West End of London

Friday, 11 January 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon appétit, London, Shopping
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Piccadilly Circus © flickr.com - Jimmy Baikovicius/cc-by-sa-2.0

Piccadilly Circus © flickr.com – Jimmy Baikovicius/cc-by-sa-2.0

The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End), is an area of Central London, west of the City of London and north of the River Thames, in which many of the city’s major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated. Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross. The West End covers part of the boroughs of Westminster and Camden.

While the City of London, or the Square Mile, is the main business and financial district in London, the West End is the main commercial and entertainment centre of the city. It is the largest central business district in the United Kingdom, comparable to Midtown Manhattan in New York City, Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, Shibuya in Tokyo, or the 8th arrondissement in Paris. It is one of the most expensive locations in the world in which to rent office space, just behind Silicon Valley‘s Sand Hill Road.

Medieval London comprised two adjacent cities – the City of London (cathedral: St. Paul’s) to the east, and the City of Westminster (cathedral: Westminster Abbey) to the west. Over time they came to form the centre of modern London, although each kept its own distinct character and its separate legal identity (for example, the City of London has its own police force and is a distinct county). The City of London became a centre for the banking, financial, legal and professional sectors, while Westminster became associated with the leisure, shopping, commerce, and entertainment sectors, the government, and home to universities and embassies. The modern West End is closely associated with this area of central London. Lying to the west of the historic Roman and medieval City of London, the West End was long favoured by the rich elite as a place of residence because it was usually upwind of the smoke drifting from the crowded City. It was close to the royal seat of power at the Palace of Westminster (now home to Parliament), and is largely contained within the City of Westminster (one of the 32 London boroughs). Developed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, it was built as a series of palaces, expensive town houses, fashionable shops and places of entertainment. The areas closest to the City around Holborn, Seven Dials, and Covent Garden contained poorer communities that were cleared and redeveloped in the 19th century.

Chinatown © flickr.com - Aurelien Guichard/cc-by-sa-2.0 Whitehall © Tbmurray/cc-by-3.0 Victoria Embankment © geograph.org.uk - Peter Trimming/cc-by-sa-2.0 St Giles Circus © CBulgarna Soho Square © flickr.com - Herry Lawford/cc-by-2.0 Shakespeare's Globe Theatre © Schlaier Royal Opera House and ballerina © Russ London/cc-by-sa-3.0 Royal Court Theatre © Anthony Neilson's 'The Wonderful World of Dissocia' © KF Regent Street © flickr.com - aurélien/cc-by-sa-2.0 Leicester Square © Romazur/cc-by-sa-3.0 Prince Edward Theatre © Adrian Pingstone Oxford Circus © Freepenguin/cc-by-sa-3.0 Piccadilly Circus © flickr.com - Jimmy Baikovicius/cc-by-sa-2.0 Old Bond Street - The Royal Arcade © Michel wal/cc-by-sa-3.0 National Theatre © flickr.com - Aurelien Guichard/cc-by-sa-2.0 National Gallery, Trafalgar Square and fountain © Kkp2qlos Marble Arch © Adrian Pingstone Lyceum Theatre © flickr.com - Andy Roberts/cc-by-2.0 Hotel Russell on Russell Square © Diliff/cc-by-3.0 Her Majesty's Theatre in Haymarket, home to Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom of the Opera' © Adrian Pingstone Covent Garden Market building © Henry Kellner/cc-by-sa-3.0 Big Ben and Houses of Parliament on Parliament Square © flickr.com - ChiralJon/cc-by-2.0 Haymarket Theatre © Kbthompson/cc-by-sa-3.0 Grosvenor Square © flickr.com - Peter Wetherell/cc-by-2.0
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Her Majesty's Theatre in Haymarket, home to Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom of the Opera' © Adrian Pingstone
As the West End is a term used colloquially by Londoners and is not an official geographical or municipal definition, its exact constituent parts are up for debate. Westminster City Council‘s 2005 report Vision for the West End included the following areas in its definition: Covent Garden, Soho, Chinatown, Leicester Square, the shopping streets of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, the area encompassing Trafalgar Square, the Strand and Aldwych, and the district known as Theatreland. The Edgware Road to the north-west and the Victoria Embankment to the south-east were also covered by the document but were treated as “adjacent areas” to the West End. According to Ed Glinert’s West End Chronicles (2006) the districts falling within the West End are Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia and Marylebone. By this definition, the West End borders Temple, Holborn and Bloomsbury to the east, Regent’s Park to the north, Paddington, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge to the west, and Victoria and Westminster to the south. Other definitions include Bloomsbury within the West End. One of the local government wards within the City of Westminster is called “West End“. This covers a similar area that defined by Glinert: Mayfair, Soho, and parts of Fitzrovia and Marylebone.

Taking a fairly broad definition of the West End, the area contains the main concentrations of most of London’s metropolitan activities apart from financial and many types of legal services, which are concentrated primarily in the City of London. There are major concentrations of the following buildings and activities in the West End:

  • Art galleries and museums
  • Company headquarters outside the financial services sector (although London’s many hedge funds are based mainly in the West End)
  • Educational institutions
  • Embassies
  • Government buildings (mainly around Whitehall)
  • Hotels
  • Institutes, learned societies and think tanks
  • Legal institutions
  • Media establishments
  • Places of entertainment: theatres; cinemas; nightclubs; bars and restaurants
  • Shops
  • The annual New Year’s Day Parade takes place on the streets of the West End
  • The New West End Company (NWEC) is a business improvement district and runs services including street cleaning and security on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street. NWEC also runs the Red Caps service.

Read more on VisitLondon.com – London’s West End, VisitLondon.com – Things to do in the West End and Wikipedia West End of London (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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