Oxford Street. Piccadilly. Regent Street. Charing Cross Road. Bond Street. You’ve doubtless heard of them. If you’ve visited London before now, you’ve doubtless spent time in them. For sure, they’re the great avenues of the UK capital’s glamorous West End – and yet they’re far from the only stretches of road in the district worth discovering. Here are four of the area’s best little streets…
Lambs Conduit Street (WC1N)
Elegant and refined, this Bloomsbury destination doesn’t just offer a blend of outlets catering to thoughtful shoppers; it’s also a pleasantly pedestrianised street. Just around the corner from the British Museum, it’s precisely the place to head after checking out the latter’s Egyptian hieroglyphs and Neolithic trinkets, not least for the British-made menswear on sale at Folk and Oliver Spencer and the eccentric homeware of Darkroom. However, perhaps the biggest draw is one of the capital’s leading bookstores for women’s writing – Persephone’s become an iconic venue for those after rare in- and out-of-print, mid-20th Century works by female authors.
Marylebone Lane (W1U)
Granted, this narrow, short but winding street’s becoming an increasingly celebrated place thanks to The Ivy restaurant having opened a new outlet here, but from its unpromising southern entrance off Oxford Street, you’d certainly never guess of the treasures it holds. If you’re staying in one of the best hotels in West End London, then you must visit this destination – one of the best streets in the West End. That’s because it’s blessed with a plethora of very ‘Noho’-friendly boho indie outlets, such as haberdashery VV Rouleaux, condiments and jams specialists Paul Rothe and the finely sourced women’s fashion outlet that’s KJ’s Laundry.
Seymour Place (W1H)
So you’ve taken in the splendour that’s Hyde Park and walked what feels like miles and miles, working up a real hunger that must be sated. The answer? Heading in the Marble Arch/ Marylebone direction for a short, five-minute jaunt to Seymour Place. Jam-packed full of diverse, quality eateries, this is the street for fine dining, all right. Spanish food’s on the menu at Lurra, it’s all Italian at Bernadis restaurant-cum-café and the pizza at the old-school Sandy’s to die for. And if, after you’ve dined, you’re looking to wet your whistle then soak up the sophistication in the Basque pintxo bar that’s Donostia, dip into the Vinoteca winebar or check out the cocktails downstairs at US-centric The Lockhart.
Formosa Street (W9)
Diminutive, discreet charm’s exactly what this pretty row of establishments is all about in oh-so discerning Maida Vale. That’s because it boasts the family-focused Lebanese dining venue Amoul’s (just one of its restaurants), the ode to Victoriana that’s the Prince Alfred pub, the fabulous hand-made homewares of Akin & Suri and at the bottom of the road, just before you hit the canal’s towpath (which, if you head east, will lead you to the delights of Little Venice), you’ll pass the wonderful Waterway pub.