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Charming areas to explore in London

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We are planning a trip to London in May. We've been there on 3 previous trips but I'm still having trouble putting this one together. We have 7 full days and one half day and, are staying near Russell Square. Thinking to do day trips on 3 days which leaves us 4 and 1/2 days in the city. Markets are a big deal for us so planning time at Borough market, Leadenhall market, possibly a walk through Portobello market though we much prefer food and dining areas of markets than clothing and bric a brac, so not certain on that.

What I'd really like to clamp onto are some suggestions for little enclaves of charm and beauty in the city but off the paths between major sights and main streets One of my guides suggests Regentt's Canal, Camden Market and Little Italy. Does that sound like it might fit my needs? Another guide makes Hampstead look like it might fit the bill but it also sound incredibly confusing to get around in--or is that part of the charm?

Can those of you who know the city give me guidance on these two areas and especially some suggestions for other areas that you know of and love that will satisfy my yearning for quiet charm in the midst of the city?

All guidance appreciated.

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