Experience the new Soho on a London city break


Guests taking advantage of London hotel packages will be keen to explore the city, and Soho might be one area on their hit list.

According to Steve Norris, non-executive chairman of Soho estates, the area has changed a lot in recent years and is now a vibrant, trendy part of the capital.

He said Soho has shed its somewhat sleazy image and is now buzzing with cool restaurants and bars, as well as theatres and independent stores.

Between the 17th and 20th centuries, London’s aristocracy in nearby Bloomsbury and Mayfair largely avoided Soho, and the area developed a seedy reputation.

Then in the 20th century, it became popular with intellectuals, writers, poets and artists, and thus became a major focal point for music and entertainment.

Now it is much transformed and attracts tourists and locals alike with its slightly bohemian atmosphere.

“A lot of that sleazy part of Soho is already gone,” said Mr Norris. “What we really want to do is keep the edge, keep that edgy feel to Soho.

“We love that, our tenants love that, our commercial tenants love that.”

He added: “We want that variety of restaurants and clubs and so on, but as it happens the worst of the sleaze is just going.”

Those planning a visit to Soho during their London city break can browse the shops on Carnaby Street, enjoy jazz at Ronnie Scott’s or take in a comedy act at Soho Theatre.

There are also numerous options for dining, from quaint patisseries for breakfast to upmarket restaurants for an evening meal.

Much of the atmosphere of Soho can be absorbed simply by wandering its rabbit warren of streets, with Piccadilly Circus, China Town, Leicester Square and Covent Garden all within easy reach.