City guide: London
Yvonne is passionate about Theatre and Travel & Culture; and hopefully one day she will occupy that elusive space in the Venn Diagram where they merge. She spent three years in London, during which a lusty addiction to intra-Europe flights developed. She writes about her travels at her blog (vitalred). We speak to Yvonne about her favorite London neighbourhoods.
Soho, where I lived for a year, has to be one of my favourites. It is one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods, with the strangest and best variety of people. At night, the neighbourhood is a chaotic, energetic mess. Soho is the best place for brunch, a coffee, a drink – it is home to my favourite cafes and restaurants. At night, I like to take a walk down from Soho to Carnaby Street, and then down Regent Street to Picadilly Circus. It is, for me, the most beautiful walk through the city of London.
There’s nothing really to do in Soho there but eat and drink. It has the best hangouts for “chill and read” days.
My favourite cafes and restaurants in Soho:
To relax, have a coffee, and for some simple, casual food
Foxcroft and Ginger, Tapped and Packed, L'Eto Caffe, and Flat White For great Italian baked goods, the Milanese import, Princi.
The Breakfast Club for pancakes and brunch Cay Tre for authentic Vietnamese in a modern setting Busaba Eathai is a chain that has a few outposts around London. Serves tasty thai that makes communal dining chic. Maison Bertaux family-owned and run french bakery. Barrafina is very hot right now for its unpretentious Spanish tapas. Oh, and we should mention, it just got a Michelin star.
Pancakes and open-face avocado sandwich at The Breakfast Club
Covent Garden, just a stroll away from Soho, though usually crowded with tourists, will always be a favourite of mine for its small marketplace and live music. Around the corner from Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard is a quiet, colourful courtyard with vegan cafes.
Colourful Neal's Yard
The walk along Southbank is great in Summer. There are street food carts, live performances, and a lovely view of the Central London and Westminster across the river. As an avid theatre-goer, I always make a stop at the National Library bookstore, and then visit Shakespeare’s Globe, where there are tours of the theater, which is a replica of the Elizabethan original.
In Greenwich, I would suggest a visit to the Old Royal Naval College and the Greenwich Meridian at the Royal Observatory. Sit on the hilltop and possibly picnic by the Royal Observatory, which has a marvellous view of Greenwich. The Greenwich Market is also worth a visit. The quaint neighbourhood is also worth walking around for its architecture, boutique stores, old vinyl stores, and small bakeries.
View of the Old Royal Naval College from Greenwich Observatory Hill
Inside the Old Royal Naval College
Shoreditch and Brick Lane
Shoreditch is definitely worth a visit. It is the grunge and alternative, but also recently gentrified, area of London. There are many up and coming galleries, incredible street art, and even walking street art tours that will take you hunting for a Banksy or Space Invader. There are very good vintage stores, chill bars and markets on weekends. Visit the Brick Lane market, the Old Truman Brewery market, and Old Spitalfields Market.
Brick Lane Market
Thrift Shopping in Shoreditch
Street art everywhere in East London
Loving this city? Follow Yvonne's other jaunts in London.
Stylish apartments in London
Stay in this super cool Soho loft and make it your launching pad for your London explorations.
This sunny apartment in Greenwich makes for a cozy base for your stay in London.
Explore East London from this modern, spacious penthouse in Shoreditch.
Going to London? Roomorama has more amazing accommodations for you to book!