25 things to do in Soho, London

Date post added: 2nd April 2024

In the heart of the city is the lively, eclectic and diverse area of Soho.

Soho is culinary. It’s music. It’s the red light district. It’s theatre. It’s people watching. It’s scruffy, ragamuffin London. It’s got a buzz like nowhere else in London. It’s Chinatown. It’s cosmopolitan. It’s Carnaby Street. It’s courts and alleys and lanes and passageways. It’s boozers. It’s rich and varied history. And it’s right in the midst of the City of Westminster.

Let us guide you through some of the best things to do in Soho.

What and where is Soho, London?

Soho by Night Shaftesbury Avenue

Soho is bang, slap in the heart of London’s West End. It’s only about a square mile but it packs a lot into those few streets. It has Oxford Street to the north, Regent Street to the west, Charing Cross Road to the east and Leicester Square to the south. It’s a short walk from popular areas like Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and Mayfair. The nearest tube stations are Oxford Circus, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

It’s such a vibrant part of London – all life is here, making it a great place to people-watch or join the fun. It’s edgy, eclectic and has a unique vibe, day and night.

Famous streets in Soho

Soho Carnaby Night

Carnaby Street – the place to be in the Swinging Sixties and for diverse shops and pop ups.

Frith Street – favourite of musicians and filmmakers, and has a good art scene.

Dean Street – Karl Marx lived in a ‘hovel’ here in the mid 19th century. It’s now Quo Vadis restaurant.

Wardour Street – runs from one end of Soho to the other with oodles of eateries, gay clubs and music venues.

Greek Street – you’ll find London’s oldest patisserie, Maison Bertaux, here.

Berwick Street – famous for its traditional, old market and music shops.

Soho Square – rare, green, open space in central London.

Golden Square – another green oasis in Soho, Golden Square is London’s best-kept secret.

Old Compton Street – the heart of London’s LGBTQ+ scene for decades if not centuries.

Broadwick Street – where the great Romantic poet and visionary William Blake was born and grew up.

Food and drink

Soho Chinatown full1

Whether you’re looking for a cool, pavement cafe for brunch, a traditional British boozer, incredible global cuisine or the best bars around, you’ll find it all in the weave of Soho streets.

The Shakespeare’s Head is a proper British pub serving up classic English grub like sausage rolls, steak and ale pie and, of course, fish and chips. It dates back to 1735 and was owned by distant relatives of The Bard himself.

The French House is a legendary London pub and restaurant. Charles de Gaulle and the Free French would drink here and deliver rousing speeches during the war. Pop in for a Pastis or a beer (half pints only) and some delectable food. Book early though, it’s super popular.

Kingly Court – this cool three-storey courtyard complex off Carnaby Street hosts around 20 restaurants including Dishoom, Paradiso and Cahoots (an underground tube carriage bar harking back to the blitz spirit of England in the 1940s).

Bar Italia – a veritable Soho institution, Bar Italia’s been serving up great Italian coffee day and night since 1946. It’s the place to grab some pizza or pasta, watch footy and soak up the vibes.

I Camisa & Son – this Italian deli sells incredible Italian produce from its store on Old Compton Street. Stanley Tucci is said to be a fan which is high praise indeed.

A Soho Speakeasy – ssshh, there’s something a bit secretive about a Soho speakeasy. Cocktail bar, Disrepute fits that bill perfectly. The Profumo Affair was conducted in this after-dark speakeasy. Now, it’s a fun night out where the cocktails flow.

Chinatown – the bold and bright Chinese lanterns let you know that you’ve hit Chinatown. You’ll find authentic Chinese food, traditional medicines and therapies like reflexology here. It’s the hub of the Chinese community in London, with great restaurants and take-aways.

Delicious Malaysian food – a top tip from London Walks aficionado, David: “my favourite eatery is a well hidden Malaysian cafe, C&R Cafe Restaurant at 4 Rupert Court. The Singapore Laksa is culinary perfection.”

Picnic in the square – the two green oases in the heart of Soho. Golden Square and Soho Square are lovely spots to relax in the sunshine with a picnic from a Soho deli or local take-away.



Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street by C Ford

The nightlife in Soho is next level, and its music scene is outstanding. The best of British jazz, club nights, achingly cool acoustic guitar bands and some of the greatest record stores around – yes, you’ll find all of that and more in Soho.

Ronnie Scott’s jazz club – this dark and moody club is the stuff of legends. For over 60 years, Ronnie Scott’s has brought the best jazz acts to its stage. It’s atmospheric, cool and a really great night out with live music.

Lucky Voice – grab some friends and the mic then sing your heart out at this classic karaoke joint. It’s open til 3 am, a really popular late-night venue in the heart of Soho.

Soho singalongs – the Prince Charles Cinema holds singalong screenings of musical films. People take this very seriously and dress to match the movie. Expect a fun night, belting out the lyrics to films from Grease to The Greatest Showman.

