London’s West End is one of the main draws for tourists and locals alike to the shining lights of London. The central west strand of theatres attracts budding performers and tourists alike, due to the sheer talent melded with the entertainment factor on the stage. If you’re visiting the city and staying at hotels such as the Park Grand Lancaster Gate, you already have an advantage in that you’re extremely central already. Below are some handy tips and information that can get you even further ahead in the West End rat race.
What even is the West End?
Historically, the West End was part of the city of Westminster, a distinct area to central London which in the medieval period was merged with the rest of the London. From the initially neighbouring cities, came two distinct districts as the city merged. London was known for its financial, legal and medical focus, whilst Westminster became known for entertainment and shopping due to the amount of wealthy people who moved there to live upwind from the London smog. It was through this affluence that the West End theatre and entertainment sector developed, absorbing Soho and Piccadilly into its area.
Nowadays, there is an abundance of theatres and related performance venues to explore in this unique area, including great eateries including Chinese restaurants and Indian afternoon teas in London.
Cheap tickets at the West End
Buying tickets at asking price in London can be very expensive indeed, with many single tickets for West End musicals reaching over 100 pounds. This has led to an increased presence of second-hand ticket sellers, as well as booths in central London focusing on discounted ticket prices. On top of this, if you visit at opening time in the morning, the theatre playing the show you want to see will sell a limited number of tickets for the show that afternoon or evening. These tickets are also sold for anywhere between 10 and 20 pounds, a fraction of the prices you find booking online.
Theatre to ogle at
There are countless shows to see in the West End, but the this is just a part of the experience. From the music hall inspired Victorian era theatres to the modern fringe theatres, there are plenty of great buildings to ogle whilst visiting the West End. These include the oldest theatre in London, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, whose previous incarnations date back to the 1600’s. On top of this, Victorian and Regency era theatres such as the Gielgud promise a lavish interior with a grand stage and comfy seating. For more modern theatres, check out the Soho Theatre based on Dean Street. Packed with a buzzing bar and a range of different performance venues, the Soho brings modernity to the often-traditional proceedings of the West End.
Shows to see
With classic work mixed with the contemporary, the theatre in the West End which you can see is extensive. Family friendly musicals to see include Mathilda the Musical, Wicked and the Lion King at the Lyceum. Theatre on the West End includes the Play That Goes Wrong and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.