About the Area
Soho is a part of London's West End and also part of the City of Westminster. It is best known as an entertainment area. In fact, throughout the vast majority of the 20th century, this district was known for both the nightlife and its sex shops. However, since the 1980s, this area has really been cleaned up and remade into a fashionable and high-end area. Today, it's mostly known for both its media offices and its upmarket restaurants. Only a handful of its once-widespread sex shops still remain in the area. As far as the Soho name goes, other restaurant and entertainment districts, such as Soho in New York and Hong Kong, have used it.
About the Area
Until 1536, the area that would eventually be turned into Soho was just grazing farmland. Then, it was taken over by Henry VIII and developed into the Palace of Whitehall's royal park. It's only in the 17th century, though, that the name "Soho" actually appeared in written text. The origin of the name goes back to a type of hunting cry. By the middle point of the 19th century, small theatres, music halls and prostitutes made the area their base. In the early-to-mid 20th century, the area was a hub for artists, writers and intellectuals who often became drunk due to the presence of the numerous pubs.
Places of Interest
Since this is an entertainment area, it is well known for featuring many places of interest that will hold your attention when visiting. In modern times, the area is a hub of entertainment, culture, commerce and industry. It's even a residential spot for both poor and rich people. It features nightclubs such as the Chinawhite and public houses, too. There's even a Chinatown here, which you can find along Gerrard Street. The area is also quite close to the hub of London's theatre scene, which is why you'll find the Solo Theatre here. It features both new plays and stand-up comedy, too.
As with many areas of London, Soho has an abundance of transport links that allow you to get through to anywhere you want. The closest London Underground stations are those of Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus. Because the area is very popular, it's no surprise that it's highly congested, especially during the busy night hours. Frith Street, Dean Street and Old Compton Street have the busiest traffic from 10pm to 4am. While those places may be the most popular, it would be a good idea to avoid them during these peak hours, if you can.
Soho is one of the most popular and busiest areas of London's West End. It's been something of an institution in London for many centuries. While it did have a bad reputation during the 19th and 20th centuries due to disreputable establishments and activities, a lot of that has now been cleaned up. Today, the area is friendly to tourists and a must-see stop when you visit London.