This “London Boy” guide to London includes all of the places mentioned in Taylor Swift’s song “London Boy”.
It seems that Taylor Swift and I have something in common. We are both in love with British men with dimples and accents. As soon as I heard her new song “London Boy”, I sent it to Charles. I’ve been playing it on repeat, which has led to discussions about all of the London locations Swift mentions in the lyrics.
Loving a “London Boy” has resulted in me spending a good amount of time in London; it’s one of my favorite cities. My London trips have given me the opportunity to create a series of blog posts about London, and today I am pulling all of that information into a summary of the things to do and neighborhoods mentioned in “London Boy”.
The song has received critisim from Brits for not making any sense geographically, but in my opinion, she doesn’t seem to be describing activites that took place in one day, but rather a summary of things that she has down in London while dating her “London Boy” Joe Alwyn.
A “London Boy” Guide to London:
“I enjoy walking Camden Market in the afternoon”
Camden Market is a large indoor/outdoor market where you can find dozens of food stalls plus shops selling antiques, art, vintage clothing, and touristy items. It’s open every day (even on holidays) from 10 am until “late”. It tends to be very busy on weekends, so crowded that it is hard to walk around, so maybe go on a weekday afternoon.
“Took me back to Highgate, met all of his best mates”
Highgate is a neighborhood in the north of London beside Hampstead Heath, and also where Highgate Cemetery is located. The cemetery is a popular destination for tourists since George Michael, Karl Marx, and George Eliot were laid to rest there.
I am doubting that Joe Alwyn and his friends took Taylor to hang out at a cemetery. It seems more likely that they went to The Flask, a pub in Highgate where Swift and Alwyn have been spotted.
“And now I love high tea, stories from Uni, and the West End”
Me too Taylor. Although, if you want to get super technical, she is probably referring to afternoon tea, which is commonly served at fancy hotel and restaurants in London. High tea is less formal. It was for the working class, consisted of heartier dishes of meat and potatoes, and was served later at the end of the work day.
Some of my favorite spots for afternoon tea are The Ivy (which has several locations), Brown’s Hotel and The Savoy. And I hear the best things about the afternoon tea at Sketch.
“And now I love high tea, stories from Uni, and the West End”
The West End is to London what Broadway is to New York City. I love the West End because the prices tend to be much more reasonable that theater prices in the United States. The West End isn’t a neighborhood, but a term that refers to the geographic area that includes Covent Garden, Soho, Chinatown, Trafalgar Square, and Leicester Square.
“You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends”
Pubs are a huge part of British culture. They are community meeting places; on weekends you will find them filled with families, friends, and dogs. After work they are so full that people sipping pints are spilling out onto the sidewalk and sometimes into the streets. Pubs are not hard to find, you can’t walk more than a few blocks without passing one. You might want to visit an old historic pub like The Spanard’s Inn, Ye Olde Mitre, The Old Bell Tavern, or Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Or, stop in at a pub that is beautifully decorated with flowers, The Churchill Arms is famous for this.
If you want to visit a pub that Taylor Swift has been to, visit The Spaniard’s Inn in Hampstead and The Flask in Highgate (note: there is also an unrelated pub called The Flask in Hampstead).
“I enjoy nights in Brixton”
Of all the places mentioned in “London Boy”, Brixton is the one that tourists are not very likely to visit. Located in south London, Brixton is known for being the birthplace of David Bowie. The area is home to some Brixton Market which has everything from food to fashion, Brockwell Park a green area with ponds and gardens, and plenty of pubs.
If you are looking to go out, Brixton has a buzzing nightlife. Some of the best places to go are O2 Academy Brixton a large music venue where The Flaming Lips are playing this week, a nighclub named Phonox, a DJ bar called Dogstar, and Hootananny which has food, drinks, live music, and karaoke.
“Shoreditch in the afternoon”
Shoreditch is a trendy neighborhood known for street art, restaurants, boutiques, and outdoor food halls. I recommend checking out Box Park a complex of shops and restaurants located in old converted boxcars. If you want to dine in Shoreditch, try Andina for Peruvian or Dishoom for Bombay-style cuisine. My favorite pub in the neighborhood is The Owl and the Pussycat.
Is Shoreditch a place to hang out in the afternoon? Sure! I love wandering around and exploring this neighborhood. You might want to check out a street art tour or a Jack the Ripper Tour in Shoreditch too.
“So please show me Hackney”
Hackney is a borough that contains several neighborhoods including Shoreditch. It’s the birthplace of Idris Elba who speaks at the start of the song “London Boy”. Some of the must-see things to do in Hackney are Victoria Park, Saturday’s Broadway Market, Crate Brewery, Queen Elizabth Olympic Park, and the Hackney Empire.
“Doesn’t have to be Louis V up on Bond Street”
Bond Street is one of the best streets in London for high-end shopping. Bond Street connects Piccadilly and Oxford Street and is divided into two parts: New Bond Street and Old Bond Street. The Louis Vuitton is located at 39-52 New Bond Street. Retailers including Mulberry, Chanel, Dior, and Hermes can all be found on New Bond Street. Bond Street is also the name of a tube station at the north end of the New Bond Street, just a short walk from Selfridges.
“Like a Tennessee Stella McCartney on the Heath”
Hampstead Heath is a large 800+ acre park in the north of London. It is known for being wild and unlandscaped. The park contains multiple swimming areas, Parliament Hill with views of the skyline, and is beside Kenwood House a free museum in a historic home.
Hampstead Village is an upscale residential neighborhood just to the southwest of the park. Swift has been spotted with her boyfriend Joe Alwyn at The Spaniards Inn a pub in Hampstead Village.
“I enjoy walking Soho”
Soho makes up part of London’s West End and is a center of arts, culture, shopping, theater, and nightlife. If you want to walk around in Soho, one of the best places to go is Carnaby Street since it is closed to traffic and filled with shops and restaurants. One shop that everyone should visit in London is Liberty, whose flagship is in Soho. If you want something obscure to do, try to find the seven noses of Soho. Ronnie Scotts is Soho is one of the city’s best places to hear live jazz. Or visit one of London’s top restaurants, Nopi, Dishoom, and The Palomar are all here.
What are your thoughts on “London Boy”? I love it because it brings back lovely memories of visiting London.
More London Travel Guides:
5 Day London Itinerary
150+ Things to Do in London
What to do in Mayfair and Marylebone
What to do in the City of London
What to do in Soho
What to Do in Notting Hill
What to Do in Chelsea and Kensington
What to Do in Camden
What to Do in St. Johns Wood
What to Do in London at Christmastime
Harry Potter Filming Locations in London
London Packing List
24 British Foods to Try in London
Can’t Miss London Restaurants
What to Know about Visiting London