London is a city of amazing contrast and changing character. Walk just two steps left or three steps right and you can find yourself in a totally different neighbourhood with a completely different vibe. We’ll take you through some of the coolest neighbourhoods to visit in the capital. From crazy nightlife in Soho, to bustling markets in Camden and colourful street art in Shoreditch, these are the places to explore if you are looking to discover a different side of London.
Soho is one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in London, with an amazing energy and vibe. During the day you’ll find boutique shops and cute little cafes. It’s at night that Soho really comes alive with thousands of young people flocking to the many bars and nightclubs in the area. So whether it’s the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, iconic Borderline music venue or one of the many LGBT friendly clubs, you’ll never be bored!
Soho is also one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in London. It’s perfectly located within walking distance of other major neighbourhoods and areas like Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. And it’s easy to find an affordable place to stay with boutique hostels like SoHostel and YHA offering amazing value for money.
Covent Garden borders Soho which is generally known as London’s theatre district. It’s here that you’ll find all the major West End performances of musicals and plays. This includes; Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King and Aladdin.
However, there’s more to Covent Garden that just amazing theatre! Covent Garden market is open every day, and you’ll find stores selling products and goods from all over the world. There’s always free entertainment nearby with amazing street artists performing everything from magic tricks and acrobatics to singing and dancing. At the far end of Covent Garden lies Neil’s Yard which is one of the most beautiful courtyard’s in London. This is a great place to grab a coffee or have something to eat.
The East End is the edgier and more hipster part of the capital. Shoreditch has become the centre of this trendier side of London. The area is famous for the incredible amount of street art that is dotted all over the neighbourhood, including works by the legendary street-artist Banksy.
Old Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane are great places to start a visit to Shoreditch. Here you’ll find lots of local independent shops, food stalls and street performers. Nearby BoxPark is the world’s first pop-up mall made out of Shipping Containers. Then, there’s Hoxton Square, with restaurants such as the iconic Breakfast Club. Don’t miss the bustling Columbia Road Flower Market, which opens every Sunday from 8am to 3pm, selling plants and colourful flowers at greatly reduced prices.
Another trendy area is Camden. During the daytime, have a stroll through the narrow passageways of Camden’s Stables market, with stalls selling everything from second-hand clothing to antique furniture and unique souvenirs. Camden’s Food Market is the perfect place to have lunch, with stands offering food from all over the world, including cuisine from South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, along with traditional British dishes. Away from the busy market, spend the afternoon wandering by the side of Camden Lock and the Regent’s canal which goes all the way to Little Venice.
Notting Hill is synonymous with Portobello Market, one of the best markets in the capital. The main market day is Saturday. Thousands of people flock to this mile-long stretch of road which turns into the largest antique market in the UK. You’ll find traders selling everything from clothes and books to jewellery, furniture and accessories. There are loads of cafes, restaurants and food stands to grab a bite to eat. Spending a day here is a really memorable experience.
There’s also the Notting Hill Carnival. This happens every year on the last August bank holiday. It’s one of the craziest parties in town with amazing costumes, food and music!