With its huge skyscrapers, constant traffic and jam-packed streets, it’s easy to forget that London does have its quieter, less manic areas.
In London Villages, Zena Alkayat exposes some of the city’s hidden gems, selecting 30 neighbourhoods split into north, south, east, west and central, and recommending some of the best places to visit in each.
Of course, there are the usual suspects, such as Columbia Road and Hampstead Village,
but most of the places Alkayat picks are little visited by those who don’t know and love them well.
This makes for great reading, and great inspiration. Alkayat recommends five places you must visit in each of the neighbourhoods she selects, from cafes to haberdasheries to galleries, but those are just the starting point for readers wishing to explore further.
There are lots of bookshops Alkayat mentions which I plan to visit, and I’ll definitely be popping in to the Blue Brick Cafe, which serves a vegan and vegetarian all day menu, in East Dulwich when I get the chance.
Even Londoners who think they know it all will find Alkayat’s book helpful, packed as it is with great tips for places to visit. I’ll be carrying it in my bag and using it to get to know the city a bit better.
How I got this book: From the publisher Aurum for review
•London Villages is book eight in my challenge to read 12 non-fiction books in 2013.