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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

London’s Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square – 22nd February 2015

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2015 is the Year of the Sheep and London Chinese New Year celebrations are centred on Trafalgar Square.
The event starts at 10am with a parade from Duncannon Street to Shaftesbury Avenue. There’ll be floats, Chinese lion and dragon teams and more.

There’ll also be free performances from noon with music, dance, acrobatics and martial arts. Trafalgar Square’s programme will kick off with the Chen Brothers Flying Lion Dance, plus a host of visiting artists from China.

There will be fun activities across a wide area, including Charing Cross Road, Leicester Square and Chinatown, making the event one of the capital’s biggest annual outdoor celebrations.

Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival or the “Lunar New Year”.
The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese.

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity.” Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

Chinese New Year is organised by London Chinatown Chinese Association and supported by the Mayor of London and Westminster City Council.

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

London Speciality Shop – Forbidden Planet

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Forbidden Planet is two separate science fiction, fantasy and horror bookshop chains which have shops across the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States of America.

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As well as books the shops sell comic books, graphic novels, manga, DVDs, video games, and a wide variety of toys, clothing and  collectible merchandise.
The Forbidden Planet London shop  is the flagship of the national chain that includes shops in Bristol and Southampton, as well as an online presence. The shop specialises in Film  and Television merchandise, they also sell models and toys  and have in store  signings and events.

Forbidden Planet  In 2003, moved the flagship New Oxford Street store to the much larger “Megastore” premises at 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, it became one of the  first high-street retail outlets specialising in science fiction, fantasy and cult merchandise.

Recently Forbidden Planet have been a great supporter of British Adult comic scene and regularly have events with the leading writers and authors.

Opening Hours:
Mon and Tues 10:00 – 19:00
Wednesday 10:00 – 19:30
Thursday 10:00 – 20:00
Fri and Sat 10:00 – 19:30
Sunday 12:00 – 18:00

If you would like to find out more about Forbidden Planet, visit the website here