London has a big personality, but no, that’s not code for ugly. England´s illustrious capital is both picturesque and full of unique locations to explore.
The bustling hub of culture has many faces, and no area of London is quite the same, meaning you could visit a hundred times and still not have seen it all.
From naughty Soho with its endless array of cafes, gay bars and clubs, to the punk-filled streets of Camden with its canal and alternative fashion stores, from the posh mansions and lush parks of Highgate to the shopaholic´s wet dream that is Covent Garden.
These diverse areas are spread out over London’s massive 1,572kms, so hop on the tube – mind the gap and head to these six most singular neighborhoods.
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Soho is an area that lives and breathes, but never sleeps. This vibrant and trendy neighborhood of London is known for its eclectic mix of people, all united by the same cause of celebrating beauty and diversity.
Soho has a naughty history as throughout the 20th century it was known for being a base for the sex industry. Remnants of this remain but now the streets are mostly filled with charismatic bars, trendy cafes, international restaurants, towering theaters and chic art galleries.
Old Compton Street runs through Soho and is quite possibly and fabulously, the gayest street in London and definitely the best place to drink any day of the week.
In its pulsating heart sits Soho square, where crowds gather to picnic and of course drink in a little oasis in the middle of the city, dwarfed by the metal towers around it.
By night there’s literally hundreds of personality driven bars and clubs to choose between just don’t go there if you have something important to do the morning after!
Camden Town is renowned for being an alternative bastion for punks, metallers, goths and any other alternative tribe you can imagine. Nowadays, it has become somewhat gentrified but fortunately has still retained a lot of its old flavor.
Nowhere else can you find such a distinctive combination of alternative vibes and London modernity, it’s a perfect example of how two distinctly different worlds can exist harmoniously one next to the other.
If you want a piercing, tattoo, Metallica Vinyl or band hoodie, then Camden is still the place to be.
Camden Lock Market is a key attraction, where food stall owners attempt to beckon you to sample food from all around the world.
The shops you´ll find underneath the arches by the canal try to outdo each other in terms of uniqueness. The Cyber Dog looks pulled straight from blade runner with its robot statues and flashing lights and is as much fun to explore as it is to buy clubbing gear from.
In contrast, don´t forget to venture down to the canal lock proper for a fully immersive local experience replete with quaint cafes and shops within canal boats.
Shoreditch is hipster paradise brimming with cereal cafes, vegan shoe stores, vintage clothes shops, eccentric markets and damn cool graffiti art.
It’s no wonder why Shoreditch has become London’s epicenter of hipster culture to the point it is now vernacular to say something is “very Shoreditch” as shorthand for hipster.
The nearby Brick Lane is home to the best curry houses of London, Old Street some of the best bars, Columbia Road has a colorful flower market and there´s BOXPARK . The world’s first pop-up mall to name just a few things to do.
Whether you’re seeking out hip art galleries, an offbeat clothing statement, or just exploring the trendiest coffee shops and cocktail bars, Shoreditch literally has it all.
Highgate up in Northern London, is a welcome respite from the city true and offers beautiful views down into the center.
Amongst the leafy suburban roads there is many a quaint tea room and charming traditional pub to enjoy a pint in, as they say in England.
Envy inducing mansions lie around the area, home to celebrities such as Annie Lennox.
Highgate houses Hampstead Heath, an 80 acres park with the best views of the city and Highgate Cemetery, where the likes of Karl Marx and George Michael lie.
Highgate is a highly pun intended, underrated part of London well worth the short underground trip from the center.
Covent Garden, on the other hand, is a load of shops and no garden… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth visiting!
There is something about the energy in this London neighborhood that’s contagious; the street performers, artists and shops host an incredible vibrancy throughout its many cobbled alleys.
The shops of Covent Garden have been a go-to destination for Londoners and visitors alike since the 17th century and a lot of these shops and a smattering of bars, have kept their traditional stylings. From gourmet shops to comic book shops and everything in between, Covent Garden is both a walk-in museum and a unique shopping experience.
Southbank is located right on the banks of the iconic River Thames. The walkway runs right along the river and is full of pop-up shops, restaurants, traditional pubs, less traditional bars, theaters and markets.
It also includes some of London’s best art and culture venues, such as The Southbank Centre, National Theatre and the anachronistic Shakespeare Globe – a 360 degrees open air auditorium showing modern versions of the writer´s plays!
Southbank is one of those vibrant areas that combines art and culture with life whether you’re there for a romantic date or just to enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
On any given day you can stroll along the Thames, observe some street performers doing their thing, pick up a bite to eat at a pop-up stall or grab a coffee, all while taking in some amazing views of London’s biggest attractions, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye.
Come the Christmas holidays huts spring up selling all sorts of delights as varied as mulled wine to fudge. A stroll down Southbank is always unique and the epitome of what London is all about, diversity.
Written by Auston from Two Bad Tourists
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