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A Short Guide to the West End

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The West End of London (commonly known as the West End) is a distinct area of Central London which contains many of the city’s major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues especially West End theatres.

London developed over the centuries with two distinct areas, the City of London in the east, and the City of Westminster in the west. The City of London has developed as the main business and financial district, in contrast Westminster became associated with government, universities and embassies.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Westminster also became known for leisure, shopping, commerce, and entertainment sectors and it is these sectors that are generally associated with the modern ‘West End’.

In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the West End was full of expensive town houses, fashionable shops and entertainment venues. It was during this time that the term West End was used to suggest the wealthy part of London in contrast to the East End that was considered the poorer part of London.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This distinction was not absolute, but during the 20th century, the poorer communities who lived in areas in the West End like Covent Garden, Soho, Chinatown and Leicester Square have gradually made way for more wealthy residents.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Whilst the type of residents have changed, the distinctive nature of the various neighbourhoods has survived, Soho maintains it bohemian character, Covent Garden is home to the Royal Opera House and full of bars and restaurants, Leicester Square is home to cinemas, bars, restaurants and attractions. Chinatown has the highest concentration of authentic Asian cuisine in the UK.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

For many, the West End is distinctive because of the large number of theatres, it is estimated that there are around 40 major theatres in London’s “Theatreland”. Prominent theatre streets include Drury Lane, Shaftesbury Avenue, and The Strand. Going to the theatre is very popular with visitors to London and a number of squares in the area are favourites with visitors but rarely visited by Londoners. Most popular are Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The West End is one of London’s most important cultural areas with top attractions including museums and galleries like The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Academy of Arts and the London Transport Museum.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The area include some of London’s finest shopping streets with Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, there are some smaller shopping streets like Carnaby Street and Seven Dials.

A visit to the West End in the day and the evening is considered a must do for visitors to London, the vibrant atmosphere and multiple attractions provide plenty of fun and entertainment.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Hotel Review : The Montcalm Marble Arch London

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The Montcalm Marble Arch London  is the flagship hotel of The Montcalm Luxury Hotels, a group of hotels which are renowned for their luxury, five-star service and style.

Situated in a prime location near to the shopping of Oxford Street and the relative calm of Hyde Park. The Montcalm London Marble Arch occupies an attractive, Grade II listed crescent building which dates back to 1759 and is named after a French Brigadier General, the Marquis of Montcalm.

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Visitors entering the historic Georgian crescent and the hotel are transported back to an era of refinement and style. Today, the hotel has 153 beautifully appointed rooms including 14 luxurious suites all equipped with the latest in room technology, comfort and convenience. From complimentary Wi-Fi and broadband, to flat screen TV’s, Villeroy & Boch vanity units, Gessi rain showers and Nespresso machines.

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Entering into the lavish foyer, guests are welcomed by attentive staff at the reception who explain the many benefits of the five-star hotel. The Montcalm London Marble Arch’s contemporary designed bedrooms have a number of special state of the art features including complimentary broadband and Wi-Fi, LCD TV with international and satellite channels, an iPad, pillow menu and in room aroma.

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This kind of attention to detail is carried on throughout the hotel with The Champagne Bar which is a popular and stylish small hotel bar where guests can enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine, spirits, cognacs, single malts and blended whiskies.

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Dining options include The Crescent Restaurant & Lounge which is a spacious room with high ceilings and an impressive marble floor. The restaurant serves a buffet breakfast every morning and later in the day is transformed in a location for a quintessential English afternoon tea.

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Guests to the hotel also has easy access to Sixtyone which is an award-winning neighbourhood restaurant which serves modern British cuisine with French touches inspired by Chef Patron, Arnaud Stevens. The simple modern interior with light oak tables, attractive bronze lighting and high quality food offers a wonderful classic restaurant experience whether it be for business or pleasure.

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If the stress and strain of sightseeing gets a little bit too much, guests can make use of the Spa at The Montcalm which offers facial, body treatments and massages by experienced therapists. There is also a fitness centre, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, exercise pool, monsoon shower and heated loungers.

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Grand Ballroom at The Montcalm is one of London’s most glamorous events spaces, yet behind the glamour lies state of the art technology. It is one of the few venues in London to have a high-speed Internet of one gigabit per second, making it ideal for webcasting. Guests to the Grand Ballroom can enter from the street entrance or through the hotels own private connection.

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The Montcalm London Marble Arch is one of the new breed of luxury hotels that are renowned for their five-star service, lavish modern design , often in an attractive, historic building. This particular hotel strives to ‘exceed guests’ expectations by providing memorable experiences’ , a quick look at the main customer review sites would indicate that the vast majority of guests would agree that the hotel does regularly exceed expectations and provide memorable experiences.

The Montcalm London Marble Arch manages to combine respect for tradition with the latest state of the art technology which allows the modern guest to enjoy the best of both worlds. The hotel is ideally located for a number of London attractions and the nearest underground station is only a five minutes walk away. Considering its location and closeness to a number of busy visitor areas, the hotel is remarkably quiet , tucked away in an attractive Georgian crescent.

