A stroll through Soho, one of London's most stylish districts

Soho is one of London's most dynamic and lively districts. And yet, 50 years ago, Soho was considered the red light district of the British capital, because of its bad nightlife and numerous brothels. But this negative image is long gone, and today Soho attracts tourists and Londoners from all walks of life. Bobos love its trendy restaurants and bars, while fashionistas flock to its department stores and small designer boutiques. Artists, meanwhile, will delight in its art galleries and theatres. The district also offers a plethora of pubs and cafés, which can turn into clubs as the night goes on, and a host of nightclubs, each more trendy and eclectic than the last. Soho has long been known as the lively nightlife district par excellence.

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From Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Street

There's something for everyone in London - luxury, eccentric, fashion victims... Leaving Piccadilly Circus, after watching the constantly flashing advertising hoardings in London's Times Square, take Regent Street on foot or by red double-decker bus.

On this famous shopping street, Hamleys is one of the best-known shops. With its myriad of toys, it's a veritable treasure trove, a children's paradise and a feast for the eyes at Christmas time! In this magical world, the shop assistants give demonstrations and the shelves are full of nods to the city of London.

Piccadilly Circus, London.

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Not far away is the legendary Carnaby Street, a playground for shopaholics. This pedestrianised street reveals the quirky side of British fashion, and also has plenty of restaurants and pubs for a break. Don't miss the Liberty shop, housed in a pretty old building.

Then, as you head down Argyll Street, you'll come face to face with Topshop, a huge showcase of international fashion that's particularly appealing to teenagers. There are so many departments it's dizzying. 8400 square metres of clothes, vintage collections, unusual jewellery and other curiosities to try out - such as very flashy wigs. Not recommended during the sales, if you don't like crowds!

Carnaby Street, London.

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The West End theatres

Soho is often compared to Broadway because of its many theatres and Londoners' love of musicals. From world-renowned musical adaptations to entertaining plays, there's plenty to choose from! The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Les Misérables are great classics regularly performed in Soho theatres. Families will be tempted by The Lion King or Mary Poppins. The theatres themselves are legendary, from the Piccadilly Theatre and the Prince Edward Theatre to the Palace Theatre and the London Palladium!

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Chinatown

Strolling through Soho, you come across a magnificent, typically Asian door. Walking through it, you feel as if you've taken a single ticket toAsia: welcome to Chinatown! Here, red lanterns adorn the streets, giving the British capital a Chinese atmosphere. Souvenir shops, Asian restaurants, it's all there... except for the Asian community, which no longer really lives in this area that has become somewhat touristy.

The entrance to London's Chinatown.

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The sights of Soho...

Art is everywhere in Soho, and Rick Buckley's noses are proof of that. In 1997, this artist hid seven nose sculptures throughout the district to protest against the increase in CCTV - surveillance cameras - in the British capital. Legend has it that finding the seven noses will bring happiness and fortune. However, the mission could prove complicated, as some of the noses have disappeared over time.

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Still on the subject of art, photography fans absolutely must visit The Photographer's Gallery. Spanning several floors, this world-renowned art gallery exhibits big names in photography as well as emerging photographers. And don't miss Berwick Street Market, one of London's oldest markets. Finally, if you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the district, Soho Square offers a breath of fresh air.

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Practical information for the Soho district

A temple to shopping, art and partying, Soho is a must-see district on your trip to London! You can tour it in an hour, but we recommend staying longer to soak up its singular atmosphere.

🚌 How do I get to Soho?

Soho is ideally located in London's West End and therefore well served by public transport. It is bounded by Oxford Street to the north, Charing Cross to the east and Shaftesbury Avenue to the south and Regent Street to the west.

  • Leicester Square station: Northern (black) and Piccadilly (dark blue) lines
  • Piccadilly Circus station: Bakerloo (brown) and Piccadilly lines.
  • Tottenham Court Road station: Central (red) and Northern lines
  • Oxford Circus station: Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines (light blue)

Hop-on hop-off buses also pass through the district.

🍴 Where to eat in Soho?

Pop into The French House, a historic pub as it was Charles de Gaulle's headquarters during the Second World War! The food here is also very good.

👉 When to go to Soho?

To make the most of your stay, head to Soho in the late afternoon. You can browse the shops and then, when they close, go for a drink in a typical London pub before dinner in a trendy restaurant. Then it's time for your musical! If you're more of a party animal, you can continue the evening in a local bar or nightclub.

by Editorial Team
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