Highlights from a City Break in London’s Soho Neighbourhood
To take a break within London, you don’t have to look much further than the Soho neighbourhood—that quintessential part of London’s busy atmosphere. Coincidentally, it’s also the name of a neighbourhood in New York City across the “pond.” Both neighbourhoods are at the heart of their own cities and share a surprising amount of similarities.
London’s Soho neighbourhood is one of the city’s most vibrant—filled with a rich musical and risqué history. As well as the likes of The Beatles and Queen, who have graced these streets and musical studios, Soho is also filled with an eclectic mix of ever-changing international restaurants.
A Brief History of London Soho’s Musical Traditions
The first rock club ever in London was established in Soho back in the 1950s, located in a bar by the name of 2i’s that had a small basement where the rock scene kicked off with a bang until ultimately closing in 1967. The next big hitter in Soho was The Marquee Club, hosting musical legends from the 50s to the 80s on Oxford Street. Some of these legends in the beginning were R&B sets with artists like Manfredd Mann until the British rock scene kicked in. This is when The Rolling Stones debuted there; Led Zeppelin, The Who, Yes, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac, believe it or not, are just some of the acts associated with the venue.
Once this era of rock was over, the 70s and 80s brought over bands like The Police and Def Leppard—keeping The Marquee a staple music venue in Soho. Now it wasn’t just live acts that gave Soho its unique place in music history. Trident Studios, set up in St Anne’s Court in 1968, has seen some of the most famous albums and songs, not just in British music history, but in the world’s, recorded there. “Hey Jude” from The Beatles was recorded there on July 31, 1968; several tracks off The White Album were also recorded there by McCartney, Lennon, Starr and Harrison. The studio is well known as being the launch pad for a band known as Queen – the band sang with Trident records and was granted use of the studio for their early recordings. The history of music in Soho goes far beyond just the clubs and bars.
Soho Today: Where to Eat & Drink
Once you’ve rocked out to your heart’s content, you’ll be ready for a drink (or two) and hungry for a bite to eat. For a drink you can visit Cahoots, located in the abandoned Kingly Court tube station, boasting a quirky 1940s post war theme. After a drink, you have some other ranged food options from The Duck and Rice gourmet food experience, Top Dog for an American style meal, or The Melt Room for your ultimate choice of grilled cheese sandwiches. And if these options aren’t enough, you can indulge in a Soho food tour by Eating London Tours taking you to an eclectic range of dining options in Soho plus providing a bit of the unheard history from this fascinating neighbourhood.