I normally don’t condone drinking before 5pm, but this is Soho, and it makes total sense to imbibe a few pints at a few legendary pubs and bars as Linton – our guide from Urban Adventures – shows us around his little neck of old London Town.
After all, isn’t pretty much EVERYTHING about 56 percent better and more fun when slightly intoxicated? I’ll let you stew on that for the time being.
For now, let’s see what you’ll see, do and drink on Urban Adventures’ Soho Legends and Pub Tour.
Soho, for the uninitiated, is a vibrant district in Central London known for its bars, pubs and late-night shenanigans. But it’s also a part of the English capital that absolutely oozes entertainment and popular culture history, with everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe having some connection to the legendary entertainment quarter.
But it’s so easy to walk past historic pubs and buildings without the help of a knowledgeable guide who can point them out and dish out the back-stories. And if that guide happens to be one happy-go-lucky Aussie with a pretty impressive beard and equally impressive knowledge of craft brews and ales, then all the better! That’s what my tour group got in the form of Linton (a.k.a Beard), a 30-something Australian currently leading tours with Urban Adventures under his joint company Beard and Bald.
Setting off from Piccadilly Circus at 2pm, for the next 2.5 hours my small group of one Australian (me) and two Germans received a running (er, walking) commentary on the famous and infamous characters who once lived, worked and played in Soho. This was all broken up in manageable chunks by about four or five (I forget the exact number…) visits to authentic, local and sometimes legendary pubs, such as The French House, an iconic watering hole where writers, painters and world leaders have gathered for decades, and The Ship, which was THE John Lennon’s local.
Along the way we passed the homes of key historical figures whose legacy remains today, such as the former home of Karl Marx and George Orwell. Both of these giants wrote some of their most famous work whilst living in Soho (e.g., Das Capital for Marx, 1984 for Orwell). Even bloody Mozart lived in Soho at one stage!
These days Soho is still as vibrant as ever, and it was hard not to get wrapped up in all the excitement and gregarious personalities we met along the way. You can definitely feel some kind of creative energy here, and just walking around the same streets musical legends once walked was an amazing experience.
When it came time to go our separate ways, we all left thoroughly entertained, packed with facts, figures and tales, and a renewed fascination for London Town. And a little bit tipsy – just a little. But that’s Soho for you: some things never change.
Click on over to Urban Adventures’ Soho Legends and Pub Tour and sign up for a tour when you’re next in London.
The writer travelled courtesy of Urban Adventures.
Is Soho your fave part of London? Where’s your favourite place(s) to go?