Saturday, 27 October 2018

London travel: hidden gems in Soho

Even though I live in the Greater London/Kent area I don't often venture into the city of London too much although this year has seen that change with a few visits here and there. Travelling to London has been more frequent for me these past few months and I couldn't wait to embrace an exciting collaboration with Hotels.com to discover all the hidden gems that Soho has to offer. It was a challenge as I don't know the area too well but it was fun and new to unearth some fantastic hot-spots in Soho that deserve all the spotlight. As I made my way through Soho, Carnaby Street dazzled me with its dreaminess. I don't often visit Carnaby Street but it's totally my idea of heaven; not only was it all lit up with a Bohemian Rhapsody theme to tie in with the new movie release but it also holds host to shops such as Skinnydip London and The Gypsy Shrine, two of my favourite places. NBC news were also shooting there so there was a real buzz.

After having a browse through all the fabulous shops I sought out somewhere to go for lunch. I chose 100 Wardour Street, right in the heart of Soho. It looked both inviting and perfect for the laid-back vibe it emitted. It wasn't bright or colourful like a lot of the pubs, restaurants and bars in Soho but there was something about it that drew me in. Inside the restaurant was even better than I'd hoped; the decor was to die for, I'm talking walls full of flowers and quirky chairs. I ordered a cheese board which had the dreamiest cheeses ever and grapes and crackers. I also decided on marinated olives and a Virgin cocktail called "Flight to the Virgin Islands"which was the perfect blend of paradise, it tasted like candyfloss in drink form. Divine! I didn't expect it to be so pretty and pink so that was an added bonus. There was a ton of fun loving cocktails to choose from plus lots of different options for lunch. Cosy, comfortable and relaxing, 100 Wardour Street was a blissful retreat from the busy streets as I refuelled for more exploring of Soho's hidden treasures.


Soho is vibrant and bustling with style and electricity, there's never a dull moment. Amongst cute cafes, colourful cocktail bars and stylish restaurants, there's also fun shopfront displays. These cakes caught my eye from a display in an ice cream parlour. The "I am divorcing you" one particularly raised a smile. 
Soho Square Gardens 
London was surprisingly warm for October during my time in Soho and cooling off in Soho Square Gardens was a vital remedy. Shadowed by lush greenery, it would have been easy to overlook on my stroll past but I'm so glad I stopped in and enjoyed some peace and quiet amongst all the crowds. This pretty building caught my eye; built in 1925 like a tudor cottage it actually functioned as an electricity substation and was also used as a bomb shelter in the Second World War. They made it look like an attractive feature to camouflage the fact that it was an electricity substation. Nowadays it's used as little more than a shed to contain gardening tools and wheelbarrows.



Paul. A. Young Fine Chocolates 
It was a win to pass a welcoming chocolate shop and immediately I was drawn in. Paul. A. Young is award-winning and Paul and his team make fresh brownies, chocolates and truffles in store daily. The staff were all so friendly and polite, there's a real family feel. They even had some tasters of their brownies to sample which were without a doubt delicious. The chocolates in their Soho store are handmade in the basement and Paul has several other chocolate shops, the first one to open was in Camden Passage, Islington in 2006. The flavours are all innovative; they made a Yorkshire tea and biscuits creation a few years ago, right up my street!
 In the corner of the room stood a massive vat of their hot chocolate ready to sample. I couldn't turn that down and they kindly gave me a some to take on my way as I braced the sunny but crisp October streets outside. I was so tempted by the brownies that on my way back to the station I bought their salted caramel billionaires shortbread brownie and I can attest that it's absolutely divine! I love their unique ideas for chocolates, all so creative. They had some Halloween themed chocolates displayed by the windows which looked amazing too. 


Maison Bertaux
Much as I loved the modern decor of 100 Wardour Street, Maison Bertaux was a welcome contrast for all its olde worlde charm. For a tea break it was the perfect choice. A pretty French Patisserie and tea rooms, it was immediately picturesque paradise with its piano, nostalgic trinkets and butterfly decorations displayed behind the till. The cakes and pastries were all to die for, set out at the front. I chose a creamy strawberry tart and a pot of english breakfast tea which came in a generous size.


Many cups of tea were enjoyed and it washed the pastry down perfectly. The other cakes all looked delicious; from chocolate eclairs to sponge cheesecakes, I could have sampled them all! Little fairy lights were strewn throughout the shop and the retro harmony that punctuated the air was something else. 

Next door to Maison Bertaux was another gem I was interested in - House of MinaLima. This quirky shop is the mastermind behind Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, who are displaying their graphic art from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films and also other classic books and fairytales such as The Secret Garden, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Beauty & The Beast. A tour descended upon the shop just as I was venturing in so I didn't get to see much of the Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts displays but the fairytale displays were gorgeous. 










Simmons Bar
Craving a cocktail as Happy Hour approached, I stumbled upon a neon wonderland in the shape of Simmons Bar. Decked out for Halloween with a Darth Vader revolving disco ball spinning on the ceiling, 90s retro kitsch gaming equipment in the corner and spooky cobwebs and skulls adorned the walls, it was both festive and funky.
The cocktails all had eclectic names and immediately the "Barbie Ferrari" cocktail caught my eye; vodka, raspberry and lime served in a kooky cup. The Barbie Ferrari cocktails were going two for £10 seeing as it was happy hour. I loved the atmosphere and definitely want to go back in the future! 
Simmons Bar was the perfect end to the perfect day, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Soho and getting familiar with some hidden gems that I'll definitely be remembering for any future trips to the area!   


Have you explored much of Soho? 
I'd love to know if you have any recommendations!


*The spending money for this post was gifted by Hotels.com but all views are my own 

7 comments:

  1. Totally LOVED this post! I felt like I was there myself lol! Such pretty decor and the cakes look amazing! Gorgeous photography as always x

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  2. So happy for you I love London. I used to study very close to Soho it has changed so much since I left. How amazing Is that flower wall and the cakes oh my goodness all to die for. I miss London even more now. Incredible post babe I love everything here. xoxo Cris
    https://photosbycris.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-beach-look-from-heaven.html

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  3. I have never been in Soho. Your photos are beautiful and very ispirious! I'm toatly in love with your post.

    http://sar-shy.blogspot.com

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  4. One day I will visit London! It is such a gorgeous city. I loved learning more about Soho and seeing all the cute cafe's and stores you visited. That book store looked so so cool. Loved all the pink cocktails you got too! They look divine.

    --Elise
    www.caturdaystyle.com

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  5. Carnaby Street is one of my fave places in London, just something about it feels so magical. Soho is an area I've visited a few times but never the gardens!

    Lucy | Forever September

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  6. Hi, Sophie!
    This is such an intimate portrayal of Soho and it really highlights just what a colourful, quirkiy and uniquely inspiring place it is. So glad you have ventured back into London again recently and had some good experiences there. It is such a great city, isn't it?!
    Hanna x | missbeautysaver.com

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  7. I loved reading about hidden gems in Soho, the coffee shops and the bar will definitely go on my list! 10 for 2 is actually so good, especially for London! Maison Bertaux looks stunning, the cakes are a dream. And I love how the chocolate shop produced their own chocolate in the basement, that's so cool. Overall I love how this blog post revolves around chocolate and cake haha, the perfect theme. And I'll keep that divorce cake in mind in case I ever need it. xx

    113thingstosay.com

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