Ever wondered how does London without people look like? In this post, I’m going to take you on a photo walk around London during lockdown as part of my daily exercise and show you these 20+ photos of empty London streets and landmarks. Luckily, I live walking distance from the city centre, so I was able to witness empty Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Tower Bridge, Soho, Covent Garden and Chinatown. It hurts me to see London so empty, and I hope that life goes back to normal very soon.
As of May 2020, we’ve been in lockdown for almost two months. Luckily, it wasn’t as strict as it was in Italy or France. For us, it was allowed to exercise once per day: go for a walk, run or do any other sort of exercise as long as you don’t use public transport and don’t violate rules. Luckily, I don’t live that far from Central London, so I managed to visit the city centre a couple of times as part of my daily exercise.
I always liked walking and long walks (like this very long day walk from Seaford to Eastbourne through the spectacular Seven Sisters cliffs or that walk from Dorking to Leith Hill last year), so walking around London was not a problem for me. As you will see in the photos, the streets were absolutely empty, apart from one borough – Islington, that is a very populated area. In Islington, it almost didn’t feel as London was in quarantine – there were so many people everywhere! Most of the restaurants were also open, offering takeaways.
Places like Piccadilly Circus, Shoreditch, Tower Bridge, Soho, Chinatown, City and Covent Garden, on the contrary, were empty. It was really sad to see London like that, and I hope our beautiful city will go back to life very soon. Without further ado, let’s start our photo walk around empty streets of London?
This post's overview:
- 1 Photo walk around London: how does the city look without people? 20+ photos of empty London streets and landmarks
- 2 Summary: what’s next for London?
- 3 Some other posts you might be interested in:
Photo walk around London: how does the city look without people? 20+ photos of empty London streets and landmarks
Let’s start our photo walk around empty London streets and landmarks in Piccadilly Circus.
Empty Piccadilly Circus in London
Piccadilly Circus is one of the busiest places in London. You can never see the monument empty – even at night, people are sitting on the stairs. London never sleeps, so a photo like this would be impossible even at 6 am! However, this was taken on a warm spring day at 6 pm. London without tourists simply looks strange and unusual to me, as I personally have never seen it like that, not even on the first of January early in the morning!
On the last photo, you can see the Leicester square (a bit far away, but also visible in the photo) being completely empty as well.
Empty Chinatown in London
The next stop of our photo walk around London without tourists (and people in general) is Chinatown. Located around the corner from Piccadilly Circus, it isn’t very different from the rest of Central London these days. Unlike empty Piccadilly Circus that looks quite sad without people, Chinatown actually looks stunning! We were lucky to see Chinatown during sunset, so the light was especially pretty.
Normally, Chinatown is a place, where a lot of the most Instagrammable places in London are located.
Soho during lockdown
Another location that changed a lot with the lockdown is Soho. Soho is home to most of the trendy restaurants in London and with no restaurants open, it looks completely deserted. Central London is also so empty nowadays because very few people live in the city centre.
Covent Garden without tourists
Our next stop was Covent Garden – a buzzing shopping area of Central London that is normally so full, that you can barely walk there. However, during the lockdown, just like other parts of London it is empty. Have you ever seen it so empty? Let me know in the comments below!
Photos of empty City of London
On another walk, we actually went to the City of London as well as Tower Bridge, Shoreditch and Islington. As I mentioned before, Islington was pretty crowded and looked very cheerful, but Shoreditch changed quite a bit.
City of London was beautiful, as always. During the Golden hour, it looked stunning. It’s also not so rare to see the City of London without tourists and generally, without any people as most of businesses close on weekends anyways, as bankers and finance employers don’t work on Saturdays and Sundays.
Empty Tower Bridge and Tower of London
Tower Bridge, on the contrary, is never empty, so seeing it like that was a rare sight. The Tower of London has been closed since the lockdown has started in London, so of course, it is also very empty. Even the Thames promenade next to it was closed for walkers.
Shoreditch, a district that normally thrives and is full of hipsters looking for vegan street food and vintage bargains is completely empty and overrun by questionable personas like squatters, hobos, drug addicts and alcoholics. We’ve seen so many of them and it wasn’t the best place to walk around for sure. I miss the old Shoreditch!
Empty streets of Kensington and Chelsea
As Kensington and Chelsea are both pretty far from the City of London and Soho / Piccadilly, we went there on our third and fourth walks to Central London. Kensington was pretty empty apart from Kensington High street, where a lot of grocery stores were still open, so people were queuing for them. However, just take a minute to appreciate how stunning is wisteria blossom in Kensington and near Gloucester road.
Chelsea wasn’t as empty as the rest of London because it has quite a few residents. The King’s road and the Fulham road were quite crowded with a lot of shops and various businesses open, but still, it was nowhere close to how busy it normally is.
Summary: what’s next for London?
So the rules on lockdown have already been eased in England and it’s possible to go on day trips to do exercise. Many people started exercising a bit more, picked up cycling and walking and developed a liking for exploring their own areas and even cities!
Because of that, there are even plans to make some of London’s busiest roads car-free. It could be a good idea for pedestrians and walkers like us, so let’s see, what is going to happen!