Living in Soho
West End estate agent Knight Frank handles residential property for sale and to let, covering both Covent Garden and Soho. The West End of London has been at the heart of Knight Frank’s London residential business for over 100 years.
Covent Garden has always been one of London’s most colourful destinations; a centre of trade and culture. It is believed that it emerged as a market place when the Piazza was erected in 1630, however the area can be traced much further back: to the Saxon era when it was first known as “London market”.
It was during this period that the piazza became an area of fruitful ground owned by a Benedictine convent. Hence its name “Convent Garden”. It was then sold to the Bedford family, who instructed Inigo Jones to design a square, with the church of St. Paul’s dominating the west side. The other three sides, completed in 1639, were lined with grand houses.
An area of approximately one square mile, Soho is bound by Oxford Street in the north, Leicester Square to the south, Charing Cross Road to the east and Regent Street to the west.
It is rumoured to have taken its name from the hunting cry “soohoo” used in the 17th Century. The area was originally grazing farmland until 1536, when it was used by Henry VIII as a royal park for the Palace of Whitehall. It began to develop in the 1660’s, when it began to attract an array of wealthy and fashionable crowd, including the Earl of Leicester, and towards the latter part of the century the area became too crowded. Developers were brought in to provide housing for the area – and Soho soon became known as the French Quarter with over 40% of the population being Hugeunots fleeing from France. They soon brought along foreign trades such as tailoring, and a new culture of nightlife, theatres and music began to emerge.
Over the years, a strong music scene began to emerge, with the Café de Paris and the Hippodrome attracting famous American artists in the 1920’s and 30’s; and world-acclaimed jazz venue Ronnie Scott opening (it still remains one of the vest jazz venues in London). Today, the area is home to an array of cultural attractions including The Comedy Store, The Prince of Wales Theatre, The Soho Theatre, The London Palladium as well as a variety of restaurants ranging from small market stalls to upmarket eateries. Soho is also home to an eclectic range of shops, including world-renowned department store Liberty and smaller, up and coming designer boutiques.
Getting to Soho & Covent Garden
Soho and Covent Garden are easily accessed by a number of main routes:
- To the east of Soho lies Edgware Road (A5) for access to the M1 and A41
- The A4 for the M4 and Heathrow Airport begins at Hyde Park Corner and goes through Covent Garden
- To the north of Mayfair, the A40 runs through Holborn and into the heart of The City
- London Charing Cross Station, The Strand, London WC2 5HS for trains to the South East of England and a high frequency service to London Bridge via Waterloo East
- London Victoria Station for the Gatwick Express and trains to the South of London and Southern England
- Kings Cross St Pancras for the Eurostar and trains to the North of England
- Oxford Street Underground Station (Central line, Victoria line, Bakerloo line)
- Tottenham Court Road Underground Station (Central line, Piccadilly line)
- Piccadilly Circus Underground Station (Piccadilly line, Bakerloo line)
- Charing Cross Underground Station (Bakerloo line, Northern line)
- Leicester Square Underground Station (Piccadilly line, Northern line)
- Heathrow Airport: approximately 14 miles away. Heathrow express train service: trains direct to Paddington Station
- Gatwick Airport: approximately 25 miles away. Gatwick express train service: direct train to Victoria Station
- Stansted Airport: approximately 30 miles away. Stansted express train service: direct train to Liverpool Street Station