West End London
West End refers to an area in Central London known primarily for its theater scene, making it one of the city’s biggest tourist hotspots. Just as New York City has Broadway, London has West End. One of the foremost English-speaking theatrical scenes, watching a West End show is one of the quintessential London experiences. If you’re heading to London, then check out our collection of West End shows. Be it last-minute tickets, or online bookings in advance, Headout has you covered.
West End Theatres
Between Broadway and West End, the latter obviously has a longer history, with the first theatre opening in London in 1663. West End consists of a total of 40 theatres. Most West End theatres have three seating sections - Stalls, Royal/Dress Circle, and Grand/Upper Circle. Smaller theatres usually have just two sections, while some of the biggest theatres in West End have an extra section called the Balcony.
While the Stalls are closest to the stage and provide you with the best view of the stage, the Dress Circle has some of the best seats in the house. However, if you’ve got a limited budget, try getting seats in the Upper Circle, as you will get decent views at reasonable prices.
Click here to learn more about West End theatres.
Types of West End Shows
West End Musicals: One of the most-loved forms of live entertainment, musicals are some of the most sought-after shows in the West End. Some of the most popular musicals currently on West End include Hamilton, Matilda, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Lion King.
West End Plays: Experience the best works of the most famous playwrights - from William Shakespeare to Harold Pinter - right in the heart of London. Some of the most popular plays currently on West End include The Mousetrap, The Woman in Black, and The Play that Goes Wrong.
Facts About the West End
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is the oldest West End theatre which is still in use having opened in 1660.
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the longest-running show on West End, having opened in 1952.
The longest running musical in the West End is Les Misérables, which opened in 1985.
The record for the most Laurence Olivier Awards won by a show is held by Matilda (2012) and Hamilton (2018), with seven Olivier Awards each.
The Savoy Theatre was the first public building in the world to be lit by electricity.
With just 432 seats, Fortune Theatre is one of the smallest theatres on West End. The entire theatre can fit on the stage of the Dominion Theatre.
Since the Great Fire of London in 1666, Shakespeare’s Globe is the only building in London that’s allowed to have a thatched roof.