A day out in London certainly requires plenty of planning, there's so many places to visit you could easily loose track of time. With alternative shops, clubs and venues dotted across the city it's often difficult to know where to start, that's where we hope our first of several alternative guides to London comes in handy.
Such a vast city, London has many alternative areas to visit, so much has changed even over the past few years that you could easily walk past a new alt venue that's worth checking out. To help you along the way we're piecing together several guides to the city with all the best places to shop, eat and visit.
The first area we're looking at is one of the busiest in the city, Central London, paying particular attention to the Soho and Covent garden areas, not an obvious pit stop for an alternative trip at first, but you'll find plenty of alternative culture and style just off the busy tourist routes that are more than worth venturing out to. You may even be pleasantly surprised to find that these places are all within a reasonable walking distance of each other, Covent garden is only a 10 minute walk away from Soho so you could easily make a good days shopping out of your trip!
To start we'd advise getting the busiest route out of the way, head towards Oxford circus and exit left to head down Regent street for an easy route to the start of Soho at Carnaby.
You'll find plenty to visit here including Illamasqua's beauty school and flagship London store on Beak street that's a must visit for beauty essentials in an alt friendly palette of shades - Update 2020: Their flagship store has now closed. Only a few doors down you'll find Revival that's home to a wonderful selection of vintage and inspired attire.
Leading onto Carnaby street you'll find Kingly court a multi floor building that's home to a vast selection of independent traders ranging from millinery to vintage and jewellery to even rockabilly hairdressers, It's something hells - Update 2018 - Kingly Court has now unfortunately changed to a multi-storey dining complex.
Around the surrounding streets are plenty of vintage and alternative stores, including gothic inspired jewellers The great frog on Ganton street and vintage retailers Beyond retro on Great Marlborough street. From there you almost wouldn't believe that you were a short walk from the Japan centre on Shaftesbury avenue, worth a visit for a great selection of imported treats, from there your only a short walk from Covent garden for more shops.
First stop has to be Tatty Devine on Monmouth street for their quirky, kitsch jewellery, you'll find Pop boutique just a few doors down too. From there you can head up to Collectif and Blackout II on Endell street for gorgeous reproduction vintage wear and designer vintage finds, then a few streets down on Shelton street you'll find fetish store Liberation - Update 2018 - Collectif's Covent Garden store has now closed, but you can still find their shops across London, from Camden, to Shoreditch.
As good a place as any to venture off for a pit stop, you'll find The diner, a 50's inspired burger joint on Shaftesbury avenue, and the much raved about Circus bar on Endell street where you can dine and watch a fire breathing performance or two..
Of course there's plenty to London's nightlife that you really won't know where to start, although you really can't go wrong by starting off at Madame Jojo's for a debauched evening, home to many burlesque and cabaret nights there's always bound to be something on that'll tickle your fancy! A visit to Volupte lounge is another must especially for their regular tea and tease afternoon shows - Update 2017 - Madame Jojo's has now unfortunately closed.
If you prefer something with a darker edge then a visit to The intrepid fox is a must, home to regular metal club nights and gigs, alongside Garlic and shots for a goth friendly pub.
There's certainly plenty to keep yourself busy, why not take a wander down some of Soho's side streets to unearth some hidden gems, or wander around the Seven dial's in Covent garden for some hidden independent shops. Who says you have to stick to Camden every time you visit the city?!