West End
Top ways to experience West End
The area
Neighborhood: Mayfair
Set beside some of London's best parks and home to world-class galleries, luxurious hotels, and famed thoroughfares, the ultra upscale Mayfair is one of London's most exclusive haunts. Here the shopping is haute, the dining is exquisite, and the nightlife is vibrant. A casual stroll through the area’s chic streets will reveal that Michelin stars and chauffeured cars are practically the norm here. Even if you're on a tight budget, this exceptionally well connected swath of Central London is worth exploring, if only for the chance to take a peak at the goings on of upper crust English society.
How to get there
  • Leicester Square • 2 min walk
  • Covent Garden • 3 min walk

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Jeffry b
Essendon, Australia13,443 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
The West End is the fashionable area of London. It's kind of upper crust, with exclusive shopping, entertainment and dining. Piccadilly and Mayfair have some of the world's most expensive real estate. Tottenham Court Road is said to be the entry to the West End, it's easy to get to this area. If you're staying in London for a while, it's a must-see destination.
Written March 23, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ChrisPanks
London, UK77 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2012 • Friends
Oxford Street, Soho, Chinatown, Leicester Square and the West End. Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park Corner, Buckingham Palace. Westminster, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column and The National Gallery. Theatre Land and Covent Garden.
If you were to walk this route, briskly, in one shot, it would take about an hour and a half. It’s a bit under 5mls or 8km. I call it an easy day’s stroll because you will be stopping and looking and exploring and eating and drinking. Do allow an easy day. I have suggested a couple of eateries along the way but there are just so many. This part of London is jam-packed with every kind of refreshment known to mankind.
I won’t describe every street and building on this walk. The route takes you through some of the most characteristic districts in central London. Each district has its own distinctive flavour. The route is flat apart from a bit of gentle uphill up Whitehall.
There is another side to the city, literally, ‘The City’, which is central and east, from Covent Garden, St Pauls, to The Tower and Tower Bridge – but that’s another trip, for another day. Oh, and of course there’s always south of the river . . .
Any time you want to stop the walk, step into a tube station or hail one of our wonderful black cabs (although they come in a huge variety of colour schemes, these days).
We will start by getting a tube to Tottenham Court Road.
Tottenham Court Rd Tube. Exit onto Oxford Street.
You will surface next to a high-rise building. This is Centre Point which shot to fame, or rather infamy, in the 1970s as a hugely expensive project that caused much unrest among militant, human rights campaigners. The building was occupied by homeless people as a protest.
Head west on Oxford Street with Centre Point behind you and left.
Oxford Street. Soho.
Oxford Street is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. You will notice that the shops progress from rather shabby, here, to more up-market, as you walk west. This continues, and the most exclusive and expensive shops are at the far western end. But we will be turning off before then. The area we will walk through, was the world epicentre of the Swinging Sixties revolution. Go go baby.
Turn left, south into Berwick St.
Continue straight, south.
You are walking towards the heart of the West End through the streets that are the warren that is Soho. Crammed with coffee shops, boutiques, a few strip-joints and many, many small restaurants, the Bohemian, art and fashion atmosphere lingers pungently from the Swinging Sixties. You can still feel the more distant past, echoing down these narrow streets from Victorian times and earlier. It is easy to sense the raucous, noisy, smelly – and of course, tasty - London that was then, and still is called ‘Town’ or ‘The Smoke’. It’s still here, hanging on the walls, looking down at you from old-glass windows and impressed in the layers of pavement. We pass through shabby, chic, and shabby-chic before crossing Peter St and entering Walker’s Court. The riot of sounds and smells is good cause to walk slowly. Look around. Go into places. Go on, this is a real family place and you will get a great welcome in every shop and cafe. As a traveller, you are among fellows and friends.
Berwick St leads into Rupert St. Just as you pass into Rupert St, turn left into Tisbury Court. It will lead to Old Compton St. Down the end, on the right, pop in to The Three Greyhounds pub. They do the most fantastic fish’n’chips and real London ales. London’s chalk and clay basin provides some of the finest brewing water.
Walk south down Greek Street alongside The Three Greyhounds to Shaftsbury Ave.
At Shaftsbury Ave, turn right, west.
As a youngster I used to skip school and spend my days trying out guitars in the music shops that then, used to line both sides of Shaftesbury Ave and that end of Charing Cross Rd. For my sins, I spent a while working in the old Rose Morris music shop when it was on Shaftesbury Ave.
Turn left into Wardour St. Back in the twenties through the sixties, the area between Wardour St and Denmark St were the centre of music publishing . . . called ‘Tin Pan Alley’. Many of the greatest songs and musicals were hawked around the area by composers and their agents, trudging from publisher to publisher, looking for as deal.
Turn left into Gerrard St
Chinatown.
Walk through Chinatown, Gerrard St.
Gerrard St is the main street in Chinatown and you may wish to explore some of the side streets where you will find hidden shops selling oriental treasures. It is possible to get immersed and find yourself in basement shops and backrooms where the staff do not speak English. It is easy to imagine the opium dens frequented by Sherlock Holmes, who’s flat, in Baker St is a fifteen minute walk away to the north.
At the eastern end of Gerrard St, curve right and south.
Continue straight, south through Leicester Court, through Leicester St.
Leicester Square.
Emerge into Leicester Square. The Odeon Cinema, famous for world premieres, is in front of you to the left, on the east side of the square. This famous stretch of pavement has been trodden by almost every star of the big screen. Take a look to your left. On the corner of Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road is a lovely Italian coffee bar. Sit outside with a beautiful pizza, beer, sweet and coffee.
