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Eat, Drink and be Merry Virtual Tours in Soho, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, & Chinatown

Updated: Dec 22, 2022


Paddington Bear once said that "in London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in" - and everyone can also find what they like to eat and drink too, including marmalade sandwiches in this part of London.

Hello London

Each of these eat, drink and be merry Photorun locations has a different approach to providing sustenance to those who walk and run their streets.

  • Covent Garden has plenty of choices, with a concentration of places to the west and the south of the market.

  • Soho has the highest concentration of venues and variety all along its route.

  • In contrast, St Giles/Seven Dials has the least – but it is between the two most significant areas of Covent Garden and Soho.

  • Lower Leicester Square primarily focuses on cinemas and theatres, with eating and drinking concentrated at its northern and eastern edges.

  • Chinatown is the smallest area with a high concentration of Chinese venues mixed in with a few pubs and bars.


Location

West End Entertainment area map with eat Drink and be merry locations
West End Entertainment area map with eat Drink and be merry locations

This map indicates the local areas where you can eat, drink and be merry in a way that matches your taste and your pocket whilst delivering the right ambience for those you want to be with - all you have to do is find them! So here are some guides to help you.


You can find the information in the following sections.


Covent Garden - Eat, drink and be merry guides.



Soho - Eat, drink and be merry guides.



Chinatown - Eat, drink and be merry guides.



Leicester Square - Eat, drink and be merry guides.



St Giles - Eat, drink and be merry guides.




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Sight Gallery - Soho, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, St Giles, and Chinatown

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History Overview - Entertainment area


This video looks at entertainment areas' history and growth during the Tudor, Stuart and Victorian dynasties.


Tudor times During Henry VIII's reign in the 1530’s most of these areas were fields and hunting areas in the country.

  • Covent Garden was a garden for the monks at Westminster Abbey

  • Leicester Square was a ‘common area’ for grazing sheep

  • Soho was a hunting ground and part of the Royal Park. – SoHo was hunting cry at the start of the hunt

  • St Giles was a leper colony hospital in an area of marshland.

  • Chinatown didn’t exist here until the 1970s


Stuart times, After the great fire of London of 1666, Charles II and subsequent Georgian kings helped create a new theatre district and the supporting eating and drinking venues between Covent Garden and the Haymarket in Piccadilly. They also used the surrounding fields to build new housing developments in Covent Garden, St Giles, Leicester Square and Soho.

  • Covent Garden was built for the Duke of Bedford’s estate

  • St Giles/Seven Dials was developed by Thomas Neal, an influential MP

  • Leicester Square was designed by Robert Sidney, the second Earl of Leicester

  • Soho was created by Richard Frith - a speculative builder

Victorian times, When Charles Dickens was walking the streets of London in the 1860s, all the wealthy people had left the area, and it had become overpopulated, poor and run down.

  • Covent Garden was known for being disorderly and notorious both day and night.

  • St Giles/Seven Dials was a slum called a ‘rookery’ and described by some as 'a home for every kind of villain and misfit in London'.

  • Leicester Square was the main entertainment centre in London, with many amusements and theatres. It was also known as a notorious place for drinking, prostitutes and gambling.

  • Chinatown had become established in Limehouse in London’s East End.

  • Soho was London's most densely populated area and was known for industry as well as for prostitutes, music halls and small theatres.

The 20/21st century has seen the gentrification and commercialisation of these areas into the entertainment districts that you can see and explore today.



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