Maybe more than any other reason, what’s likely to persuade you to stay with us at the Piccadilly West End hotel is the fact you’re so near to so many fantastic West End attractions; it’s the unavoidable elephant in the room, so to speak! Here then are – in our humble opinion – the 10 that, all of them very easy to reach from Piccadilly Circus and Shaftesbury Avenue, you just can’t miss…
The famed piazza at the very heart of in the capital, it was laid out in the early 19th Century to commemorate the (then) glorious, decisive British naval victory over Napoleon’s French fleets in the 1815 Battle of Trafalgar. As such, it features at its centre the world-famous column atop which sits a statue of Admiral Lord Nelson. Around the square you’ll find the fantastic attractions that are the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and St Martin-in-the-Fields church.
The other unmissable piazza in centre the of town that’s an utter tourist-trap, Leicester Square may be slap-bang in the middle of the West End’s ‘Theatreland’ but it’s actually brimming with cinemas, casinos and family-friendly restaurants and bars. The biggest draws here are the legendary flagship Odeon and Empire cinema houses; with their ginormous screens they host some of the biggest Hollywood movie premieres. Meanwhile, the green at the square’s core often features old-fashioned fun fairs and seasonal food stalls.
The Houses of Parliament
The centrepiece of the Westminster district (so much so it’s often referred to in the media by the shorthand of ‘Westminster’), Parliament is where the biggest political power resides in the UK. It’s made up of the House of Commons – where the ‘common’ MPs meet and discuss issues – the House of Lords – where the unelected political representatives of the ‘upper-house’ do likewise – and of course the iconic tall, narrow tower that houses the unmistakable old bell known to all and sundry as Big Ben.
London’s – and maybe the world’s – pre-eminent department store, Harrods is the defining building of the luxury retail area that’s Knightsbridge (just take a short hop on the Tube from a top hotel near Piccadilly Circus to get there). Acclaimed and notorious in equal measure for the irresistible quality and (too often!) resistible prices of its goods, this is the place to visit to browse for the finest homewares, clothes fashion, toys and food hampers; you name it, Harrods has it – all with so much elan (even visiting the toilets is quite the experience)!
No question, London’s one of the greatest places in the world for spotting celebrities; if you’re lucky enough, you might catch sight of several in the West End, yet you can be sure of being in the company of the rich, famous, great and good (and very bad) of today and yesteryear by visiting Baker Street’s Madame Tussauds exhibit. Here the plethora of waxworks is of such high quality that hundreds of visitors each day can’t resist having a selfie taken of themselves beside a lifelike replica of their favourite famous individual. Beware – it’s contagious!
Royal Albert Hall
One of the greatest music venues in the world, this South Kensington attraction (reachable via a nice few minutes’ stroll from the Piccadilly London West End hotel) is an extraordinarily elegant example of Victorian architecture at its ornate best. Laid out in an oval shape, its decorous auditorium seats thousands upon thousands and, although every kind of musical performance is regularly hosted here, it’s the BBC’s summer season of classical music-featuring ‘Proms’ that, above all else, ensures the Albert Hall remains renowned the world over.
Originally installed at the South Bank location from which it’s never moved as part of London’s celebrations for the passing of the Millennium, this gigantic slow-moving Ferris wheel comprising separate glass-encased pods that can be occupied by around 20 people is one of the capital’s most popular attractions. And the reason why isn’t hard to explain or understand – day or night, it offers sensational views of the whole of the city.
If you’re visiting the UK capital via river, then Tower Bridge (which elaborately crosses the Thames near its semi-namesake, the Tower of London) is effectively the gateway to Central London. A combined bascule/ suspension bridge, it’s another exceptional example of Victorian architecture; its roadway splitting in half and rising to enable the passing of tall vessels and its two castle battlement-like towers ensuring it’s not just one of the ultimate must-see London icons, but one of the most easily recognised bridges in the world.
A firm family-favourite, this South Bank-based venue’s the place to head to if you’re curious or even eager to discover the dark underbelly of London’s glorious history. Yes, re-enactments and narrations of the most gruesome, grisly, bloody and surprising episodes from throughout the capital’s 1,000-year-plus story are the order of the day here. Again, despite the macabre subject matter and gallows humour, it really is very family-friendly!
Finally then, has this article left the best till last? Probably, yes. Because this Bloomsbury-located building may just house the greatest museum on earth. Covering – and featuring exhibits from – every period of history and nook or cranny of the world imaginable, you’d probably need a whole week’s worth of visits to do this place justice. Incredibly, only a tiny amount of the establishment’s collection is on display at any one time – but the Elgin Marbles, Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies always are and are simply unmissable.