The Relocation Bureau

Chinatown
Covent Garden Market
Picadilly Circus

Soho & Covent Garden

Also Includes

Leicester Square

Postcode Areas Covered

W1 and WC2

Our Summary

Our rating of Soho & Covent Garden

Being centrally located the areas are vibrant and noisy and best suited to single people or couples.

General Description

These areas form part of the heart of London and are situated very centrally. They are very lively and you will always be able to find something to do here.

The piazza area of Covent Garden was originally the garden for the convent of St Peter at Westminster Abbey. Its purpose was to provide food for the Abbey. Over the centuries, it has changed its purpose from the kitchen garden, through to a highly respected residential area and to the retail and entertainment centre it is today. It was the site of a large wholesale market until mid-1970's, when the market was relocated to Vauxhall. This left the developers with a large amount of space in the centre of London. Parts were redeveloped, but most buildings were merely renovated and then the bars and shops moved in. Covent Garden is never quiet, and there is always something happening. Look out for the street entertainers as they provide unusual shows to please everyone.

Soho was originally the hunting fields belonging to Westminster Palace and the name has derived from the hunting call that was used to gather the hounds. The area was developed in the mid-17th century and was changed into a residential area in order to alleviate the over-crowding that was taking place in the centre of London. This then made Soho one of the most cosmopolitan areas of the capital. Over the last twenty years the area has been modernised and with the new upmarket restaurants and office buildings coupled with the existing transport links it makes it very desirable to businesses, particularly within the Media and Entertainment industries. Chinatown has also evolved within Soho and is very bright and vibrant making it popular with tourists, especially at Chinese New Year. Soho cannot be discussed without mentioning the sex industry that still exists here and has been present since the late 18th century when a hotel in Soho Square started hiring rooms by the hour! Although prostitution is illegal in the UK, you will not be able to walk through the area without seeing advertisements for girls or indeed the premises from which they work.

In the 1970's the area also became fashionable with the gay community. This is still the case today and many bars and cafes in and around Old Compton Street are regular haunts. Soho also enjoyed a brief spell in the 1960's and 70's as being the artists and musicians area of London. Though they might have moved on there are still many clubs and bars in the area which they would have frequented, even if the name has changed!

Ensconced in the middle is the Theatre District, including Shaftesbury Avenue and Drury Lane. Several of the theatres here date back to the late 1700’s and can be worth a visit for the architecture as well as the current production.

Travel Times

The underground serves both areas well with the Piccadilly, Northern, Central, Bakerloo and Victoria lines being within walking distances. From the Piccadilly Line you have direct access to Heathrow but the route is about 10 minutes slower due to frequent stops.

From Covent Garden to... By Car By Train/Tube
Heathrow Airport 19 miles, 37 mins 43 mins (2 changes)
Gatwick Airport 30 miles, 67 mins 49 mins (2 changes)

The journey times detailed above By Car are for driving during off-peak times. The By Train / Tube travel is for the fastest journey that you will get at peak-times during the week.

Types of Housing and Pricing

Property in these areas can be quite difficult to come by as most of the premises are designated to retail outlets and offices meaning that residential property prices are at a premium Property in the area is predominately apartments rather than houses and there is an increasing number of new luxury developments.

Soho & Covent Garden
  To Purchase To Rent
Studio £195,000 - £730,000 £225 - £665 per week
1 bed £350,000 - £1,000,000+ £325 - £800 per week
2 bed £425,000 - £1,000,000+ £400 - £1000+ per week
3-4 bed £750,000 - £2,000,000+ £530 - £1200+ per week
5+ bed £2,000,000+ £1200+ per week

The above data represents an average range of property prices in the area. We have excluded extremes of pricing from our data set.

Education

Education in the UK is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16. Many state-funded schools offer a nursery class from age 4 and independent nursery from as young as 6 months. There is also a choice of both state and independent schools that offer higher education to age 18.

The Local Authority (LA) for the area is City of Westminster and it is responsible for state-funded schools, including their admissions.
www.westminster.gov.uk/schools-and-learning

The few primary state schools in the area perform higher than the national average. The only other school here is The Royal Ballet School which is an independent school.

