A hidden village nestled in the heart of London, Seven Dials is well worth visiting in its own right. Seven Dials is unlike any other destination in London with a unique mix of places to eat, drink, shop, exercise, stay the night and so much more. As this year is a leap year and we have a whole extra day to go and explore, I wanted to share how you can spend your day in Seven Dials as there is so many great things to experience in the area!
Seven Dials was built in the 1600s, laid out by Thomas Neale who created the building layouts in triangles to maximise the number of houses in the area. At the time, house rental prices were charged per foot of frontage rather than interiors and he wanted to create houses that would be cheaper to live in for lower earners (however you will often be surprised once you walk through a small shop front and see how big the shops can be). Each of the seven streets surrounds the central dial of Seven Dials that was originally built in 1693 (reconstructed in 1989), this was topped by six sundial faces, with the seventh dial being the pillar itself.
Today Seven Dials is a bustling neighbourhood with unique businesses that all have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and sense of community. With so much to see and do, I spent a full day in the area and there was still so much to explore!
I spent the day experiencing Seven Dials and everything it has to offer, I hope it gives you some inspiration for this weekend and the leap day or for if you’re ever stuck for idea’s for a day out in London.
Breakfast at 26 Grains
What better way to start your day than with a hearty bowl of porridge? Even better, porridge with granola, honey and rhubarb! That’s what I indulged in at 9am on Wednesday morning and it was a delicious way to start my day in Seven Dials. 26 Grains is located in the colourful Neals Yard, a secret London gem that can be accessed via alleyways from Monmouth Street and Short’s Gardens.
After finishing breakfast I spent a bit of time taking in Neal’s Yard itself, which is named after its designer Thomas Neale. The buildings surround an inner courtyard bursting with colour, housing some great wellness brands, health food shops, cafes, restaurants and even a hairdresser.
Jacob the Angel
If you want somewhere for a quick coffee or a pastry then look no further than Jacob the Angel, an independent English coffee house that takes prime position in Neal’s Yard! They serve a range of freshly baked goods and I really enjoyed the banana bread and gluten free white chocolate cookie.
Pop into Kiehl’s on Monmouth Street for a skin consultation or maybe even treat yourself to a facial. A quick skin test can help the in-store team to discover the right products for you, recommending products personalised to your skin type and lifestyle. Starting out as a New York pharmacy, the skincare experts are highly trained and can prescribe a bespoke skincare routine for every skin type that’s both affordable and great quality. I was also given the glow formula moisturiser and an overnight hydrating mask, which I cannot wait to try out!
Ace & Tate
I didn’t know I needed a new pair of glasses until I walked into Ace & Tate on Earlham Street. Founded in 2013 this Dutch-born brand offers prescription lenses and frames from just £98 with a range of quirky and stylish frames that them apart from what I’ve seen from other eyewear stores in London. You can also get a free eye test in store, and for those who have an eyewear emergency, glasses can be ready for collection on the same day too!
Who doesn’t love a good piece of luggage for when you escape on holiday? Visitors to Away can browse their unique store on Earlham Street which showcases their premium luggage lines and travel accessories. Their new collection created in collaboration with Serena Williams is absolutely beautiful, it comes in a soft red with so many size options you’ll be spoilt for choice!
I never realised how much I needed a waterproof backpack until I stepped into Rains and wanted to buy them all. With just two other UK stores, the Danish brand chose Seven Dials as their flagship showcasing the brands full range of completely waterproof clothing and accessories. They have recently launched their new lightweight collection which is made of a weightless yet completely waterproof fabric unique to Rains – perfect for those spring walks.
Next up was yoga at Another Space. Yoga you say? On your day off?! Yes! Because what better time to relax and unwind on a day you shouldn’t have to worry about anything. Another Space has no joining fee so you don’t need worry about being a member – you can easily book a one-off session. They offer classes throughout the day including lunchtime and late evenings and alongside yoga, you can also do HIIT, boxing and cycle classes too.
Flesh and Buns
Before I went to Japan I refused to eat Japanese food.. in fact, I refused for around a week when I was in Japan. In the end, I caved and I’m so glad I did as it’s one of my favourite types of food! Seven Dials is home to Flesh and Buns, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant and bar serving the softest steamed hirata buns and crispy duck that took me back to Japan instantly! I should have probably stopped there but I also tried the Korean Fried Chicken Wings and to top it off, I had s’mores for dessert which was amazing as I got to toast the marshmallows on my own fire!
