Guide to Soho | Central London (2023)

The Location

Soho is a small neighbourhood in the centre of London that is known for its buzzing and bohemian atmosphere and culture. From nightlife to theatres, restaurants and bars in Soho, it’s the place Londoners and visitors go to enjoy themselves 24/7. It is also home to some of the capital’s best homes, tucked away in hidden pockets, offering luxury and lifestyle combined.

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Soho is located in London’s West End in the borough of the City of Westminster. It’s a small geographical area in the heart of London, covering just over one square mile – so it’s perfect to explore on foot. Soho’s borders Oxford Street to the north, Shaftesbury Avenue in the south and Charing Cross Road and Regent’s Street to east and west respectively. Soho is one of London’s most vibrant, exciting and unique areas with countless places to grab a bite to eat, socialise and wander around discovering new places and things to see. As one of London’s leading areas for entertainment and socialising, Soho attracts a wide range of different people from professionals to students living in London.

The History of Soho

What does 'Soho' mean?Soho’s name derives from an English 16th-century hunting cry “so-hoe” when the area was open fields and grazing land. There are also places in the West Midlands, New York and Hong Kong called Soho, but none have the same meaning behind the name. Soho in New York is actually an acronym for South of Houston Street.

The history of Soho as we know it today didn’t begin until after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was originally a royal park used for hunting hare. The fire destroyed two-thirds of the capital, resulting in a huge demand for new housing, and Soho quickly went from open fields to an upmarket residential destination. In the 1670s, construction began in Golden Square, Gerrard Street and Old Compton Street while Soho Square was laid out in 1681.

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Large, elegant houses were built, so the area was a popular choice for the aristocracy. By the 18th century, Soho rivalled Mayfair and St James’s as a fashionable London address. Soho also became a haven for a large influx of French Huguenots in 1685 and Italians and Greeks in the 18th and 19th centuries, fleeing religious persecution. All have left their mark on Soho’s social scene and the area remains very multicultural to this day.

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Things to do in Soho

  1. Enjoy a drink and people watch at a bar on the table-lined streets
  2. Grab some food at one of the many restaurants in Soho such as the Michelin starred Social Eating House and Yauatcha, or a small independent restaurant
  3. Dance the night away at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, The Box or G-A-Y nightclub
  4. Go to the theatre to see a West End show on Shaftsbury Avenue such as Jersey Boys or Singin’ in the Rain
  5. Tuck into coffee and croissants at London’s oldest French patisserie, Maison Bertaux
  6. Go shopping on the famous Carnaby, Regent and Oxford streets
  7. Pop into London’s iconic department store, Liberty London
  8. Visit the Photographer’s Gallery and discover six fascinating floors on the history of photography
  9. Wander around Soho or Golden squares and enjoy some green space in central London.

There are plenty of things to do in Soho, day and night. You could also explore the nearby areas of Covent Garden and Mayfair.

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Living in Soho

Soho has come a long way from its early days as an area of strip joints and pubs. Today, it’s a hotspot for media and film agencies and young professionals.

Being in Central London it has fantastic transport connections, with many major train stations within walking distance. And perhaps surprisingly, it has a local community feel. Soho offers a vast range of property including impressive loft and warehouse conversions that are immersed in history and character. With an eclectic crowd that helps keep the vivacious qualities and friendly atmosphere on every street, Soho is a prime location for London living.

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Find out more about the energetic neighbourhood of Soho, London in our Borough Guide or speak to a member of our team about buying or renting in Soho.

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