Walk the West End | Find your way around London’s Theatre District on foot
All the world’s a stage…
…especially the large flat bits in front of all the rows of seats that occupy the 40+ theaters dotted around the West End. Those parts are particularly stage-like. It’s probably why they call it Theatreland. But it has oh-so-much more going on that just riveting drama (a full list of which we have HERE). And we’ve plotted out the perfect route for you to take if you want to take it on by foot.
Get yourself to Piccadilly Circus for the start of the tour and enjoy the show:
Piccadilly Circus Station | Where better to start a tour of the theatre district than at a circus. This is ground zero for tourists, but there’s much more going on than simply the bright lights and the famous statue, including some great shopping, bars, and restaurants.
Exiting the station, Criterion Theatre will be facing you and along Coventry Street you’ll find The Comedy Store and Prince of Wales Theatre.
Current productions: The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, The Book of Mormon.
Nearby food & drink: Brasserie Zédel, Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel, Hawksmoor Air Street, Monmouth Kitchen.
Shaftesbury Avenue | A walk along Shaftesbury Avenue will make you realise it probably should have been called Theatre Avenue because you’ll find the Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud, Queen’s, and Palace Theatre’s all within 300 metres of each other.
Current productions: Thriller – Live, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Les Misérables, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Nearby food & drink: Archer Street Cocktail Bar, Bocca di Lupo, Spuntino, The Pink Chihuahua.
Charing Cross Road | Once renowned for its specialist and second-hand bookshops, Charing Cross Road is now surrounded by theatres and places to wine and dine. But the bookshops really shouldn’t be overlooked, even if just to browse. There are some ultra-rare gems in there.
From Cambridge Circus, a walk along West Street will take you past the Ambassadors and St Martin’s Theatre’s. A short walk down Charing Cross Road will bring you to the Garrick and Phoenix Theatre’s, with the Arts, Wyndham’s, Noel Coward, Duke of York’s and London Coliseum Theatre’s all located on the many small streets leading from Charing Cross Road.
Current productions: Stomp, The Mousetrap, This House, Dirty Dancing, A Christmas Carol with Simon Callow, No Man’s Land, Half a Sixpence, The Dresser, Nutcracker by the English National Ballet.
Nearby food & drink: Mr Fogg’s Tavern, Tandoor Chop House, Les Deux Salons, L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon, The Ivy.
Strand | A brief walk to Nelson’s Column will bring you onto Strand, or take a shortcut along William IV Street if you do not appreciate one-armed men balancing on fifty-metre poles. On the Strand you’ll discover the Adelphi, Vaudeville, Savoy and Lyceum Theatre’s, before reaching Aldwych.
Current productions: Kinky Boots, Dead Funny, Dreamgirls, The Lion King.
Nearby food & drink: Rules, Da Polpo, STK London.
Aldwych | One-way roads often lack direction, Aldwych does not. This semi-circular road leads you to the Novello Theatre and (surprisingly) the Aldwych Theatre, both of which opened in 1905. A boom year for London theatre it would seem.
Current productions: Mamma Mia! and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Nearby food & drink: The Delaunay, Cucina Asellina, Radio Rooftop Bar.
Catherine Street | Leading from Aldwych is Catherine Street, that will take you to the Duchess, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Fortune Theatre’s. From the end of Catherine Street, a swift left then a right will bring you to Bow Street, which is home of the little known Royal Opera House, and just 230 metres from Covent Garden Station – and the end of the tour.
Current productions: The Play That Goes Wrong, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Woman in Black, Il Trovatore.
Nearby food & drink: Café Murano, Café Pacifico, Hawksmoor Seven Dials.