Whether you are on business or visiting London for leisure, the  refined, high-class Montcalm London Marble Arch offers a number of services that cater for the modern traveller who expects and enjoys a luxurious lifestyle.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or bookings, visit the Montcalm website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Christmas in London’s Oxford Street 2014

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The West End of Oxford Street tends to be the location of many of the flagships stores of the main London department stores.

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Selfridges, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Mark’s and Spencer’s amongst others go to town with Christmas decorations to attract shoppers to their stores.

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However it is worth remembering in the weekends leading up to Christmas, Oxford Street gets incredibly busy and if you can shop at other off peak times you will probably get a better shopping experience.

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Many of the stores hold special Christmas Events and special promotional offers.

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CHRISTMAS OPENING TIMES

Monday – Friday

9.am – 9pm

Saturday

9:30am – 10pm

Sunday

11:30am-6pm

Christmas Eve

9am – 6pm

Christmas Day

Closed

Boxing Day

9am – 10pm

New Years Eve

9.30am – 6.30pm

New Years Day

11am – 7pm
*Some stores may vary

Typical bank holiday opening hours:
12pm-6pm

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Oxford Street Christmas Lights Switch On – November 6th 2014

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X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini will have the honour of switching  on the Christmas lights in Oxford Street on 6th November .

She will be joined by Rixton and Jess Glynne on stage in front of the John Lewis store.

Now in its 55th year, the Oxford Street illuminations tend to be the largest and most spectacular in the capital, this year there will be around 1700 baubles  and 750,000 LED energy-efficient bulbs.

The switch-on event starts 5pm with music from boy band Rixton, singer-songwriter Jess Glynne and a performance by the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , Cheryl Fernandez-Versini takes to the stage at John Lewis Oxford Street on 6 November for the Christmas lights switch-on at 6.15pm.

 

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

John Lewis celebrates 150 years of Retail Business at Oxford Street Store

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Photo John Lewis

John Lewis has announced plans to mark its 150th anniversary with a series of commemorative events which will celebrate a business that has grown from a humble draper’s shop opened in 1864, to the £4 billion international, award-winning business it is today.
The centrepiece of the celebrations will be an interactive exhibition in the retailer’s flagship shop on Oxford Street
From the cobbled streets of Victorian London, visitors will open a door into the retailer’s past via the draper’s shop where it all began on 2nd May 1864. Following a dimly lit corridor past the original book that includes the first day’s takings, guests will find themselves in John Spedan Lewis’ office, the setting for the birth of the John Lewis Partnership. Visitors will get an insight into the man Spedan was and his revolutionary idea that all workers should be co-owners and share in the success of his company.
After a installation which tells the story of how a WWII bomb threatened the future of the company, the exhibition proceeds to explain how the “craft of shopkeeping” and a passion for customer service has guided the business ever since. The work of many celebrated designers and brands is recognised, as well as the retailer’s own textile mill, Herbert Parkinson, where a bespoke weave will fill the exhibition floor and run over the ceiling. Visitors will exit the exhibition with a glimpse into how we will shop, live and look in the future, through a unique collaboration with the Royal College of Art.
In a first for the retailer, the Oxford Street flagship will also open its roof to London. Working with Tony Woods, Royal Horticultural Society National Young Designer of the Year, and the Partnership’s own gardeners from the Longstock estate, one of the capital’s largest urban rooftops will be transformed into a tranquil space that boasts some of the best views in town.
Across the country John Lewis shops will be joining the celebrations, which start on 3rd May, with a whole host of regional activities and, working in partnership with Barnardos, each shop will be supporting local charity initiatives.

London Department Stores – Debenhams

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Debenhams

Location – 334-348 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1JG

The origins of Debenhams is a drapers store opened by William Clark in 1778, in 1813 William Debenham became a partner in the firm that was renamed Clark and Debenham.

In 1851 Clement Freebody became a partner so the name changed to Debenham and Freebody, it was not until 1905 that the business became a limited company known as Debenhams Limited.

In the 19th and 20th century the company made many acquisitions including the Knightsbridge retailer Harvey Nichols in 1920.

By 1950,Debenhams was the largest department store group in the UK, owning 84 companies and 110 stores. In 2014 it trades out of 240 stores in 28 countries.

In 2013 Debenhams undertook a £40 million refurbishment of the flagship store in Oxford Street, which included the installation of 180,000 aluminium tiles on the exterior of the building.

Best known for its fashionwear, accessories and homeware. The Oxford Street store has a large cosmetic products floor and three restaurants/cafes.

General Opening Hours

Monday     09:30 to 20:00

Tuesday    09:30 to 20:00

Wednesday  09:30 to 21:00

Thursday   09:30 to 21:00

Friday     09:30 to 21:00

Saturday   09:30 to 21:00

Sunday     12:00 to 18:00

London Department Stores – John Lewis

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John Lewis

Location –  300 Oxford Street London W1A 1EX

John Lewis is a premier department store in Oxford Street, it was on this site that John Lewis in 1864 opened a small drapers shop. The success of the original store led to Lewis buying another store Peter Jones in Sloane Square in 1905.

