One of the boulevards that’s to be found almost dead-centre in the UK capital is Regent Street. A beautiful, mock-Georgian-fronted street, it’s aesthetically gorgeous and filled with many an eye-catching, upmarket store, restaurant and coffee shop. Yet, for those visiting the nearby San Domenico House hotel, its surrounding area is just as appealing. And here’s precisely why…
Shop ’til you drop
First up: retail therapy. In addition to the awesome Regent Street, of course, the West End’s boasts some of the world’s simply finest shopping thoroughfares. You must check-out Oxford Street, Bond Street, Carnaby Street and St. Christopher’s Place for big-brand flagship stores, including the likes of Topshop, Ralph Lauren, Selfridges and the Regent Street-located Hamleys, Burberry, Aquascutum and The Apple Store. Plus, pop into the exotic neighbourhood of Soho and you’ll come across the famously unique mock-Tudor department store that’s Liberty of London. And then a little further to the east there’s the unmissable tourist-trap that’s Covent Garden, which is a sheer delight to explore for all the family.
Be wowed by a West End show
For many the most essential thing about the West End is its almost unrivalled theatre scene. If we’re being pernickety then this incredible ‘Theatreland’ is only truly rivalled in terms of breadth and quality by the Broadway theatres of New York City; together then, they represent theatre at its absolute highest quality anywhere in the world. Indeed, the West End’s home to as many as 40 individual theatres, with shows dominated by big-budget, glossy musicals (e.g. Wicked, Mamma Mia, Les Misèrables and Phantom of the Opera); yet there’s also space, for sure, for the likes of cutting-edge dramas, classical stage plays and both witty and farcical comedies. For discount theatre tickets, be sure to visit the half-price TKTS booth in Leicester Square – it’s essential for both ‘that day’ performances and advance bookings.
Sample the cinemas and casinos
The glamorous entertainment of the West End also extends to the ‘big screen’, for the area’s biggest and best cinema’s (usually in Leicester Square) are regularly the site for European and world premieres of major motion pictures – almost every week, in fact. Plus, you’ll also find in this historic square (which today sort of fulfils the role of ‘entertainment central’ in the centre of the capital) the sumptuous and hugely popular 24-hour-open Hippodrome Casino, a venue that hosts live shows and is home to a restaurant and five bars, as well as a favoured haven for spoil-yourself-rotten, glamorous gambling.
Out on the tiles of a night-time
Don’t doubt it; there’s truly never a dull moment when it comes to the West End’s restaurant, bar and nightclub scene. Indeed, there are so many of these establishments that were you to stand anywhere in the district and throw a stone, you’ll doubtless hit one of them. So, why not dance your socks off into the wee hours at Café de Paris or Tiger Tiger? Or try out an über-trendy bar like Dirty Martini (in Covent Garden Piazza) or just enjoy a romantic glass of champagne or two in the swanky environs of bars such as Artesian at The Langham, and Leicester Square Kitchen in the Radisson Blu Edwardian (ideal If you’re enjoying a short-break getaway for two at one of the boutique hotels Kensington London)? Why not, indeed!