Nightlife hotspot, foodie hub and the buzzing centre of London’s LGBTQ scene, Soho is a vibrant, historic neighbourhood in the heart of the city’s West End. Here, you can shop for new threads on Carnaby Street, check out a cabaret show at legendary gay bar Admiral Duncan or dine on award-winning Chinese cuisine at The Duck and Rice.
Soho Radio is an independent online radio station broadcasting from Great Windmill Street. An institution with the vibrant culture of Soho at its heart, the station showcases musicians, poets, artists and more, with one channel for music and another for culture. Covering a breadth of talent, genres and topics, the radio station’s roster includes a fortnightly jazz show hosted by the owners of legendary Soho club Ronnie Scott’s, producer Eddie Oxman’s reggae revival broadcast and an all-female comedy and music programme. A self-proclaimed “true street-side radio”, Soho Radio has been a much-loved neighbourhood stalwart since 2014.
The brash and brilliant Admiral Duncan is a world-famous LGBTQ bar in the heart of Soho, and is known for no-holds-barred partying and its extrovert clientele. Having been around since the 19th century, it’s one of London’s oldest gay bars and continues to draw revellers in today with its cabaret shows, lip-sync wars and various other events.
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Mark Powell has suited and booted rock stars, actors and supermodels, but you don’t have to be a celebrity to nab one of his made-to-measure suits – his Marshall Street store offers bespoke tailoring to anyone willing to cough up a pretty penny. Powell has been based in Soho since 1985, setting up a studio, a barber and an easy-listening lounge at various points over a 25-year span before opening his Marshall Street outlet in 2010. Powell’s suits are both classic and unconventional, embodying the enduring individuality of Soho.
Selling everything from vintage clothing to flowers, markets have made up an important part of the fabric of London life for centuries. A community cornerstone since 1778, Berwick Street exemplifies the city’s historic market scene. Running through the heart of Soho, the market boasts traditional fruit and veg stalls, hot drink vendors and international street food ranging from Greek souvlaki to Afghan curries.
This pub-turned-Chinese restaurant is a neighbourhood favourite, serving up award-winning Asian cuisine to Soho’s hungry masses. While crowds gather in the downstairs pub for after-work drinks, those in the elegant upstairs dining room tuck into dim sum, chop suey and, of course, the eponymous house duck. True to the eclectic character of Soho, the venue also hosts bingo evenings, live music and a drag-queen quiz night.
It’s easy to get lost wandering around the labyrinth of backstreets and alleyways of Soho, which makes this square a great place to get your bearings. This small garden oasis sits in the middle of some of Soho’s most well-known thoroughfares, including Greek Street and Frith Street. Built in the late 1670s, it is now home to several media companies, including 20th Century Fox, as well as the popular Toucan pub.
The street where Adele and Jeff Buckley got their big breaks, where the seminal New Musical Express launched in 1952, where The Kinks gained inspiration for their song of the same name, and where The Rolling Stones and David Bowie recorded landmark albums, Denmark Street’s place in British music history is undeniable. Though it can’t exactly lay claim to being the centre of the British music business any longer, its heyday lives on in the form of musical instrument stores that line the short street, stocking everything from guitars to saxophones.
A pedestrianised walkway packed with shops, pubs and restaurants, Carnaby is one of London’s most famous streets. Popular in the 1960s for kitting out the hippies and mods of the day, Carnaby Street now houses huge international and British brands alongside independent boutiques and pop-up concept stores.
Our debut short film, The Soul of Soho, explores neighborhoods separated by oceans, history and culture but united by craft community and change. Neighborhoods bound by one name: Soho. Intimate portraits of city living in the Sohos of London, New York and Hong Kong reveal rich stories of the people who bring life to these iconic neighborhoods. Explore Soho here.
These recommendations were updated on March 14, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.