The continuing success led to John Lewis’s son Spedan carrying out further expansion by extending the Oxford Street store and acquiring other stores around England under the name of the John Lewis Partnership which was founded in 1920.

The Oxford Street store was badly damaged by a bomb in 1940, but trading continued until the building could be rebuilt.

The partnership has built a reputation for quality goods and service, it also has a good reputation regarding staff offering profit sharing and until  1994, John Lewis stores closed on Mondays to allow staff a full two day “weekend”.

The original Oxford Street shop is still flagship branch of the company. A complete refurbishment of the building was completed in late 2007 at a cost of £60 million.

The John Lewis department store has a wide range of goods in many departments, including electrical goods, tableware and a fabrics and haberdashery section. They also do Men’s and Women’s Fashion, fashion accessories, cosmetics and much more.

General Opening hours:

Mon:  9.30am – 8pm

(Bank holidays 10am – 6pm)

Tues:  9.30am – 8pm

Wed:   9.30am – 8pm

Thurs: 9.30am -9pm

Fri:   9.30am – 8pm

Sat:   9.30am – 8pm

Sun:  12noon – 6pm

London Department Stores – House of Fraser

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House of Fraser

Location – 318 Oxford Street London

House of Fraser is a London department store in Oxford Street, the company was established in 1849 in Glaggow when it was called Arthur and Fraser.

In 1891 it changed its name to Fraser and Sons. After the Second World War the firm changed its name to House of Fraser and expanded taking over seventy companies including well known brands, Army and Navy Stores, Jenners, Rackhams amongst others.

In 2001 they took over Evans Oxford Street store and made it the companies flagship store, it has another 60 stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland,

The store is known for its Womenswear, Menswear, Childrenswear, Home and Beauty.

General Opening Hours

Monday        09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Tuesday        09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Wednesday  09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Thursday     09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Friday          09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Saturday      09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Sunday         11:30 AM- 06:30 PM

Services at this store

General • Fashion alteration services • Free WiFi • Gift Cards • Parent & baby room •  Tax Free Shopping • Wedding List

Food & Drink • Tea Terrace

Women • Lingerie fitting service

Beauty • Bodycare treatments • Brow bar • Eyelashes • Manicure • Nails Inc • Pedicure • Skincare treatments

London Department Stores – Fortnum and Mason

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Fortnum and Mason

Location -181 Piccadilly,  London,  W1A 1ER

Fortnum & Mason is one of the premier department stores in London. Its headquarters is located at 181 Piccadilly, where it was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason.

From its earliest days it has been associated with Royalty and the Aristocracy being associated with high quality goods. Starting as a grocery store it developed in the Victorian era into a department store stocking a large variety of exotic foods as well standard fare. Some of the stores claim to fame is inventing the Scotch Egg in 1738, Queen Victoria sending shipments of Fortnum and Mason’s beef tea to Florence Nightingale’s hospitals in the Crimean War and being the first store in London to stock Heinz baked beans which they bought directly from Mr Heinz in the 1886.

More recently Queen Elizabeth II gave the store a royal seal of approval by opening the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

The stores layout is such that it is probably the nearest you will get to a 19th century shopping experience with items in attractive tins and ceramic containers. The food hall is very popular with a high standard of quality food. Its tearooms and restaurants are also very popular. Although there is a large amount of expensive items, there is a wide range of items for all prices and the store is a popular place to pick up unusual gifts. Especially popular are the famous picnic hampers which were originally created for the Victorian “Society” events, but are now available to everyone ranging in price from around £30 pounds to £25,000

The interior of the store is interesting, but the window displays are usually very entertaining and if you look at the front of the store there is the famous Fortnum’s clock where on the hour Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason make an appearance.

Quick guide

FOURTH FLOOR The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon The Drawing Room The Tea Tasting Room

THIRD FLOOR Books Games Gentlemen’s Accessories Gentlemen’s Grooming Gentlemen’s Nightwear Gifts Leather Goods Luggage Pens Stationery Gentleman’s Cloakroom Gift Advice, Card Wrapping

SECOND FLOOR Babywear & Gifts Bath & Beauty Bathroom Accessories Bed & Linen Fashion Accessories Handbags Jewellery Lingerie & Nightwear Perfume & Cosmetics Beauty Rooms Baby Changing Disabled Cloakroom

FIRST FLOOR Al Fresco Eating Candles Cooks Library Cookshop China, Glass & Silver Hampers Disabled Cloakroom Ladies Powder Room The Parlour Restaurant Demonstration Kitchen Fortnum’s Services Hamper Ordering Account Enquiries Events Corporate Orders Deliveries General Enquiries Personal Shopping VAT Reclaim

GROUND FLOOR Bakery Biscuits & Cakes Chocolate & Confectionery Coffee Patisserie Preserves & Honey Tea The Gallery Restaurant The Fountain Restaurant

LOWER GROUND FLOOR Cheese Charcuterie Delicatessen Flowers Fruit & Vegetables Meat & Fish Savoury Groceries The Fortnum’s Take Away Traiteur Wines & Spirits 1707 Wine Bar

Opening Times

Monday to Saturday 10am – 8pm

Sunday 12noon – 6pm