Spending a few hours in the English capital before moving on to your next destination? That’s more than enough time to put together a delightful escapade and discover the welcoming, multicultural Soho. Here are a few addresses and ideas to get the feel of this wonderful city.

people on Westminster Bridge at sunset, London, UK

Urban Myth: The Seven Noses of Soho

Created by artist Rick Buckley, these plaster reproductions of his nose have been glued to various walls around the city. According to an urban legend, great wealth is yours if you find them all! Why not go for a walk (or a little shopping) in the neighbourhood and try to get a glimpse of some of them? Streets to explore: Bateman, Dean, Great Windmill, Endell and D’Arblay. Just walk around with your nose in the air… And good luck!

Legendary Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street earned its place in history in the 1960’s by becoming home to the Swinging London fashion and cultural scene, with the Beatles and Rolling Stones as regular visitors. One of London’s great shopping areas, it houses both luxury boutiques and young creators’ shops for your greatest delight. Why not go looking for a fashion find? There are also quite a few pubs, should you feel like having a pint of ale.

A Famous Restaurant: The French House

Headquarters for the French Resistance during World War II and a favorite of numerous writers and artists like theater and movie great Peter O’Toole, the place has kept its vintage look, as can be seen from the pictures hanging on the wall. The cuisine is typically French, served with famous wines (sold by the glass) and champagne (with more than 30 brands to choose from). A peaceful evening is guaranteed to all since cell phones and electronic devices must be turned off. Check it out here:
49 Dean St., Soho, London

The City of London Panorama

A Cozy Cafe: Flat White

The coffee break place for latte lovers. Located at the heart of Soho, the Flat White has made British palates familiar with premium Australian and New Zealand coffee. The most famous coffee served here is of course the flat white, a small latte invented in Australia during the 1970’s, and brewed to perfection. Order a take-out and sip it slowly as you walk around the neighborhood.
17 Berwick St., Soho, London

Old Style Tea at Soho’s Secret Tea Room

Tea time is sacred in England, but Soho’s Secret Tea Room isn’t easy to find. Still, don’t worry, here’s the secret: it is located above the Coach & Horses pub. No less than 16 tea varieties are offered, as well as scones, cakes and cupcakes, in a charming 1940’s ambiance that will let you experience tea time like nowhere else.
29 Greek St., Soho, London

The Vintage House: One For The Road

A family business dating back to World War II, The Vintage House specializes in pure malt whisky and is known for having the largest selection of malt whisky at competitive prices in London. Just go in for a look, and while you’re there, why not take home one or two bottles. The Vintage House also sells wines from around the world, champagnes, liqueurs and spirits, some of them from 1879.
42 Old Compton St., Soho, London

London skyline by sunset from the skyscraper

Practical Tips For London

  • Instead of seeing layovers as a burden, one should consider this an opportunity to visit a city one may never have the chance of visiting on its own. Two trips for the price of one!
  • Choose a company that offers longer layovers at no extra cost.
  • Calculate your free time well and account for time lost at security checks.
  • Caution: some countries require a visa from Canadian citizens, no matter the time you spend there. If you have any doubt, contact the embassy before planning your day-travel.
  • Heathrow Express gets you to downtown London in 15 minutes. Trains are available at almost every hour of the day and there’s one leaving every 15 minutes or so.