The West End

From matinées to late night cocktails, enjoy the energy and buzz of this central London favourite.

From its commercial plazas (think Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus) to its side streets and back alleys, the West End whirs with unyielding energy. Theatres, shops, pubs, clubs, landmarks, and lounges—no matter how many times you visit, you’ll never see the same neighbourhood twice. Constantly evolving, crowds gather in London’s West End by morning, afternoon, and night to absorb a bit of the vibrant lifestyle in a neighbourhood that never looks back.

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On the Map

The West End is bordered by Holborn, Covent Garden, Marylebone, City of Westminster, LB of Camden, St. James's, LB of Lambeth, Bloomsbury, Clerkenwell, City of London, Fitzrovia, and Mayfair

The London Eye: 12 minutes on the tube
The Tower of London: 20 minutes on the tube
Heathrow Airport: 55 minutes on the tube
Gatwick Airport: 55 minutes by tube and train
Kings Cross: 10 minutes on the tube
National Gallery: 3 minute walk

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

The Heart of London

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The West End is home to London's two most famous squares, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square's statuesque lions stoically watch over the plaza's incessant activity.

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Nelson's Column stands proud at the square's centre.

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The National Gallery borders the north corner of Trafalgar Square. St Martin-in-the-Fields church rests in its northeast corner and hosts classical concerts throughout the year.

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Located between London's major shopping streets and entertainment venues, people often plan to meet up at Piccadilly Circus.

Shopping In the West End

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Locals and tourists descend on Oxford Street, the West End's answer to commercial pursuits.

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Oxford Street claims the top spot as London's busiest shopping corridor. Department stores, luxury boutiques, and flagship enterprises clamour for shoppers' undivided attention.

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Escape the crowds on Carnaby Street, a pedestrian avenue tucked away between Oxford Street and Regent Street. It combines funky boutiques with famous brands.

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Or steal away completely and head to Covent Garden, where (slightly) quieter corridors promise safe havens from the crowds.

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Floral Street features British designers like Paul Smith, Ted Baker, and Nicole Farhi.

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Seven Dials comprises seven streets of independent shops, boutiques, cafes, English pubs, restaurants, and beauty salons.

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Theatricality Reigns In the West End

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The West End is synonymous with the theatre. Catching a show in the area is a favourite London pastime.

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Sing along to a musical at the Prince Edward Theatre in Soho.

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Catch a new play, comedy, or cabaret at the Soho Theatre.

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Or see a contemporary opera at the English National Opera in Covent Garden.

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Don't miss the international hit War Horse at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane.

The Heart of the Arts

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The Royal Academy of Arts hosts exhibitions, discussions, and events to promote the visual arts.

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The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square is one of London's most visited attractions. Its vast collection includes paintings by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet, Constable, Renoir, Titian, and Rembrandt.

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The National Portrait Gallery displays paintings, sculptures, and photographs of historial British figures. Entry is free, so take some time to learn about the faces behind the UK.

The Heart of Drinking and Dining

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The West End boasts numerous dining options to suit all tastes and budgets, including some of the city's best restaurants.

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Soho's Dean Street is a crowd-pleasing culinary favourite.

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Dean Street Townhouse is a popular bar and cocktail restaurant.

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Chinatown is packed with colourful Chinese restaurants. With everything on display in storefront windows, you'll know what you're ordering.

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Eat amongst the bustle of the Piazza at Covent Garden Kitchen.

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Pubs serving traditional fish and chips and bars serving contemporary small plates saturate the West End with endless dining options.

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Pay homage to creative fermentation and pour one out (or drink one down) at one of London's oldest pubs, The Lamb and Flag, in Covent Garden.

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The Hub of Black Cabs

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London's famous black cabs are affectionately referred to as 'hackney carriages' by locals.

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Hail  a cab.

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And travel with proper English éclat.

Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighbourhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Tec Pateja

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After living his first twenty something years in the great land of Michigan, Tec Petaja travelled throughout central Asia, lived in Indiana and Hawaii, and finally found a home in Nashville, Tennessee where he currently resides with his wife.