Why you should spend a day in Soho from a Londoner
If you want to stay somewhere in London that’s brimming with diversity for fun-loving people, where you can find a bustling bar or restaurant day or night, then I advise you to choose one of the many hotels in Soho.
People from different walks of life, race and culture can we found in Soho. The area also filled with history containing one of the capitals oldest markets - Berwick Street Market and some of the oldest newsagents in Soho. The atmosphere is lively and fun, making Soho a must-see for all tourists and Londoners who seek pleasure and a little naughtiness, will feel at home in Soho.
The Low Down On Soho
Do you know that as busy and bustling as Soho is, it covers nothing more than a square mile? You read that right! You can walk through Soho in less than an hour but if you’re a tourist or don’t know your way around, you may end up walking around for hours without finding a way out.
As small as Soho is, it boasts of a fascinating 7 Michelin star restaurants, unique boutiques and world renown British department Liberty.
This is Soho as it is now. But the area wasn’t always like this.
Soho was once host to brothels, illegal speakeasies were once the norm and kinda still are today. In a way, these are the areas claim to fame and what we many Londoners and tourist have come to love Soho for.
Things to do in Soho London
If you are a first-time visitors to London and want to check out all the tantalising things to do in Soho, then stick around as I’ll give you a rundown on where to go, eat, drink and shop in Soho.
It’s never a dull moment in Soho. Here is a list of places you have to visit in Soho.
This is one of my favourite places in Soho. Escape off Carnaby Street into this enclosed courtyard filled with restaurants from around the world and cocktail bars to boot. So, whether you want to be super healthy and eat raw, visit Dirty Bones for a boozy brunch or a feel for Mexican. Kingly court has you covered.
Theirs even one of the best yoga studios in London in Kingly Court.
Triyoga Soho is located in Kingly court and is the go-to place when you need to de-stress from city life, flow into a downward or a fall asleep into a corpse pose (my favourite). Triyoga does a great beginner yoga course that I’ve done and recommended as its a great foundation to build a practice on.
I find that a morning class here a great way to start my day.
There are three yoga studios, a lifestyle shop and 2 treatment rooms. The wooden floors give you that warm and homely feel, and whenever I need to de-stress, Triyoga Soho comes to mind.
Bread Ahead Soho
Right at the entrance of Kingly is Bread Ahead - a carb lovers dream! Bread Ahead is a café and eat-in bakery.
It’s an excellent place to spend your afternoon where you can feast on baked goods, sandwiches, doughnuts and salads.
This café is also open to hot breakfasts: you can walk in there on a cold morning for fried egg and mushrooms on toasted sourdough. You can also have brioche French toast with bacon and maple syrup.
P.S. They have gluten-free waffles.
Get coffee at Grind Soho
Next door to Bread Ahead is the famous Grind Soho. If you need a cup of coffee when you’re in Soho, your best bet would be to visit the Soho Grind. It is an espresso bar with a basement cocktail bar that is right beneath Beak Street. They serve coffee that leaves a mark of remembrance on your taste buds. It is an opportunity you must not miss.
The Seven Noses of Soho
The Seven Noses of Soho were installed by the artist Rick Buckley in 1997. He used it to kick against the increase in the use of CCTV cameras on the streets. Buckley made about 35 noses - all plaster casts of his nose -- that were attached to some of the buildings in Central London. Seven of the 35 noses are in Soho, and many myths are surrounding the noses (Buckley neither took credit for them nor spoke about their purpose initially). Some folks believe if you can find all of the seven noses in one day a great fortune will come your way. I can’t say it’s true, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try to find them all!
If you love books, this is the place for you. Every book-lover in London - whether resident or tourist, must visit Foyle’s Bookshop. There are six floors of books covering diverse subjects and categories; real-life book heaven.
It also houses a gift shop, stationary point, gallery space, a café for food and drinks and an auditorium for public or private events. Foyle’s is well organised, and there’s something about it that makes you just want to go back or end up curling up on one of the many sofas in the store to read your book.
Visit the photographers’ gallery
The photographer’s gallery has thought-provoking exhibitions. It is free for kids, but adults are required to pay £5, within the gallery is also a café. You should go to an exhibition and also visit the café. It’s excellent value for your money.
Want a feel of China in London? Chinatown is where you need to go. Here, the food, drinks, and even the air has a way of transporting you to China. Some of the bars and cafes found at Chinatown are YiFang, W London Hotel, Caffe Concerto, The Blue Posts, Cappacha and De Hems.
You can visit the traditional Chinese bakery - Bake and The Chinatown Bakery for something sweet, like a matcha teriyaki fish (its a thing).
Riflemaker is a contemporary art gallery that was founded by Virginia Damtsa and Tot Taylor. It was formerly a rifle-making shop, and the new owners chose to retain the same feel, saving all the furniture. Riflemaker organises modern art exhibitions and is a must-see if you love and appreciate art.
