SEVEN DIALS AND NEAL’S YARD
Hey there guys! What’s up?
You’re wondering what to visit next, but you’re tired of the tourist places like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace? Look no further, I have the perfect little place for you!
So you’ve been to Covent Garden, the old food market turned into a gathering of fancy boutiques and nice little restaurants, but did you know that just a couple of streets away from it, there is a quirky little neighbourhood called Seven Dials? Let me tell you it’s history…
Basically, it’s a junction of seven roads located near Covent Garden in London. It was designed by a Thomas Neale in the 1690s, as London was expanding. This particular layout was made for maximising the number of houses to be built along the roads. At the centre you can find a column ornamented by six sundials, as it was commissioned before a change of plans that increased the number of streets from six to seven.
The streets that are cut in the middle by Seven Dials Monument are named Mercer Street, Monmouth Street and Earlham Street, plus Short Gardens that was added after.
As Covent Garden piazza developed really well and was popular among the wealthy London society, Thomas Neale thought it would be the same for his project, but he was in for a big surprise… 😉
Progressively, the area deteriorated and it was known as one of the most infamous slums of 19th century London! Each street was host to a pub at one point in its history.
The area was even written about by Charles Dickens! And the sundial column was removed in 1773 in an attempt from the Council to get rid of beggars and wanderers, but it was replaced with a replica later on.
To give you an idea of the shady reputation Seven Dials had, the queen of crime Agatha Christie wrote one of her famous detective stories to take place in this area.
But why am I telling you about it then? Well nowadays it has completely changed of course! It is now a shopping area and a really friendly neighbourhood where you can sit quietly on the terrace of a café in the shadow of the tree after roaming through all the shops!
Seven Dials also has hidden treasures, it’s really nice to wander around especially during the summer! Did you know there was an actual street named Cucumber Alley? 😉 Not only it has a funny name, but it also really pretty, you just have to lift your head watch the suspended lightbulbs light up!
And last but not least, you have to go to Neal’s Yard! It really is the prettiest! Basically it’s this little hidden square that can access from either Shorts Gardens or Monmouth Street, where all the buildings are painted in vibrant colours! Red, pink, blue, green, yellow… It’s like a rainbow exploded in this place!
And if you have time, take a seat on the terrace of Homeslice and share one of London’s greatest 20 inches pizza with a friend… Or eat it all, I’m not judging you! 😉
So next time you’re tired of the crowded Covent Garden, just take a left on Neal Street and take a look around Seven Dials!
The London Dream Team