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The beating heart of London, Soho is a place where history, culture, and a dash of the unexpected collide. As a proud Londoner who loves everything about Soho and know the area intimately, let me be your guide through the maze of streets, introducing you to the must-see spots and the hidden gems that make Soho truly special.
1. Unravel the Mystery of Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street isn’t just another shopping destination; it’s the embodiment of London’s swinging sixties. As you saunter down this cobbled street, you can almost hear the echoes of The Beatles or see the ghost of Jimi Hendrix ducking into a boutique.
Today, Carnaby is a vibrant symphony of indie shops and international brands, but what makes it special is its legacy. The street art, the pop-up shops, and the ever-changing façade of store windows make Carnaby a visual feast.
And don’t forget to look up; the architecture is as eclectic as the fashion. For those with an appetite, Kingly Court, a three-story dining destination, offers everything from delectable vegan dishes to hearty Argentine steaks.
2. Kingly Court
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.
3. Triyoga Soho
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.
4. Liberty London
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.
5. Soho Theatre: Where Comedy and Drama Collide
If you’ve never watched a performance where you can almost touch the actors, welcome to Soho Theatre. The intimacy of the venue makes every emotion palpable, every joke a personal whisper.
Whether you’re sitting in for a late-night comedy show that will have you laughing till you cry, or a gripping drama that’ll leave you pondering life’s big questions, Soho Theatre doesn’t just put on performances; it stirs souls. Also, keep an eye out for celebrity sightings; this is where many A-list comedians test their new material.
6. Jazz Up Your Night at Ronnie Scott’s
Imagine a place where the greats have played, where every note tells a story—welcome to Ronnie Scott’s. Stepping into this club is like slipping into a velvety dream. The atmosphere here is thick with history, and the acoustics are designed for the purest jazz sound.
There’s a reason this spot is revered globally. As you sip on a finely crafted cocktail, let the saxophone’s melody embrace you. It’s not just about the music; it’s about the ambiance, the people, and the sense of connection to a bygone era.
7. Soho’s Global Gastronomy
Soho is London’s stomach. A walking tour of Soho’s eateries can take you from a Parisian patisserie to a Neapolitan pizzeria in minutes. Start your day with a coffee from one of Soho’s artisanal cafes, where the beans are as carefully selected as the wines in a sommelier’s cellar.
For lunch, perhaps a bao bun from a Taiwanese street food stall that bursts with flavor. And for dinner, the dilemma of choice: Spanish tapas, Lebanese mezze, or maybe Korean barbecue? Each bite is a testament to Soho’s melting pot of cultures.
8. 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.
9. Chinatown: A Feast for the Senses
Chinatown, with its red lanterns and pagoda-style roofs, is a slice of the East that’s fiercely authentic. The energy here is palpable—ducks hanging in windows, the sizzle of woks, and the clatter of chopsticks.
Explore the supermarkets stocked with exotic ingredients, sample traditional Chinese pastries, or indulge in a hot pot experience. Chinatown is not just about food; it’s a cultural immersion. Don’t miss out on the cultural festivities if you’re lucky enough to visit during Chinese New Year.
10. Nightlife Extravaganza
Soho’s nightlife is like a chameleon, perfectly adapting to the personality of its visitor. Are you the cocktail lounge aficionado, or do you crave the thumping beat of a hidden basement club? Maybe you’re more of a traditional pub person, seeking the charm of a pint and some crisps in a place that feels timeless.
Soho has it all, each night painted with a different shade of excitement. And if you want a truly unique night out, try one of the secret bars—just look for the unmarked door.
11. Photographers’ Gallery: A Visual Delight
Photography is a language that’s understood universally, and the Photographers’ Gallery is Soho’s Rosetta Stone. Every visit offers something new, from contemporary issues captured in digital formats to classic prints that harken back to the dawn of photography.
Attend a workshop, listen to a photographer’s talk, or simply let the exhibitions provoke and inspire you. This gallery isn’t just about viewing photos; it’s about experiencing the world through someone else’s lens.
12. Berwick Street Market: A Culinary Adventure
Berwick Street Market is a strand in the fabric of Soho that has seen the area evolve from its earliest days. From the scent of fresh bread to the colours of seasonal vegetables, the market is a feast for the senses.
The vinyl shop here is a nod to Soho’s rich musical heritage, while the fashion stalls whisper tales of trends that have come and gone. To eat like a local, grab a Falafel wrap or a portion of fresh paella, find a spot on a bench, and watch the world buzz by.
13. Soho Square: Green Oasis in the Urban Jungle
In the midst of Soho’s chaos, Soho Square stands as a testament to the city’s layered history. It’s a patch of tranquillity where you can watch office workers, creative minds, and tourists all mingle.
The Tudor-style hut at the centre of the square is a quirky remnant of yesteryear, and if you’re visiting in the summer, you might stumble upon an impromptu acoustic music session. Soho Square isn’t just a park; it’s a community space that reflects the diversity of the area.
14. Sister Ray: Vinyl Paradise
For music lovers, Sister Ray is an anchor in the ever-changing sea of retail. With records stacked from floor to ceiling, this place is a musical lexicon.
The staff here are not just clerks; they’re historians, critics, and guides. Ask them for a recommendation or a bit of music history—you’ll leave not just with a record, but with a story.
15. Curzon Soho: A Cinematic Experience
The Curzon Soho isn’t just about the movies; it’s about the ritual of cinema. The carefully curated selection of films turns each screening into an intellectual event.
It’s a place where film buffs debate over espresso in the bar, where you come to be challenged and entertained. The plush seats and intimate screens make for a personal viewing experience that multiplexes can’t replicate.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
Wrapping Up: Soho Unveiled
So, there you have it—a whirlwind tour of Soho through the eyes of a local Londoner. From the iconic to the offbeat, Soho is a tapestry of experiences waiting to be explored.
Whether you’re sipping cocktails in a trendy bar, delving into the world of jazz, or indulging in global cuisines, Soho welcomes you with open arms.