My hidden gems in London
I'm sure that you plan your trips and always want to see top sites in each city, or country that you visit. Me too! But I also like to stumble across the hidden gems... sometimes that happens by accident, sometimes I get a good tip!
There are so many places and activities you can do in London that if I wanted to include all of them in this post, it will be too long. This post will focus on places. Perhaps I'll do other themes some other time?
Therefore in this article I wanted to share some of my favourite gems in this city, they are usually a very photogenic locations as well. You can thank me later (by tagging me in your photos so that I know you used my tip)
Photo: Can you believe it's London? Yes it is!
1. My number one spot has to be Neal's Yard, nearby Covent Garden - undeniably most colourful little area you can lay your eyes on in this city. The fusion of colours reminds me of rainbow and instantly makes you feel like you are transported somewhere else. Neal's Yard is situated close to Covent Garden tube station, you need to walk down Neal Street and take second left, and then right (sounds like Tom Tom ;-) ). There's few coffee shops in this tiny yard so you may want to grab a coffee and enjoy the colours around you. It gets quite busy during lunch time on weekdays as all the office workers come here for a chill out break and lunch. It's situated close to 7 Dials area which has some great boutique shops, & coffee shops as well.
2. My second favourite is St Katherine's Dock, nearby Tower Bridge - this was probably my first hidden gem discovered in London. However, it was a good tip from my relative. Not frequented by tourist that much or even Londoners, this Monaco-like marina offers views of boats, and plenty of restaurants to sit back, relax and enjoy the view. And if you happen to be there when the sun is out, you will feel as if you are in the Mediterranean harbour. I always imagine I am somewhere on French Riviera :-) You can also visit 18th century reconstructed warehouse pub "Dickens Inn" which is always beautifully adorned with flowers and great place to grab a drink and enjoy the view.
Photo: Dickens Inn during winter time - still beautiful without blooming flowers
3. Borough Market - foodies heaven for those who simply love to eat out and try new things, but also to buy ingredients very rarely found elsewhere e.g. black garlic. You can stroll through small alleys of the market and try pizza, pasta, gourmet cheeses and wines, fabulous coffee, Polish pierogi, or Mexican tacos and so on and on and on.... Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or a meat eater I believe everyone will find something interesting here.
4. Camden Town, Camden Market - another foodie heaven but also a collection of unconventional shops, market stalls with unusual pieces of clothing that you won't find anywhere else. Quite a bespoke selection of pretty much everything, including crap..... The food scene is amazing; lot's of street food-style huts offering everything you dream of; from pulled pork, pasta to vegan treats. If it's a sunny day you will get crowds like nowhere else in London (hundreds per square km) but that's part of the charm! Of course Camden is also a wild party scene, and if you get there over the weekend nights you are in for a treat! pubs, clubs, live music, disco.... all in Camden!
5. Get lost in the streets of Soho - find Wardour street and venture out to left or right. The energetic streets of Soho, in the London's West End, feature an ever-changing eclectic mix of dining, nightlife and shopping options. Few street names not to miss: Dean, Frith, Beak and Old Compton are the epicenter of activity day and night (although night seem to be more buzzing), with long-running Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club calling the area home. If you are a theatre fan head to Shaftesbury Avenue, while shoppers can flock to Carnaby Street (very pretty), and nearby Oxford and Regent streets and the iconic Liberty department store.
Photo: Soho area in London's West End
6. Christopher Place for an escape from busy Oxford Street - if you have done all your shopping, and need to rest from the overwhelming crowds, there's no better place than Christopher Place for a bite or a drink. It's hidden behind Oxford Street, and you can get there through narrow passage just next to the H&M store (at the time of writing this post) it does not look inviting at first but walk through the narrow alley, pass the Burberry shop and you are there. A calm oasis at the back of shopping frenzy area!
Photo: Brick Lane - heart of Bengali community & curry houses
7. Brick Lane & Shoreditch - this may not be your first spot to think of when visiting London. However, it is a corner of London worth visiting. While you may hear more and more about Shoreditch as it is very hip and up and coming area with many boutique hotels popping up on every corner, and plenty of fancy bars and clubs. Shoreditch is a district worth seeing for it's colourful street art, and most of all the vibe! Brick Lane is intertwined with Shoreditch and that's why you can do two together while visiting East London. Brick Lane as opposed to Shoreditch is a heart of Bangladeshi community and home to many curry restaurants. So if you want to try tasty & flavorsome curry head to Brick Lane. Walking along the street, you will notice a vibrant art and fashion student area, with considerable exhibition space. More recently, the area most of the fine art and fashion courses exhibit their work near Brick Lane.
I hope that some of this places are new to you and you found this article interesting as well as helpful for your next London adventure?! Let me know!