Shoreditch is a very cool part of London. Think street art, hipster cafes, pop-up shops, and more bars than you could even imagine. It’s a good place to come for brunch, then walk off your food baby afterwards by exploring the area. If you’re a coffee hoe like me, I recommend Grind near the Old Town Station. Their coffee is the closest I found to a long black back home. A cool spot I went to for brunch was The Book Club – it’s very reasonably priced despite the exposed brick walls and custom cocktails that are often hallmarks of an overpriced cafe. Plus, they have $5 cocktails after midday which is a huge weekend mood.
This might technically be a part of Shoreditch (I can never quite get my head around London geography) but it deserves its own entry for sure. The trendy-as-hell lane/street is packed with vintage shops. Some of them are stocked with designer wear for $300+, and some are the kind of place that take an ugly men’s polo shirt, crop it, and sell it for 20 quid. But the majority are reasonably-priced and filled to the brim with gems just waiting to be uncovered. There’s also a huge, sprawling underground vintage market that has some seriously cool finds in it. From a floor-length silk kimono from the 60s, to now-trendy A-line skirts of the ‘90s, you’ll definitely find something that has your name on it. Finish it off by grabbing food from the iconic Spitalfields Market. It’s got so many options that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend twenty minutes walking around indecisively gazing at everything before getting stressed and buying something from the first stall you saw.
If you like architecture, and more specifically, fancy-ass houses, then Chelsea is the area for you. I spent a couple of hours just wandering around the neighbourhood’s back streets, ogling at all the real estate that I will never in my wildest dreams be able to afford. Chelsea is home to the iconic street of coloured houses – Bywater Street – that you’ve no doubt seen on Instagram. But even once you wander away from that one, tourist-riddled area, you’ll find a TON of incredible streets with even more incredible residences. If you’re all about that insta life, stop in for a cake at Peggy Porchen, an iconic bakery with pink walls and a flower-covered entrance. The cakes are just as good as the decor, I promise. I followed this walking guide to find my way around the neighbourhood, but honestly you can just start at Sloane Square then wander around and see what you stumble across.
The neighbourhood that needs no introduction. I’m sure you already know all about Notting Hill thanks to Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, and an iconic blue door. But Hollywood aside, it’s a super-lovely suburb to walk around. Besides the bustling Portobello market, the back streets of this neighbourhood are always worth a wander. The roads are wide, lined with trees and – if you’re there in spring – lovely pink cherry blossoms. Oh, and endless stretches of some of the most beautiful, white townhouses you’ve ever seen. The kind that surround a square with a gated garden that only the residents can enter. Goals.
Alexandra Palace, aka Ally Pally is niiiiiiice as hell. It’s not close to the city centre, but I was staying right down the road in Crouch End so if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth seeing. It’s built up on a hill, so on a clear day you can see the London skyline, out to the Shard and the Eye. The palace is surrounded by grass and gardens, it’s the perfect spot for a wander in nature without having to hike it out of the city. On a warm day grab a picnic blanket and some drinks, because it’s the most beautiful place to spend a sunny afternoon.
St Paul’s Cathedral To Borough Market Walk
It’s a real tourist-y trail, but this one is a good walk to do when you’re new in London and want to see some sights. Start at St Paul’s tube station, and after exploring around the Cathedral, walk over to Millennium bridge and cross the Thames. On the other side you’ll find the Tate Modern which is a really cool art museum that’s so big, you seriously can’t do it all in one day. Then turn left and walk along the river, past the Globe Theatre, to Borough Market. It’s a food market that’s on every day, with tons of really delish options. If you’re feeling energised, from there you can cross back over the river, and keep walking to Shoreditch to grab a coffee or a drink.
Less of a neighbourhood and more of a Saturday market, it’s still well worth a visit. Come hungry, because once you begin walking through all the stalls of food, you won’t be able to resist. There are baked goods, cheeses, salads, wraps, burgers, and one surprisingly good coffee stall. Pick some things out then head to London Fields at the top of the market to sprawl out in the sun and enjoy your goodies.
And here is a Google Map with pin-points for everywhere mentioned in this article, which you can download and have on your phone even when you have no internet access. Enjoy!