Food Travel

London | In and Around Soho

This week I am back in London, my beautiful hometown. Having been away for almost all of the past 10 months and living away for university for almost three years now, I have begun to seriously realise I shouldn’t take this amazing city for granted even though I’ve lived there (well, 30 minutes away) all my life! This summer, my aim is to really explore London properly, so that when I tell people I’m from London, I really feel like a Londoner. Since I have almost everything I need in terms of shopping closer to home, I really don’t think I went into London enough when I was at school – it was only £2 for a WHOLE DAY of London-based travelling before I was 16 and I really don’t know why I didn’t make the most of it. I hope to work here this summer so I can really get to know more of the ins and outs of the centre.

Today, my Mum and I went for Soho. The leafy parks and squares contrast beautifully with the stunning and colourful architecture in this vibrant neighbourhood full of foodie options, so many packed into the tight Soho streets that make it almost impossible to choose. Theatregoers would do well to grab a bite in one of the restaurants or cafés here before heading to the theatres nearby at Piccadilly Circus (or even Soho’s own quaint theatre, a perfect venue for a smaller and more intimate show). It’s the perfect area to start for a wander in the sun before heading on to Oxford Street, Covent Garden, St James’s or anywhere that takes your fancy. Here’s a small itinerary for the day:

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A rough route and the surrounding area

Golden Square

A short walk North from Piccadilly tube station and you’ll reach Soho’s Golden Square. The pretty buildings around the open centre create a calm and relaxed atmosphere and it looks lovely in the morning sun. Stop here for a pastry and a cake!

Nordic Bakery

Nestled in Golden Square, Nordic Bakery offers an abundant choice of Scandinavian delicacies perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. Maybe try the Oven Pancake (same batter but a thicker, more cakey result, lovely with honey or jam), the cinnamon roll, the rye bread or the other savoury snacks. The décor is simple but the food is divine.

The Photographer’s Gallery

A 5-minute walk away is The Photographer’s Gallery, in fact London’s largest venue dedicated exclusively to photography, dedicated to the promotion of photography as an art-form, finding new and also established photographers to display their work and also organising talks and events. The gallery is currently displaying the shortlisted series’ for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, showcasing the work of international photographers. My personal favourite was a project by French photographer Sophie Calle, presenting a series relating to the death of her parents and cat to create a narrative on memory and relationships.

On a third floor was an exhibition of British photography by Roger Mayne, documenting the lives of children and teenagers across London, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds and Yorkshire. This was an impactful series, with the black and white photographs capturing well the lives of those living in these areas in the 50s and 60s, giving a powerful insight on a snapshot of Britain’s past. Downstairs is a print gallery and shop where you can buy prints, books and postcards as a souvenir of the visit. This gallery is free to enter before midday everyday, so it is absolutely worth a look.

Island Poké

It was lucky I had already decided on a place for lunch as it would have been very hard to choose! Poké is a Hawaiian specialty consisting of fresh sushi-style fish, vegetables, rice, fruit and dressing. I see it as a kind of deconstructed sushi as it uses many of the same flavours to create a rainbow bowl of lunchtime goodness. You can create your own or try one of the classic bowls: salmon with lemon dressing, edamame, mango, sushi rice, crispy toppings and spring onions, or tuna with sesame dressing, pineapple, wakame seaweed, sushi rice, crispy toppings and spring onions. They were both so fresh and delicious and the perfect choice for a lunch on the go – so perfect that the queue was right out the door!

Carnaby Street / Liberty of London

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Liberty

It’s nice to take a short wander down Carnaby Street whilst in the area for the street decorations and feeling of peace from the Oxford and Regent Street crowds. At the end of the street you reach the large Liberty of London department store – an interesting one to visit even if it’s over budget!

Regent Street

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Just off Regent Street

If you’re in the mood for some proper shopping, head back to Piccadilly or towards Oxford Circus along the bustling Regent Street. Huge versions of famous chain stores such as Apple or Anthropologie line this street for a large-scale shopping experience that is slightly less busy than the nearby Oxford Street.

St James’s Square

In search of a calm contrast after Regent Street, head down to St James’s Square for a tranquil green oasis. I think this is one of the most beautiful squares in London, and the blossom of spring just makes it look even better. I’d love to have my lunch on the grass here if I worked nearby, it’s so lovely how many calm places there are in the middle of the city.

St James’s Park

A little further ahead and you’ll reach St James’s Park, another calm haven for lunch or a relaxing break. It’s big enough for a substantial wander around, across the bridge over the lake or round the edge of the park across the paths and lawns. The flowers are so beautiful and well-kept – again, it’s another great place to visit just as we head into spring!

Westminster Bridge

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When you feel ready to head back into the crowds again, where better than Westminster Bridge to cross towards Waterloo. If you can see past all the people (it’s times like these I’m thankful I’m so tall!) you have great views across the Thames towards the London Eye or the other way towards Westminster.

This was just a short trip but as I mentioned, it’s so easy to continue on from here to virtually anywhere in central London on foot or on the tube. You could pop across to Trafalgar Square and visit The National Gallery, head on into Covent Garden or wander down along South Bank – the options are endless and that’s what I love about London! I can’t wait to continue this series and fall even more in love with my hometown ❤

As always, suggestions and your thoughts are welcome!

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21 comments on “London | In and Around Soho

  1. Hi Jessie. Thank you for the stroll. (One of my – many – favourite parts of London) And with Spring it must gorgeous now. 🙂 Cheers
    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the frames. A British-Austrian friend of mine incidentally said the same to me a few weeks ago when he was in town, ‘I have just about truly started appreciating what London has to offer’. It is easy to get used to beauty when it is at your doorstep, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How goregous! I loved to take the tour with you! Not a single sight there that I wouldn’t LOVE to see!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Honestly we believe one can spend a lifetime exploring the little nooks and crannies of London.
    If one were to take a day each week to explore the surrounds of each tube station, it would still take years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right 🙂 Can’t wait to make a proper start by wandering through the neighbourhoods! Starting at each tube station is a great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, share them because there are surely gems to be found. And even in the mostly utilitarian stations, there must be a neighborhood around it. Be careful though!

        Like

      • I definitely will! And of course, will probably start with specific neighbourhoods in general and then go down to tube stations 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Jessie… London is on my list of places to visit (someday). Thanks for bringing your readers on a nice little tour. Take care! (Nice photos too!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m loving your photos 🙂 I’m in Soho a lot of the time and still yet you check out some the places in your guide. Tempted now 😉 I still haven’t visited the Photographers Gallery! Have you visited the House of Minalima in Soho? If you love Harry Potter, you’ll adore this place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I only really visit sporadically since I’m not in Central London and away for uni, but definitely want to go more as I love it! Haha there’s so much to do in each area that they all need several visits 🙂 Would really recommend the Photographer’s Gallery! No I haven’t but I do LOVE Harry Potter! So it looks like I need to go back too, thanks for the suggestion 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on charming places and commented:
    ABOUT JESSIE READ
    21-year-old languages student from London. Want to travel the world ✨
    travelandtrouvailles.wordpress.com
    London | In and Around Soho

    BY JESSIE READ
    APRIL 10, 2017

    Like

  8. Love your post! Made me excited for my next visit at the end of this month to London!

    Like

  9. I love this part of London! So beautiful

    https://theworldincolour.com xx

    Like

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