The next area of London that we visit on our Road Trip is part of the West End’s heart: the triangle has three bordering points that are made of Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. Our two hotels, Thistle Piccadilly Circus (see photo below) and The Royal Trafalgar, are located within a short walking distance to all three major points.
The reason for this area’s fame is undoubtedly the many theatres in the area that draw masses of visitors each night. Many visitors claim that when visiting London, it is a “must” to visit one of the many shows in the West End to make it a truly “London experience”. If you ask Londoners to how many musicals they have been in the past year, you might be disappointed to find out that this “London experience” does not stretch as far as to the city’s own citizens. Yet, the numbers prove it to be a well-liked activity: only in 2010, 14,152,230 visitors attended West End productions in London despite the recession, World Cup, strikes, volcanic ash and snow.
The longest-running musical in West End history is Les Misérables. In 2006, it overtook Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, which closed in 2002 after running for 8,949 performances and 21 years, as the longest-running West End musical of all time.
At Leicester Square, which is located in between Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, many vendors are selling musical tickets at discounted prices for future or same-day shows. Queues, however, can be quite long and it is advisable to be there early in the morning before the stalls open at 10am to secure the best deals. Of course, you can always check online previously to your visit. Here are some of the sites that have a great array of offers:
Currently, a vast varitety of musicals is showing in the West End. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Les Miserables – Queen’s Theatre
- The Lion King – Lyceum Theatre
- Love Never Dies – Adelphi Theatre
- The Wizard of Oz – London Palladium
- Mamma Mia! – Prince of Wales Theatre
- Ghost the Musical – Piccadilly Theatre
- Jersey Boys – Prince Edward Theatre
- Shrek the Musical – Theatre Royal Drury Lane
- Thriller Live – Lyric Theatre
- Legally Blonde the Muscial – Savoy Theatre
- Phantom of the Opera – Her Majesty’s Theatre
- We Will Rock You – Dominion Theatre
- Chicago – Cambridge Theatre
- Million Dollar Quartet – Noel Coward Theatre
Many of the online musical ticket sale points offer special deals that include pre-theatre dinner and a show for a good price. If you want to rather have a wider variety of restaurants to make your pick, head to Covent Garden and Leicester Square and you will have a great selection of both stylish, upper end and budget eateries to choose from.
To make the selection easier, here is a comprehensive list of what restaurants Covent Garden has to offer: Restaurants in Covent Garden.