A guide to exploring the historical West End

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A guide to exploring the historical West End

London’s West End is a district in Central London populated with historic tourist attractions, shops, theatres, and government buildings. The region sits to the west of the City of London and north of the River Thames in the City of Westminster.

There are dozens of attractive London West End deals to be scooped on hotels and stage shows that make a theatre break or a romantic weekend a possibility for everyone. Consult our guide to exploring the historical West End and guarantee your stay today. 

Theatreland 

London’s Theatre District is the star attraction of the West End. 

Historic theatres occupy the streets around Covent Garden and Leicester Square with tickets to see musicals, plays, and comedies up for grabs. Shows are performed daily across matinee and evening performances with plenty of options that cater to couples, families, and special celebrations in the English capital. 

Theatreland venues are housed in heritage buildings that although subject to various renovations over the years are still loyal to the architectural styles of their time of construction. Most are configured using the traditional proscenium arch with sloped auditoriums decked with lush red velvet seating and private boxes for those seeking indulgence. 

Choose to catch a performance at one of the long-running shows, such as Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre, Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre or The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. Other major shows for 2022 include Moulin Rouge at the Piccadilly Theatre, Frozen the Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and The Seagull at the Harold Pinter Theatre. 

Securing London West End deals on hotels and shows as early as possible is the best way to ensure that you find the best seats – and suites – in town.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Bridging the gap between Pall Mall and Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square was named after Britain’s triumph in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. The sea captain and naval hero Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was killed by a sniper during the battle while on board his ship, HMS Victory. Despite the nation’s victory, Nelson’s death was a tragedy and a great column was erected in Trafalgar Square to commemorate his efforts in the Napoleonic Wars.

Besides Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square is adorned with fountains, lion statues, and contemporary art installations. It is the setting of two of London’s finest museums: the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. The former presents the story of European art, with masterpieces from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Jan van Eyck, and Vincent van Gogh on display. Meanwhile the latter displays portraits, photographs, sculptures, and more of figures that have contributed to and shaped British society and culture. 

It is free to visit the permanent galleries at both museums which are the perfect destination to combine London West End deals with art and culture. 

Shopping

Shopping

Home to over 300 shops – 90 of which are flagship stores – Oxford Street is one of the quintessential shopping destinations for Londoners and visitors. You can find anything you need along this 1.5 mile-long thoroughfare that threads together Marble Arch, Bond Street, Oxford Circus, and Tottenham Court Road London Underground stations. 

The road was originally part of the Via Trinobantina, that Roman road that linked the counties of Hampshire and Essex. During the Middle Ages, it became known as Tyburn Road with gruesome public hangings at Tyburn Gallows taking responsibility for the earliest crowds. Renamed Oxford Street in the 18th century, a gradual movement towards turning the avenue into a commercial destination took place with the original department stores – today’s key attraction – swinging their doors open in the 20th century. 

Luxury goods are available at the iconic Selfridges alongside such staples of the British high street as Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, and the House of Fraser. Bagging London West End deals means that you have spare cash to spend on a shopping spree. 

Branching off from Oxford Circus, Regent Street was the first street in London purpose-built as a shopping destination. Constructed in 1819 under London’s preeminent architect John Nash, the avenue is lined with high-end boutiques, wellness offerings, and quality fragrances. 

Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster is the setting of the United Kingdom’s two houses of Parliament: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It was also the subject of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, which saw Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators attempt to blow up the building in an act of rebellion against the Protestant government.

This staggering work of architecture was overseen by William II between 1097 and 1099 and was originally used as a royal residence. It continued to see remodelling and extensions until the 16th century when the palace was established as government headquarters. 

Guided tours are available that enrich you with the history and heritage of the building as well as insight into the inner workings of Parliament. Admittance to the commons debates in Westminster Hall is free of charge and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Hyde Park 

Hyde Park

Round off your trip catching shows, hitting the shops, and touring the galleries with a stroll around the West End’s iconic Royal Park. 

Covering 350 acres of land, the Grade I-listed Hyde Park features walking trails that weave you through memorials, sculptures, and gardens. Complete a lap of the Serpentine, take a dip in the lido, hire a rowing boat, stroll around the serene Italian Gardens, or pack a picnic and indulge in a day beneath the summer sun. We promise that the city benefits from sunny skies during the high season!

Checking in at your chosen accommodation near Hyde Park means that you can be one of the first to step inside the grounds: there’s no better place to burn off the lavish breakfast provided when you book London West End deals at a local hotel.

Boutique hotels

Choosing to base yourself in the historic London West End means that all of the attractions and facilities listed above are right on your doorstep. Properties such as The Piccadilly West End cater to travellers seeking refined luxury and exceptional service.

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