Record shopping on Berwick Street – in the 80s this was the place to go record shopping. Only a few record shops remain, but they’re pretty darn good ones like Reckless Records and Sister Ray. The street was immortalised on the Oasis album cover, What’s The Story Morning Glory?

Join our expert guide Adam on The Great West End Record Shop Crawl to hear myriad music stories and discover great venues.

Denmark Street music shops – this is the hotspot for guitar shops in particular, but you’ll find an array of instruments here. You’ll find musos gazing longingly through the window at the beautiful guitars. The renowned Hank’s Guitars, No Toms Guitars, Wunjo Guitars and Regent Sounds are all on Denmark Street.

Carnaby Street – follow in the footsteps of legendary music stars. This was the epicentre of Swinging Sixties London. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, they all hung out here.

Hear their stories and walk their walks with our music tours – The Rolling Stones in 60s Soho, The Beatles walking tour and Rock n Roll Soho.


Soho has long been a destination for the LGBTQ+ community. There are so many gay bars, clubs and venues that there’s always somewhere different to check out. In the summer, London Pride turns Soho into a sparkly, crowded, celebratory destination.

G-A-Y – probably the most well-known venue is G-A-Y in the heart of Soho. It now has residency at the nightclub, Heaven. As you’d expect, G-A-Y is open late, from midnight to 4am.

Duke of Wellington – a friendly Soho local on Wardour Street with a weekly quiz, drag bingo and weekend DJs. It’s a casual but fun pub to visit.

Stage and screen

With Shaftesbury Avenue right on its border, Soho is a stone’s throw from many of the iconic London theatres. You’ll find a smattering of smaller, arty venues in Soho offering shows that are a little less mainstream than its neighbours. It used to be the place to go for more seedy films, but nowadays Soho has cleaned up its act and is a big supporter of independent productions.

Prince Edward Theatre – right in the heart of Soho, on Old Compton Street, is this beautiful, old theatre. Classic musicals like Evita, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins and Miss Saigon have all played here.

Soho Theatre – this is a great place to discover new talent. Comedy, theatre and cabaret thrive in the Soho Theatre. It prides itself on nurturing new artists and their work to develop vibrant productions for their audiences.

Curzon Cinema Soho – this three-screen cinema venue often hosts interesting Q&A sessions with film stars, directors and writers. Here, an obscure arthouse film will play alongside a Hollywood blockbuster. Stop for a coffee or glass of wine in the cafe and discuss the film.

The Photographers Gallery – the first gallery dedicated solely to photography is on Ramillies Street. The gallery champions photography for everyone and hosts great workshops, talks and exhibitions.

Iconic shops

The retail offering in Soho reflects its general character. You’ll find cool and quirky stores, artisan food stores, designer boutiques, adult stores as well as some regular high street chain stores.

Liberty London – between Regent Street and Carnaby Street is the beautiful designer department store Liberty. Its striking Tudor-style facade makes it stand out from the concrete crowd. The store opened in 1929 with the vision of being a ‘London emporium laden with luxuries and fabrics from distant lands’ and it remains like that today. It looks absolutely gorgeous at Christmas with its stylish decorations and tempting gifts on offer.

House of Minalima – Harry Potter fans will love this vibrant pink store that’s jam-packed with art and interesting pieces from the wizarding world. There’s an amazing array of graphic art by the artist owners Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. Open from midday to 7 pm, it’s a fantastic beast of a shop.

Foyles bookshop – Foyles’ flagship store is a book lover’s paradise. It’s said to have over four miles of shelves and over 200,000 books to browse. Look out for interesting events and book signings.

Gosh comic books – are you a graphic novel nerd? Then you’ll adore the comic book store Gosh. You’ll find the comics, books, novels, T-shirts and all sorts of paraphernalia from classic comics to Japanese animé and cult American superheroes.

Discover more cool and quirky shops around London

Discover Soho with London Walks

It may be only a mile square but there’s so much to explore in Soho, from the glitzy to the grisly. The best way to discover the nitty-gritty of the area, the bits you won’t notice on your own, is on our Soho walking tour – the Soho saunter. Or discover its musical past on our Rock n Roll Soho tour.

David Tucker

David Tucker

David – the Seigneur of this favoured realm – broods over words, breeds enthusiasms and is “unmanageable.”* He’s a balterer, literary historian, university lecturer, journalist, logophile and lifelong thanatophobe. For good measure, he’s the doyen of London guides.

Read all articles by David Tucker

Pippa Jackson

Pippa Jackson

Pippa is a word nerd and content aficionado with a background of working in TV on both sides of the globe. She loves to discover and share the diverse and wonderful stories of her much-loved London. When she’s not writing blogs and articles, you’ll find her walking beside the Thames or even paddleboarding on it (in the finest of conditions only!) or enjoying a coffee in the sunshine with a good book.

Read all articles by Pippa Jackson