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London’s Hidden ‘Villages’

The city of London has many attractions which draw millions of visitors and tourists each year; the Tower of London, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Westminster and so on.  But there are many hidden and beautiful areas of London which are well worth a visit in their own right.  In fact, just exploring these wonderful spaces could take up an entire weekend visit if you wanted to fully discover the gems they each hold.  From quaint pubs to independent boutiques, pretty bookshops to delightful coffee shops, there is so much to be found in these parts of the capital city that your only difficult choice will be choosing where to go.

To help you out, we have selected some of the best ‘villages’ in the city and we share with you our thoughts on what makes these parts of London so special:-

Hampstead

Hampstead is probably one of the most well known and desirable villages in London, not least because it is home to Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill; a picturesque location, ideal for a picnic and offering panoramic views over the city’s skyline.  It also has a number of shops which are ideal for picking up bits and pieces if you do decide to eat al fresco situated amongst the quaint cobbled streets.  Parliament Hill is also here with a number of suitable bathing ponds and a lido for those who are brave enough to take a dip in the warmer months.  Be wary – this is a very popular part of the city and it does get busy when the weather is bright so turn up early if you plan to spend the day and want to grab yourself a great spot although the Heath is larger than you might expect covering over 300 hectares and featuring open green space, parks, fields and woodland.  There are a number of children’s play areas too for families wishing to visit and stay in Shaftesbury Hotels London.  Hampstead is also a great place to do some celebrity spotting; a number of well known stars own property here including the likes of Emma Bunton, Ricky Gervais and Helena Bonham Carter.

Marylebone

Marylebone is a vibrant village situated in the heart of London, although you could be forgiven for thinking you were miles from the bustling centre of the capital city when visiting here.  The main high street is full of independent boutiques, restaurants and stores selling locally grown produce.  Whilst most people visit for the sense of culture and unique character which emanates from almost every corner you will find the likes of Regent Park and Hyde Park in Marylebone which are very popular with tourists and locals alike, especially families.  Hyde Park in particular has a lot to offer visitors and you will discover something to please almost everyone with horse riding, boating on the Serpentine, the lido and many attractions such as the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and Speakers Corner to name but a few.  There are a number of excellent hotels located in this area of the city including The Metropolis London Hyde Park.

Shepherd Market

Shepherd Market is a small part of the city situated within Mayfair and is a charming part of London which is often bypassed by those who come to this area.  It is predominantly made up of a small square and piazza with side streets which are home to independent boutiques, restaurants and Victorian-esque pubs.  It is very central and easy to access via London’s extensive public transport network and is well worth taking a detour if you happen to be in this part of the capital.  Wander down the picturesque streets, have a pint of traditional ale in one of the many pubs or support one of the small ,local businesses which operate here.  The great thing about Shepherd Market is that it is located right next to some of the more popular areas of London so you can step away and take some breathing space without having to travel too far away from the main thoroughfare and the attractions of the city.

Walthamstow Village 

Perhaps an unlikely candidate on this list is Walthamstow Village.  Situated in East London, it is very easy to access Central London and is becoming increasingly popular with those who want to live in the ‘hip’ part of the city but can’t necessarily afford the price tag of areas like Shoreditch.  This increased popularity might mean that the cost of housing is slowly on the increase but it also means that a number of excellent restaurants, clubs, coffee shops and pubs have all begun to spring up in the area and that the type of people who are attracted to the area are part of the ‘in’ crowd of local Londoners which is excellent for visitors who want to head somewhere a little less crowded than some of the other parts of the city, without compromising on the quality of establishments on offer.

Notting Hill

It pretty much goes without saying that Notting Hill is one of the hippest villages in the whole of London.  Not only is it home to some serious A-listers but it is equally fashionable in its own right with numerous high end ,stylish clubs, restaurants, bars and hotels as well as independent boutiques and brands.  If you want an injection of culture then you can certainly find this too with various independent art galleries located here including the likes of Debut Contemporary, the Temple Gallery and the Wanted Gallery.  Other well known and popular attractions which are worth exploring are the Portobello Road Market, The Electric Cinema and the Gate Theatre.  Notting Hill is also renowned for the street festival which takes place each August bank holiday and attracts millions of visitors from all over the world.  The festival features brightly coloured performers, floats and parades as well as Calypso-music and Caribbean inspired cuisine.

As well as these quaint and beautiful villages, there are also plenty of other hidden charms to be discovered in London; a capital city which has much to offer tourists and visitors alike.

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