Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has told of his favourite places to eat, drink and relax in his South London neighbourhood as he backs a new drive to encourage more tourists to explore some of the city's undiscovered areas and live like a local. The Mayor, who lives in Tooting – made famous in popular culture by the 1970's classic BBC comedy Citizen Smith, starring Robert Lindsay - has spoken about how the area is home to the best South Asian restaurants in the capital, has a vibrant nightlife comparable to Soho, a tranquil common and an outdoor swimming pool which can boast Hollywood actor Brad Pitt as a visitor.
The Mayor is one of a dozen local London bloggers who have created insider guides about all the best things to do where they live.
In his guide, the Mayor says Tooting, just 20 minutes down the Northern line from London Bridge, has cuisine from all corners of the globe, an arts club that has put on internationally acclaimed productions and a market that is so colourful it feels like a summer holiday all year round.
The Mayor enjoys cycling down to Tooting Common with his daughters to enjoy the wildlife and homemade ice cream in the café, and taking a dip in England's largest freshwater pool - the Grade II listed Art Deco Tooting Bec Lido.
And, as he likes to be reminded of his South Asian roots, in his spare time he can be found at his favourite restaurant, the Lahore Karahi, where, 'the naan is fresh and the tarkah dahl is almost as delicious as my mother's!'.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London's cultural and gastronomic gems are not just limited to the city centre, and that's one of the things I love most about this city. Almost every nook and cranny is hive of activity, offering something for absolutely everyone. From Camden to Tooting and Ealing to Greenwich, every local area has its own personality and appeal. There are secret cinemas and intimate theatres, local festivals, heritage sites and grassroots music venues all over the city. I urge tourists to not only enjoy our world-renowned central London sites, but to wander off the beaten track and see more of London.”
Millions of visitors come to London every year to experience the city's rich culture, from award-winning museums and galleries to exciting restaurants and nightlife, but few tourists venture out of central London to the outer boroughs.
Analysis suggests visitors want to discover more hidden gems with 78 per cent of Visitlondon.com users saying they are looking for more local things to do. London's outer boroughs are also the most searched for destination for Airbnb guests seeking an authentic experience in the communities Londoners call home.
The local London bloggers have created the first of a series of insider guides across 13 London areas, including Greenwich, Crystal Palace, Shoreditch and Hoxton, Stratford and Richmond, which are available on Visitlondon.com/areas.