London - Around Town : Soho and the West End (part 2) - Shopping, Late Night Venues

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A Walk Around the West End


Start the day in Trafalgar Square at 10am when the fountains are switched on. You could spend a day at the National Gallery , but limit yourself to an hour, perhaps just visiting the Sainsbury Wing.

For coffee, head next door to the Portrait Restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery . It has fine views over Trafalgar Square.

Head up Charing Cross Road to Leicester Square. Note the statues of Shakespeare and Charlie Chaplin in the middle of the square. Continue towards the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus and the famous statue of Eros, and then walk up Shaftesbury Avenue, centre of the city’s theatre district. Turn off here into bustling Chinatown , with its colourful shops and restaurants.

Lunch in Chinatown is obligatory. Enjoy the bustle of the Golden Dragon on Gerrard Street, or the calm of the excellent Joy King Lau in Leicester Street, just off Lisle Street.


Give the afternoon over to colourful and lively Soho. Eat a peach fresh from the stall in Berwick Street Market, then stroll up Wardour Street, home of the movie industry. Reward yourself with tea and a slice of cake at the delightful Maison Bertaux in Greek Street.


  1. Ann Summers

    When in Soho, you have to do something naughty. Ann Summers sex shops have been around so long they seem quite tame – but their products really are rather risqué.

    • 79 Wardour Street W1

  2. Merc

    A Carnaby Street classic, fans may still buy clothes cut from original 1960s patterns here.

    • 10 Carnaby Street W1

  3. Foyles

    In a street of bookshops, this grandmother of all bookshops is something of an institution. A vast range of subject matter is covered.

    • 113–19 Charing Cross Road WC2

  4. Lillywhites

    Infamous for its vast array of sporting goods that are spread over six enormous floors, there are plenty of bargains to be found at Lillywhites.

    • 24–36 Lower Regent Street SW1Y

  5. Milroy’s Whisky

    A West End whisky specialist, Milroy’s has a small bar where malts can be sampled.

    • 3 Greek Street W1

  6. Scribbler

    A unique gift card shopping experience in Soho, Scribbler sells funny, well-designed cards and wrapping paper.

    • 104 Wardour Street W1F

  7. Agent Provocateur

    Seriously sexy high-quality lingerie, from Joseph Corré, Vivienne Westwood’s son, and his wife Serena Rees. Give in to temptation!

    • 6 Broadwick Street W1

  8. Fratelli Camisa

    One of London’s best-known delicatessens, famous for its fresh pasta, this is like stepping into a 1950s Italian grocery store.

    • 61 Old Compton Street W1

  9. Algerian Coffee Stores

    Opened in 1887, this is one of the oldest shops in Soho. It exudes a wonderful aroma of the many kinds of coffee it sells. Speciality teas and herbal infusions can also be bought here.

    • 52 Old Compton Street W1

  10. The Witch Ball

    Original French lithographs, antique travel posters and prints are sold here. The street is lined with antiquarian print and book shops.

    • 2 Cecil Court WC2

Late Night Venues

  1. Ronnie Scott’s

    London’s premier jazz venue .

    • 47 Frith Street W1

    • 020 7439 0747

    Neon sign, Ronnie Scott’s
  2. Floridita

    A long cuban cocktail bar serving Havana’s original recipes. Interpretations of Cuban and Latin American cuisine make up the menu.

    • 100 Wardour Street W1

  3. Café Boheme

    French-style bistro: sandwiches, salads and light meat and fish dishes are served until 3am Monday to Saturday.

    • 13 Old Compton Street W1

  4. Cork and Bottle

    A range of champagnes and wines are available at this basement bar near Leicester Square. Open until midnight, Monday to Saturday.

    • 46 Cranbourn Street WC2

  5. Balans Café

    This lively bar stays open until 5am daily (to 6am Fridays and Saturdays). Hot dishes and sandwiches are on hand to keep people on their feet. Their eggs benedict is to die for!

    • 34 Old Compton Street W1

  6. Punk

    A venue that is taking the West End by storm as it veers away from traditional door policy and ushers in a more hip, casual crowd. Boasts a huge bar.

    • 14 Soho Street W1

  7. Bar 101

    Open till the early hours, this funky venue, on two floors, attracts cocktail drinkers and has live DJs at weekends.

    • 101 New Oxford Street, St Giles WC1

    Bar 101’s colourful interior
  8. Jazz After Dark

    Things don’t get going here much before 9pm, and the jazz and blues go on until 2am Mon–Thu, 3am Fri–Sat. BBQ mixed grill, tex mex and tapas are on the menu.

    • 9 Greek Street, W1

  9. Jrink Soho

    An inviting and intimate bar that buzzes with a lively atmosphere. Excellent cocktails are served by dedicated and friendly professionals.

    • 62 Frith Street W1

  10. Pizza Express

    One of a chain of 80 outlets in London, this one is open until midnight, with regular jazz nights a big draw.

    • 10 Dean Street W1

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