Head west, with the square on your left, toward Piccadilly Circus.
Piccadilly Circus.
Before modern traffic management, Piccadilly Circus was famous for two things: Traffic jams and the statue of Eros. It is still pretty busy and we still use the phrase “It’s like Piccadilly Circus in here” when things get busy. The statue of Eros is permanently draped with tourists, having their photograph taken. Piccadilly Circus is a hub. You can take Shaftsbury Ave, back into Theatre Land, or Regent Street, home to some of the most exclusive shops on the planet, Haymarket, and Piccadilly, which eventually takes you to Bath and was one of the major trading routes between London and the west country.
We’re off to Hyde Park Corner now and you have a choice of taking the tube, from Piccadilly Circus, two stops to Hyde Park Corner or walking along Piccadilly to Hyde Park Corner. It’s about 1km or half a mile.
If walking along Piccadilly, look out for Fortnum & Mason on the left. One of the most exclusive food shops in the world: one notable customer being HM The Queen. The rest of the walk along Piccadilly isn’t rivetingly interesting, so, you may decide to jump on the tube at Green Park, to Hyde Park Corner.
Hyde Park Corner.
If you got the tube: with Hyde Park Corner tube station behind you and the triple arch entrance to Kensington Gardens to your left, ahead, across the road you will see The Wellington Arch topped with the unmistakable Angel of Peace driving her four-horse chariot. The arch celebrates Wellington’s victory over Napoleon. Cross the road, enter the park and head for the arch.
If you walked: You will see Wellington Arch, with the Angel of Peace driving her four-horse chariot, to your left.
Walk south-east through the Wellington Arch. Cross the road straight ahead into Duke of Wellington Place leading to Constitution Hill. You will pass through the four large pillars of The Memorial Gate.
Straight ahead to the Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace.
With your back to Buckingham Palace, opposite the palace gates, walk ahead, east into The Mall. The Mall is world famous and has appeared on every TV screen on the planet. It is the official processional route to and from the palace. Even flights of honour – the Royal Air Force – fly along The Mall, albeit at altitude.
On your right is St James’s Park. Enter the park anywhere – how about half-way along The Mall? Why not?
The lake has a bridge, halfway along. Cross the bridge.
At the road, Birdcage Walk, turn left, south- east.
Walk straight on to Westminster.
Westminster, Big Ben.
Westminster Palace, the Houses of Parliament and St Stephen’s Tower, otherwise known as Big Ben. Big Ben is actually the great bell inside the clock tower. Like so much in London, the sound of Big Ben is familiar to the whole planet and is synonymous with regularity, order and reliability.
There is a good view of the Thames from Westminster Bridge, the newest addition being The London Eye. The splendid building to the right of The Eye is County Hall.
With the river behind you and Big Ben on your left, walk west keeping Big Ben on the left.
At the road junction, turn right, north into Parliament St which becomes Whitehall. You are walking through the heart of the country’s government, defence and administration district, which is reflected in the architecture which is grand but without frivolity. Halfway up, on the left, you pass Downing St, where number 10 is the seat of the Prime Minister.
Continue north and emerge into Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, National Gallery.
Look left, through Admiralty Arch into The Mall. This is the other end of The Mall from Buckingham Palace and you would have arrived here if you had continued to walk along The Mall, earlier. If you walk through Admiralty Arch, to The Mall, a short way along on your right, is the ICA. The Institute of Contemporary Arts. A great place for a coffee and a bun or a veggie lunch.
Trafalgar Square was once crowded with pigeons. When I was a kid in the sixties and a teenager in the seventies, Trafalgar Square was famed as much for its huge flocks of pigeons as it was for Nelson’s column. If you keep an eagle eye, you may spot the reason for the lack of pigeons today. Falconers are employed to patrol the square with birds of prey, to keep the pigeons at bay.
Another noticeable thing, to me, a kid who remembers London from forty years ago, is the cleanliness, especially the buildings. Here in the square, back along Whitehall and all over London, the buildings were once black; stained with soot from traffic and industry. I remember black London and still enjoy the freshness of the ‘new’ clean London. The clean-up took place during the eighties and nineties and is on-going and it is common to see buildings covered while they are being sand-blasted.
Walk past Nelson’s Column. Walk to the right side of the National Gallery.
Theatre Land.
Turn right at the Devotion, Humanity monument, into St Martin’s Place.
Immediate left into St Martin’s Lane. To your left is the heart of Theatre Land, which as you now know, stretches west, north of Leicester Square to Soho.
Turn Right into New Row.
Emerge into Covent Garden.
Covent Garden.
Famous for its opera house, it was once a central market for fruit, vegetable and flowers, merchant and distribution, nationwide. With the changes in retail habits over the last thirty years, the market became redundant as perishables were transported, chilled, from the four corners of the world, direct to the huge out of town depots that sprung up during the seventies and eighties.
Now refurbished back to its original glory of the seventeenth century when many of the buildings were owned by wealthy and fashionable nobility, the area is a centre for arts, entertainment and dining.
Although there is much more to see and experience in this world leading city – The City, South London and what remains of the East End - next time you visit, why not take this tour again? Vary it slightly, because there is still much to see, taste, smell and hear. It could take a lifetime. A lifetime of getting to know ‘The Smoke’ that is . . . London.
Written October 19, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MrandMrsTravel11
London, UK117 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Start off at Leicester Square and wander down Shaftesbury Avenue to see the heart of theatre land. Don't pay full price for your theatre tickets - head to the tkts theatre booth in Leicester Square (the official one, right in the centre - not one of the fakes!). If you're heading to London in Jan/Feb then go to the GILT (get into london theatre website). As tourism drops in these months they reduce the best tickets to all the shows to encourage Londoners to head to the theatre - so take advantage!

