The bright lights of the West End attract people from all over the world, whether they're enjoying a night out with friends, sampling the many fantastic restaurants, doing a spot of late-night shopping or catching a show. But did you know that it's also a popular place to live?
Of course, before we begin, it's worth noting that living in the West End is not cheap. In fact, it's neighbourhoods have some of the highest rental prices in the capital, and you can expect to pay £2,500 per month for a one-bedroom home.
If you have a high rental budget, however, a life in the West End means that you're right in the heart of the action. And in this London guide, we're bringing you everything there is to know about West End living.
On a map
The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of central London where you will find many of the city's primary tourist attractions. Some of the Neighbourhoods within the West End include Marylebone, Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden and Charing Cross.
History of the West End
Traditionally known for the best nightlife in the city and a thriving theatre scene, the West End wasn't wasn't always the entertainment capital of London. After the Great Fire of London, there was mostly nothing there, with the City of London acting as the hub of the capital.
That was until the royals got wind (quite literally) of the West End: it held appeal because the wind blew downwards, keeping much of the London smoke away. It was also the home to the Palace of Westminster, which helped create its allure of lavishness.
Between the 17th and 19th centuries, an increasing number of places were built to accommodate its growing popularity with royalty. Over the years, the West End has retained its appeal, going on to become one the centre of entertainment in London.
Who lives there?
The West End isn't your typical residential area and has a much smaller population than other London neighbourhoods. The median age also tends to be much higher, at around 47, with around 75% of people renting their homes.
Renting in the West End
While there are a smattering of new developments in the West End, the overwhelming majority of homes are period buildings converted into flats and mansion blocks.
Areas like Marylebone and Mayfair feature many converted Georgian townhouses, while the roads around the back of Oxford Street are well known for their charming red-brick mansion blocks. New developments include Park House apartments in Mayfair, Centre Point on Tottenham Court Road and Lincoln Square in Covent Garden.
Expect to pay an average of £2,500 per month for a one-bedroom home in the West End, £3,500 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, and from £4,200 per month for a three-bedroom property.
West End travel
The are many travel options in the West End thanks to its central location. If you live over on the Marylebone and Mayfair side, you can make use of Marble Arch and Bond Street tube stations. While Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road offer services if you're in Soho.
Over in Covent Garden, you can make use of Covent Garden tube station, as well as an underground stop at Leicester Square and Charing Cross. A train station also services the later. The West End is in Zone 1.
West End eateries
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to West End restaurants, and we could go on forever about all the amazing eateries to grab a bite. Fortunately, we've created a separate, in-depth guide that details our favourite dining spots. Below is just three of our favourites.
Often a place where you'll find a celebrity during the early hours of the morning, Balans Soho has brunches, lunches and dinners to suit all occasions. There's a sophisticated and stylish international menu and a great selection of cocktails to wash it all down with.
The French House
Over in Soho, The French House has you covered with top-notch dishes from France. Set in a Grade II listed building, there's a no tech rule, which means embracing the food and drink and indulging in a restaurant that feels like you've just stepped out of a time machine.
This swanky spot is filled with art and stylish decor, which you can enjoy while tucking into Japanese delights such as sushi, sashimi, tiradito, tempura and robata. If you're in the mood for five-star seafood, head to Sexy Fish.
Things to do in the West End
Oxford Street and Bond Street
Two of London's most famous shopping streets are right on your doorstep, with Oxford Street offering chain favourites while Bond Street provides the high-end boutiques. You can shop for any type of fashion, from H&M to Fendi.
Covent Garden Piazza
During the summer, the Covent Garden Piazza is one of the most vibrant places in the whole of London. Stop by and watch street performers or grab some food and drink in the many restaurants and bars that stay open until the early hours of the morning.
The West End
You can't create a West End guide without mentioning the theatre scene. If you enjoy a show or two, then there's an array of theatres to watch the latest musicals, from the London Palladium to the Dominion Theatre and Queen's Theatre to the Lyric.
Moving to the West End
Living in the West End means being just moments away from the action, whether it's shopping, entertainment or open spaces (did someone say Hyde Park?). It truly has everything you need in one place, and it's easy to see why the West End is one of the most sought-after areas in London.