West End wonders: a guide to London’s unmissable West End

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It’s quite simple. No visitor worth their salt comes to London without taking in the comprehensive and yet unique delights of the West End while they’re in the UK capital. Boasting an inordinate array of theatre, cinema, restaurant, museum, gallery and, yes, travel options, the entertainment district of Central London just can’t be missed. Here’s more on why…

Getting about

Getting around the West End’s very easy. Given it’s a jam-packed relatively small area, the best way to get about is on foot – it’s much the best way to see everything and take in the atmosphere. However, if the weather’s not so good, by all means the London Underground (or the Tube, as the locals like to refer to it) is a fine mode of transport – there are countless Tube stations throughout the area, so do familiarise yourself with Oyster cards (the digital reusable ticketing card) – as is the London cycle hire scheme, run by the Government-backed Transport for London (TfL) overseeing body.

Theatre,cinema and casinos

When many think of the West End, the first thing that pops into their head is ‘Theatreland’, the catch-all term for the theatre district which itself stretches throughout the area. It comprises around 40 theatres in total, some of which presently play host to major blockbuster musicals like Mamma Mia, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera, as well as award-winning, acclaimed plays such as War Horse and The Mousetrap. A night out at the theatre is always – and quite rightly – hugely popular with those making the most of West End hotel deals.

For those who like their entertainment on the big screen, however, then thisWest End guide definitely also commends the area as a big draw. Especially Leicester Square and its surrounding streets, which are notable for their plethora of multiplex and art-house cinemas and where many major red carpet-toting movie premieres take place. And what is there for those who enjoy having a flutter of an evening? Well, Leicester Square’s where to head for that too – offering as it does the glamorous, 24-hour Hippodrome Casino.

Museums and galleries

Also famed for its offerings of high art and historic, thought-provoking culture, the West End contains several extremely popular and iconic galleries and museums, including the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Courtauld Gallery and the London Transport Museum.

Bars, clubs and restaurants

Finally, evening thrills can be enjoyed – especially by the young – at nightspots such as Tiger Tiger and Café de Paris, as well as at the plush hotel bars Scoff & Banter Leicester Square (at the Radisson Blu Edwardian) and Artesian (at The Langham). When it comes to eating out, the area’s one of the foremost eatery districts in the world, with the legendary Chinatown offering fantastic, authentic Asian cuisine, while it’s true – more Michelin-starred restaurants are located in the West End than in other postcode in the entire UK. Makes you just salivate thinking about it, doesn’t it!

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