The magic of London’s West End is truly remarkable. From the historic playhouses to the bright lights and bustling eateries, a theatre adventure makes for a great family day out. But why is the West End so special? Let’s delve deeper.
There’s something for everyone in London’s Theatreland. Whether you enjoy seasonal stories like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or immersive experiences such as George Orwell’s 1984 which takes place across several rooms in Hackney Town Hall, you’re sure to find something you love. From horrors and thrillers to musicals, plays and comedies, you’ll find it all in the West End. Simply search family theatre shows and find something of interest.
London’s theatres are historic masterpieces that can be enjoyed both inside and out. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane, for example, sits on the world’s oldest theatre site with the current building first welcoming theatregoers back in 1812. Joseph Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man, even went to the theatre to watch a pantomime where he unfortunately had to sit, concealed.
The Theatre Royal Haymarket is also an historic site, dating back to 1720. This particular theatre has welcomed all kinds of famous guests including Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II and Oscar Wilde. Rebuilt in 1820, the playhouse and its opulently decorated auditorium is now a protected, Grade 1-listed part of the West End.
The Savoy Theatre is another popular building worth highlighting. Its interior is truly opulent and was the first ever public building in the world to be lit by electricity. The original Victorian auditorium has been replaced with an art deco style and it’s the theatrical, mirrored and metallic design that really draws attention.
Whether you want a sit down meal or a quick snack, you’ll find everything your heart desires in the West End. It’s a truly magical location packed with residents and tourists alike. So if you’ve booked to see a show, be sure to spend time in the area first and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. You can visit one of the many restaurants and bars for a bite to eat or a drink before the curtain rises.
While matinee performances are great for families with children or those who have travelled a long way and need to return home the following day, evening performances allow you to see the lights of the West End. Each venue is beautifully decorated with flashing lights, with the theatrics starting from the outside and continuing right until the show finishes. Visit London at Christmas and you’ll also see the West End in its full festive splendour.