Soho is where many eminent intellectual figures have lived and still do live: it abounds with artistic creativity.
My guide for this walking tour was Lana, and, whilst showing me areas of Soho I was familiar with, she also imparted some unusual and extraordinary facts to me about the most renowned landmarks and places in the region.
5 Captivating Areas Of Soho:
- Capitalistic Excess: The Billboards of Piccadilly Circus
Perhaps one of the most famed icons of London, the billboards are symbolic of the thriving capitalism that pervades the city.
Did you know? The lights have been switched off on sombre occasions, such as the tragic deaths of Churchill in 1965 and Princess Diana in 1997.
- Windmill Theatre – ‘We Never Closed’
The notorious Windmill theatre was famed for its tableau vivants – erotic female ‘living statues’. Yet it was also a venue for performances by some of the great British comedians of the 50s and 60s.
Did you know? Performances continued at the theatre throughout World War II and the Blitz, and it acquired legendary status. Its defiant motto was ‘we never closed.’
- World Famed Palladium Theatre
The importance of the Palladium to British culture and entertainment cannot be overemphasised. It was here that pantomime became a British institution. This is arguably the most renowned theatre not just in London, but the whole of the UK.
Did you know? It was actually a televised performance at the Palladium in 1963 that launched the Beatles into the stratosphere.
- Vivacious Chinatown
Chinatown in fact originated in Limehouse, but this area was damaged by bombing during the Blitz and so Chinatown was relocated to central London.
Did you know? Innumerable claims have been made that there are many illegal workers in London’s Chinatown earning less than minimum wage. This illegal trade is associated with the Triads, a mafia-style Chinese organisation.
- Extraordinary Leicester Square
The celebrated Leicester Square is where major film premieres are held.
Did you know? Leicester Square has not always held such a distinguished history. In 1979 it became a dumping ground for rubbish disposal during the infamous Winter of Discontent, and was even nicknamed ‘Fester Square’.
Soho emanates with a certain inimitable vibrancy and authenticity. Certain areas of Soho, including Leicester Square and Chinatown, are rightly renowned the world over. Explore Soho on a walking tour and uncover its diverse charms.
A few more highlights of this exceptional tour:
- The Spirit of Soho mural
- St Giles in the Fields
- Carnaby Street
- Dean St