Things to do in the West End

Famous for shopping, shows and iconic sights, London's West End has a spirit all of its own.
Outside of theatre with billboard and view of street in the West End.
Explore all that London's West End has to offer. Credit: visitlondon.com/Jon Reid. Image courtesy of Jon Reid.

No visit to London would be complete without taking in the buzzing atmosphere of the West End. One of London's most vibrant areas for shoppingshows, culture and food and drink, this lively central London area also houses many historic and hip hotels for a memorable stay in London.

Find the best things to do in the West End below and top tips on how to get there and where to stay. 

Where is the West End?

When people refer to London's West End, they are talking about:

West End shopping hotspots

Regent Street in London's West End on a sunny day with red London buses driving past.
Regent Street is lined with shops and boutiques. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Iconic London shopping streets filled with flagship stores, courtyards crammed with pretty boutiques, department stores with a difference… shopping in the West End is unlike anywhere else. 

 

West End shows

The Aldwych Theatre building lit up in red and purple light at night in London's West End.
Enjoy the fantastic theatre scene in London's West End. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Among the most famous things to do in London's West End is to enjoy its theatre scene. Bag tickets to see West End musicals, classic plays and comedies on the London stage.

  • Take your pick from the 40-or-so theatres in London's "Theatreland"which show top London musicals and plays most nights of the week.
  • Enjoy ever-present musicals such as Les Miserables and The Book of Mormonand London’s longest-running playThe Mousetrap.
  • On a budget or just seat savvy? Visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square for discount theatre tickets for on-the-day performances and advance booking shows.
  • The London Coliseum and Royal Opera House offer some of the best ballet and opera around – book ahead for tickets from as little as £10.
  • Add a note in your calendar for the annual West End Live festival in Trafalgar Square, which puts on free West End performances from the casts of top musicals in London.

Find more London theatre.

Must-visit attractions in the West End

Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, also known as Eros, on Piccadilly Circus in London's West End.
Visit the iconic Piccadilly Circus in London's West End. Credit: visitlondon.com/Jon Reid. Image courtesy of Jon Reid.

The West End is home to some of London’s top attractions, including much-loved museums, gorgeous galleries and fun things to do for all ages.

Glitzy West End cinemas

People walking past the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square at night in London's West End.
See the latest box-office hits at the Odeon Leicester Square. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you want to see a film in London, the chances are it’s on at one of several cinemas in the West End.

  • Go to London’s home of film” in and around Leicester Square, where some of London’s best cinemas roll out the red carpet for Hollywood stars during film premieres.
  • See the latest box-office hits at the Odeon Leicester Square.
  • Grab some popcorn for cult films, all-nighters and dedicated seasons at independent Prince Charles Cinema.
  • Or discover new films, old classics and world cinema at Regent Street Cinema.
  • Put your feet up after some serious shopping at Selfridges’ very own cinema.

West End restaurants for your bucket list

Darkly lit interior with dark wooden tables and chairs at Hakkasan Hanway Place.
Hakkasan Hanway Place. Image courtesy of Hakkasan Group.

With enough Michelin stars to be the envy whole countries and cheap eats galore, the West End is one of London’s go-to dining destinations for any occasion.

Best for special occasions 

Best for laid-back treats

Read more about restaurants in London.

West End nightlife

A music venue filled with people while a pianist is playing live music under pink, purple and blue spotlights.
Live music at The Piano Works Farrington. Image courtesy of The Piano Works.

Theres never a dull moment in London’s West End bar and nightlife scene, with things to do throughout the evening and into the early hours.

Special events in the West End

London West End buildings lit up with Christmas decorations, with a Christmas tree in the foreground.
See the West End sparkle with festive decorations at Christmas. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The West End hosts a number of fantastic events and festivals.

 

Hotels and hostels in London's West End

 The Waldorf Hilton Hotel London entrance.
Sample the Edwardian grandeur of The Waldorf Hilton Hotel London. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Some of London's finest hotels can be found in the West End. Take your pick from the following, or browse our hotels section for more options:

Luxury

Quirky

Stylish

Family

Budget

Read more about accommodation in London.

Travel to and around the West End

Piccadilly Circus London Underground sign with red buses and taxis driving past in the background.
Get the Tube to travel to London's West End. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

London’s West End is a large area. You’ll need to travel around by bus, Tube or taxi. Or, if you’re feeling fit, on two wheels under the London Cycle Hire Scheme.

There are many underground stations around the West End. The major hotspots for exiting include:

More about the West End

Learn more about London's West End at newwestend.com.

Or find out more about neighbourhoods in and around the West End, including historic Carnaby, eclectic Chinatown, charming Covent Garden, elegant Mayfair, quirky Seven Dials, lively Soho and stylish St James's.

Nearby areas to explore include City of LondonWestminster and the South Bank.