It is often said that London is not a city, but a loose collection of villages and towns that collectively call themselves London. London’s growth was organic, as it grew, it swallowed up smaller villages and towns. As it did – those areas kept their names.
Islington. Primrose Hill. Hampstead Heath. Marylebone.
All names that in the same thought, evoke London and also London’s distinct neighborhoods.
London Villages – An Exploration of the City’s Best Local Neighborhoods by Zena Alkayat is a new guidebook for travelers that seeks to take hard to find local knowledge and distill it down into a handy guide of London’s unique neighborhoods.
The book is divided into 5 sections covering Central London, West London, East London, North London and South London. Within each section its broken down into further villages. Each little section gives you a short description of the place that paints a picture as to what kind of neighborhood it is. Then there’s a series of places that are considered worth of visiting and this varies from attractions to shops, to bookstores, restaurants and bakeries.
It’s definitely a varied mix that will turn you into a local expert on an area. The book is beautifully presented in a small format that should fit easily into your carry-on bag. This would make great reading for the plane. I’ve already gone through it to find places we’d like to visit on our next trip to London in December.
My only complaint about this books is the photographs. While they all look stunning, they all look like they were shot with Instagram so all the images have this sepia, sun drenched quality to them that may not present an accurate portrayal of what a place looks like. That said, the pictures are still nice to look at.