Home to almost 9 million people from all over the world, London is as diverse as it is enormous. This means that no two parts of London are the same and virtually every culture is represented somewhere in this metropolitan jungle. In some parts of London you will find an abundance of Halal, Kosher or Chinese grocery shops. In others you’ll find a plethora of Caribbean street food or Indian restaurants. Everywhere has its own unique signature.
Now, while all of London’s areas are equally interesting, as a visitor there are some that will excite you more than others. Here is an insider’s guide to London’s best areas to visit on your vacation.
The home of the hipsters and all things artisanal, Shoreditch was the birthplace of the edgy, artistic London scene. Now spread into nearby Dalston and Hackney, this hipster scene has become synonymous with East London. Don’t expect to find many chain hotels or fast food joints. Instead, you’ll stumble across craft breweries, raw vegan cafés, and international street food markets. A few days in Shoreditch will definitely leave you with some interesting stories to bore people with back home.
Soho is always a hit with visitors due to it being intertwined with the West End, A.K.A Theatreland. This part of London is characterised by its maze of narrow streets, flanked by outlets selling everything from falafel to flat caps. The majority of the bars and clubs in Soho cater to the gay scene so expect rainbow colors, drag queens, and plenty of glitter. There are also a few niche clubs for those with extreme tastes (such as The Box), as well as plenty of casinos, hotels, and cinemas.
Camden almost feels like traveling back in time. Here, the punk/grunge/goth scenes are still thriving and it’s completely normal to stroll past someone who looks like Marilyn Manson in his hey day. Camden High Street consists of tattoo and piercing shops and boutiques selling gothic corsets and platform doc martens. It is also home to one of the biggest and best street food markets in London – even if grunge isn’t your scene, Camden is worth a visit just for that.
If you were hoping to spot some celebrities while you’re in London, Mayfair is the place to do it. Expensive, luxurious and buzzing with the social elite, Mayfair feels like a different world to nearby Oxford Street and Soho. Bars and restaurants come with exorbitant price tags while Maseratis and Lamborghinis ply the streets. You might not have the cash to splash on champagne cocktails or 5-star hotels but there’s no harm in strolling around and looking.
Finally, we come to Brixton, the beating heart of South London. There is no one defined scene in Brixton – it is instead a mixture of Afro-Caribbean vibes, students, and musicians. The area pulses with energy emanating from its dozens of bars and gig venues and you cannot miss the huge David Bowie murals painted on to a number of its walls. Come here for ethnic street food, beer gardens, pop-up clothes stalls, and a whole lot more.