London’s West End for the Non-Tourist

(Original article from Liberty Travel, where Megan wrote a four-part series about London neighborhoods)

West London is the main area where tourists flock to during their vacation. While there are many fascinating attractions in these neighborhoods, it’s definitely worth your time to explore some areas nearby that are just as culturally rich, but less crowded.

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Marylebone: If I wasn’t in class or at my flat, you would find me in Marylebone. Just a few blocks from the popular Oxford Street, Marybelone is a calm alternative to the main shopping blocks. My fashion internship was in this area and in order to get to work every day, I actually had to walk by Madonna’s flat (two, if you count the flat next door that she converted into a gym). It was always amusing to see paparazzi pop out of the bushes and then growl in disappointment when they realized you weren’t Madge.

Madonna aside, Marylebone is a trendy place to find less commercial clothes. A lot of boutique owners set up shop here because the clientele is a bit more upscale. Even as a poor student living abroad, I fell in love with the many coffee shops and smoothie bars that fit within my budget. Also in Marylebone is Baker Street, home of the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which is equally stimulating for the young and the young at heart.

Soho: It’s hard to hate on the Soho’s of the world, and London is no exception. Not only is Soho a hub of eclectic music shops and bars, but also it attracts a cultural mix of people and nationalities to the area. Another perk about Soho is how close it is to other neighborhoods in West London. Oxford Circus (close to Top Shop for fashion lovers) and Covent Garden (theater junkies) are only a short walk away.

One of the courses I took while studying in London was a “Pop Culture” class, which basically consisted of outdoor field trips and walks all over London. When we made it to Soho, we went to Radha Krishna Temple where we learned more about the faith while meditating on fluffy pillows on the floor. This is one activity I highly recommend if you find yourself in Soho with nothing to do.

Notting Hill: It’s hard to say anything bad about this quiet, serene neighborhood. If you head here on the weekend, get ready for the crowds. Portobello Market is a popular place on Saturdays, especially if you are an avid art or antique lover. Heading to the market is one way to feel a part of the local London community. I always enjoyed people watching during these leisurely strolls. On a weekday, the streets are much less crowded and serve as the perfect location for a day of reading and window-shopping. Not far is Hyde Park, one of London’s well-kept and gorgeous public parks.

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 Image: Visit London/Facebook

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Hi! I’m Megan,

a Scorpio sun and Libra moon who left her job in the music industry to travel and write full-time. Since then, i´ve explored more than 60 countries in the hopes that you will, too.

The world is made of magic and so are you!

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