I always enjoy wandering around Seven Dials, Covent Garden, London WC2. Seven Dials began as seven streets intersecting at the Sundial Pillar by stonemason Edward Pierce in 1693-4. The streets have changed names that now make four streets: Earlham Street (Little and Great Earl), Monmouth Street (Little and Great Andrew’s Street), Mercer Street (Little and Great White Lyon Street) and Shorts Gardens (Queen Street). Seven Dials was initially laid out in triangles by Thomas Neale, an MP in the early 1690s, to maximise the rent measured by the frontage of a building. The area has been through many changes; today, it’s a shopping and dining destination with wellness/alternative therapy options. You’ll love my Seven Dials review if you’re looking for the best shopping streets in London or the best things to do in Covent Garden.
Earlham Street is excellent for men’s fashion shopping
Monmouth Street is brilliant for beauty and jewellery stores
Mercer Street is best for outdoor clothing specialists
Shorts Gardens is home to Neal’s Yard Dairy, and you’ll find an entrance to the idyllic Neal’s Yard courtyard
Lots Of Lovely Things To Do In Seven Dials Covent Garden
Start by sitting at the Seven Dials Sundial Pillar (above) to contemplate which street you’ll investigate. Thomas Neale commissioned stonemason Edward Pierce to design the magnificent centrepiece. Look up, and you will notice that the sundial has six faces; the seventh is the actual column. It’s a popular spot to sip a cup of coffee, people watch or look at your phone for directions.
Earlham Street Seven Dials
Earlham Street crosses over the Seven Dials Sundial Pillar. The number one thing to do on this street is eat something delicious at the Seven Dials Market (above). The converted warehouse includes mini restaurants and a couple of bars spread over two floors. You can try fried chicken to pizza, bao buns, burgers, tacos, and cheese dishes, plus plant-based options. It’s the perfect place to meet friends after work or dine before a theatrical show. If the enormous food hall is too busy for you, try White Pine, a super cute Nordic lifestyle store with healthy plant-based food and drinks.
Earlham Street is excellent for men’s fashion, including clothing, footwear and accessories. A few shops to check out include Urban Outfitters (UK) (streetwear), Carhatt (streetwear), Diesel (jeans and casual clothing), Farah (shirts and more), Finisterre (outdoor clothing) and Rains (waterproof outerwear and bags). My favourite shop is Fly London for shoes and boots (above).
Monmouth Street Seven Dials
Monmouth Street also crosses over the Seven Dials Sundial Pillar. It’s a brilliant place to go beauty and jewellery shopping. Beauty specialist stores are Malin + Goetz (skincare and fragrance), Caudalie UK (natural beauty products), Kiehl’s (skin, hair and body products) (above), Aesop (skin, hair and body products), DECIEM The Abnormal Beauty Company (interesting beauty products), Murdock (men’s barbers and grooming products), Miller Harris (perfume) and Le Labo (fragrances).
If you love jewellery, pop into these shops on Monmouth Street: Tatty Devine (vibrant pop art costume jewellery) (above), Dinny Hall (designer jewellery) or Astley Clarke Ltd (fine and demi-fine jewellery).
I had a browse around Nappa Dori, a leather shop on Monmouth Street which is a lovely shop if you’re looking to buy a beautiful bag or a gift for your partner.
The best coffee shop in the area is Monmouth Coffee (above) on Monmouth Street; get a takeaway drink, and you can sit on the steps of the Sundial Pillar and people-watch.
Places to eat along Monmouth Street include Fafa’s falafel bar (above) for a quick bite, Monmouth Kitchen for Peruvian and Italian small plates or the Covent Garden Hotel for afternoon tea.
Mercer Street Seven Dials
Mercer Street crosses over the Seven Dials Pillar and is part of The Yards Covent Garden. I recently discovered Arôme (above), the French bakery fusing traditional baking techniques with Asian ingredients. I’m obsessed with their delicious creations and have been again to eat more pastries! You’ll also find some outdoor clothing specialists, including Snow + Rock and Rohan, on Mercer Street.
Shorts Gardens Seven Dials
Shorts Gardens is the only street that doesn’t cross over the Seven Dials Pillar. The most famous shop is Neal’s Yard Dairy selling cheese, milk and butter. Look out for the ally where you can access Neal’s Yard (above), a secret oasis where you will find the Neal’s Yard Therapy Rooms and 26 Grains Restaurant, plus more in a beautiful courtyard.
Another reason to explore Shorts Gardens is vintage clothing at Pop Boutique (above) and Subdued (they have a remixed and recycled clothing line). You’ll also find the psychic reading shop Mysteries and Inner Space, where you can meditate. I liked the look of Stretch Inc, where an expert can stretch you! Look for the plaque above Stretch Inc, which says, “The Kip, Famous Lodging House (1860-1922) where residents slept leading on a rope.” Magma is a must for creatives; it’s a shop dedicated to art, design, and cultural adventures.
Seven Dials Covent Garden Information
The streets leading off from Seven Dials are beautiful, with stunning architecture and many converted warehouse buildings. It has a relaxing and friendly vibe, so it’s a pleasant area to explore.
For more information, go to the Seven Dials Website, where you will find a list of all the shops and restaurants along with a fascinating historical overview. The nearest stations are Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square and Holborn. To see more pictures take a look at my Love Covent Garden Pinterest Board. For information on the area, please read my posts:
Ten Things To Do In Covent Garden
Ten Reasons To Visit The Yards Covent Garden
Nine Reasons To Visit Neal Street Covent Garden
Author: Homegirl London. History information is from the Seven Dials Website. Photographs: Homegirl London.