From Soho to Covent Garden. London

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Near SOHO, the Chaclan pub has been serving drinks since 1898,  the Argyll Arms has beautiful ceilings and interior. It is not unusual to start a post about London talking about pubs. I don’t drink beer, but I can’t resist entering all the ones I find in my walks, which are many. 

I also don’t miss the opportunity to see my friend Benito, an unparalleled cicerone, and this time he takes me to the Thai restaurant Busaba, with vegan options, so I’m happy.

Two minutes away, next to the popular Carnaby St. are the famous Liberty London Shop, to build them they used wood from two Royal Navy ships and were frequented by Oscar Wilde. Its interior is worth a visit, I feel a little like the pirate Jack Sparrow. 

Passing through the small Soho Gardens park I come to a street where the legendary and literary Pillars of Hercules pub is, frequented by Martin Amis, Ian Hamilton, Julian Barnes or Ian McEwan.The street next door is called Manette St and is named after Dr. Manette, a character in Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.”The reason the pub names are simple is because most people were illiterate, hence the symbols to recognize them. By the way, pub comes from public house.

A few meters away I find the Maison Bertaux, the oldest French pastry/tea room in London, since 1871. Characters like Woolf, Marx, or McQueen also converged here.

I approach a dangerous street, Charing Cross, full of bookstores, like the large and well-known Foyles, which has a phrase on one of its walls that says “welcome book lover, you are among friends.” I look for the bookshop and protagonist of the book 84, Charing Cross Road and only find a small round plaque where it used to be (now it’s a McDonalds).

The charming Any Amount of Books Antique Bookstore displays photographs from the film based on the book I’ve just mentioned. It’s another of my favorites . 

In this area there are many theaters where great musicals such as Mathilda, Mary Poppins or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are performed. Belinda and I went to see Moulin Rouge during our four-day-mini-vacation in London and I can tell you that we LOVED it to the max, the songs, the story, the staging… wonderful. 

Hidden in Seven Dials is the colorful little corner of Neal’s Yard. It is very photogenic and this was where the cosmetic brand of the same name was born, Belinda told me, I didn’t know the brand. Don’t forget to look for the Bambi (that looks like a Bansky) while you’re there. 

Entering the Covent Garden neighborhood I discover Stanfords books & coffee shop that has been selling books and maps for more than 100 years. Another one on my favourite list.

Marchpane is one of my favorite second hand stores in London, specialised in children, is located in what is perhaps my favorite street in the city, Cecil’s Court. Charming, it has ketp the Victorian wooden and colorful windows, it’s so very cute.

Covent Garden Square and its popular market are ideal to visit at Christmas, when they put up the famous tree.


St Paul’s Church Covent Garden or the Actors Church is located opposite the market, and sometimes goes unnoticed. In it we can see numerous plaques in honor of great actors and actresses. It has a small and serene garden behind it to sit and disconnect from the madness of the big city.


Rules is the oldest restaurant in the city. Beautiful inside, but with a menu not very to my taste, so I limit myself to a mini tour to admire it.

And by the river is Cleopatra’s Needle, its sister is in New York’s Central Park, of Egyptian origin it’s perhaps the oldest monument in the city. 

The Sherlock Holmes Pub is dedicated to the famous detective and is on the way to one of the most famous London squares.

Trafalgar Square where, in addition to the Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery, there is the church of St Martin of the Fields, which has had a restaurant in its crypt for 30 years. There is an elevator next to it to access it.

In Picadilly Street is Hatchards, the oldest bookstore in the city that also supplies the Royal House. It has several floors, with a beautiful staircase that takes us to the top where the oldest jewels are.

Next to it is the glamorous Maison Assouline cocktail bar and bookstore for coffee table books, those slightly larger that are placed on the coffee table.

The department store Fortnum and Mason, decorated with a large Christmas advent calendar (when in season), is next to them and has a tea room where you can try their specialties. 

Today, again, I bring you two reading recommendations. This city provides a lot of inspiration to writers, and I will take advantage of it. They are two short and beautiful books:

The first is 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Naff, a short epistolary story in which a lady from New York exchanges letters with a London bookstore since the end of the war, she buys books from them for several decades forging a precious friendship with the employees and the families of the bookshop. It will steal your heart.

And An Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett where Colin and the City Hall’s traveling library go to the palace kitchens every week, one day the queen follows her dogs near them and asks him for a recommendation, from that day she becomes an avid reader. Through a beautiful story, the author shows what it would be like if the Queen of England found a great passion in reading, and how her life would change.

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Mis viajes alrededor del mundo siempre acompañados de un buen libro. My travels around the world always accompanied by a good book.