Have you ever stood in a perfume shop and had no idea on which to pick? Yep, me too. I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped into Miller Harris, I was blown away (pardon the pun) by their pink and blue balloon installation and the colourful interior.
Umar, the host of their Monmouth Street store greeted me with a warm smile and a hug and I instantly felt comfortable before we started my very own scent profiling. Following questions about my childhood, favourite memories, my hobbies, passions and even what food I liked, I was recommended specific scents that he believed would suit me best. Your story is important to the scent profiling as scents evoke memories and take you on a journey.
I decided on the Secret Gardenia was the scent for me. The scent is described as ‘An abundance of gardenia flowers on a misty London morning, their pillowy petals bathed in dewy, pure light’ and I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Miller Harris products are all vegan and they are committed to the elimination of animal testing, choosing not to test their products on animals. The new bath and body range launching later this year will include packaging that is completely recycled, as well as being recyclable.
Whenever I tell people I have never had a hot chocolate, their mouths drop, mostly because they know how much of a chocolate fiend I am. Because of this, trying a hot chocolate at Hotel Chocolat seemed like a very big deal, the rest of the people in their store must have thought I was nuts wanting to try both their classic hot chocolate and their salted caramel version, but I think if you are going to try something then you need to go all out!
I have zero regrets and I couldn’t have picked a better spot for my first dive into chocolatey beverages (you heard that right, my first chocolatey beverage, I wonder when I will tick off a milkshake…).
For those who are big chocolate lovers, the store in Seven Dials also hosts a ‘School of Chocolate’ where you can take part in chocolate masterclasses including truffle rolling amongst some other sweet activities.
Skinnydip has always been one of my favourite brands for phone accessories but I also adore their sassy slogan t-shirts, jumpers and bags! With a real push for girl power and female confidence, Skinnydip is a London born and based company and I’ve loved supporting them from their small business background to where they are now.
The store on Neal Street, Seven Dials has an amazing disco wall and sells everything Skinnydip from phone accessories, wash bags, makeup purses, toiletries.. the list is endless! If you are a fan of Mean Girls I would advise you to visit ASAP as their new range brings some of the classic quotes to cosy sweatshirts and tee’s which are a must for any Mean Girls fans! I couldn’t leave without a new phone case and I got a new sunflower case – perfect for the warmer days!
Calling all beer lovers! Isn’t that the whole of the UK? Belgo is a Belgian inspired restaurant known for serving over 60 craft beers, delicious seafood, sharing platters, tasty meat dishes and fresh veggie options. At 12,000 sq foot, Belgo is the largest restaurant in London, offering a bustling with a Belgian inspired interior. If I was to tell you to pick just one thing from the menu, I’d have to recommend the Seafood platter (which includes lobster!) and the amazing chocolate fondue which comes with a bubble waffle as well as a range of fruit for dipping.
For those who love the theatre, the Donmar Theatre is conveniently located opposite Belgo on Earlham Street. The intimate converted warehouse space plays host to thrilling, world-class theatre performances and has won over 100 awards for its contribution to the theatrical industry has won over 100 awards.
You can currently book tickets to see Far Away, Caryl Churchill’s dazzling play about a world sliding into chaos when a secret is discovered..
You can’t finish a day in London without a cheeky nightcap. Monmouth Kitchen is a stylish bar that offers atmospheric views of Mercer Street, especially in the evening. The superb cocktail menu offers a range of classic cocktails as well as some that are exclusive to the bar itself. The bar area is stylish yet had a buzz, the perfect way to end a day in Seven Dials. Monmouth Kitchen also serves Italian and Peruvian small plates within the restaurant and have some great pre-theatre menu options too.
Mercer Street Hotel
The 4* boutique style Mercer Hotel on Mercer Street boasts an unrivalled location for those who want to stay within walking distance from all that Seven Dials has to offer. The property is conveniently also home to the Monmouth Kitchen.
I hope my post has given you some inspiration on how to spend the extra day of the year, Seven Dials has so many things to see and do that if you are like me you will need more than a day to experience them all!
Please note this article was written as part of a paid collaboration with Seven Dials, I was in no way advised what to say, all thoughts and opinions are my own.