There are several definitions of what constitutes the West End. We will stick to the one bordered by Regent Street and Haymarket in the West, Oxford Street in the North, Kingsway in the East and Strand in the South. Some sources also include Mayfair, others even Belgravia and Knightsbridge, for all of which we have separate pages.
The West End comprises several notable districts, including Covent Garden, Soho and Chinatown. It is home to some of London’s top attractions, such as Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Piccadilly Circus is known for huge advertising screens and the beautiful buildings surrounding it with lots of double-decker buses driving by; Leicester Square is often the site of movie premieres, where you can catch some of the biggest movie stars attending the premieres, while Trafalgar Square is home to the National Gallery and the iconic Nelson’s Column.
The West End is most famous for its theatre scene. It’s home to some of the world’s best and most iconic venues, like the Lyceum Theatre, the Cambridge Theatre and the Adelphi Theatre. You can catch everything from major musicals like Les Misérables, The Lion King or Matilda to classic plays and new, cutting-edge performances. Theatre shows often feature actors familiar from movies or TV shows. Some examples from the previous years and this year are Ian McKellen, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Jessica Parker, and David Harbour.
The West End is also known for its incredible shopping. Streets like Oxford Street and Regent Street with a mix of high-street brands, designer boutiques, and stores like Hamley’s with its seven stories of toys. Liberty, the department store built in Tudor style, is another popular place to visit. On the other side of Liberty, you’ll find Carnaby Street, which is known for its independent shops and trendy fashion.
The West End has fantastic restaurants, from affordable eats to some of the city’s best high-end dining. You’ll find a diverse mix of cuisines reflecting London’s multicultural makeup. There’s also a huge choice of bars and pubs where you can grab a pint of traditional British ale or a cocktail. From Carnaby Street in Soho, you can access Kingly Court, a three-storey dining destination hosting 21 restaurants. Actually, the whole block between Carnaby and Kingly Streets is full of restaurants and bars. The same goes for much of Soho with restaurants, bars and live music events.