To view a map showing schools in the local area, please click the button below. Each school on the map can be clicked to show further information, including OFSTED ratings, exam results, age ranges and number of pupils.

Schools Map

Key

  • Primary
  • Ranked in Top 10%
  • Requires Improvement
  • Secondary
  • Oustanding
  • Inadequate
  • Primary and Secondary
  • Good
  • Independent School

We can help you to get round the nuances of the British schooling system with our school search services. We offer a range of programmes, from basic consultancy with one of our education specialists, to detailed reporting on every suitable school for your child or children, through to fully accompanied school inspections where we take you to see your top school choices.

More Info

Local Authority, Taxation and Crime Rates

Westminster Council is the administrative authority responsible for the local area. They levy an annual charge known as ‘Council Tax’ for local services such as waste collection, street lighting, police and fire services. You should expect to pay Council Tax whether you are renting or buying.
www.westminster.gov.uk
www.westminster.gov.uk/council-tax-service

The police authority for the area is The Metropolitan Police. For non-emergency calls to the police, phone 101.
content.met.police.uk/Home

Your local Member of Parliament (MP) is elected by their local constituents to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons.
www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps

A good source of information for crime rates in the area is ‘Illustreets’. The website has a great interactive map which provides detailed local statistics, including standards of living.
illustreets.co.uk/explore-england

Shopping

Berwick Street Market is one of the oldest markets in London selling food, household goods, clothing and accessories. It is open Monday to Saturday from 0800 to 1800.

Seven Dials - the central point where seven roads converge. The roads leading from here are full of interesting bars, restaurants, shops and smart hotels.

Neals Yard offers an eclectic mix of shops selling all sorts if unusual items.

Covent Garden is a lively mix of undercover markets, small boutiques and entertainment venues.

Old Compton Street is a bustling street in the heart of Soho which is central to the gay community. It has clothes shops, bars and some interesting off-licence stores.

There are five main supermarkets chains in the UK: Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose. However, they now face competition from other brands such as Aldi, Lidl, The Co-Op and Marks & Spencer. Most offer on-line shopping facilities as well as Ocado, which is the only completely online grocery retailer in the UK, that offers Waitrose quality produce.

Waitrose and Marks and Spencer offer higher quality produce with prices reflecting this. Sainsbury’s and Tesco offer good value for money for a weekly family shop and Asda, Morrisons and The Co-Op are competitively priced with a larger range of budget everyday items. Aldi and Lidl are German brands that stock produce typical to the UK. They are often referred to as discount stores and offer fewer products.

As part of our Home Search Programme, we will orientate you around your target areas and show you where the nearest shopping centres and supermarkets are.

Home Search Programmes

Leisure Facilities

Jubilee Hall Sports Centre – with a gymnasium, spinning studio, classes and half basketball court.
www.jubileehalltrust.org

The Oasis - London’s only heated outdoor swimming pool together with a gym, training zone, squash courts, yoga and pilates classes.
www.better.org.uk/leisure/oasis-sports-centre

The Sanctuary - a ladies only health spa and gymnasium.
www.sanctuary.com

Pineapple Dance Studios - the well-known dance and health studio.
www.pineapple.uk.com

Being in the heart of the West End, there are numerous cinemas and theatres in the locality. The majority of the cinemas can be found in Leicester Square whilst the theatres are in and around Shaftesbury Avenue.

Local Attractions

The Royal Opera House - a beautiful building which hosts magnificent operas and ballets.
www.roh.org.uk

The British Museum – a grand museum with extensive collections from all over the world. Famously the home of the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles.
www.britishmuseum.org

The National Gallery - one of the largest collections of European paintings in the world. Famously home to Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers'.
www.nationalgallery.org.uk

The National Portrait Gallery – features a comprehensive collection of portraits of famous British people; past and present.
www.npg.org.uk

Somerset House - once the home of family records, it now has paintings and art exhibitions on permanent display. During the summer months you can watch films under the stars at the open-air cinema and from November to January you can use the open-air ice rink.
www.somersethouse.org.uk

The London Transport Museum- tells the history of transport in London from the 1800's onwards.
www.ltmuseum.co.uk

Gallery