Neal’s Yard may be the worst kept secret in the world. Smack bang in the middle of Covent Garden it’s tucked away from the crowds of Shaftesbury Avenue and is full of charm and colour. I was there last week after a long time being away from it and I’d forgotten how much I love it.
I always find Neal’s Yard so calm especially when compared to the shops and commerce just outside the courtyard. It’s hard to believe that once upon a time Neal’s Yard was nothing more than a dump beloved by rats. In fact until the mid-1970s it didn’t even appear on London A-Zs. Fast forward a few decades and the courtyard is now this social hub that has created a very village like atmosphere.
And I really do mean that. When I was there the other day I sat and watched the people who work there interact with the other shops and with their customers. Staff members knew each other and joked with people working in other shops. Neal’s Yard is the kind of place where people have regulars and favourites.
People watching, though, wasn’t my purpose of being there. I was there all because of 26 Grains one of the most interesting healthy food joints out there. I am going to write a full post about that later on this week but sitting there, eating their food and watching people coming and going into Neal’s Yard was a surprisingly wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.