London's Very Best Secret Streets
This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury
An eclectic mix of intellectual shops line this pedestrian street not far from the British Museum in Bloomsbury. Shop for British-made menswear at Folk or Oliver Spencer and for quirky interiors paraphernalia and jewelry at Darkroom. Persephone stocks reprints of women writers in now-signature grey bindings, which you can follow up with a coffee kick from Knockbox.
Seymour Place in Marylebone/Marble Arch
Nearby Chiltern Street may take a lot of glory but little Seymour Place has much of the gentile, up-market charm without the sceney braying. What it lacks in shopping it makes up for with culinary appeal. Sophisticated Basque pintxo bar Donostia, which opened in 2012, has became so popular, a sibling spot has just opened across the road. Lurra has a similar Spanish food focus but with a chef’s garden and outdoor dining courtyard. For fashionable types, there’s also the lauded Vinoteca winebar, American dining at The Lockhart (don’t miss the cocktails at the new Showdown Bar downstairs) and a smart Italian café/restaurant, Bernadis. Sandy’s is the place for old-school pizza. Bonus? Hyde Park is a five-minute walk away.
Acton Mews, in Hackney
With Redchurch Street and Broadway Market now firmly on the map, visitors looking to tap into Hackney’s hipster vibe should head for Haggerston’s Acton Mews. This cobbled street of brick railway arches that carry the East London Line has had a rapid transformation from no-go to hot spot, housing some interesting openings that includes cultural venue Trip Space, queue-worthy mezze restaurant Berber & Q and a board game café.
Formosa Street in Maida Vale
Not far from the Warwick Avenue that Duffy’s heartbreak made famous is pretty Formosa Street, with its short row of neighborhood restaurants (Amoul’s Lebanese is a family-friendly spot), rated beauty parlor, a great Victorian pub (the Prince Alfred with its connected Formosa Dining Room) and the lovely HandMade Interiors homeware shop. Mooch on down past the street’s grand, colonnaded houses and hit the Waterway pub, which is right on the canal at the end of the road.
Marylebone Lane, Marylebone
A lot of people walk right by the entrance to teeny, historic Marylebone Lane, lured by the bright lights of Marylebone High Street. When the Ivy opens an outlet there next month that may change. For now, it’s a charming narrow street that houses unique independent shops with a bohemian air—VV Rouleaux for ribbons and haberdashery, Paul Rothe for jams and condiments served from a Victorian-era shop, and the fabulous KJs Laundry, which stocks directional but wearable fashion brands such as Vanessa Bruno Athé and Second Female alongside pretty jewelry from Alex Monroe and Laura Lee in a welcoming well-curated fashion boutique.
For more on London tourist attractions, check out T+L's Guide to London.
Emily Mathieson is on the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in London, you can follow her at @emilymtraveled.