London People-watching
November 29, 2010 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Where is the best place to people-watch in London.

What's the best place to sit with a coffee or tea and gaze out the window for hours and watch the world go by in London? (Perhaps in Mayfair or Kensington, but anywhere really.)

Specific cafe recommendations would be appreciated!
posted by jschu to Travel & Transportation around London, England (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Trafalgar Square is a go-to, but I guess it depends on the kind of people you're hoping to watch?
posted by lhall at 7:45 PM on November 29, 2010


I'm partial to Covent Garden - but as lhall says, it all really comes down to what kind of people you hope to watch. You could sit with a coffee downstairs at St. Pancras International and see a very wide range of people. A park bench on the South Bank, near the National Theatre - or even a table inside the National Theatre - would also be a good spot.
posted by sueinnyc at 7:50 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bar Italia in Soho, on Frith Street near Old Compton Street?
posted by holgate at 8:19 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like all the recommendations so far, but I was always partial to a front-row seats on the top a double decker bus.
posted by five_dollars at 9:24 PM on November 29, 2010


Almost any cafe on Old Compton street in Soho.

The counters up against the windows at the Konditor & Cook at Curzon Soho is made for people watching.
posted by vacapinta at 12:00 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kitchen and Pantry on the corner of Elgin Cresent and Kensington Park Rd.
Watch London in all its Notting Hill / Westbourne Grove variety go by. You can get a newspaper or magazine from the Newsagents next door.
If you want a good breakfast go round the block to Mikes.
posted by adamvasco at 1:05 AM on November 30, 2010


I agree that Soho is a great place to watch people, especially in the evenings when some of the more colourful characters come out.

My personal favourite place to do it is the Maoz falafel restaurant. Grab yourself a big falafel with as much salad as you can load on the thing, some of the awesome homemade mint-lemonade, and grab one of the benches in front of the big window.

If you do this, sit to the left of the door rather than the right - the right hand side gets rather draughty. Yes, I do this that often. Good for dates.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:36 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


National Gallery
Arrivals hall at St. Pancras
1001 on Brick Lane
Benugo, South Bank
posted by nickrussell at 2:06 AM on November 30, 2010


Yeah, I'm biased but its hard to beat Soho for a wild mix of people. There's lots of cafes with seats facing windows, my favorite is the bird's-eye view from the coffee shop in Foyles bookstore on Charing Cross. Especially when the charity-muggers are out, it's hilarious watching people trying to avoid them.
posted by Erasmouse at 2:10 AM on November 30, 2010


Speakers Corner is a favourite of mine. Not a cafe spot, mind.
posted by mippy at 4:51 AM on November 30, 2010


Upstairs in the cafe at Foyles on Charing Cross Road. If you're lucky you can get a seat looking down at the sidewalks, straight across into opposite buildings and into the tops of double-decker buses. Pretty good coffee, too.
posted by stuck on an island at 5:19 AM on November 30, 2010


Camden Locks.
(I also second the front of the top deck of any bus, but they don't serve coffee.)
posted by bright cold day at 6:35 AM on November 30, 2010


Paddington Station is bright inside, has a cafe on the ground floor, and you can see an amazing shuffle of people going through.
posted by lhall at 9:54 AM on November 30, 2010


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