Almost a decade since it was founded in August 2008, Airbnb is now a familiar name to people looking to lease or rent short-term lodgings such as apartments and vacation rentals, homestays and hostel beds. Since November 2016, the reputable online short-term lodging marketplace has expanded their offering with a new service which allows users to book immersive travel experiences in the marketplace. Such travel experiences include city tours, unique local meetups, and peer recommendations, so you can truly immerse yourself in the local culture through Airbnb.
If you are planning a trip to one of the world’s most visited cities - London, ditch the typical tourist route and book an Airbnb Experience for an unforgettable trip. In this guide, I will provide you with a list of the 10 best Airbnb Experiences in London that will offer a unique glimpse into London’s history, nature, food, and nightlife from the local perspective.
As a bustling metropolis with history stretching back to Roman times, there is a lot waiting to be explored by travellers in London. Most tourists tend to head to Jewel Tower, Buckingham Palace or Tower of London for a slice of England’s history, but have you ever wandered to the Clerkenwell district in central London? Known as being an area with great character and charm, join Nigel, an Oxford History graduate who has lived in London all his life, on an insightful walk through medieval London. With this Airbnb Experience, look forward to incredible stories from Nigel who has extensive knowledge of the area, as well as visit both popular and off-the-beaten-track sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral and Postman’s Park during the 2-hour walk.
Walk in Medieval London
Price: 15 USD per person
2. Nature experiences
London may be a highly urbanised city where most people would relate her to a concrete jungle image, but that does not mean you won’t be able to enjoy nature when you are exploring the city. Here are three fun nature experiences you can partake in London.
If you think it is impossible to leisurely cycle and enjoy good old rustic charm in a built-up city like London, it is because you have not met Stefan yet. The friendly German and Spanish teacher is an avid cyclist who discovered numerous beautiful cycling routes in the city and he is more than willing to show you around these routes. When you book this bike tour hosted by Stefan, he will provide you with a bicycle and take you on an alluring old river ride in the London not many tourists know about.
Let the sight of picturesque parks and rivers calm your mind as you cycle along, while you listen to interesting stories about people, history and culture through a local. End the fun-filled bike tour with some tantalising food and drinks from a 17th century pub at the ponds of a charming English village. Rest assured the bike tour is relaxing yet stimulating, and certainly not physically demanding. So book a date with Stefan to explore a cool bike tour off the beaten tourist track in London!
London's Best Kept Secret
Price: 81 USD per person
A direct 45-minute train from London Bridge railway station to Cowden railway station in Kent will take you to The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in southeast England. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with Airbnb superhost Hugo, who will share fascinating stories and beauty of his hometown as you hike the captivating countryside together.
The 9-mile (14.5-kilometre) hike will bring you through one of England’s finest landscapes, complete with rolling hills, woodlands and fern-clad streams that have existed since the Medieval times. Besides soaking up the incredible nature, you will also visit various noteworthy landmarks including a castle, church, tea shop and country pub, with origins dating back to several centuries. If you enjoy the outdoors and are comfortable walking long distances in the countryside for half a day, the Royal Rural Ramble tour is a perfect match for you. Spice up your London trip with a taste of English countryside life with this Airbnb Experience!
Royal Rural Ramble (reasonably rapid)
Price: 51 USD per person
Do you enjoy consuming honey because of its many nutritional benefits? Visit a beehive and observe the amazing production personally, with this Airbnb Experience here in London. Book the Urban Bees and Honey tour hosted by Alison. She will share her wealth of knowledge about bees, in particular, honey bees that have made London their home. In addition, you will have the opportunity to plant bee-friendly flower seeds on site, as well as taste delicious honey from a myriad of hives across the capital city.
The apiary is tucked away in a secluded nature park located at the heart of King’s Cross. Its strategic location makes the tour perfect for travellers who do not have the luxury of time to venture to the outskirts of London but still wish to enjoy some nature amidst all the concrete in the city. So join Alison in this novel experience suitable for the whole family.
Urban Bees and Honey
Price: 73 USD per person
3. Gourmet experiences
Food brings people together, and it is one of the main reasons why many people travel. A memorable gourmet experience is more than just savouring great food in the most reputable or popular restaurants in town. Read on for three unique food and drink experiences that will help you appreciate London’s rich history and culture more.
Everyone loves a great dinner with good food and fun company. But the dinner experience would be even more superb if the venue was in a quaint, charming space. Join a dinner party hosted by Emma at the Town House in the heart of east London. Emma founded a supper club after working in a Spitalfields antique shop and hosting numerous dinner parties there.
Start the evening with a welcome drink as you mingle with other guests and admire the interesting facade of the antique building. As you sit down at the long table for dinner, listen to the enthralling stories that Emma will share about the building’s history and people. Each dish on the menu is also specially selected with links to the past which Emma will explain as the dishes are served. The dinner party is not just an opportunity for you to taste delicious food, but an all-rounded gourmet experience complete with interesting history and fantastic company.
