London’s versatility stems from its scale and location. Over the course of its near 2000 year existence, London has utilised its riverside setting to create many different districts for markets, nightlife and of course political power (we’re looking at you Westminster). The city has grown to span nearly 1500 square kilometres and has 32 different boroughs under its belt, more than enough space for guests of London city hotel deals to explore.
But one size certainly does not fit all. If you’re visiting the city with children, you probably won’t be hitting up the clubs of East London, neither will you be bird watching in ancient woodlands on a hen or stag do. Guests of spa hotels in London visit the city for different motivations, and so they should focus on the areas that are the most interesting to them.
From shopping districts to underground nightlife, no 2 areas are the same in London and that’s part of the fun. This guide will provide guests of Montcalm London city and other hotels with insight into the best areas for nightlife, shopping, family days out and that authentic London feel so that you can plan your trip to cater to your needs.
London’s Best Nightlife Districts
Over hundreds of years, London has developed an incredibly advanced network of theatres, music halls and of course, amny historic performance artists. Whether you want to spend your evening watching comedy, music or theatre, there’s plenty to do and see across the city’s boroughs.
This mecca for music is easy to reach from the Montcalm hotel Shoreditch on Chiswell Street and is built into a labyrinthine warren of lanes that were once Victorian slums and factories. Brick Lane oozes as much history as it does entertainment, providing live comedy in its pubs and bars as well as nightclubs and live music venues such as Rough Trade East beside Truman’s Brewery.
For dancehall, garage and reggae, Brixton is the place to be. With its strong ties to afro-caribbean culture, Brixton is home to many of the best nightclubs and music venues in London as well as one of the most popular independent cinemas in the city.
This central London locale is well known by its other name of the “West End”, theatre heaven for thespians visiting the city. It’s not all musicals and sellout Harper Lee adaptations in London though, you can see raucous live comedy at the Soho Theatre and Leicester Square Comedy Club as well as cult cinema till late at the Prince Charles. Soho is also home to a strip of LGBTQ bars and nightclubs too. There’s truly a night out for everyone!
Head down to Dalston and you’ll be faced with the best in alternative music and nightclubs. From the LGBTQ friendly Dalston Superstore to the cheap and cheerful punk gigs at the Shacklewell Arms, this one’s for tourists who want to get down with the experimental and the new wave of London creativity.
London’s Best Shopping Districts
If your ears are ringing from all the nights out, maybe some retail therapy will do the trick. Here are some of our top picks for shopping in London that will cover all the bases.
Hackney Wick is a scenic area of canalside warehouse and if you take a walk through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you’ll see the landscape slowly morph into the modern and futuristic. Westfields Shopping Centre offers high street brands and eateries within a sprawling, glitzy shopping centre that proves to be one of the best in the city.
The busiest shopping street in Europe, Oxford Street is famous for being home to some of the city's best known department stores. Think Selfridges and John Lewis, flagship fast fashion stores and secret boutique lanes. Avoid during rush hour though, Oxford Street can get very crowded indeed!
If you’re more into vintage fashion, then check out the sprawling market in Camden. Open every day of the week, you’ll find everything from gladrag goths to aroma filled head shops, all offering a taste of alternative London. The strete food is unmissable as well, with canalside bars and chinese buffets helping you refuel in this famous scenester hangout.
Family Stays In London
Not all kids want to go shopping, and there are very few who’ll get past the bouncers at club nights. Below are some of our best areas where you can enjoy the city with children.
Regent’s Park is a beautiful park for a walk in and of itself, but it's the two side attractions that will draw in the kids. First off is the London Zoo, one of the oldest of its kind and brimming with exotic animals in spacious enclosures. Second, is the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre that, until the end of August, will be staging 101 Dalmations and from September, the Greek tragedy Antigone.
Alongside water fountain play areas and world class buskers, the South Bank is also home to the British Film Institute, where you can introduce children to the wonders of classic cinema as well as the National Theatre’s stellar programming of family friendly shows. There’s also the South Bank Centre and the Tate Modern which programme accessible and fun exhibitions and events.
The big three of free museums, Exhibition Road consists of the dinosaur crazy Natural History Museum, the highly interactive Science Museum and the gorgeous magic of the Victoria & Albert Museum of Design. Take your pick, each museum has enough to fill up an entire day out with the kids, doubling up as both an educational day out and as an authentically London experience.
Hyde Park And Kensington Gardens
With its Princess Diana Memorial play areas, pedalos and swimming lidos, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are another day out that reflects the spirit and excitement of London. If it rains, you can introduce your kids to contemporary art at the Serpentine Gallery, whilst the sculptures and monuments hidden across the two connected royal parks make for a very fun scavenger hunt.