West End Theater District
Located in the heart of Central London, the West End is frequently the first port of call for out-of-town visitors. The district is arguably best-known for its dozens of theaters and is a rival to New York’s Broadway; its venues attract upwards of 15 million ticket holders every year. In addition to the world-famous musicals and touring plays held on the West End, the area is also renowned for its shopping options (Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Covent Garden are all retail highlights) as well as its culinary pedigree: A number of London’s top-rated restaurants call the West End home.
Given its size and diversity, there are almost infinite ways to experience the West End. Beyond booking theater tickets, the area can also be discovered on hop-on hop-off bus, walking, bike, and car tours.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Discounted, last-minute theater tickets can be purchased at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square.
Many of the West End’s top restaurants offer pre- and posttheater menus. Alternatively, Chinatown—one neighborhood in the West End—is rich in delicious possibilities.
The West End is home to several iconic, independent movie theaters, including the Prince Charles Cinema, Curzon Soho, and Picturehouse Central.
How to Get There
As the West End is a large area of Central London, there are many ways to visit it. The district is served by several major Underground stations, including Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Embankment, and Tottenham Court Road, and can be accessed by dozens of bus lines. It is also very easy to explore by taxi, by bike, or on foot.
When to Get There
The West End is one of London’s liveliest and most vibrant areas and bustles with crowds into the wee hours. Most theater performances start around 7:30pm; arrive a few hours early to do some sightseeing and enjoy a pre-show meal.
West End Monuments
Performance venues aren’t the only attraction in the West End. During your time in the area, spot other highlights ranging from Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Gallery to the Royal Academy, Piccadilly Circus’ Eros statue, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
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