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Things to Do in Soho London

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This post covers things to do in Soho in London, including attractions to see, restaurant recommendations, and tips on getting theatre ticket discounts.

Let's dive in!


WHAT IS SOHO?

Originally a playground for the London rich, today Soho is the entertainment hub of the city. There are theatres, restaurants, shops, and cocktail bars on nearly every street.

In the swinging ’60s, Soho was the heart of the action and was the stomping ground of many musicians like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

There’s an eclectic mix of architecture here with original 18th-century buildings adjacent to modern offices and Edwardian Theatres producing the hottest and most current shows.

Soho is still the heart of London’s nightlife scene with pubs, restaurants, and bars staying open well into the wee hours, making it a popular destination for visitors who want to dance the night away.


PLAN YOUR VISIT

Transport Links

Soho is easily accessed by public transport as it sits right in the heart of town.

Where is Soho London

Nearest Underground Stations:

  • Leicester Square
  • Covent Garden
  • Piccadilly Circus

TIP: Read our post on navigating the Underground for tips on getting around London.

Nearest Rail Station: Charing Cross

Bus Routes: 9, 13, 15, 19, 23, 24, 29, 38, 139, 153, 176, RV1

Tour Buses

Nearby Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square are stops on London hop-on hop-off bus routes like The Original Tour and Golden Tours.

Hotels

There are a number of hotels near and in Soho. Check out TripAdvisor’s list of the closest ones here.


TOP THINGS TO SEE AND DO

This section lists the top things to see and do in Soho.


Shop on Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street was the centre of London’s fashion scene of the 'swinging 60s'. It's where The Beatles,  The Rolling Stones and The Who shopped for their unique clothing.

Today you can still shop at independent boutiques and one-of-a-kind stores.

During the holiday season in December, Carnaby Street has some of the best Christmas Lights in all of London.

Carnaby Street is closed to vehicles every day after 11 am and you can grab a coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many cafes.

See the Carnaby Street website for more information.


Explore Soho on a Walking Tour

We offer a pay-what-you-wish walking tour of Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Chinatown.

This tour will have you traveling through centuries as you walk through some of the most vibrant streets in town.

Our pay-what-you-wish Westminster Tour and Mayfair Tour also start and end within walking distance from Soho.

If these tours don’t work with your schedule, consider taking one of our GPS-Enabled Walking Tours instead!


Walk in the Footsteps of The Beatles

The Beatles played their last live performance on a rooftop in Soho. Paul met Linda in Soho and some of the band-owned homes here.

You can use our self-guided Beatles Tour to find 10 prime locations in Soho relating to the band.

See places like Trident Recording Studios and MPL Communications (Paul McCartney’s music publishing company).

Also, we visit several Beatles’ locales during our pay-what-you-wish Rock 'n' Roll London Tour.

To learn more about the Fab Four in London, take a look at our Beatles post. Find out how to get to the Abbey Road crossing here.


Take a Rock and Roll Tour

Our Rock & Roll Tour takes you back in time from the swinging 60s to the naughty 90s.

See where acts were formed, recorded, and disbanded while you walk in the footsteps of some of London’s most famous rock and roll legends.

This is a must-do tour for any fan of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, or really just music in general!

You can also take this tour any time you wish with our GPS-led audio tour app. Here's a sample.


Stroll the West End Theatre District

Soho is on the northern edge of London’s West End. This means you will come across many theatres as you walk through the streets.

Each theatre has its own unique story, style, and flavour so pay attention as you walk around!

London’s West End brings in shows from all around the world, and some of entertainment’s biggest names. See what’s playing (affiliate disclosure).

For information on getting discounted tickets to a show, see our post on Covent Garden and The West End.


Be Mesmerized by Piccadilly Circus

Perhaps the most famous traffic junction in the world, Piccadilly Circus marks the Southwestern end of Soho.

It is here that five streets come together and traffic moves around London’s iconic “Eros” (known colloquially as such but it is, in fact, a statue of Anteros) statue.

This is where the first electric advertising lights in the world debuted and the huge electric signs still draw the crowds at night.

Although the signs today have the highest of technology - they are now LED screens loaded with tiny cameras that monitor the overall demographic of the crowds below so the advertisements on display can change to better impact the people walking past!

For those wondering about the strange name, check out our post on Piccadilly Circus to find out more.


Grab Some Food at the Berwick Street Market

Located on a cobbled pedestrian street, this classic London market sells fresh flowers, fruit, and vegetables.

