The Handbook
The Handbook
Photo credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Looking to fall in love with London all over again post-lockdown? This charming pocket of Central London is where to start.

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If there’s anyone that can inject some vibrant colour and much needed cheer, into the worst year on record, it’s the magnificent Dame Zandra Rhodes. The internationally acclaimed artist and fashion designer, known for her rule breaking colour palette and nod to the ’60s and ’70s, has joined forces with London’s iconic Seven Dials area to make the return to normality post-COVID-19 even better, as she’s lent her signature psychedelic art and style to the streets and shops of the area.

The collaboration has seen a number exclusive artworks from the iconic designer installed throughout the seven streets; a feast for the eyes and an event that bridges the gap between culture, shopping and eating out (read: all our favourite things). Plus, the only way for art lovers and style aficionados to see Zandra’s iconic work in the whole of London. 

Itching to get back out there to absorb everything London has to offer again? Here are 7 reasons why Seven Dials should be your next day out destination…

Photo credit: David Parry/PA Wire

1. You’ll get to see some seriously cool street art

Tread the cobbled streets of the charming West End village and spot some of Rhodes’ iconic artwork.

There will be plenty to take in and Instagram backdrops aplenty thanks to her signature pink pieces, psychedelic imagery and fun pop- art designs of everything ’60s- and ’70s-inspired. Think flower power, arrows, swirls and rainbow-hued colour-ways. 

To celebrate Seven Dials, each piece of art includes a quote from some of Seven Dials’ biggest fans, recalling their favourite memories and experiences of the area. 

2. Learn about the legacy of Zandra Rhodes

For those unfamiliar with the Zandra’s work, she is a genuine legend of London’s iconic fashion and art scene from the 1960s and ‘70s. Her work is named checked among the likes of Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell and Biba, thanks to her creations that epitomise the psychedelic era. In fact, some of the Seven Dial designs were originally created in the ’60s as patterns for dresses or used as patches on leather jackets and were designed in her very first studio in Seven Dials. This will be the first time that these vivid designs will be displayed as artwork on the streets of London.

There will be Insta ops a plenty thanks to Zandra's signature pink pieces, psychedelic images and fun pop- art designs of everything '60s- and '70s-inspired.

Rhodes also earned her fashion credentials by dressing everyone from Princess Diana to Freddie Mercury, Diana Ross to Cher. 

The street art will be dotted around the seven streets that make up Seven Dials, offering a chance to capture some of that Zandra magic that has stood the test of time over six decades. The collaboration is made all the more poignant by the fact that her career was in part very much launched in Seven Dials itself. 

I had my very first studio on the corner of Neal Street,” explains Zandra, “There are so many good memories from my time there. In fact, I’d regularly see actor Quentin Crisp frequent a cafe directly opposite my studio whilst I worked, and the artwork I’ve created nods to the swinging ’60s.”

3. Take advantage of Seven Dials’ wealth of shops

Seven Dials holds a charming village-like quality in the heart of the West End but without the tourist traps and the chains. 

Fitness wear from Fashercise
AW20 from Emin & Paul

Follow the Rhodes artwork as you make your way through the cobbled streets lined by some of our favourites.

There’s new season wardrobe appeal courtesy of womenswear brand Emin & Paul – a must-stop if you’re into a puffed sleeve, ruffle neck or little smocked dress. For great gift ideas others haven’t thought of, we love Choosing Keeping – their leather bound diaries and notebooks make be organised a dream. While Fashercise is a boutique with the best fitness brands you can find – think LA favourites Varley and The Upside. As well as the influencer and jetsetter’s travel brand of choice, AWAY, who do the chicest and hardest wearing suitcases you’re likely to find.

4. The area is bringing all the festival vibes

Glastonbury may have been cancelled but there’s still a chance to witness some live music before 2020 is out with Seven Dials Unplugged. 

Throughout Summer and Autumn, visitors to the area can see surprise live music performances every Saturday between 1pm and 5pm. 

As a city loved for its live music scene, it’s been a devastating blow for London having to cancel a summer of gigs, but the Seven Dials Unplugged series will bring it back with an eclectic mix of artists and genres, all set to the backdrop of Rhodes’ colourful work and all complying with social distancing rules of course. The music Saturdays will be on until 10th October. 

5. Take the chance to indulge in the area’s best restaurants

Sandwiched between the shops and the art are a bounty of epic restaurants to refuel at. There’s The Handbook favourite, Flesh & Buns, who are delighting our post-COVID pockets with an extension to August’s Eat Out To Help Out Scheme. Throughout September, Monday-Thursday, the Izakaya restaurant is offering 50% off up to £10 per person. 

Flesh & Buns

If you’re a food fan, head down to Seven Dials Market for a plethora of delicious food kitchens all in one place. Including, Pick & Cheese: a literal conveyor belt showcasing a cornucopia of fromage to take your fancy. Every Thursday to Sunday throughout September they’ll be offering £20 Bottomless Plates.

And for late summer Italian fare, Rossopomodoro, the artisanal Neapolitan restaurant, are spoiling diners with a whopping 50% off on food and all drinks every Tuesday and Wednesday to a maximum of £10 each. 

A trip to Seven Dials shouldn’t go without a saunter around the famous Neal’s Yard either, not only for it’s pretty stores and artisanal food stores but some of London’s best-loved independent restaurants too. Favourites include; 26 Grains for wholesome, seasonal fare; the French-inspired Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels – great for a wine pitstop; small plates at The Barbary which opens next week; as does Homeslice – the must-visit for epic pizza wedges reopens on 10th September.

6. It’s a return to normality but socially distanced

Lockdown might be over but London is still adhering to a mind boggling COVID rulebook and Seven Dials have it sorted. The area has announced that timed road closures will be in place until the end of the year in partnership with Camden Council, between 10am – 6pm seven days a week, to ensure safe social distancing. Plus, the world-famous Neal’s Yard has implemented a one-way system and additional cyclist parking to reduce contact, congestion and commuting. While Zandra’s street art exhibit holds all the magic of visiting a gallery but entirely outdoors.

Photo credit: David Parry/PA Wire
Photo credit: David Parry/PA Wire

7. We’re eking out the last drops of summer

COVID-19 well and truly robbed our spring and summer 2020, but Zandra’s collaboration with Seven Dials offers a colour-packed, vibrant and fun way to bring life back to the area under all the guises of our ‘new normal’. Plus, there will be even more art coming to the area with the launch of Unit X. The internationally acclaimed contemporary gallery will be debuting its new experience-led concept in a permanent curated space within Seven Dials very soon. We can’t wait. 

For more information visit

www.sevendials.co.uk

Created in partnership with Seven Dials