One of the many reasons people adore London’s West End is for its brilliant shopping opportunities. There are a multitude of streets and main roads brimming with ideas and colour and choice- sometimes it’s hard to decide where to start! But as with everything, bigger things often come with their smaller, if you like, cuter counterparts, and the same can be said about shops. If you didn’t know, West End has a selection of bountiful boutiques and hidden gems on streets that you might not find if you aren’t entirely on the ball.
Seven Dials is a fascinating network of seven highly atmospheric streets, which link Covent Garden to Soho. It’s a beautifully designed space packed with international fashion labels, grooming parlours and dining options and much more. It is a perfect example of a modern London’s shopping heaven- and it remains original at all times.
How It All Began
Seven Dials was conjured up into the mind of the very clever Thomas Neale, back in the early 1690’s. He wanted to create something which was visually very different, and laid out the area in a series of triangles, in which the seven streets the area is now known for were born. Thomas Neale definitely intended to attract affluent from the start, and named the streets to coincide with this wish. He aimed to establish Seven Dials as the most fashionable address in the whole of London. He wanted his creation to be as famous as the Covent Garden Piazza development, and had a huge sundial erected in the centre where the seven streets met. This pillar was regarded as one of London’s greatest public ornaments. Neale initially failed in his project to catapult Seven Dials to success and for a time it was a dire slum, renowned for its dingy gin shops. By the 1700’s the area became a home for thrift stores selling second and even third hand clothes. Charles Dickens Junior is famously noted as saying the shops sold “every variety of pigeon, fowl and rabbit together with rare birds such as hawks, owls and parrots, love birds, and other species native and foreign. This is an incredibly different picture to the Seven Dials of today, which is filled with fashionable shops, restaurants, cafes and bars! Neales vision was realised and there’s no doubt he would be a very proud man, were he alive today.
Fashion and Lifestyle
Seven Dials is host to an array of fantastic shopping opportunities, luxury grooming salons for men and women, exquisite hotels, and award winning theatre shows. There are shops such as the ultra-trendy Urban Outfitters and the world famous Italian retail shop Diesel. There are also quirkier options such as the quaint Pop Boutique which specialises in throwback vintage clothing from the 1950’s1990’s. If you’re looking to upgrade on makeup then why not visit the UKS flagship BareMinerals store, which is the perfect option if you prefer a no-makeup makeup look. Seven Dials also has six theatres, one of which includes The Palace Theatre venue. This iconic West End theatre has been home to many award winning productions including Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, and The Commitments. More recently in 2016, it welcomed the highly anticipated production of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. Seven Dials also offers you and much needed opportunity to wine, dine and relax in one of its four luxury hotels. Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel sits as a centre piece in Seven Dials, the ideal chic retreat for many after a day spent out at the theatre. If you are in need of gift ideas for friends and family Books Pavilion have an array of wonderfully illustrated books and stationary for you to choose from.
Food and Drink
With the fun and relaxation over its time to chow down in one of Seven Dials many restaurants. Whether you want fine dining or to opt for a more casual experience, you’re guaranteed to find something which suits your taste. For meat lovers there is the Japanese Izakaya restaurant Flesh and Buns, which offers DIY steamed ‘hirata’ buns which you can try with sushi, desserts and tantalising cocktails. Or you could check out Peruvian inspired tapas restaurant Monmouth Kitchen smoked lamp cutlets or fried salmon with CalabrianChilli Salsa. You could also try out one of the areas many cafes if you would just like a very good cup of tea. Specialist tea makers My Cup Of Tea if you want the ultimate tea drinking experience. They source their produce carefully and offer a range of different teas all swirled gently in beautiful stainless steel cups. You can also buy tea to take away with you, as well as tea making ephemera.