Tune Into Art, Music, Food, And Culture In Seven Dials

23 March 2022

Seven exclusive streets form a shopper’s paradise hidden in plain sight of London's vibrant West End. Located in the borough of Camden, Seven Dials was founded by Thomas Neal in the early 1690s envisaged to rival neighbouring Covent Garden.

It feels like you've discovered an exclusive designer village, yet creativity and innovation also pulse through the veins of this neighbourhood reflected in the curious mix of small boutiques and world-famous brands as well as startups.

A deep sense of community prevails throughout the intricate network of shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés. You'll feel instantly at home, as shops welcome you in with smiles and an irresistible charm.

In keeping with the hipster DNA of this vibrant community, you'll find many art installations and one of the most beautiful courtyards in London, known as Neal's Yard.

A focal point of this community is the Sundial Pillar with six faces. The seventh is the column itself, hence the name Seven Dials.

Where you should start

Tourists flock from miles around to see the picturesque Neal’s Yard, home of the studio where they filmed Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

While you’re here to admire the colourful buildings, stop off for a warming coffee and porridge at 26 Grains.

A tiny treasure of a restaurant was founded by Alex Hely-Hutchinson who after travelling frequently to Copenhagen, brought the Danish way of life to a tranquil location in Neal’s Yard.

It’s open from 8 am throughout the week, serving sweet and savoury porridge, and topped toasts.

Head into the calm, cosy café to try their tasty breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner options.

You can order anything from Hazelnut & Butter porridge with almond milk to oats with cinnamon coconut palm sugar and apple.

This sets one up to spend a perfect morning immersed in art at the Banksy exhibition, which features 80 of the artist’s original works in the form of prints, screenprints, sculptures, canvasses, and other unique pieces from 1997–2008.

Get up close and personal with some of his most famous illustrations. ‘Girl and Balloon’, ‘Flower Thrower’ and ‘Rude Copper’ just to name a few.

But visitors will also be amazed at the rare eclectic mix of art never seen before and on loan from private collectors.  

Seven Dials is the perfect location for such a vibrant exhibition.  In fact, there seems no better canvas to display the works of one of the best street artists.

Make your own Perfume

Spend an enchanting afternoon immersed within a world of potions learning how to blend your own signature scent at EPC (Experimental Perfume Club) in Seven Dials.

You’ll learn all the magic from master perfumer Emmanuelle who has identified 15 signature scents to mix.

What’s more, you’ll also be guided to different smells such as Frankincense, Jasmine, Neroli, Amber and Musks all wafted under the nose. 

After an hour’s session, you’ll come away with a bespoke scent. 

Chocolate Heaven

Another unique experience is chocolate tasting at Pierre Herme, an incredibly famous patisserie, who creates delicious macarons this side of Paris in Monmouth Street.

There are scores of designer boutiques, vintage shops, and high street stores here to browse, too.

All the brands are here, from Coco de Mer to Urban Outfitters as well as some independent vintage shops like Pop Boutique.

Of course, no one can miss the original Neal’s Yard Remedies, the home of an exclusive range of products in Neal’s Yard.

Food glorious food

Seven Dials is home to several vegan and vegetarian restaurants including Nordic lifestyle brand, White Pine, which offers a dynamic vegan menu.

Alternatively, Fafa’s brings Middle Eastern street food to the masses and is open all week for breakfast, lunch and dinner with their Finnish-inspired flavours.

Be sure to try the Secret Vegan pita stuffed with a selection of roasted veg, creamy tahini sauce, and the legendary falafels.

Watchhouse are a specialist coffee shop selling freshly brewed coffee alongside house-made baked pastries. The shop has a whole vegan menu to enjoy with your coffee.

It has everything from vegan baked ‘mac and cheeze’ with SPIS beetroot brisket, as well as a selection of vegan pastries on hand throughout the day.

For a romantic dinner stroll up to The Barbary where you can enjoy an intimate dinner inspired by the flavours of the Barbary Coast.

This intimate setting seats just 24, which allows you to meet the chefs. Specialties include duck hearts, slow-roasted goat, chicken msachen and pata negra neck.

On top of that, there’s a carefully curated drinks list featuring a selection of premium spirits, boutique wines, craft beers and soft drinks.

The restaurant accepts walk-ins only – this funky venue provides a perfect pre-theatre backdrop before catching a West End Show.

And one needn’t walk far since the Grade II listed Cambridge Theatre in the heart of the Dials, currently showcasing Matilda the Musical.

Pubs galore

There’s no shortage of pubs in Seven Dials. The Crown and Anchor is a traditional ale house at the centre of the action, found at the end Neal Street.

Not far from Covent Garden and all its delights, it's an ideal place to enjoy a pint and a bite to eat.

For those looking for something different, Casanova and Daughters is a wonderful Sicilian restaurant and grocery store which is run by a former tightrope walker.

Meanwhile, The Escapologist transports guests back to Victorian London, styled as part ‘modern-day Victorian men’s club’ and ‘part Masonic lodge’

Rest your head at the stunning Covent Garden Hotel which features 58 individually designed rooms, a restaurant, bar, gym, beauty treatment rooms and a screening room.

Equally lavish is the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in the centre of this affluent area, an ideal base for all the West End shows.

Alternatively, The Seven Dials Hotel is an affordable place to stay not far from all the action. 

The Lowdown

A day out in the Dials is one like no other, be captivated by this hidden world that feels akin to a designer shopping community in a rural location away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.

It's the perfect outing with your partner, your friends or family.

Seven Dials is but 10 minutes’ walk from Trafalgar and Leicester Squares.