Situated in the heart of the city, the dazzling lights of London‘s West End attracts thousands of visitors year after year, and the destination is popular with locals and tourists alike. Offering everything from theatre and shopping to clubbing and fine dining, it’s easy to see why the West End is known as one of the most iconic entertainment districts in the world.
Absorb the thrill of Theatreland
Possibly the most famous attraction in London’s West End is its dazzling theatre scene. With 40 theatres in the area, the West End is known as one of the best places in the world for showing theatre, alongside the bright lights of Broadway in New York. Showing everything from musicals and comedies to plays and operas, the West End offers all-round entertainment for tourists and locals alike. Some of the most well-known musicals include Les Miserables, Mamma Mia and The Sound of Music, whilst The Woman in Black and War Horse remain popular plays with theatregoers. Visitors are encouraged to head to ticket booths in Leicester Square to purchase tickets on the day for a wide range of shows that are offered at discounted, last-minute prices.
For a unique dining experience, head north from Leicester Square into Chinatown — the lively focal point for the East Asian community in London. Located just off Shaftesbury Avenue, with over 80 restaurants to choose from, there are 17 cuisines on offer from across the Far East, including Chinese, Japanese and Thai. Chinatown’s London Restaurant Festival takes place every year and showcases six of the best restaurants. Once visitors have purchased their ‘Passport’ for the tour, they can attend and sample a drink plus a small plate on the menu at each site. Taking place over three weekends in October, visitors can walk at their leisure between each restaurant for the ultimate culinary experience. Tickets start from £58pp.
Enjoy boutique shopping
The West End is an absolute haven for shoppers on the lookout for the opportunity to spend, spend, spend! In particular, Regent Street is a hugely popular destination for visitors and offers a wealth of boutique stores plus independent outlets for the discerning shopper. Regent Street’s beautiful Georgian buildings are home to over 75 international flagship stores including Apple, Hamleys and Liberty of London. Regent Street’s Food Quarter also offers a wide range of dining experiences, from the upmarket Gaucho and Bentley’s to Gordon Ramsay’s famous Heddon Street Kitchen. Stores are open from 10am daily (closing around 9pm), and many of the restaurants and bars are open until late.
Visit ICEBAR LONDON
Another popular attraction is ICEBAR LONDON, the only bar in the UK where everything, including the glasses, tables and the walls, are made purely of Northern Swedish ice! Visitors are given silver thermal capes to keep them warm in the sub-zero temperatures and are able to enjoy cocktails and other aperitifs. Make the most of the icy experience with the combined Icebar & Dine, a unique package which includes the entry price, a cocktail and a two or three-course meal from the delicious à la carte menu. Prices start from £35pp, and visitors are encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment!
ICEBAR LONDON, 31-33 Heddon Street, London, UK, +44 20 7478 8910
Attend the New Years Day Parade
Returning for the 30th anniversary of this traditional event, the New Years Day Parade takes place at midday on 1st January every year and is always highly popular, attracting enormous audiences. It was reported that over 500,000 spectators attended the 2015 parade and organisers are hoping to surpass that milestone with the upcoming 2016 event. The parade showcases a colourful array of more than 10,000 dancers, musicians and acrobats giving fantastic performances and putting on a wonderful show for the London public. The 2016 theme, 30 Magical Years, promises to be utterly spellbinding and organisers are hoping it will bedazzle their largest crowds yet as they descend upon Piccadilly.