Living in Wales is wonderful but wanderlust always sets us off travelling and we do love our weekends in the smoke so we took ourselves for a weekend rail-blazing around the Seven Dials.
Seven Dials is a road junction in Covent Garden in the London Borough of Camden, in the West End where seven streets converge (it’s sort of a roundabout but not). At the centre is a column bearing six sundials, a result of the column being commissioned before a late-stage alteration of the plans from the original six roads to seven. Seven Dials even warranted a mention in the operetta Iolanthe by W S Gilbert – fame indeed!
First we needed a base, The Hoxton pops up on our radar and has excellent reviews, so The Hoxton is chosen and we aren’t disappointed. It’s a mix between a business club, restaurant, café, bar and hotel. It oozes cool from every pore. Our room isn’t the largest but great design and finish overrides any concerns about its size. It is compact and bijou, value for money, and we love it.
For breakfast they offer a complimentary bag (yoghurt, fruit etc) but we opt to purchase the full English and it doesn’t disappoint. One little grumble, the coffee, no, it just didn’t cut it (they need to visit Marco’s or Coffee Cove on Barry Island). We choose tea and all is good. We have to compliment The Hoxton on their service. The staff are awesome and some of our establishments could learn a lot about customer service from The Hoxton. They really are lovely people.
Yes, we loved The Hoxton – perfectly positioned on High Holborn to explore the Seven Dials. So what does the area offer? Great access to Covent Garden, Soho and the West End. The seven streets are packed with cool independents so if shopping, rail-blazing and eating out is your thing, your thing will be very happy indeed.
Any weekend away is about experiences. In this area, you’re coming for the vibe, the buzz, the sounds, the smells, the tastes and boy, does Seven Dials deliver. We pushed the boat out on day one with dinner at Marcus Wearing’s Tredwell’s restaurant and enjoyed one of the best starters to a meal ever – afterwards, we took a walk and even the rain added to the mood reflecting the beautiful lights of Carnaby Street onto the cobbles, a wonderfully atmospheric start to a great weekend.
Saturday we actually slept in – The Hoxton’s super quiet despite our room overlooking High Holborn. Great breakfast and we’re out, there’s so much to see. The Seven Dials Market is a must – lovely vibe about the place and some really excellent stalls. Incidentally, we wanted to try Redemption, a vegan restaurant nearby in Shorts Gardens (as we’d heard excellent things) but, sadly, it was fully booked (we should have made a reservation). We head for Covent Garden and, again, it delivered exactly what we’d hoped for – by now, we are completely chilled and embracing London life.
Lunchtime Saturday we find ourselves sharing afternoon tea at Monmouth Kitchen on Monmouth Street, an Italian and contemporary Peruvian-inspired tapas restaurant. Super scrummy. A treat yes, but isn’t this what life is about? The other food at Monmouth Kitchen looked excellent so certainly one we would visit again next time we’re here.
Earlham Street beckons and we discover Knomo. Knomo’s design-driven products help you get life organised (super friendly people there too). From backpacks to briefcases and handbags to luggage, every product is cleverly designed and caters for technology and modern life on the move. Impressive and we’re now proud owners.
Back to Monmouth Street to Miller Harris for what we both agreed was a really lovely experience – a bespoke fragrance profiling buy Umar who instantly became a friend. Umar’s a gorgeous soul and we ended up promising to have dinner next time we’re in London. Having our own fragrance specially curated for us was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing the seven streets and decided that we’d like to try something out of our comfort zones for dinner. After a quick freshen up at The Hoxton, we were off to Flesh & Buns on Earlham Street, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant and bar serving steamed hirata buns with sirloin steak and some cool cocktails. It was packed, noisy and wonderfully addictive. I imagine if we lived locally, it would be one of our favourite places.
Soho and Chinatown beckoned and we spent the next hour soaking up the sights, smells and sounds of this iconic area before heading back.
Sunday morning arrives and despite our mantras that we’d go easy at breakfast one of us caved and the full English won again.
We head back into the Seven Dials and find ourselves at Murdock London on Monmouth Street. We’d spotted it the day before and had booked in for a facial for Mark. Murdock London is a fine barber offering all the usual services but delivering in an exceptionally cool way. They have also created a range of signature products so even if you’re not in London, you can enjoy the experience at home. All products are made in England and offer a signature shaving collection along with colognes, skincare and accessories. Great facial – very relaxing and refreshing. Well worth a visit and a great gift for the chaps.
In the afternoon we are unable to resist passing Hotel Chocolat (we love the one in Cardiff). They offer a Chocolate Tasting Adventure in their Cocoa Vaults on Monmouth Street but, again, we should have booked. We console ourselves with a variety of ‘train sweets’ in the form of Cherry Deluxe and Lemon Cheesecake.
We checked out and headed for Paddington in a black cab (no we don’t Uber – we’d rather support the cabbies). Both agreed we’d had a fantastic weekend in Seven Dials and, as we wait for our train, we’re already planning our return. We’re in seventh heaven.
Flesh & Buns
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