A Little-Known, Interesting Area in the Heart of London

London is a vast metropolis which spreads over a large area but most of its attractions and other places of interest are concentrated in and around central London which is naturally quite congested and busy all the time. Many people like to avoid the hustle and bustle of this area and find some quiet retreats that are available in the various parks in the area as well as in other parts of the city. However, you can’t find a better place than central London for sightseeing and for indulging in different leisure activities, or even for business. This is where tourists can discover the full potential of London’s attractions and other offerings. Most tourists and other visitors to London are aware of the obvious and famous attractions but there are other little-known places that are known to the locals and are worth visiting.

One such area is Seven Dials which is hidden behind Covent Garden, sandwiched between Soho and the busy interchange at Tottenham Court Road. This secret local hotspot is a small road junction in Covent Garden in the West End of London which is the meeting point of seven streets and at its centre, which is roughly a circular space, there is a column that has six sundials. This quiet hideaway is relatively a quiet area compared to others in its neighbourhood. The name of Seven Dials district has aptly been kept because of the seven streets that converge at the sundial monument. The neighbourhood gives a hyper-local feel because of the presence of many authentic British shops, local independent brands and cosy eateries, hidden away among the streets of Seven Dials. The immediate surrounding area is also known as Seven Dials.

Presently, it is mainly a commercial neighbourhood and also very prosperous, being located in the WC2 postcode area between the West End theatre district of Shaftesbury Avenue and the chic and fashionable shopping area around Neal’s Yard. Its narrow streets are usually crowded with people and as such the traffic is slow-moving most of the time.

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There are seven apexes and at one of them you can find a pub, The Crown, and on another sits the Cambridge Theatre. The Radisson Edwardian Mercer Street occupies the third apex while the Comyn Ching Triangle which is a block of old buildings is located on the fourth apex. The beauty of the place is that many original buildings are still there despite some redevelopment work having taken place here.

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In 1988-89, a replacement sundial column was installed maintaining the original design. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands had unveiled it during her visit to commemorate the tercentenary of the reign of William III and Mary II, because of which the area was developed. The streets in Seven Dials are all unclassified except for Monmouth Street which is numbered B404.

The Sundial Pillar:

A sundial pillar was commissioned for designing and construction in 1693-94 and its original drawing still exists as a part of the British Museum collection. The design is such that a 20 feet high Doric column stands on top of an 8 feet high plinth and the sculpture consists of six sundials and its pinnacle is 10 feet. The orientation of the block is such that there are four vertically declining dials and a direct south and direct north vertical dial. It was erected in 1694 but removed in 1773. However, a replica was erected in 1989. Each of the faces is accurate to within 10 seconds.


One of the salient features of Seven Dials is its shopping with Monmouth Street being famous for having contemporary British designers as well as beauty and lifestyle shops. It boasts of having major international fashion brands such as Urban Outfitters, G-Star Raw, Speedo and Nike as well as small, independent designers.

Culinary Options:

Seven Dials is home to a mesmerizing amount of diverse restaurants and cheap eats. The options include Spanish tapas at Pix Pintxos, contemporary Indian cuisine at Talli Joe, authentic British pub food at The Two Brewers, affordable wood-fired takeaway pizza at Homeslice, classic NY-style deli foods at Cure and Cut, and much more.

Drink Options:

The area is also full of coffee shops and cafes that are ideal for meetings between friends or for freelance work. Monmouth Coffee Company is famous for its speciality filter coffees with plenty of people waiting for their delightful brew. In the evening, you can find gay bars and clubs along Old Crompton Street and other cocktail bars as well.

Explore the Area:

London’s Seven Dials area has lots to see and do besides its various shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. The sundial itself at the intersection of seven streets is extremely popular both as a market and as s meeting point. There is a daily street market at Earlham Street. The area also has five distinct theatres but its real attraction is the hidden Neal’s Yard which is a quaint and colourful area having a handful of restaurants.

Stay Options:

Being in central London, the Seven Dials area offers many advantages and it is also one of the best spots for nightlife in London including gay nightlife, great cocktail bars and late-night restaurants. The area also has many hotels of different categories that offer trendy rooms and many other facilities along with the advantages of being located in central London.

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