London’s ‘most colourful street’ has earned such a reputation that people travel from 4,000 miles away to buy some of the best pizza and donuts money can buy. All over London there are hidden streets and neighborhoods that make you forget you are living in the city.
There’s Hackney Wick for its arts culture, while Deptford High Street was named one of London’s coolest in 2022 and St Lukes’s Mews is famous for its colorful houses. There’s also a street, or more accurately, a ‘mini-town’, where colorful, vibrant buildings and independent shops surround you, taking away your phone signal in the process.
Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden is an Instagram lover’s paradise. As you walk through a tunnel off Monmouth Street, you’re greeted by independent shops, neon-colored buildings with plants lining the walls, and tourists snapping photos from as many different angles as possible. People’s talk can generally be categorized as ‘wow, that’s so pretty’ as a common theme everywhere.
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Neal’s Yard became what it is largely thanks to businessman and activist Nicholas Saunders, who opened a Whole Food Warehouse at 2 Neal’s Yard in 1976. His success later spawned more independent businesses that focused on caring and being environmentally friendly. atmosphere.
Establishments like Neal’s Yard Remedies, St John Bakery, 26 Grains, Homeslice Pizza, wine bars like Casanova & Daughters and Hair by Fairy are some of the small businesses dotted around the yard. People come from far and wide to sample the food on offer and some even travel as far as Saudi Arabia and Sheffield.
The Doyle family came down from Sheffield and visited Neal’s Yard to sample some of the “best donuts” in town at St John Bakery. After googling the best donuts in London, while the colorful buildings are appealing, the donuts are more.
Jane Doyle said: “We googled the best donuts in London and it told us here so we came. We’re in London for a couple of days and wanted to find it and it met our expectations. It’s a really nice and pretty area.” It was great to get out and walk around here and the donuts were really good.
John added: “I’ve been here before and walked around but never really sat down and took things in. It’s very different to Sheffield, there’s a lot going on.”
You can access Neal’s Yard from Monmouth Street or Shorts Gardens and you’re greeted by an explosion of colour. The main courtyard is easy on the eye and it’s easy to see why people are drawn here. Tourists are not rare. It’s also a place where the people who live in the buildings also come down and try out some of the businesses.
Most of the businesses are small, but they can provide the service and food that you would expect from larger stores. One such store is 26 Grains, small in stature but the queues are long in the morning which shows how highly people must rate it.
Daram Chatburn is Director of 26 Grains, an independent breakfast restaurant. She said: “It’s an amazing place to work and even though it’s a hidden area, you find a lot of people who come here just because of us. We get tourists at the weekends, but we have a lot of regulars who live upstairs in Neal’s Yard and they come always
“We do pop-ups for other businesses here and work with other restaurants in Neal’s Yard, like St John Bakery. Customers are always amazed at how small we are and always in awe of what we do in such a small space.”
Even with such a small yard and not much space, the sense of community is clear. It would be common for stores to borrow products if they ended up showing how everyone wants to help each other.
Lucy Morcas-Wilkins is an Assistant Manager at Homeslice and believes that the community aspect is what makes coming to work even more enjoyable. She said: “I’ve been working here for over a year and the atmosphere and the customers we attract are very nice. We get people who travel from all over the world, we get a lot of Saudi Arabs. We’re always busy here with lines of people waiting for our pizza.” .
“All the businesses really get along and we’re a small community. We help each other out and even do a local discount. Everyone is very friendly and the atmosphere is very different here compared to other parts of London.”
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