Colourful Neal's Yard

Neal's Yard is a courtyard in Seven Dials that looks very different from anything else in London. Colourful buildings, windows, doors and plants make this a popular location for photographers. It's a great place to stop for a moment to get away from the surrounding busy streets.
Colourful buildings in Neal's Yard
Colourful buildings in Neal's Yard

Getting there

Neal’s Yard is about ten minute walk from Covent Garden. It’s easy to miss the entrance unless you know where you are going. The main entrance is on Short’s Gardens, one of the streets starting from the Seven Dials Monument. The other way to access it is via Monmouth Street, which is a cosy shopping street in Seven Dials, also beginning from the Seven Dials Monument.

History

Neal’s Yard is named after Thomas Neale; a 17th-century developer created the Seven Dials area. In 1976 Nicholas Saunders bought one of the buildings and created the Whole Food Warehouse, which became a success. The success attracted other businesses to Neal’s Yard transforming the courtyard to what it is today.

Neal's Yard view
Neal's Yard view

There’s a blue badge where Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin set up an editing suite for Monty Python films on 1976 where they stayed until 1987.

What to do in Neal’s Yard

Neal’s Yard has a range of cafes, restaurants and shops as well as health and beauty products. The cafes and the wine bars are great for relaxing during or after a busy day.

Neal’s Yard Remedies is the largest seller of organic health and beauty products and started in the current location in 1981 (with a different name). Their products as organic and have not been tested on animals. They also offer therapies such as massage, acupuncture, ayurveda and shiatsu. They currently have shops in many locations around the UK and the world.

26 Grains is a cafe specialising in porridge and offering other breakfast and lunch options as well. Be sure to check their menu for porridge options that you haven’t gotten anywhere else. Wild Food Cafe serves only plant-based and organic foods on their menu, including wraps, salads, soups and some great dessert options. It is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in London, according to many.

Neal’s Yard Dairy and Redemption bar are part of Neal’s Yard but accessible from the street, Short’s Gardens. Neal’s Yard Dairy offers a great selection of British and Irish Cheese. They also have a shop in Borough Market.

Redemption bar is an excellent option for the health-conscious. They offer vegan food and non-alcoholic cocktails, and their food is gluten-free and refined sugar-free. Some great options are the Rainbow, Neal’s Yard and Redemption bowls, and they also have the Redemption burger if you are into burgers. The courtyard side wall has angel wings, which make a popular background for photos.

Vegan bowl and a turmeric latte in the Redemption Bar
Vegan bowl and a turmeric latte in the Redemption Bar

When leaving the courtyard, you’ll find street art from a contemporary British street artist #BAMBI named “Be As Naughty As You Want”, depicting Princess Diana as Mary Poppins floating down to meet her grandchildren.

Be As Naughty As You Want by #BAMBI
Be As Naughty As You Want by #BAMBI

What else is there?

There are several other places to visit in Neal’s Yard and the surrounding area. Seven Dials, in general, is a lovely place with shops and restaurants worth visiting. Be sure to reserve a couple of hours for wandering the streets around this area.