London’s West End is known all over the world for hosting the very best theatre shows, and is widely regarded as second only to New York’s Broadway on this scene. But the West End isn’t just about theatre.
This part of London is in fact home to some unique shopping opportunities, historic art and fine food, meaning it’s definitely worth heading over to this side of town if you’re staying at one of our Montcalm hotels.
Here are seven reasons to explore London’s West End:
Oxford Street is arguably the most famous high street in the UK, and is home to the flagship stores of several brands, including Topshop and John Lewis. The street is particularly atmospheric in the run-up to Christmas, when the festive shop window lights illuminating the iconic London red buses help to create the perfect urban picture-postcard scene.
Covent Garden is another great shopping spot in the capital, with the historic market building home to an array of high-end independent shops, selling a whole range of luxury wares. The Moomin Shop is a particular highlight, while the myriad of eateries surrounding the market square are the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat. For those with a sweet tooth, venture around the corner to the famous Primrose Bakery to sample one of their classic cupcakes.
Leicester Square is well known for being the host location of many international film premieres, so you might be lucky enough to catch sight of a red carpet event taking place in the square during your visit to the capital. Leicester Square is also one of the best places to purchase any last-minute tickets you might require for matinee or evening performances at the multitude of theatres in the West End. If you’re not too fussy about what show you want to see, but just want to be guaranteed a great night of entertainment, Leicester Square’s ticket booths are the place to go.
4. Piccadilly Circus
Traffic slowly moving around the Eros statue flanked by the famous advertising billboards is another iconic London sight. If you need a break from shopping in nearby Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus is the perfect place to grab a coffee and sit and watch the world go by.
London’s West End is home to several renowned museums, with the National Portrait Gallery just being one of them. Currently, there are exhibitions running on both painting and photography as mediums for portraits, encompassing themes ranging from conscientious objectors in the First World War to Victorian prime minister William Gladstone and the lives of black people in Britain prior to 1950.
6. Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street provides a hugely different shopping experience to Oxford Street or Covent Garden. Made world-famous in the swinging ’60s, Carnaby Street is home to more than 150 independent boutiques stocking a wide range of quirky fashion and home-ware, making this the place to come if you’re after a unique keepsake or souvenir to mark your time in London.
Although we’ve proved that London’s West End isn’t just about theatre, we couldn’t write a list about the area without at least touching on the fantastic array of entertainment it has to offer. The hottest ticket of the season is undoubtedly Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a sequel to the seven Harry Potter stories created by JK Rowling, but if you haven’t been lucky enough to get tickets for this magical marvel, you might want to check out one of the other most popular West End shows instead. The Lion King is a firm favourite with families, while The Book of Mormon is great if you’re after a laugh, Wicked and Les Miserables are perfect for musical connoisseurs and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a thrilling experience for theatre-goers of all ages.