Best places to eat in Soho
Have a great time at Choccywoccydoodah - Chocolatier
No, that wasn’t a word I just made up now. Visitors usually have a challenge calling Choccywoccydoodah, but here’s all you need to know: if you love chocolate or anything chocolate related, go here! The towering chocolates, the truffles, the chocolate-y stuff!
Here’s a secret for you, there is a bar du chocolat where you can have a taste of the chocolates, but if you want the chocolate experience of your life, then you need to visit the secret garden on the second floor.
Have a nice time at Dim Sum at Yauatcha Soho
There are great places to get Dim Sum in Chinatown, but one that stands out is the Yauatcha Soho Dim Sum. The taste of it is worth every pound that you spend. Their prawn, beancurd Cheung fun and venison puffs are a delight. They also have exquisite desserts to make your belly leap for joy.
The Chin Chin Dessert Club
This is a place you can never forget in a hurry. It is ‘THE’ place for ice cream with a difference. There are different flavours like grilled white chocolate, Valrhona chocolate, burnt caramel, vanilla. The best part for me is that it melts on the tongue just like any other ice-cream, but this gives you an unforgettable experience.
Get brunch at Big Easy
Big Easy is the right spot for brunch and afternoon meals or when you just want to meet up with friends. They have a great menu and do a fantastic bottomless brunch. I highly recommend the cornbread and their cocktails. Do make sure to book a reservation as they can get really busy on the weekends.
Press for Champagne at Bob Bob Ricard
This Russian-British restaurant is unashamedly lush. You have a rich menu with caviar lobster, truffle oysters and all. The distinct part of Bob Bob Ricard is the Press for Champagne buttons that is found at the table. This place is a treat and is a must-have for all champagne lovers.
Shopping in Soho
The Swedish brand of Axel Arigato sneaker is available in Soho. The store used to be an art gallery. You’ll probably fall in love with its white walls and the big terrazzo stone tables where the shoes are displayed. The shoes are so lovely that it will be a miracle of sorts if you end up buying just one pair.
Liberty London is a luxury department store where you can get the best gifts and find unique pieces. Liberty London is mainly now for its range of luxury fabrics and prints, but the store has a fantastic beauty hall and flower shop.
You can visit the restaurant for breakfast or afternoon tea. Liberty is famed for
If you need a shopping and dining spot, then think Carnaby. It hosts over 150 brands, boutiques, restaurants, bars and cafes. It is usually busy, and you can get a tour of the street. The shops are really cool, and Carnaby Street is so colourful that it immediately injects you with the buzz of London life.
Visit Berwick Street Market
Berwick street market is a place for food, drinks, goods and clothes. It’s also one of the oldest markets in London. So a place you should not miss.
Best Bars in Soho
Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals
One thing that makes Mr Fogg’s stand out is the flora and fauna; it’s almost like stepping into an adventure with nature. Even more interesting? The plants were carefully selected from different parts of the world. The drinks at Mr Fogg’s is hands down some of the best in London. It’s a great place to have a quick drink before dinner or a date.
Not only does the place open you up to new experiences, but the staff is warm and cheerful as well.
Cahoots is an old underground bar that looks like an old tube station and takes you back into the past, to the 1940s. See Britain as it was in the ‘40s, from the vintage carriage seats to the cocktails served in hip flasks, teacups and milk bottles and the piano sing-a-long songs. Rest assured, when you come out of Cahoots, you’ll be redefining your idea of fun.
Milk and Honey
This is a three-floor cocktail bar. You get access only if you are a member or if you have reservations. Milk and Honey also provide intimate booths that create a romantic and warm atmosphere. They serve great cocktails and its really cosy.
If you’re a party person or like to move to the beat, then you should visit Graphic over the weekend. Graphic is a modern gin bar with sofas, urban art and exposed bulbs. They have DJ’s that play the latest and greatest songs; the kind of music that will get you up and dancing, allowing you to forget life’s troubles.
Rooftop bars in Soho
The Rooftop St. James
I love the view from this bar; I always feel like they selected the best location. They have an impressive selection of wine and cocktails and some pretty cool interior decoration as well. It doesn’t come cheap, but it is worth it.
If you are in the mood to enjoy a sunset view of the city, then head to Aqua. The terrace does get crowd during the evenings and on the weekend, but there is a bar inside and.
Enjoy live Jazz at Ronnie Scott’s
If you are a jazz lover, then you must visit Ronnie Scott. It has hosted many great faces such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince. Many other international artists grace the stage, and you can relax in the serene and calm atmosphere while enjoying good music.
Pizza Express Jazz Club
Gosh! They have amazing pizza as well as a live jazz club. The environment is cosy and casual. You can go with your friends, your family or your partner and is a relaxing way to spend an evening.
*This post was in collaboration with Hotels.com and spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own