Learn a building’s history over dinner
Price: 94 USD per person
More often than not, local food is the way to discover more about the authentic culture of a place. Tooting, a multicultural south London neighbourhood, has recently joined the ranks of world’s coolest city areas to visit alongside established names such as New York’s Sunset Park and Lisbon’s The Triangle. By booking the 3-hour Scrumptious South London tour with the amiable host Aidan, you will be able to explore quaint places away from the big city sights of London.
Having grown up in the area and worked in the food industry for over a decade, Aidan is the best guide you can go to for everything about the swanky Tooting neighbourhood and its exotic food selection. Discover lovely food haunts tucked away in the small alleys of the area that only locals would know about. Be introduced to traditional dishes of the Indian subcontinent as well as a few pleasant surprises along the way. After the amazing culinary tour in Tooting, you can continue exploring the cool neighbourhood on your own at leisure.
Scrumptious South London
Price: 63 USD per person
Hosted by the affable Philip who is a passionate wine educator, the Personalised Wine Tasting experience is a must-do if you enjoy food and wine, yet are clueless about how to match the two together. Held outdoors in a pavilion right in the heart of the unassuming Maltby Street Market, you will be able to enjoy a fabulous lunch and taste wine.
Learn how your palate reacts with various foods and wine, by tasting several wines with Philip so you learn how to pair them with key food flavours - bitter, salty, savoury, sour, spicy and sweet. Thereafter, you will be introduced to delectable food from around the world in the lively market. Buy your favourite lunch from the wide array of offerings, and put what you have learnt to practice by pairing it with a matching wine. This personalised gourmet experience is not your typical wine tasting tour. Even if you are an experienced wine taster, you may be surprised to learn new fun facts that you never knew about prior to the tour. So book this experience for a delightful afternoon in London!
Personalised Wine Tasting
Price: 33 USD per person
4. Night entertainment experiences
London is a city that never sleeps, as it offers plenty to do and enjoy for everyone at night. Besides watching world-class theatrical or music performances, chilling out in top clubs in the West End, or partying your night away in east London, there is a slew of alternative experiences on Airbnb that will keep you entertained at night. Check out these 3 interesting experiences for a captivating night out in town.
For the arts buff, you may have heard about Shoreditch, the new arty district located in east London where the hip and trendy head to these days. On the last Sunday of every month, partake in an unforgettable musical experience held in a unique loft space in the heart of Shoreditch. The private home is a lovely treehouse complete with fairy lights, cushions, swing and a spectacular Steinway Concert Grand piano.
Listen to mesmerizing voices accompanied with soothing classical music performed by multi-award winning instrumentalists in an intimate setting. Go behind the scenes as the inspiring performers share fascinating insights into their lives at some of the world’s greatest music conservatoires, West End musicals and major Opera productions. During the breaks, you can even have a chat with your favourite performer over a drink. Instead of joining the party crowds in clubs, enjoy a sensational night of relaxing classics in an enchanting setting with this secret concert experience!
Secret Concert in a Treehouse
Price: 37 USD per person
For those looking for an indie jazz performance in London, you will find joy in the Airbnb Experience by Hidden Jazz Club, founded in the summer of 2017. Highly acclaimed as one of Airbnb’s Top 5 most popular global experiences, the Hidden Jazz Club is formed by prominent jazz composers and vocalists in England. The captivating live jazz performance is housed in a beautiful repurposed shipping container in Brixton, so you can get up close to distinguished jazz musicians.
Only the best and brightest from London’s lively jazz scene will be invited to perform at Hidden Jazz Club, including star performers such as Vimala Rowe and Binker Golding. No two nights are the same at Brixton Hidden Jazz Club, so repeat guests to the experience are certainly welcome. Coupled with an accessible location within a stone’s throw from public transport options and surrounded by great street food choices in central London, it is no surprise why this stunning jazz experience is so well-received by everyone!
Brixton Hidden Jazz Club
Price: 22 USD per person
If you enjoy partying but are bored of the usual options and wish to explore the alternative side of London nightlife, this Airbnb Experience hosted by Alison is a wonderful choice to consider. As a friendly dance enthusiast who is passionate about London nightlife, Alison, nicknamed the “London Nightlife Encyclopedia" among friends, is the best person to approach in this aspect.
Start the evening in a quirky bar before you go on a personalised LGBTQ+ (an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and others) evening filled with the best live acts, secret bars and hidden gems that even locals may not know. Immerse yourself in the night as you drink, chat and mingle with other partygoers while treading the historical streets in London. “When Night Falls In London” with Aisha is best for anyone who is open minded with an appetite for a truly memorable night.
When Night Falls In London
Price: 87 USD per person
Experience the real London with local hosts
If you travel so that you get to gain more insights into the local culture, history and people, Airbnb Experiences is a good platform where you can find recommended immersive experiences to partake in. Get to know London better through tours or programs hosted by real locals. For your next London trip, try something different. Break the monotony by not going through the same old tourist route that everyone else does. Create awesome travel memories with one of the 10 Airbnb Experiences recommended above!
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