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Soho & The West End are two of London’s most exciting neighbourhoods. This historic part of the capital has drawn aristocrats, gangsters and musicians thanks to its reputation for debauchery. Today, it’s still a lively place to stay in London.


By: Paul Healy |
Published: 22 Apr 2024

The West End is an informally defined area north of the Thames between Oxford Circus and Holborn. As the home of mainstream professional theatre in the country, it’s one of the liveliest areas in London.  

Soho is a smaller area within the West End roughly defined by the triangle between Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court Road tube stations.

This is one of the most exciting areas in London and somewhere we love to hang out when we’re not travelling.

It has a buzzing atmosphere 24/7 with excellent live music and small lane ways packed with bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs. You could easily spend days strolling around Soho, popping into interesting shops and still not even scratch the surface.

It’s a great base for your London stay if you are looking for somewhere with plenty of great nightlife while still retaining a village feel.

It’s one of our favourite areas of London. 

WHY STAY IN SOHO & THE WEST END?

The West End is one of the busiest nightlife areas in London so if you stay here, you’ll have everything on your doorstep. You can enjoy a great night out, trying Soho’s small wine bars, live music venues, boutiques and excellent restaurants and easily walk back to your hotel.

If you’ve come to London to do some shopping, Oxford Street and Regent Street, both in Soho, are a great place to start.

Soho is also very central and walkable to many attractions. Some of London’s best art galleries are very close as are the popular tourist centres of Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Chinatown.

The thing we love about Soho the most is that, while very popular with tourists, it still manages to hold on to a local feel.

MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN SOHO & THE WEST END

London’s LGBT Scene: The area around Old Compton Street is the heart of London’s LGBT scene where you’ll find plenty of great bars (they are open to everyone).

Soho’s Laneways: Soho has a collection of small streets packed with cafes, boutiques, bars and restaurants. Some of the best streets are Dean Street, Firth Street, and Beak Street.

Chinatown / Leicester Square: As the centre of touristy London, Chinatown and Leicester Square are good to explore, but probably in small doses.

Galleries: The National Portrait Gallery (our favourite gallery in London) and the National Gallery are in the West End.

Covent Garden: We love Covent Garden even though it’s very busy and touristy. It’s a beautiful square, the shopping is excellent and there are some very good restaurants.

French House: The French house is a historic pub in Soho with no music, TV or phones. They famously sell half-pints only except on 1st April every year when you can get a full pint for charity.

Berwick Street Market: Whenever we’re in Soho we make a beeline for the Berwick Street Market for some of the best street food in London. Our pick is Jerusalem Falafel.

TUBE STATIONS IN THE WEST END

Embankment | Charing Cross | Piccadilly Circus | Leicester Square | Covent Garden | Temple | Holborn | Chancery Lane

WHERE TO STAY?

Z HOTEL STRAND (£)

It’s not easy to find decent-value hotels near the West End, but Z Hotels have a few, and the one on the Strand is probably the pick.

It’s in an excellent location and the rooms are clean and tidy, although very small.

10 minute walk – Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Ronnie Scotts, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Embankment | 20 minute walk – Oxford Circus, Googe Street, Buckingham Palace, Southwark.


Z HOTEL SOHO (£)

The Z Soho is trendy and hip with all the right design quirks. Rooms are small but practical with comfortable bedding and open bathrooms. There are no wardrobes, just a bit of hanging space, so you need to be prepared to travel light. However, it’s a great value stay in central Soho.

10 minute walk – Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly, Charing Cross | 20 minute walk – Green Park, The Wallace Collection, Bond Street, Westminster Abbey, Chancery Lane.


HAZLITT’S (££)

In the heart of Soho, I’ve walked past this hotel many times and never known it was there. It oozes old-world charm across four Georgian townhouses with a wood-panelled library, leather-bound books, and antique furniture.

10 minute walk – Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly, Charing Cross, Oxford Circus, Savile Row | 20 minute walk – Green Park, The Wallace Collection, Bond Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Chancery Lane.


L’OSCAR (£££)

On the north-eastern corner of Covent Garden, this exquisitely designed boutique hotel is opulently decorated somewhere between 1920s glam and Studio 54. The friendly staff, excellent cocktails and above-average breakfast make this a great stay in Soho.

10 minute walk – Chancery Lane, Russel Square, Bloomsbury Square, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden | 20 minute walk – King’s Cross, Euston Square, Oxford Circus, BFI Imax, St Pauls, Smithfield Market.


HAM YARD HOTEL (£££)

Ham Yard Hotel is a cool urban village with a tree-filled courtyard, shops and a bowling alley. The rooms are beautifully designed with chic British sensitivities. The roof terrace has an edible garden and lovely London views.  

10 minute walk – Piccadilly Circus, Liberty, Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden, Fortnum & Mason, The Mall, Charing Cross | 20 minute walk – Great Portland Street, Russel Square, Southbank, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Bond Street, Hyde Park Corner.


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HAZLITT’S SOHO

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