Up & Coming By Dayna Engberg

The New Hot: A Field Guide to London's Trendiest Neighborhoods

Double-decker bus tours, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the London Eye—all iconic experiences that should not be missed. Beyond those, there’s another layer of London that’s blossoming just beneath the surface. The city’s boroughs are constantly evolving in millennial renaissance, where once “no-go” zones flower into chic foodie hotspots, booming rooftop bars top abandoned parking garages and formerly dreary industrial areas suddenly sprout a cluster of breweries and distilleries. Read on to discover the up and coming trends in our favorite timeless London neighborhoods.

 

NORTH

Camden Town is to London as Haight-Ashbury is to San Francisco—a historic neighborhood that’s been frequented by musicians, artists and creative types for decades. Here, a burgeoning underground music scene percolates in small pubs like Dublin Castle or Lock Tavern, reaching a full-on boisterous boil at popular venues like Koko or The Roundhouse, the former a former railway engine shed turned iconic music hall. For jazz enthusiasts, don’t miss a chance to visit one of London’s most iconic venues, Jazz Café, known for having hosted greats like Amy Winehouse and Bobby Womack. With an innovative cocktail menu and live music seven nights a week, it’s the perfect place to catch a tune. Camden town isn’t all music, either. From the street food and shopping at historic Camden Market to the views atop Primrose Hill and the charming canals of Little Venice, it’s the perfect mix of offbeat and on-trend.

Looking for something slower paced? With its expansive gardens and green spaces, Hampstead is ideal for families and picnic-goers. This charming, ivy-blanketed village is a maze of upscale boutiques, haute cuisine and stately architecture. Grab a pint at the cozy, 18th-century pub The Holly Bush, wander the former residence for the Earls of Mansfield at the Kenwood House or see original manuscripts of romantic poet John Keats at his former Hampstead home.

Hampstead

 

SOUTH

If you’re seeking an eclectic mix of fashion, global cuisine and live music in South London, Brixton is an excellent place to start. Most famously known as the birthplace of David Bowie, this is a buzzing nightlife hub and a foodie destination packed with bustling markets and trendy cafes. Home to Britain’s first Black heritage center, Brixton boasts a culturally rich mix of communities hailing from as far as Africa and the Caribbean, alongside pulsating beats and alluring cuisine to match.

Nearby Peckham is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in all of London, its colorful streets brimming with tiny art galleries, quirky bookshops and ultra-hip cocktail bars. Don’t miss a chance to visit Frank’s Café, the legendary rooftop pop-up serving up scrumptious small-plates and flanked by panoramic skyline views. Continue east to the Bermondsey Beer Mile, a stretch of craft-brew taprooms along the SE1 railway line.

BBQ Flank Steak
Tower Bridge

 

EAST

For street art aficionados, Shoreditch is a must-visit. The vibrant, mural-clad streets of this East End creative hub feature some of London’s best graffiti, including works by artists like Stik, ROA and Banksy. Take a formal street art tour or explore an edgy art gallery (or thirty) in search of the perfect piece to bring home. The shopping doesn’t stop at art, either—this is the land of countless little boutiques and funky vintage shops. Searching for second-hand treasures and steaming street food? Don’t miss the Sunday market at Brick Lane. After dark, Shoreditch comes alive with some of the East End’s finest cinemas and legendary nightlife like Cargo, a trendy club hidden in an abandoned railway yard on Rivington Place, or Boxpark, a pop-up mall constructed from shipping containers.

The Shard

 

WEST

With its vibrant terraced houses and refurbished historical architecture, Notting Hill is an elegant (and impossibly Instagrammable) mix of old and new. The beating heart of this famously affluent neighborhood is Portobello Road. Take a stroll past colorful houses, sophisticated bistros and the largest antique market in the world. From Portobello Road, you can experience everything from gastronomy to shopping and entertainment. Catch a flick at the historic Edwardian theatre Electric Cinema, pop into the world famous Notting Hill Book Shop or experience London’s locally made craft gin (and even make your own!) at The Ginstitute. Whether it’s chasing sights of the silver screen or discovering something fresh and new, Notting Hill continues to prove itself a timeless London staple.
 

WHERE TO STAY

When you book through your travel agency, you’ll enjoy unique amenities to enhance nearly every moment of your stay. Through long-standing relationships with partners, not only will your travel advisor take care to plan every element of your vacation, they’ll provide VIP-worthy privileges you couldn’t access booking on your own.