Based in the heart of Central London, Covent Garden has become the capitals most iconic area, known for its street-performers, top restaurants and some of London best theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue fighting for your attention.
Most people forget to explore the smaller relatively unknown side streets and areas around Covent Garden like Seven Dials and Neal’s Yard.
Hidden away down an alleyway, just off Neal Street, from the bustle on Shaftesbury Avenue. Is one of London’s secret location – London’s Hidden gem Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden.
Neal’s Yard Covent Garden is one of London’s most colourful little corners, even on a grey day. It’s an oasis from the busy Covent Garden.
Wander through the small alleyway to get to Neal's Yard and you’ll be taken aback by the bright, quirky, picturesque multi-coloured buildings, windows and shops. Which are sure to put a smile on your face.
Neal’s Yard London is so hidden that not many Londoners about it. So, I’ve put together a small travel guide to Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden one of the most beautiful places in London. If you're looking for things to do in London check out this post.
If you have spending few days or more in London, why not check out my 5 days in London post.
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Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden London: Beautiful Places in London
Where is Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden?
Neal’s Yard located in the middle of the Seven Dials District (known for its artisan coffee shops and independent boutiques). It’s around six minutes’ walk from Covent Garden underground station.
The colourful court yard is accessible via two small alleyways and either end. One alleyway is via Short’s Gardens off Neal Street and the other is via the alleyway on Monmouth Street in the middle of London’s Covent Garden.
The alleyways of Neal’s Yard are so small that if you blink while passing you might miss turning. The court yard enclosed by shops and not visible from the streets if you don’t know where you’re going.
Walking down the tall winding alleyways will carry you into the quirky and colourful Neal’s Garden. If it’s a sunny day in London the courtyard with the shop fronts painted bright yellow, red and green will be illuminated by it’s warm glow.
There is some open-air terrace from a few shops that look onto the courtyard. The atmosphere in Neal’s Yard it pretty relaxed, it has a ‘stop and stay a while vibe’. Check out my post on what to eat in Chinatown.
Brief History of Neal’s Yard
The Neal’s Yard many people see and know today is a far cry from what the area was or looked like 40 years ago.
Neal's Yard named after Thomas Neale, MP and business man in the early 1690s Who received a piece of land from William III in Central London and created the Seven Dials district in which Neal’s Yard is located.
Thomas Neale’s aim was to establish Seven Dials as one of the most fashionable addresses in London, following the successful Covent Garden Piazza. But, the area failed to establish itself as the business man had hoped and deteriorated into a slum, renowned for its gin shops.
Seven Dials area was a notorious place during the London Gin craze. Up until 1976, Neal’s Yard had been a rat infested, derelict place, that tramps use to use a toilet, along with a few warehouses that supported the Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market. The area was so run down that Neal’s Yard didn’t even appear on the London A to Z.
While the entrepreneur Nicholas Saunders was looking for a cheap place to live in Soho and Covent Garden. He found Neal’s Yard for sale at a bargain price, due to it being scheduled for demolition.
Nicholas tried to live in the area to save it from demolition. But was refused planning permission.
However, with a little persistence Saunders was granted permission and in 1976 Saunders, decided to start a wholefood shop.
Taking what he had learnt from his time living in Christiania in Copenhagen, he started building a wholefood shop. After a few months the first shop in Neal’ Yard was born, the original small shop grew, and the Neal’s Yard developed into a social scene.
With regular customers loving the shop and Neal’s Yard, so much that they asked to work there. Bring togethers Nicholas idea of a village community. Which has transferred Neal’s Yard into a thriving colourful village style community that many Londoners and tourist now enjoy.
READ MORE: Things To Know Before Visiting London
What shops and restaurants are in Neal’s Yard?
In keeping with the Neal’s Yard physiology for holistic, and sustainable health and beauty all the shops surrounding the courtyard are organic and focus in sustainable and ethical practices.
Neal’s Yard London restaurants includes the iconic Neal’s Yard Remedies Store, Neal’s Yard Dairy, Neal’s Yard Salad Bar, Londoner’s favourite 26 Grains, Casanova and Daughters, Homeslice Pizza, Wild Juicery and the popular Wild Food Café, that’s completely plant based. You may also like my post on the best desserts in London.
Neal’s Yard Remedies London
Neal’s Yard Remedies Covent Garden is well known in London and has a cult beauty following worldwide. They specialise in beauty and skincare products, which uses only organic ingredients where possible. If you are not a fan overly fragranced beauty product, then Neal’s Yard Remedies light scented products will be a treat for your scenes.
Address: 15 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10:00am-7:00pm; Sun: 11:00am-6:00pm
Neal’s Yard Dairy
Cheese Lovers rejoice! The cheeses in Neal’s Yard Dairy are selected from the best creameries and framers throughout Britain and Ireland. Giving you a selection of cheeses for every occasion and taste buds.
Address: 17 Shorts Gardens, London WC2H 9AT, UK
Opening hours: 10:00am-7:00pm daily, closed on Sundays
Wild Food Cafe
Wild Food Café is the perfect place if you’re into eating clean and raw foods. The space is small but there courgetti and spaghetti and smoothies are amazing. They also offer raw food cooking classes if you want to recreate their dishes at home.
Address: 1st Floor, 14 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP
Opening hours: Mon 11.30-4:00pm, Tue-Sat 11.30-9:00pm, Sun 11.30-6:00pm
Casanova and Daughters
This Sicilian deli and wine bar serves up authentic Italian produce and some of the best antipasti you’ll find in London. The atmosphere of this deli is very relaxing, and you can even have your meal on the terrace and enjoy the view of the courtyard from above.
Address: 6 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP, UK
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday 12:00pm-10:00pm, Friday- Saturday 12:00pm-11:pm, Sunday 1:00pm-8:00pm, Closed on Mondays
26 Grains is loved by Londoners for its posh porridges and avocado toast that are perfect on chilly morning. The weekend specials are not to be missed either but get there early as the space is small and get filled up fast.
Address: 2 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9DP
Opening hours: Weekdays 8:00am-9.30pm, Saturday 9:00am-9.30pm, Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm
Pro Tip for visiting Neal’s Yard
To really appreciate Neal’s Yard, it’s best to get there early to avoid other tourists and Londoners as space and shops/restaurants there are small and get crowded quickly.
Have you been to Neal’s Yard, Coven Garden, what did you think of it?
READ MORE: 5 Days in London
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