Neal's Yard review
Neal's Yard is one of those places that you come across out of the blue and go, woah! One minute you're walking around the high street shops and busy streets of Covent Garden, and all of a sudden it's bright sunshine and flowers in a little hippy enclave. It reminds me of those lost tribes that they find in the Amazon. You know the ones... every now and then they discover a Stone Age village still living in bearskins and painting their faces to scare the wildlife. Neal's Yard is exactly like that (sort of). But instead of cavemen from 10,000 BC, it's got hippies from the 1960s.
Part of the fun is trying to find it. (Even I have trouble finding it, and I know where it is!) What you have to do is head north from Covent Garden up James Street, then cross over the road and continue up Neal Street. Keep your eyes open for Earlham Street, then turn left down there and through Thomas Neal's arcade. When you come out the other end you'll see the entrance across the street.
It's just a little courtyard really, but all the shops are painted in bright colours. Sky blues, bright lime greens and sunshine lemons. Plenty of oranges and pinks and purples too. Lots of leaves and flower baskets all over the place. The shops aren't up to much though. They've got a health and beauty place, a back rub shop (only in Neal's Yard would you find that), and a few cafes. But that's about it. Put it this way... it's not the kind of place where you're going to do your weekly shop. Not unless you wanted to eat cocoa shampoo and Peruvian bath salts all week.
It's a bit quiet today. I wonder where everybody is? I'm trying to think back to the last time I saw a hippie. And I mean a proper one... with long hair, an acoustic guitar and stinky cigarettes. The kind of groovy dudes that lived in San Francisco in the sixties. Do they even exist anymore? I haven't seen one for ages. Where have they all gone? I suppose all of that free love and drugs must have wiped them out. There certainly aren't any around here this morning. Maybe they are still in bed. I dont suppose many hippies get out of bed before noon.
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