Neal’s Yard is a small alley in Covent Garden between Shorts Gardens and Monmouth Street which opens into a courtyard. Neal’s Yard is one of those places that if you didn’t know it was there, you might well pass by it loads of times and simply never come across it. It is quite easy to miss and just walk by as it the sign leading to it is not very obvious. I came upon this very colourful alleyway one afternoon while walking around Covent garden, just exploring the beautiful area.
There are two alleyways leading into the Yard, both of which give little hint of the colourful world what lies beyond. Neal’s Yard is almost like a secret hide-away in the center of London, and normally visited only by those who know exactly where they are going.
So this discreet little haven in the center of London came about when in 1976 that Saunders moved into an old warehouse in Neal’s Yard, which at the time really was just a scruffy backyard behind warehouses and other buildings. With his emphasis upon alternative and healthy living, Saunders set about opening up a whole food shop, and the enterprise proceeded to be a huge success. Going from strength to strength Saunders then set up a dairy, a cafe, and an apothecary specializing in alternative remedies and healing.
Since its debut, this cosy backwater and its shops have simply gone from strength to strength, so if you happen to find yourself in Covent Garden, be sure to visit Neal’s Yard, as you will be in for a real treat. It is the perfect place to have lunch outdoors in the summer, and in winter you can warm yourself up with a massage in the Therapy Rooms followed by tea and a healthy snack in the Bakery and Tearoom.