Today it's a prime destination for foodies as you will find many types of street food, so good that the market gets very crowded at lunch hours.

The Market is open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 until 18:00. Check out their list of vendors here.


Take a Food Tour

Soho is one of the most popular areas in London to find great food. We list some below in our section on places to eat and drink in Soho.

If you want an overview of the best spots, a food tour of Soho can be a good introduction to the tastes of the neighborhood.

Eating London leads a Twilight Soho Food Tour (affiliate disclosure) that features several tasty treats and delicious cocktails.

Find out about the many food tours throughout London, read our post on the best London food tours.

You can also use our self-guided food tour of Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, and SoHo.


See The Spirit of Soho

On the edge of Broadwick Street, just around the corner from Carnaby Street is the incredible Spirit of Soho mural that honors notable men and women of Soho. 

There are iconic figures here like Karl Marx, Ronnie Scott, Dylan Thomas, and even Casanova.

For those of you lucky enough to arrive at the top of the hour, you’ll see quite a display.

As the clock strikes the hour, Karl Marx anamatronically sips from a can of Coke, and Casanova blows a kiss to his mistress Terese Cornelis!

TIP: If you are a fan of murals and street art, you may want to consider a London Street Art tour!


Take the Kids to Hamleys

Hamleys Toy Store is the largest to store in London and considered one of the greatest toy stores in the world.

Its popularity goes beyond just the kids as adults will have fun looking around the store as well.

Often you can catch a sighting of Barbie, Captain John Sparrow, and the like, standing outside the shop!

For more activities that your kids can enjoy, see our post on things to do in London with kids.


Dig For Some Vinyl At Sister Ray

Sister Ray is the world’s most visited record store and has been trading in London for over three decades.

Expect an extensive selection of new and second-hand vinyl - sans classical and pop, however!

With hundreds of titles to discover and dozens of crates to dig through, you’re bound to stumble across something that suits you.

For more info, check out their website here.


Enjoy Jazz at the Iconic Ronnie Scott's

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club has been the home of British jazz.is the most legendary jazz club in the world and has been for about the past 50 years.

Huge stars have performed here for decades after musicians Ronnie Scott and Pete King opened this venue in 1965.

These walls have heard the voices of some of the most iconic performers in the 20th century: Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, The Who, Tubby Hayes, Chet Baker, Prince, and Jimi Hendrix - just to name a few.

In fact, it was at Ronnie Scotts that Hendrix played the final performance of his life. Read more about Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.


Visit the House of MinaLima

Harry Potter fans will want to visit this special little shop to see artwork and artifacts from the Harry Potter film series.

Located just a few blocks east of Piccadilly Circus, this unique store has exhibitions that include a variety of art from the wizardry world.

Harry Potter fans, you may find our guide to Harry Potter sights in London useful.

Also, we offer a pay-what-you-wish Harry Potter walking tour.


Explore the Photographer’s Gallery

Founded in 1971, the Photographer’s Gallery was the first London public gallery entirely dedicated to the art of photography.

They describe their mission as attempting to stimulate public understanding and deeper engagement with photography and its value to society.

With rotating exhibitions and works by photographers like Juergen Teller and Taryn Simon, this is a wonderful gallery.

You can see the calendar, hours, and other information at the Photographer’s Gallery website.


Find the Seven Noses of Soho

In 1997 artist Rick Buckley created an art project based around a curious piece of human anatomy: the nose!

Rick says he was inspired by the increasingly invasive introduction of CCTV cameras throughout London and the idea that Londoners are constantly being watched.

He created 35 noses and placed them up all over London including places such as Tate Britain and the National Gallery.

Today, only 10 noses survive and 7 of them can be found in Soho.

Made of plaster of Paris, the noses poke out of the sides of buildings throughout the area and are not always easy to find – can you complete the challenge?


Relax in Soho Square

A statue of King Charles II presides over the middle of Soho Square as it was he who founded the square in 1661.

Today it’s a beautiful little oasis in the middle of Soho with well-maintained gardens, traditional park benches, and a charming mock-Tudor pagoda.

Soho Square

It’s a small, quiet place to escape the fast-paced activity of the rest of the neighbourhood.

London is filled with public green spaces. If you are looking for more places like Soho Square, read our post on London's best parks.


Visit a Delicious Chocolate Shop

Did you know there are awards for chocolate shops? Well, there are and Paul A. Young has nearly won them all!

The flavours of chocolate you will find here are often one of a kind - Paul himself is well known for his creative combinations.

