An excellent idea to consider for your bucket list is to plan a perfect weekend in the West End of London. An interesting area where you can mix several activities such as: visit the museums, take a relaxing walk in its parks, taste its varied global cuisines, go shopping, and of course, see at least one family musical in its famous theatres. Here are some recommendations, curated as a guide for your next getaway in the vibrant capital of the United Kingdom.
First of all, what is the West End?
You may not have heard it before, but the term West End is commonly used to refer to the urban area of London that includes parts of Westminster and Camden. it first came into use at the beginning of the 19th century to refer to the trendy areas west of Charing Cross.
A key fact to be aware of is that the West End is famous for its selection of award winning musicals, such as The Lion King, as the area includes most of London’s famous theatres.
Soak up the classic London sights
Although it is not in the heart of the West End, you can start your trip to London by taking beautiful pictures in this photogenic location with the classic British phone box and Big Ben. Unfortunately Big Ben’s tower is currently closed for repairs until 2021, so you won’t regularly hear its chimes until then. Find the ideal angle to immortalise those moments you drempt of so much. You can also include the classic taxi and the red bus passing close by.
Leaving the route slightly, I also recommend a visit to the exterior of Buckingham Palace and to see its Changing of the Guard, as well as walking through the nearby parks such as Green Park and St James Park.
Absorb the culture in Trafalgar Square and surroundings
Trafalgar Square, one of the most important squares in the West End, was created in the year 1830 to commemorate the British victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, a fight that took place against the Spanish and French armies in Cadiz, Spain.
Among its sights that attract attention are the famous Nelson’s Column, a monument in the centre in honor of the fallen admiral at the Battle of Trafalgar, as well as two great fountains with beautiful lighting at night.
A few steps away we have the spectacular museum The National Gallery, a cultural treasure that houses inside one of the largest collections of art in Western Europe, with about two thousand works from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Close by is The National Portrait Gallery, a museum specialising in portraits of some of the most prominent figures in the world, including those of Prince Charles of England and Queen Elizabeth II.
It should be noted that admission is free for both museums, except for special exhibitions.
As a curiosity, if your perfect weekend in the West End coincides with the Christmas holidays, you will witness a tradition in Trafalgar Square that has been running since 1947, whereby the city of Oslo donates the Christmas tree as a token of appreciation for the British support for Norway during World War II.
I also have to say that, at any time of the day, Trafalgar Square is always animated, for this reason, it is a social and cultural symbol of the West End of London.
Soho and its eclectic mix of attractions
For much of the 20th century London’s Soho was famous for its sex shops, its outrageous nightlife and the film industry, but nowadays it is a leisure area for all, including families, with a variety of restaurants, bars and places to shop, located very close to Soho Square.
If you want to see a musical in a theatre in the West End, you could start with lunch or dinner from its wide variety of international cuisine or end the evening with drinks after the show.
It’s Shopping time
One of the great hobbies of Londoners is to spend time going shopping, especially at Christmas, a magical season with its public roads decorated in a beautiful way.
The West End’s streets bustle with a large number of stores including the internationally known Oxford Street and Bond Street. You can find the famous prestigous department stores: Selfridges, John Lewis and Liberty, as well as other boutiques with the most recognised luxury brands in the world.
Experience a Musical in the first person (when it’s possible)
On your trip to London, you cannot miss the famous theatres and their great musicals in the West End, shows aimed at all audiences: children, teenagers and adults alike.
To find the best offer on tickets for the latest shows and West End classics, I suggest that you search on the internet and book online, where you can find many special offers for family shows and London attractions to make your time in the capital an experience you will never forget.
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What do you think of these suggestions for a perfect weekend in the West End of London? What activities do you recommend?