The West End in London is famous for its bustling streets, great shopping, amazing restaurants, and of course, Leicester Square and its many theatres. The term ‘West End’ began being used in the early 19th century to describe the fashionable area within the west of London’s city centre and it has since increased even more in popularity.
The West End is generally considered to encompass districts including Bloomsbury, Chelsea, Covent Garden, Holborn, Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Mayfair, Paddington, Soho and South Kensington.
As one of London’s most famous attractions, your trip will be incomplete without seeing a West End musical or play at one of the many theatres. Littered around Leicester Square and other West End locations, theatres are plentiful and feature world class shows every night of the week. If you’re looking for something affordable try visiting a ticket booth on the day of the show and you might be lucky enough to get half price tickets. TKTS in Leicester Square is a popular option if you’re looking for a cheap theatre ticket.
The West End is one of London’s liveliest regions and provides a great atmosphere for a big night out on the town. Soho is an amazing night spot full of great pubs, bars and clubs perfect for indulging in a few drinks. As a gay friendly area, Soho is extremely trendy and hardly ever sleeps. You’ll also find some great night spots around the other areas of the West End such as Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden.
You’ll never experience a shortage of places to eat in London’s West End. Take a walk through Chinatown, which is located in and around Gerrard Street in Soho - there’s a great atmosphere as well as some of the best Chinese restaurants in London. Along the other streets of Soho you’ll find a number of fashionable restaurants ranging from modern Japanese tapas to classic Italian. If curry is what you fancy, head to Paddington, where you’ll find a number of Indian restaurants to suit your needs.
Shopping is one of the West End’s major attractions. Visit Oxford Street, Bond Street and Knightsbridge for both affordable and high end fashion. If you’re in Knightsbridge don’t forget to check out the well known food halls of Harrods for a tasty treat. Marylebone and Covent Garden are also some great shopping spots. More about Shopping in London
There are loads of museums and galleries to explore in the West End. Some must-see museums include The British Museum on Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury, as well as The Museum of Natural History, The Science Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington (just catch the tube to South Kensington for these three). Madame Tussauds wax museum in Marylebone is another interesting attraction. If you’re an art fan, check out The National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, as well as the Tate Britain and Tate Modern.
Sightseeing opportunities in the West End are endless. Go for a stroll through the famous Hyde Park, visit Buckingham Palace (take the tube to Green Park Station) and have a look at Marble Arch at the Oxford Street and Park Lane junction. Don’t miss Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Just catch the circle or district line to Westminster Station.