Head to chinatown (on the edge of the West End!) for a great meal before or after the show.
Written December 29, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Resort22018
20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My friend and I really enjoyed our trips to the West End on our trip to London in late March and early April! The excitement in the air prior to the evening performances, the ornate old theatres and the nice squares combine to make a visit to the West End a memorable one! And the theatre is among the best in the world! London is so lovely in the early spring - the flowers are in bloom, the temperatures are mild and the theatres, restaurants and pubs aren't crowded.
Written April 17, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

katiegirl167
Melbourne, Australia144 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2012 • Couples
I was really looking forward to seeing the West end however I was so disappointed! Nothing exciting, just grimy street with theaters dotted around. Its not what you think it's going to be...
Written January 30, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gary H
Emalahleni, South Africa68 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018
Just the allure and ambiance of the West End is enough! We were there a while ago and watched Love Never Dies and Les Miserables...and it was absolutely brilliant! A bit pricey, but worth it to check off of your bucket list!
Written July 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelinSag
Santa Cruz, CA428 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Solo
The West End Theatre District is my favorite part of London. The theatres are a delight. The only slight issue is that plays stay so long now ... Phantom and Les Mis 25+ years each ... even Matilda has been there 4+ years ... that it is becoming a bit difficult to find something new and exciting to see. Andrew Lloyd Webber needs to write a new musical! A few years ago I saw Singing in the Rain... it was excellent and was gone 6 months later. I am going to see what was a limited run of Company next week.
Written November 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ghanim A
Kuwait City, Kuwait212,046 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Friends
West End Wooooow
best and nicest area in London
fully decorated for seasons greetings - Christmas. and New year
amazing and more
enjoyable place
recommended
Written November 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brad
Hong Kong, China173,728 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Couples
London's West End is premiere location to watch a theatre performance in the English speaking world. Here you can find theatre houses on most street corners, with daytime and evening shows held every night of the year, particularly in the area around and between Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus. This is just a great location to catch a show.

Almost 15 million attend performances in the West End of London each year and there is always something new you can watch due to the sheer number of theatre houses. Long-standing regulars like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Mousetrap or Lion King are always available as well.

You can purchase tickets by visiting the theatre house box offices directly, booking online or by stopping by the TKTS discounted ticketing office at Leicester Square. This last option is a nice way to save a bit of money if you are unsure about what performance to see. For prized shows it expectedly remains important to make advance reservations.

To complement the theatre-going experience, the West End is full of dining options, bars and cafes. There is also good shopping available in this area of the city but that is for another time.
Written July 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mintcake58
Liverpool, UK1,538 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The best shopping in London, the top restaurants, the most famous theatres and night clubs and many of the key tourist attractions are in London's West End.

Shoppers can wear out their shoe leather as they trek past the stores on Oxford Street and Regent Street. Some of the retail highlights include Selfridges, the largest department store in the UK, the technology outlets on Tottenham Court Road and the high fashion outlets in Bond Street.

I have rarely found any true bargains here, but this part of the metropolis is a Mecca for visitors from all parts if the world and a great place to see and be seen.

Equally, the restaurants here are not cheap and include some of the most celebrated haunts of the rich and famous.

Theatreland, around Soho, is England's Broadway. Tickets are expensive, but there are kiosks dotted about where you can get last minute seats at huge discounts.

Written December 18, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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West End - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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