just rock up and enjoy the trim.
31 Riding House St, London W1W 7DY
3. Reign Vintage

Recommended by: Jacob, Musician and Filmmaker
Jacob says: I’m almost reluctant to make public my secret of Reign Vintage. This place is the best vintage shop in London. Fact. The clothes are fantastic, affordable, and diverse. Whether you’re looking for a 60s dress, a 70s suit, or just a shirt, bag or hat, this is the place. The staff are delightful and you’re in the heart of Soho.
12 Berwick St, London W1F


4. The Rum Kitchen

Recommended by: Adora Mba, African Art Blogger
Adora says: My best friend owns this place so I may be a tad biased, but honestly if you like good food, good music and a great ambience it is the place to get your grub on. Book in advance! The queues are always long for walk-ins. I prefer the Soho branch for whatever reason but then I prefer to have brunch at the All Saints one. Different strokes for different folks – most importantly the food is still great at both! You simply must try the jerk chicken thighs, the spare ribs, the jerk chicken burger and the goat curry with rice. HEAVEN.
Multiple Locations: Kingly Court, Carnaby St, London W1B 5PW & 6-8 All Saints Rd, London W11 1HH
5. The Dove Beer and Kitchen

Recommended by: James, Music Producer and DJ

James says: Way before the craft beer movement became a thing, there was The Dove, serving up a really wide range of specialist bottles as well as guest ales & beers. Really cosy pub too, lots of board games for wintery afternoons or a good few tables on the pavement on Broadway Market. The beers are great but i wouldn’t personally recommend eating there though, way better other options for food in the area in my opinion…
24-28 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ


6. The Escapologist


Recommended by: Alex, PR professional & London Community Manager for Cool Cousin
Alex says: My favourite thing about this bar is that you can enter one of the spaces through a secret door that looks like a large painting! Make sure you experience that. I prefer going there in the late afternoon rather than the evening for an intimate drink with a friend in one of the booths. The Nero Must Die cocktail is a great alternative to an Espresso Martini.
35 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LD
7. The Peace Pagoda

Recommended by: Adam Bodini, Photography and Brand strategy consultant
Adam says: The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is an amazing place to escape and reflect on the world. Overlooking the Thames, surrounding by lush greenery it is easy to feel completely at peace and relaxed here. I often escape to the Pagoda, lie down and forget about the stresses and strains of the world.


8. Howling Hops Tank Bar

Recommended by: Ilana, Cinematographer
Ilana says: A fairly new addition to the ever growing Hackney Wick. This micro brewery is awesome to go to if you like an ale! They have loads of tanks filled with an eclectic mix of ales in a great space that feels really communal. They don’t serve in pints of half pints. If you are a meat eater you can get a massive platter of it here.
Unit 9A Queen’s Yard, White Post Ln, London E9 5EN


9. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Recommended by: Max, Filmmaker and Props Scouter

Max says: Hidden off the forever busy Dalston Lane is this incredible and relaxing community garden. The garden was built on an old railway line and is surrounded by warehouses and some converted industrial buildings. They serve both hot and alcoholic drinks and the garden gets lots of sunlight. They also often do biscuits and cakes. The vibe is incredibly friendly and they often hold workshops.
13 Dalston Ln, London E8 3DF



How to Get the Full Harry Potter Experience In London

First came the books, then the films; now the world premiere of the play is here.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II,” co-written by JK Rowling, is on stage at Palace Theatre from June 7.

The play is set 19 years after the last book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Harry is now a husband, father of three and an overworked employee of Ministry of Magic—an organisation that preserves magical law. As his youngest son Albus wrestles with his inherited powers, Harry has issues of his own. His archenemy, the evil Voldemort, may have been conquered but Harry is still haunted by his past.

The show is directed by the Olivier and Tony Award–winner John Tiffany, best known for the West End’s musical show “Once”. Details are under wraps, but with special effects by Jeremy Chernick—who’s worked on Cirque du Soleil’s “Wintuk” and “America’s Got Talent”—expect to be blown away.

Unusually, the play is too long for a single show, so to see it all you need to buy tickets to both parts; watch them on the same day or two consecutive evenings. Alas, it’s fully booked until 2017, but call for potential return tickets.

Unlucky? You can still keep the story of Harry Potter alive, says JK Rowling. “No story lives unless someone wants to listen. So whether you come back by page or by big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

So let the stories you know and love pop off the page by visiting these film locations around London. Let’s take you on a tour of the city!

London Zoo

The zoo’s reptile house is featured in the first film, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” After Harry speaks to a Burmese python, he makes its tank glass disappear, causing his annoying cousin Dudley to fall in as the snake escapes. ‘Thanksss!’ While there, check out the Asiatic lions in the new Land of the Lions.


Leadenhall Market

The opticians in Bulls Head Passage, by Leadenhall Market, is the entrance for the Leaky Cauldron wizard’s pub in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” The magicians passed through it to access stalls in Diagon Alley. A 14th-century meat market, it’s now home to shops, cafes and wine bars. Note its ornate roof.


Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station

Hogwarts Express departed for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from this platform. To find it, Harry would run into a wall between platforms 9 and 10. Visit the entrance to the real platform 9 and you’ll find a trolley disappearing into a wall and the sign for Platform 9¾.


St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

The neo-gothic façade of this hotel, next to King’s Cross station, is the entrance to the station in the films. Eagle-eyed fans might remember when Harry and Ron parked Ron’s dad Mr Weasley’s Ford Anglia here, before flying it to Hogwarts in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Sip cocktails in Booking Office Bar or enjoy the spa pool.


Borough Market

Leaky Cauldron moved from Leadenhall to Borough Market for the third film, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Following a hair-raising journey over Lambeth Bridge—‘Little old lady, 12 o’clock!’—the triple-decker Knight bus bumps into a car outside Chez Michéle florist at 7 Stoney Street. Go early and try the market’s regional produce.


Millennium Bridge

This suspension bridge featured in the sixth film, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” when Voldemort ordered Death Eaters to attack it. The bridge collapsed into the Thames, killing muggles (non wizards). Cross from Tate Modern on the South Bank over to St Paul’s Cathedral.


Piccadilly Circus

This major intersection features in the seventh film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.” While escaping Death Eaters, Harry, Ron and Hermione just miss being hit by a double decker outside what is now Gap. The statue of Eros is a handy meeting point outside Criterion Theatre.


Warner Bros Studio

On a studio tour, Harry, Ron and Hermione discuss the films on screen before you’re led into the Great Hall. You then see costumes, props and the steam train Harry took to Hogwarts’ before ‘flying’ on broomsticks.


Westminster tube station

Harry and Mr Weasley ride this station’s escalators in the fifth film, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” en route to Harry’s hearing at Ministry of Magic. Mr Weasley uses his hand instead of an Oyster card and is puzzled when the barriers don’t open. ‘Trains underground! Ingenious, these muggles!’ The station closed for a day during filming. It’s close to Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.


Did you know? You can book the Harry Potter Walking Tour here: