24 hours in London’s best kept secret.
All too often shopping can seem a chore. The ritualised slog of joining the masses of shoppers and traipsing around the same stores time and again can leave you feeling a little unfulfilled.
But sigh no more. There’s a hidden shopping village in the heart of London guaranteed to shake up your shopping experience and restore your faith in retail. Seven Dials, found sandwiched between Soho and Covent Garden, is packed with a diverse range of independent boutiques, fashion labels and heritage brands. There’s also salons, theatres, hotels, pubs, bars and an abundance of cafés and restaurants. In a nutshell, Seven Dials is the ultimate shopping and lifestyle destination.
If you’re unsure of where to start in this shopping district, read on for the PAUSE guide to the perfect day in Seven Dials.
Have a wander around the cobbled streets and get your bearings – it may seem like a perplexing labyrinth of passages you’ll never get your head around, but that’s all part of its charm – and start on some shopping. For outerwear, you can’t go wrong with Carhartt WIP on Earlham Street – a beautifully spacious store stocking a wide range of coats, jackets and more in luxuriously thick fabrics.
Also on Earlham Street is The North Face pop-up Urban Exploration Space. Here until 28th February, this unique space focuses on garments suitable for exploring urban environments and stocks exclusive collections from Japan and the USA.
Head to G-Star Raw and Diesel for your fix of everyone’s favourite staple – denim. While G-Star on Shorts Gardens is a true denim destination, Diesel’s UK flagship store on Earlham Street boasts three floors of the blue stuff and more. Our favourite from Diesel’s Winter collection is the embroidered multicolour bomber jackets.
A visit to Le Labo on Monmouth Street is a must. The New York-born perfume house creates exquisite unisex fragrances with the highest quality ingredients from Grasse. When your mind is made up your fragrance will be created from scratch in the lab. Even better, your label will be personalised.
BEAST is the unique, first-of-its-kind male beauty store on Earlham Street. While stocking over 80 premium brands, it’s the logical layout that brings people back to BEAST. All stock is categorised and then sub-categorised by use – body, hair, shave etc – making for the most straight-forward shopping experience ever.
Why not hit up fitness boutique Another_Space on Tower Street and take in a HIIT, cycle or yoga class. No need to sign up for a membership, just turn up and enjoy a dynamic, fun and empowering class that will really push your body.
For lunch, head to Monmouth Kitchen where you will be served tapas-sized Peruvian and Italian dishes. Situated on Monmouth Street, relax in a sophisticated setting while you enjoy the flavours of the Mediterranean intermingled with those of South America. PAUSE recommends the tuna with chilli lemon tacos and sliced beef tenderloin anticucho. The calamari is the best you’ll find this far from the coast.
After refuelling you’ll be aching to explore the shops further. Just up from Monmouth Kitchen is Unconditional, an independent fashion label born in Soho, where you can pick up quirky statement pieces.
For something more classic, Farah on Earlham is your go-to. Famed for their parred-down classics essential to any modern man’s wardrobe, this is the only standalone Farah store in the world.
Any skaterheads must visit Element’s UK flagship store on Shorts Gardens. Prepare for serious interior design envy as most of the three-storey shop is ingeniously made from repurposed materials. While the basement is dedicated to skateboards, the other two floors are occupied by men’s and women’s fashion, much of which has come from collaborations with pro-skateboarders and artists.
Sneaker fans are spoilt for choice in Seven Dials with Size? and Offspring both situated on Neal Street. While Size? offers footwear and clothing from brands such as Stüssy, Adidas and Converse, Offspring is your ultimate sneaker emporium stocking Nike, Filling Pieces, New Balance and more.
Still Christmas shopping? For those hard-to-buy-for relatives, Happy Socks on Neal Street has you covered. The Swedish brand puts a joyous twist on the everyday basic with fun and outrageous patterns.
Shopping is thirsty work, so head to The Escapologist on Earlham for cocktails with a twist. Based in the headquarters of the secret society that ran Victorian London, this bar is part ‘modern day Victorian men’s club’ and part ‘Masonic lodge’. Choose from a refined menu of cocktails (happy hour is 5-7pm) and you can even grab a pizza or a ‘sweetzza’ if you’re peckish.
For dinner, Talli Joe on Shaftesbury Avenue is a vibrant, welcoming restaurant serving half-plates of regional Indian food complimented perfectly by signature cocktails. It’s a casual, buzzing restaurant where the staff are happy to recommend their favourite dishes to those less-acquainted with ‘proper’ Indian cuisine. Get the Chicken 21 and the Kochi Beef Fry and you won’t be disappointed.