When you come to London, there are many things you need to do during your visit, one of them being going to the West End and watching a play or musical. The West End is akin to New York’s Broadway, meaning if you’re new to the world of theatre or simply haven’t watched a play here before, it can be tricky knowing where to go and what to watch.
If you’re taking advantage of The Piccadilly London West End special offers and are staying in a hotel close by, you’ll find the theatres to be in close proximity. Otherwise, they’re still highly accessible from all over London due to them being a main draw for tourists.
No matter where you’re staying or for how long, here’s a theatre guide to the West End comprising everything you need to know about this performative part of the capital.
West End History
Firstly, let’s look at the history of the West End. Like everything else in London, the theatres have a rich history spanning centuries. The year 1660 marked the end of a 17-year ban on entertainment in London, with theatres re-opening. As a result, in 1663, the oldest theatre in the West End, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, was opened.
It’s been a favourite amongst royalty since its inception. It’s also very close to the Piccadilly West End Hotel Spa and other hotels in the area, making it popular with tourists, too.
Famous London West End Theatres
As mentioned, for over 350 years, the West End has been entertaining visitors from all walks of life at its 38 theatres. As well as the aforementioned Theatre Royal Drury Lane, you can also watch a show at the Adelphi theatre which opened in 1806, or the Theatre Royal Haymarket which opened in 1720.
There’s also the Palace Theatre, London Palladium, Savoy Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Novello Theatre, Lyric Theatre, and Piccadilly Theatre to name a few; all of which are close to the Piccadilly London West End. You really are spoilt for choice!
Classic West End Shows
You’re likely wondering what’s on at the West End. Well, it depends which theatre you go to! There are plenty of classic shows that have been running for years, including The Mousetrap, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and Mamma Mia! There are also more family-friendly shows like Wicked, Mary Poppins, and The Lion King. Whatever your tastes are, there’s a show on to suit.
Amenities Near London West End
A trip to the West End can be an all-day affair due to the number of amenities nearby. There are plenty of restaurants in West End London, as well as shops on Regent Street and Oxford Street. In addition to this, there are several museums and art exhibitions nearby if you’re looking to fill time before the show starts.
The West End is serviced by a comprehensive public transport network, so it’s easy to get to where you need to go, but it’s also a walkable area of the city.