Shopping, dining & theatre between Covent Garden and Soho
24 Hours with Danny Mac
24 Hours with Danny Mac

Screen and stage actor Danny Mac unlocks some of the best places to eat, drink, shop and staycation in Seven Dials this Summer!

24 Hours with Danny Mac

Having recently joined the cast of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre on West Street, I spend lots of time coming up from my hometown on the South coast to explore the streets of London in the day and take the stage at night.

One of my favourite spots to visit is just around the corner from the theatre – Seven Dials. It’s a hidden gem in the heart of London’s West End – often unknown to tourists but loved by Londoners – and walking distance from Soho, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden. From award-winning theatres to the latest independent fashion and lifestyle stores, as well as an incredible food & drink scene – it is the ideal spot for a romantic mini-break or a day trip with friends and family.

The great thing about Seven Dials is the beautiful cobbled streets and authentic local heritage, combined with an electric atmosphere that only London can provide. This neighbourhood is bursting with hidden gems and historical landmarks, yet you may not know you’ve just walked past them.

Come rain or shine, Seven Dials is home to some of London’s best-kept secrets and the perfect city escape this summer. So, if you’re in the midst of planning your summer staycation, check out my ultimate 24-hour guide to Seven Dials. I’ve done all the hard work for you!

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The Sundial Pillar

When you approach Seven Dials, you’re met with a choice of six streets that lead you through the village and towards the Sundial Pillar, the centerpiece of this little West End village. It was once regarded as one of London’s ‘great public ornaments’ and the area’s unique street layout revolves around it. However, the monument you see here today is not the original.

Legend has it, the original monument was knocked down in 1773 by London gangsters looking for buried treasure, but it was actually removed by authorities to try and rid the area of undesirables and bad behaviour. The monument was re-established in 1989 to celebrate a long battle from local residents to end the demolition plans for Seven Dials following World War II. Today’s pillar is a reconstruction commissioned by The Seven Dials Trust charity, which have helped to maintain this unique conservation area over the years.

Apple Butter, Monmouth Street

Just off the Sundial Pillar and down Monmouth Street, head to Apple Butter for a great little brunch spot to start your day. The classic breakfasts, all-day dishes and sweet treats with a Middle-Eastern twist are all totally Instagram-worthy and not to be missed. The cafe is warm, welcoming, and cosy, but with a huge apple tree front and center so it’s also one for the Instagram feed.

DIGME, Tower Street

If you want to squeeze in a workout, head to DIGME for one of their signature cycle classes at their fitness studio on Tower Street – if cycling isn’t your thing, they also do Yoga and HIIT classes. I took on a cycle class before heading down the road for some retail therapy and lunch – a great way to work up an appetite!

Farah, Earlham Street

Next up, one of my favourite menswear brands, Farah, one of many independent shops that line the streets of Seven Dials. It has some great contemporary picks for your wardrobe, I love their new Farah x SoccerBible collection. Originally from the US, this brand was the favourite of rockers and Britpop artists back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, but now its clothes cater to contemporary fashion – they also do sunnies, watches, and some great shoes.

Neal’s Yard

If you’re in Seven Dials, you absolutely must visit Neal’s Yard. Bright coloured windows, buildings and shopfronts, this is one of London’s most Instagrammable hidden gems, and if you’re not concentrating you might walk straight past the tunnel entrances from Monmouth Street or Shorts Gardens! Tucked away in the corner of Neal’s Yard, I paid a visit to Compagnie des Vins Surnaturals, a great French wine bar perfect for some people-watching in the sun, or a pre-theatre glass of wine. CVS has a huge wine list on offer, with experts on hand to pair the perfect glass with a delicious plate of cheese or meats – paired with outdoor seats, it was an absolute must-visit on my mini staycation.

Theatres

Something we can always rely on for entertainment, no matter what the weather is London’s Theatres. We all know the West End is famous for its theatrical productions, and Seven Dials is home to a number of them. I can thoroughly recommend Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre, the award-winning Donmar Theatre, and of course, St Martin’s – where you’ll see me performing in the longest-running play in the world, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street

For the ultimate 24hr staycation, I stayed at Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel with a beautiful room overlooking the Sundial Pillar at the heart of Seven Dials. I loved the Italian marble bathrooms, Egyptian cotton bedding, sweeping views across Central London and the cherry on the cake for me was the Union Jack SMEG fridge. Next door, not to be missed is Monmouth Street Kitchen, where I got to try the new Banksy cocktail, The Mist, in honour of the new Art of Banksy exhibition on Earlham Street – another must-see in the area. It went perfectly with the delicious Seabass Ceviche and Pecorino and Truffle Tortellini.

Guest Writer

Danny Mac

Stage & Screen Actor
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Biography

Danny’s career spans across both stage and screen, first performing in London’s West End productions of ‘Wicked’ and ‘Les Misérables’, then rising to fame in the UK’s hit serial drama ‘Hollyoaks’, where he created the role of Mark (Dodger) Savage. Danny’s recent theatre credits include Gabey in the Olivier Award-nominated production of ‘On The Town’, Joe Gillis in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s multi-award-winning classic ‘Sunset Boulevard’, and Bob Wallis in the hit West End revival of White Christmas.

In 2016, Danny reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing, following a run of incredible performances that included the very first-ever ’10’ from Craig Revel Horwood and score a perfect 40.

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