London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It tastefully fuses old and modern architecture, it subtlety blends history with modern culture, and it always has something new to experience even if you’ve lived there your whole life.

However sometimes you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, especially if you’ve ever tried travelling during rush hour! This doesn’t mean travelling miles and miles to get away from it all – there are plenty of things to do just a stone’s throw outside of Central London. If you’re looking for ideas, here are a few things to do whilst avoiding the square mile.

Hampstead Heath is almost a hidden gem to tourists. Located north of Regents Park it only takes 20 minutes to get there travelling by tube and you will immediately feel like you’re out of the city. Hampstead Heath boasts 790 glorious acres of meadows, woodlands, open glades, ponds, hedgerows and of course, carefully preserved heathland. There’s plenty to do with friends or family, or if you’re looking to meet new people you can meet up for one of the many scheduled walks or bird watching walks.

Another area of London, slightly off the beaten track but has been made famous by ‘Withnail & I’ and music legends Madness and Oasis, is Camden Market. Always trendy and always something interesting going on, it’s one of the most popular weekend tourist attractions, offering a mixture of fashion, food and crafts from all over the globe. If the market isn’t your thing, hang around until the evening when Camden’s nightlife can speak for itself.

Just outside of Central you can also find the famous London Zoo, which has been open to the public for over 160 years. It’s situated in the north side of Regents Park, and is recognised as the world’s oldest scientific zoo. With so many animals to see, it’s easy to spend a whole day engrossed with the wonderful animals whilst making the most of your entrance fee.

In the current economy, even tourists are looking to squeeze every penny. And too often visitors find themselves priced out of staying in Central London because of the price of accommodation; these people are now looking for alternatives for staying in London.

Providers of accommodation are now beginning to innovate and see what they can offer their guests. Families (or even people on business) who are looking for an extended stay in London, or even looking for somewhere to live on a short term basis; now have a choice of accommodation. Some companies now provide short term lets to cater for people looking to stay that extra bit longer, and avoid breaking the bank.