Central London Theatre Information
A map of Central London's Theatres including the Royal Opera House but not Shakespeare's Globe Theatre which is on the South Bank of the Thames just off the map to the right where it says 'Riverside Walk'. Also see London
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London offers a huge variety of theatrical experiences, it's been in British blood since medieval times, Shakespeare being just one of many celebrated playwrights to write history. Names such as Ben Jonson, John Dryden, Gilbert and Sullivan, Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, Ivor Novello, Harold Pinter, Top Stoppard and more recently Andrew Lloyd Webber have been lauded over the last 500 years.
Shows these days range widely from old fashioned to avante-garde, drama and comedy to spectacular musicals and opera, in tiny theatres or grand auditoriums. Best of all, prices are bearable due to the competition and poor £ exchange rate, while the shows are mostly in English, of course.
The action clusters around London's 'West End' as seen in the map above and most are within reasonable walking distance of Charing Cross Rail and Tube station, Waterloo Rail or Tube station, and several smaller tube stations such as Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Covent Garden.
Various online agencies sell tickets but great deals and last minute offers can be found easily here at the south end of Leicester Square, often half price, or on the day, or both. n.b. we have no commercial connection with TKTS!
Today's deals. Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square tubes.
Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus tube.
Piccadilly Circus is obviously not the kind of circus that most tourists would think of, with big tents and scary clowns. Actually it used to be a roundabout and circus is derived from the Latin word circa meaning around or about or in this case both! It's was a roundabout!
Piccadilly Circus is at an important junction of streets and major entertainments but is frequently a noisy, crowded and uncomfortable place to be, so don't expect too much from this simple statue of Eros (the Greek god of sexual love and beauty). And by the way, Piccadilly (without the suffix street or road, is in fact a street or road running west from the Circus!).
Pedestrianised Leicester Square just 200m away to the right is a more relaxing - if busy - area while Shaftesbury Avenue is a well-trafficked road during the daytime but pleasant at night when the theatres scintillate.
By the way, Ripley's 'Believe it or Not' Museum looked bizarre and interesting to us but was very expensive so we gave it a miss. The Trocadero is a multi-entertainment centre including bars, clubs, cinemas, hi-tech laser tag games, video games, diners, cafés and shops.
Shaftesbury Avenue is packed with theatres and conveniently adjacent to Chinatown for exotic eating and Soho for 'exotic' clubs and shops. Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square tubes.
The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the grand old dame of London musical culture. Covent Garden tube.
Covent Garden's Central Market.
This is a fine place for quirky shopping with market stalls and little shops, as well as snacking, drinking, watching street performance. It's set in a large piazza just 200m on the east side of Leicester Square/Trafalgar Square and near to theatres of all description, including the Royal Opera House. Covent Garden tube.
If you like this sort of environment then Camden Lock Market is a northern suburb, easy to reach by tube and offers the Covent Garden experience massively multipled in scale and madness.
Within Easy Walking Distance: National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, British Museum, London Parks, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey.
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