Out of all of London’s districts, it’s safe to say that Soho is one of the most vibrant. With plenty of theatre, history and nearby accommodation in Paddington and central London, Soho is an area attracting both locals and tourists due to its neon blazing entertainment and shopping opportunities. Whilst many London visitors will be used to the West End Shows and high street areas like Covent Garden, there’s a lot more to the district than meets the eye. With a long history full of character and excitement, it’s well worth scratching under the surface of London’s most electric district.
History of Soho
After spending centuries as royal park and farmland, Soho was showing signs of gentrification in the 17th century, when Charles II built Monmouth House for his illegitimate son James Scott, Duke of Monmouth. Keeping to this tradition of guilty secrets, the wealthy of Soho began moving away further West into Mayfair and Kensington, leaving Soho as a late-night entertainment hub and brothel hotspot in the 19th century. Whilst Soho’s sordid past has been somewhat neutered, there’s still a feel of late-night buzz about the area, especially prevalent in its bar and entertainment scene.
7 Noses of Soho
One of the quirkiest sights in Soho is the 7 Noses. Created by the then anonymous artist Rick Buckley, this avant-garde absurdism inspired sculpture collection can be found across Soho. Whilst there were 35 plaster cast noses installed altogether, 7 of them can be found in the West End, across walls at inconspicuous spots such as Dean Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.
London’s LGBT scene
Take a walk down Soho’s Dean Street and Wardour Street and you’ll be right in the heart of the LGBT action. As the main site for London’s annual Pride Festival, Soho still celebrates LGBT culture throughout the year. With many famous gay bars across the area, you’ll never be short of some late night club venues and wholehearted fun.
Whilst the best restaurants in Paddington offers up Michelin-starred fine dining, Soho is a little more accessible for families and foodie fun nights out. From its American fast-food chains to the hearty Asian cuisine of Chinatown, there’s plenty of cheap and cheerful dining options in Soho, alongside some more refined pre-theatre restaurants.
Punk Tour Soho
From the late ’70s, punk music and culture flooded the UK and no more prevalently than in London’s Soho district. From the 100 Club’s past as a punk stronghold to the pub venues across Soho who played host for the likes of the Clash and The Jam, the Flipside London tour will take guests through Soho’s past relationship with the genre.
Soho Theatre Late Night Comedy
If you’re a tourist night owl staying at centrally located hotels like the Park Grand London Paddington, you’ll no doubt want to spend a night on the town. Where better than the crowning jewel of alternative West End entertainment – the Soho Theatre. This lively off-West End Theatre plays host to an internationally curated collage of cabaret, comedy and new theatre, alongside a lively late-night bar that attracts the artistic community of London every night of the week.