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Named after the Bishop Henry Compton (1632-1713), Old Compton Street's original claim to fame was as a haven for French refugees back in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The area saw the likes of French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud frequent its pubs. For as long as most can remember, the neighborhood has also cornered the Soho shopping market. Nowadays the street is the center of London's gay community, hosting the annual Soho Pride festival each summer.
Located in the Limehouse region of London around Gerrard Street, this is the primary section of town to which residents of Hong Kong immigrated after World War II. Here you're likely to find some of the best Chinese cuisine the city has to offer, along with some pretty cheap souvenirs. At night, this place comes alive with stores, supermarkets, and shops all throwing their wares out on the street for curious passer-bys to gaze at. Despite the stories of Opium dens and slum housing, London's Chinatown has now emerged as one of the more happening parts of the city.
Move over Broadway. The Shaftesbury Avenue of London certainly gives that famous New York City street a run for its money. Plays and musicals draw theater-goers from all over England. The avenue was created to improve London traffic conditions and is now home to notable venues and Shaftesbury theaters.
Restaurants, historical sites and houses of different eras speckle the famous Greek Street in the SoHo district of London. Many businesses along the street are famous, or infamous, in their own right. The notorious pride of the landlord of The Coach and Horses pub attracts patrons to test his patience. Other notable attractions are Les Cousins (folk music club), Pillars of Hercules (pub dating back to 1733), and House of St Barnabas (inspiration and setting of the Dickens' classic, A Tale of Two Cities.)
See for yourself the humble abode of one of the greatest minds in human history. Karl Marx moved to the house on Dean Street in 1851. There he completed an ambitious essay entitled "Grundrisse" and suffered the death of his son from tuberculosis all while he struggled to earn enough money to support his family. The house may be tidier now, but Marx was far from a meticulous housekeeper. A friend described his living quarters as "dirty, everything covered with dust; it is dangerous to sit down."
If you're in the city of London, the West End is one of the areas you absolutely must visit. Although known mainly for being home to Theatreland, there are many other aspects to it as well. At the West End, you will find a plethora of dining, shopping and entertainment options that attract locals and tourists alike. If you're looking for a fun day out with family, the Disney Store and Rainforest Cafe would be ideal. For a wild day out with friends, a meal at The Living Room followed by a few hours at the Hippodrome Casino are perfect. As for enthusiastic shoppers, Carnaby Street, with its stylish boutiques, and Jermyn Street, with its many men's tailors, is sure to delight.
St Martin's Theatre first opened in 1916, and has been showing the world's longest running play, Agatha Christie's 'Mousetrap', since 1974. Visitors can only conclude that a play that can continue to enrapture and enthrall audiences for more than 50 years, must be worth seeing. With a licensed bar on every floor, comfortable seating, wheelchair access and box seating you can be sure of a pleasant and memorable experience.
A marvelous example of Rococo-style architecture, the House of St. Barnabas is an integral part of London's rich culture. Charles Dickens used this house as a blueprint for one of the characters' residence in his famous book 'A Tale of Two Cities', and the house has since been a very prominent tourist site in the city. The chapel of the house is exquisitely peaceful and also plays host to various cultural events. See the website for more information.