Welcome to our guide to London's West End, a useful guide that provides you with a glimpse into the bright lights and sounds of London's vibrant west end. Home to a star-studded array of hit musicals, award-winning plays and popular film adaptations, London's theatreland is sure to entertain, excite and inspire just about any visitor!
Choosing a Show: London’s West End offers an eclectic range of theatre shows suitable for all ages ranging from family musicals and dramas to operas and plays. With so much on offer, simply picking a show can sometimes prove difficult! Take a look at our theatre map on the right and discover the best show for you and your family.
Family Theatre Shows: Over the past few years, a number of family shows have set up stage in Theatreland and have been wowing audiences ever since. 2011 in particular has seen the introduction of family theatre classics being converted into popular West End hits. From new additions such as Shrek the Musical, the Wizard of Oz and Matilda the Musical, to the much loved favourite, the Lion King – there’s something to captivate and excite even the youngest of minds. Before you go, it is worth taking note of child age restrictions to avoid any disappointment on the night and ensure the entire family get the most out of their theatre experience.
West End Musicals So you know you want to see a musical, but can’t decide which one to choose... London’s West End offers a wealth of choice from movie adaptations such as Mamma Mia!, Ghost, Dirty Dancing and Shrek the Musical , to all time classics including the Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. There’s even something for avid music fans - We Will Rock You (Queen), Jersey Boys (the Four Seasons) and Thriller (Michael Jackson) are an absolute must see.
<ul><li>Theatre Etiquette </li></ul><ul><li>Follow our simple guide to theatre etiquette and ensure your night out at the theatre is one to remember: </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, a simple dress to impress approach is best for enjoying a night of sing-a-longs, tears and laughter. It’s probably best to the leave the top hat & tails and ball gowns at home. </li></ul><ul><li>Most evening performances start around 7:30pm, so ensure you allow plenty of time to get to the theatre. That way you can find your seat and get comfy before the performance starts. </li></ul><ul><li>West End shows are a very busy place to be, so pre-ordering drinks for the interval is a great idea. </li></ul><ul><li>Flash photography and filming during shows is a huge no-no and can result in being asked to leave. </li></ul><ul><li>Once the show is over you might be lucky enough to find one of the stars of the show signing autographs at the stage door. But remember this isn’t a given, so if you see them walking down the street it’s probably because they are off home! </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
Top Pre-Theatre Family Restaurants 1. Fire & Stone, 31/32 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7JS This warm and welcoming pizzeria sits close to all the major West End venues. The food is uncomplicated and tasty, the service is friendly and attentive and the restaurant is suitable for the whole family, with an excellent children’s menu available for the kids. 2. Maxwell's Bar & Grill, 8 James Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BH Maxwell’s is a lively and vibrant restaurant that takes pride of place right in the heart of Covent Garden. There is an excellent kid’s menu available at Maxwell’s and regular promotional deals on family and children’s meals. 3. Smollensky's on the Strand, 105 The Strand, WC2R 0AA Although stylish and trendy, Smollensky’s on the Strand is an incredibly child friendly restaurant. As well as having a kids menu all week, on the weekends the restaurant offers live children’s entertainment.
Top Pre-Theatre Restaurants for Couples 1. Cafe Des Amis, 11-14 Hanover Place, London, WC2E 9JF Sitting close to the Theatre Royal, the Royal Opera House and the Palace Theatre, Cafe Des Amis offers a great location in the heart of Covent Garden. The elegant decor and relaxed atmosphere creates the perfect surroundings for an romantic, pre-theatre meal. 2. Bocca di Lupo, 12 Archer Street, London, W1D 7BB Located in Soho, just a short distance from all the West End theatres and offering a uniquely authentic Italian experience. With rustic dishes, full bodied wines, fine art, fresh coffee and friendly service this is an Italian restaurant that is still close to its traditional roots. Perfect for a romantic evening for two. 3. Chez Gerard The Opera Terrace, The Piazza, London, WC2E 8RF Boasting the best steak frites this side of Paris, Chez Gerard is the place to be for truly tantalising classic French cuisine. From the Escargots to the extensive wine list to the Crème Brulee everything is pure French gourmet indulgence. This stylish theatre restaurant sits close to all the venues of the West End.
Top 3 Pre-Theatre Restaurants Special Occasions 1. The Ivy, 1-5 West Street, City of London, WC2H 9NQ Set in the heart of Theatreland and opening for dinner at 5.30pm, The Ivy is ideal for a pre-theatre show meal. Stylish, sophisticated and a favourite with the A-List the Ivy offers a truly special evening. 2. Asia de Cuba, 45 Martin's Lane, London EC2N 4HX Sit to an incredibly inventive mix of Asian and Latino flavours this atmospheric restaurant has created an original menu like no other. Be amazed by the food and decor of Asia de Cuba before being blown away by a fabulous West End show. 3. Arbutus, 63-64 Frith Street, London, W1D 3JW Situated in Soho, treat yourself to an unforgettable gourmet experience at this fabulous, Michelin restaurant. Seasonal dishes, colourful cocktails, a vibrant atmosphere and stylish surroundings make Arbutus ideal for special occasions.
Top 10 Posh Theatre Bars There’s plenty of theatre bars to relax and unwind in both before and after a show, with many offering a great atmosphere, refreshing wines and delicious nibbles. <ul><li>Light Bar - St Martin’s Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4HX </li></ul><ul><li>7. CellarDoor - Aldwych, City of London, Greater London WC2E 7DN </li></ul><ul><li>The Lobby Bar - 1 Aldwych, City of London WC2B 4RH </li></ul><ul><li>Amuse Bouche - 21-22 Poland St, London W1F 8QH </li></ul><ul><li>22 Below - 22 Great Marlborough Street, Soho, London, W1F 7HU </li></ul><ul><li>Detroit - 35 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9LD </li></ul><ul><li>2. Le Salon Bar - 13-15 West Street, London, WC2H 9NE </li></ul><ul><li>3. The London Cocktail Club - 6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JA </li></ul><ul><li>4. Be at One - 23 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7DA </li></ul><ul><li>5. Circus - 27-29 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9BA </li></ul>
Hotels in & around the West End Choosing the right hotel for you is essential whether travelling as a couple, family or part of a larger group. There’s plenty of hotels in the West End to choose from, with many located within walking distance or a quick tube ride of many of the theatres. Many offer budget family rooms, as well as more boutique, up-market suites catering for most budgets and tastes. If you’re on a tight budget there’s a host of hotels outside of theatreland, but be sure to check local transport times for the return journey. On a Budget... 3* Days Hotel Waterloo, Waterloo 3* Imperial Hotel London, Russell Square 3* Bloomsbury Park, Bloomsbury 3* St Giles Hotel, Oxford Street 3* Travelodge London Covent Garden, Drury Lane A Little More Luxurious... 5* Chancery Court Hotel, Holborn 4* Holiday Inn Oxford Circus 4* Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel, Tottenham Court Road 4* The Cavendish London, Mayfair 4* Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel, Bloomsbury
Have a browse on Superbreak’s website to book London Theatre Breaks , as well as get inspiration and information from our useful London Theatre Guide packed with top tips to know before you go!