The London Eye, the Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are all gorgeous landmarks that cannot be missed on a (first-time) trip to London. However, when you’ve got some more time to spare or when you’re visiting London for the second time there are so many more things to see and discover outside of the well-known city centre.
It took me exactly 1 year and 5 months to make it up the London Eye, and although it was incredible, nothing beats a wander around one of the cities areas. Each and every time you discover something new, something unexpected. To me, that is the beauty of London. Let’s step away from the central heart of the city for a minute to discover what is happening outside of it.
North London is an area I have yet to discover myself. I take the occasional trip to Camden, which never disappoints me or my belly! But other than that I haven’t really ventured out north too much. I know the views from Primrose Hill are supposed to be amazing, so I definitely will try to get that in before winter is once again knocking on our doors. I also still want to visit the beautiful British Library on a rainy day, it’s the largest national library in the world. Can you imagine all the books in there?!
Oh the famous east of London… I have been Shoreditch quite a few times and have to say that although it is very stunning, especially with all the street art, I don’t really get why people love it so much. It is supposed to be so much cheaper, cooler and just better than the rest of the city but I have yet to find those places. However, Box Bark is a really nice meet-up place where you can eat, dance, watch football and soak up some of the last sun rays.
The iconic Brick Lane is also in East, where people tend to find designer vintage items for a fraction of the original price. I’ve only been to the market once and really want to go back soon! What I do love about Shoreditch, however, is that you can simply walk around in the small streets and stumble upon independent shops and incredible street art. It is a great place to go when you don’t really want to do anything in particular but just enjoy the moment.
To me south is home. There are some pretty vibrant areas in what is also a very residential part of the city. In South-East you will find Shoreditch-esque Camberwell and Peckham with a great bar and club scene. If you find yourself in London during summer, head to Frank’s Cafe with one of the cities loveliest views. You’ve got Brixton, with Pop Brixton, very similar to Box Park and just a great place to hang-out and enjoy delicious food.
South-West gets a little more expensive, and a little less vibrant perhaps. An area not to be missed is definitely Clapham, with what seems like an endless high street that is open on the weekends until the early hours. That is one thing I love most about living in South, you can still easily go on a local night out without breaking the bank or having to chat to an uber driver for the next 30 minutes. Battersea also seems to be very popular among locals, especially now that the Power Station will be renovated into a shopping centre with loads of restaurants and activities.
West is often synonym to expensive and posh because of Chelsea and Kensington. I personally love going for walks in those areas, as you will spot the most gorgeous houses, the most exclusive cars and the occasional celebrity! It is London at it’s best, kind of like the Upper East Side of London in a way. But West is also where Notting Hill and Fulham are, both lovely areas to wine and dine in.
Now Notting Hill is obviously not that “off the beaten track” but if you venture away from Portobello Road market and start exploring some of the side street you will discover the cutest little cafes. I haven’t spent much time in Fulham but I did stay there in an AirBnb last year and remembered how busy it was at night. It definitely seems like a good place to live in the city, not far from the centre and still plenty to do in the area.
In general, one of the secrets I have discovered about this city since moving here is that there are always completely empty streets rights next to the super busy ones. Even dreadful Oxford Street, where it sometimes gets so busy you can’t even walk, has streets parallel to it in which people live without a single pedestrian in sight. This is where you will find London’s hidden gem, peace and quiet right next to the busiest places in the world.
Which part of London do you prefer?
Lots of love,