Why Soho & Covent Garden (WC2)
One of London's most popular tourist destinations, Soho & Covent Garden's unique mix of eccentric street performers, high-level dining, luxury stores and characterful theatres make it one of the capital's most interesting areas.
Nestled in the heart of the West End – London's theatre, film, restaurant and entertainment district – Soho & Covent Garden offers easy access to Soho to the north, Charing Cross to the south, Piccadilly Circus to the west and Holborn to the east.
It also has a history and heritage to rival the very best of them. From the site of the first Punch & Judy puppeteer show to the location for London’s first residential square, Soho & Covent Garden has also played host to a range of markets for centuries.
The grand, spacious Italian-style Piazza is the area’s main landmark and is dominated by the Greco-Roman influenced Soho & Covent Garden Market building. First opened in May 1830, it attracts hordes of visitors every day to its fashionable boutiques, designer stores and quirky antiques and gift shops.
The area itself is one of London’s premier shopping destinations, home to Mulberry, Apple, Tiffany & Co. and Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop. Shops are mostly focused on fashion, beauty and lifestyle, but antiques, household goods and gadgets are also on offer.
Equally, it’s a world-class dining destination with more than enough to keep foodies satisfied, from top-level restaurants and smart cafes to gourmet sweet stores and bustling pubs.
The Ivy – an icon throughout the world – is Soho & Covent Garden’s most famous restaurant, but Cora Pearl, The Oystermen and Frenchie are others to keep an eye out for. Pre-theatre menus and deals are commonplace with so many West End venues nearby.
While Soho & Covent Garden might not instantly be thought of as a residential area, it is home to a number of stylish houses and flats – mostly handsome Georgian abodes – which, as you might expect, go for a pretty penny.
It’s not, though, as expensive as Prime Central London, with an overall average price of around £1.4 million making it more affordable than other iconic parts of the capital.
“A tourist magnet with a wonderfully rich and diverse history, Soho & Covent Garden beguiles residents and visitors alike with a sense of vibrancy unmatched by the rest of London.”
As you'd expect of such a central location, transport links in Soho & Covent Garden are superb. Underground services are provided by Soho & Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line) and Leicester Square (Piccadilly and Northern Line), while Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Holborn, Temple and Embankment are all easily walkable.
Given much of Soho & Covent Garden features narrow roads with pavements to either side, or entirely pedestrianised areas, it's easier to get around on foot, with cabs, buses, cars and even bikes much less useful in one of London's busiest locations.
One of the quirkier ways of getting around Soho & Covent Garden is via a pedal-powered rickshaw, something you'll see plenty of throughout London's theatreland.
Gain an insight into the history of London's transport system – from horse power to those iconic red buses – at London Transport Museum.
Get your culture fix by seeing a ballet or opera performance at the Royal Opera House, a majestic stately theatre in the heart of Soho & Covent Garden.
Sample one of the many free street showson offer from some of the world's best street performers. Everything from clown and mime shows to singing, escapology, juggling and acrobatics can be enjoyed.