All the chocolate here is made by hand with the finest of ingredients and is a must-visit for anybody with a sweet tooth in Soho!

Find out more on their website here.


“Press for Champagne” At Bob Bob Ricard

Okay, this is one for those who want to get a little decadent. Bob Bob Ricard is an upscale restaurant in Soho, highlighting a blend of English and Russian food.

What makes it worth your time and a bit of extra money are the buttons next to each table that say “Press for Champagne”.

Mere seconds after you press that button, a member of staff will appear with a huge trolley loaded with champagnes for you to choose from!

If the menu is a bit too expensive, consider splashing out on a drink (or two) here.


NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

This section lists attractions and places of interest that are easily accessible from Soho.


Leicester Square

There are lots to do in Leicester Square. It’s where the world premieres of films take place. It's filled with street performers and is a great place to people-watch.

See our post with suggestions of what to see in Leicester Square.

It is also where London's TKTS Booth is located. TKTS is one of the best ways to get your hands on discount tickets for London’s famous West End shows.

Read more about TKTS from our post on how to get cheap tickets for Teatre tickets in London.


Covent Garden

Covent Garden is on the southern border of Soho and is centered on a beautiful piazza, designed by architect Charles Fowler in the 1830s.

Within this piazza are numerous shops, restaurants, and a pitch for musicians.

Around the piazza, there are cobbled streets lined with markets, theatres, shops, bars, and restaurants. You will also see street performers all over!

Read more about things to see and do in Covent Garden. You may want to join our pay-what-you-wish walking tour of Covent Garden and the West End.


Trafalgar Square

Just to the west of Covent Garden sits Trafalgar Square, a hub of art and culture in London.

Built in the 19th century, Trafalgar Square has been London’s ‘common room’ ever since.

It is a popular spot for protests, public celebrations, concerts, parties, and events throughout the year.

It’s also where people take selfies with the famous lion statues! Learn more about visiting Trafalgar Square in our blog post.


National Gallery

The fourth most visited art museum in the world, the National Gallery, flanks the north side of Trafalgar Square and is free to visit!

Inside are works by masters such as Van Gogh, Monet, Holbein, and Turner. The gallery runs numerous talks for guests, as well as tours for groups of 4 people or fewer.

If you’re part of a group, contact us as we can help you arrange a private tour with one of our knowledgeable guides!

Find more information on the National Gallery.


National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery contains beautiful works depicting great British figures from across the centuries as well as some universally recognized names and faces.

For those traveling with kids, take note that the Gallery has special activities for children.

Both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are free to enter! See which other London museums are free.


Chinatown

London’s first Chinatown was actually in the East End but has been in Soho since the 1970s.

Although small in area, Chinatown is packed with Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, and souvenir shops.

It’s a foodie haven with authentic dishes, cheap dim sum, and traditional sweets in abundance and many of the restaurants here stay open far later than those in other London districts.

For those visiting during Chinese New Year, there are celebrations here with riots of colour, music, and activity.

Read more about what to do in London’s Chinatown.


Oxford Street

Oxford Street sits at the northern boundary of Soho and is London’s main shopping district. The street itself is so long it has four Underground stations on it!

This is where Londoners actually come to shop and there’s something here for every budget.

From cheap shops like Primark, the high street staples like Mango and TopShop, it’s all here. And if you want to splurge out, the luxury shops and boutiques of Bond Street are just nearby.


PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK

Getting food near Soho is easy as there are so many places to choose from. Here are some of our favourites:

Quick Bites to Take Away/Picnic

Casual Sit Downs

Pubs

Cocktails

To explore the area while trying different foods along the way, use our self-guided food tour of Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, and SoHo.


AREA DISCOUNTS AND DEALS

If you love a bargain as we do, take note that there are numerous discounts to be had near Soho.

For cheap theatre tickets check out the TKTS booth just opposite Covent Garden in Leicester Square.

Also, consider joining our Covent Garden and West End to get even more information on nabbing yourself some seats!

If you plan on seeing a lot of sites, you might want to think about getting a London tourist attraction discount pass, which can save you up to 55% off of retail ticket prices.

Passes include fast-track entry to many popular attractions, discounts on shopping, dining, and theatre shows.

These Soho attractions are included in some London tourist discount passes:

  • London Transport Museum
  • London Brass Rubbing Centre
  • Curzon Cinema Soho
  • Banqueting House
  • Benjamin Franklin House

Here are some other attractions also included in some London tourist discount passes:

Check out our post on London Discount Passes to see if a pass is right for you.


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About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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