If you visit London, UK then there is no doubt that at some point in time you will be drawn to the West End and Covent Garden areas. The area is rich with history and has a solid foundation in the tourist scene of the city. The West End draws much attention due to its intense concentration of restaurants, theatres, embassies, nightclubs and shops.
The term West End, a term that has stuck since the early 19th century, refers to the more upscale neighbourhoods that are west of Charing Cross and the more medieval parts of the city. Comprised of ten districts that include Soho, Westminster and Covent Gardens, the area is ritzy to say the very least. In fact, the locale is so desirable that it is the 2nd most expensive place in which to rent office space.
Tucked away in the West End is the area of Covent Garden. Originally, this was nothing more than open land and then it was settled until in 1200 a wall was erected in order to use the area to grow food and orchards. Walking around the streets today it would be hard to imagine it any different, but in the 1800’s the area was a not-so-secret home to brothels, which is when it gained a title for being a Red light district. At present, it is far from that description from days past and is home to some world-renowned London landmarks and the West End is touted as one of the most luxurious areas in London. It is also a mecca for the art as it is home to many theatres and structures that house performances of plays, operas and ballets.
The Royal Opera House
One highly regarded building that calls the West End home is the Royal Opera House, which has been situated there since 1732. In its early days, the structure was a playhouse but then in 1734 the first ballet was presented there. One year later in 1735, it became the home for Handel’s famous Operas, written specifically for presentation within the magnificent structure’s walls.
World Famous Ballerinas are at no shortage in the West End!
A few short steps away from the Opera House is the Royal Ballet School. These school students often go on to dance in some of the world’s most prestigious performances. Although it is rare for a school to turn out one dancer that is deserving of the title Prima Ballerina Assoluta, a title only given to the most accomplished prima ballerinas. The Royal Ballet School can boast four out of the very small number of ballerinas who have had the honour of the title.
West End London and Covent Garden is definitely worth the journey. While you are there be sure to take a moment and see one of the musicals that is presented at the theatres there. It is highly recommended that you find out more about the musical War Horse. Based on a novel, it is a heart-warming and emotional show that anyone can connect with and appreciate. The show has been the recipient of many awards and many guests have viewed it on more than one occasion.
Regardless of your age, interests, or gender, there will be something in the West End that excites you. While you are at the hotel, check and see what tours they have available, or talk to the concierge about what is recommended. You may even want to strike up a conversation with the waiting staff at restaurants. Those who call London home may offer you insider information on the places that are not to be missed on your trip–or better yet, your adventure.
Jo Tumble is a travel consultant with a penchant for London. She enjoys sharing her experiences through writing on travel and lifestyle blogs.