Top 5 Soho staples to visit when staying in the vibrant West End

Friday, 9 March 2012 11:43 AM

Famous for its eclectic mix of shops, bars, clubs and theatres, Soho is a vibrant, colourful district that is essential to visit on any trip to London's West End. Read our guide to discover five unmissable Soho staples to add to your itinerary.

Indeed, whether you're planning a romantic break for two or something a little more lively, hotels in Soho can be an excellent choice, particularly because there is simply so much to do here.

West End hotels are especially perfect for theatregoers, who will find themselves in the heart of London's thespian district. With so many great venues just a stone's throw away, you'll be awash with options for evening entertainment if you stay in this area.

Theatre

Of course, no matter where you decide to stay, no visit to Soho would be complete without a trip to the theatre - and there are countless options to choose from. Big name musicals, for example, can be seen at the Prince of Wales Theatre and the Dominion Theatre - respectively showing Mamma Mia! and We Will Rock You - while lesser-known plays can be watched at the Soho Theatre.

Comedy venues

Soho is also famous for its comedy and, as with theatre, you will have an abundance of choice when it comes to where to go. Perhaps one of the best venues, the Amused Moose Soho is renowned for putting on hilarious stand-up acts, and throughout its history has hosted international names and lesser-known comedians alike.

Dining out

Whether you're planning a day trip or a longer holiday, dining out is one of the real joys of any break, and no matter where you stay in London you will never be too far from some amazing culinary creations. Head to Soho to choose from a great mix of establishments, including trendy restaurant and cocktail bar Balans and upmarket HIX.

The latter is particularly good if you're keen to enjoy a little fine dining in relaxed, informal surroundings. Based on seasonal produce, the menu changes on a daily basis, while downstairs you'll find the fabulous Mark's Bar - perfect for after-dinner cocktails.

Shopping

Soho is something of a shopaholic's dream, home to famous retail areas and quirky independent stores alike. One spot you're likely to have heard of is Carnaby Street, a favourite among fashionistas seeking a blend of high street favourites and interesting little boutiques.

This area of London is not only good for clothes shopping, however. It is home to iconic independent bookstore Foyles, as well as little treasure troves such as Vintage House, which sells an excellent selection of wines and spirits.

Gay scene

Soho is famous for being the heart of London's gay scene - and indeed, this is an integral part of the fabric of the district. You can't fail to spot the abundance of gay bars, clubs and shops, and there are a host of interesting options if you're keen to explore this thriving scene.

Among your choices is Candy Bar, one of the city's most famous lesbian bars. Great for cocktails, it also serves light snacks and meals. Alternatively, head to the Duke of Wellington, a pub well-known for its relaxed ambience and classic Soho atmosphere. In the summer, the convivial spirit here usually overflows on to the surrounding pavements, making this venue particularly easy to spot!

There are plenty of other bars and clubs to visit if you fancy a lively night out during your getaway in the capital, whether you want a taste of the gay scene or you are just looking for some of the city's premier after-dark establishments.

Staying in a nearby hotel in London means you'll never be far from the district's renowned vibrant atmosphere and eclectic attractions.
 

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