No visit to London would be complete without spending some time soaking up the unique atmosphere in the West End, one of London's most vibrant areas. The West End was originally a collection of palaces, expensive town houses, fashionable shops and places of entertainment. When people refer to London's West End today, they can be talking about different things:
- London's entertainment district around Leicester Square and Covent Garden
- Shopping on Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Bond Street
- The whole area of the city centre to the west of the historic City of London, within the City of Westminster.
Some of London's finest hotels can be found in the West End. Take your pick from the following, or browse our hotels section for more options:
- St Martins Lane
- The Savoy
- Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel (formerly the Moutbatten)
- The Trafalgar
- The Hampshire
- Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton
- The Langham
- The Charing Cross Hotel
Theatre in the West End
Perhaps the most famous thing about London's West End is its theatre scene. Alongside Broadway in New York, West End theatre represents the highest quality theatre in the world. There are around 40 theatres in London's "Theatreland." Theatre performances in the West End tend to be musicals, classic plays and comedies. At the moment, you can choose from a wide range of West End shows: from musicals like Wicked, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera, to plays like War Horse, The Woman in Black and The Mousetrap. Find out more about London theatre.
Shopping in the West End
The West End also contains some of London's finest shopping streets. Check out Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street for big-name flagship stores such as Topshop, Ralph Lauren, Selfridges, Hamleys, The Apple Store, and Fenwick. There are also some lovely smaller shopping streets perfect for exploring in the West End. Don't miss Carnaby Street, St Christopher's Place, St Martin's Courtyard and Seven Dials. Read more on Shopping in London.
Food and Drink
Take some time out from exploring the West End to indulge in the area's excellent choice of bars and restaurants. Whether you're looking for a quick pre-theatre meal or a completely new taste experience, the West End has something for you.
Near Covent Garden, both the Opera Quarter and St Martin's Courtyard are packed with a diverse mix of restaurants. Try Jamie's Italian, Indian cafe Dishoom or the Opera Tavern, which serves tapas-style dishes. The area around Regent Street and Carnaby Street is also popular with diners, featuring hot destinations such as Polpo, Aqua Kyoto and Gaucho.
Trafalgar Square hosts a number of special events throughout the year
The West End never sleeps, so whether you're looking for trendy bars such as Dirty Martini and Albannach, or places to dance the night away like Cafe De Paris or Tiger Tiger, you won't need to worry about your night finishing early. Read more about bar and restaurants or clubs in London.
Special Events in the West End
At Christmas, London's West End sparkles with festive decorations and seasonal special events. London's New Year's Day Parade takes place on the streets of the West End. West End Live, a free showcase of the best of London's musical theatre, takes place in June. Both Oxford Street and Regent Street have family-friendly traffic-free days during the year. You can also become a West End VIP for great London shopping offers and the chance to win amazing West End prizes.