A little bit of history
It was English author Samuel Johnson who said 'When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. We couldn't agree more, although think it could easily apply to the West End alone.
Need to know
The West End offers something for everyone; exclusive Mayfair, eclectic Soho, village life in Marylebone, leafy squares and academia in Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia, market shopping in Covent Garden and the museums of Holborn.
As you would expect in the nation's capital, there's a plethora of shops to discover. Oxford Street is home to several 'flagship' stores. At 1.5 miles long it is Europe's longest and busiest shopping street. Soho has a number of great record shops including Sister-Ray and Soul Jazz Records. For clothes and jewellery, the famous Carnaby Street and Newburgh Quarter have a number of independent stores and boutiques.
There are plenty of supermarkets in the area, but for fresh organic produce head to Piccadilly Whole Foods. Covent Garden Market (Thurs-Sun) is a great place to pick up lunch, while the rest of the Covent Garden Piazza (open all week) is ideal for gifts and niche items. Berwick Street market has a variety of goods available, from fish to handbags, depending on where you look.
Thankfully, traditional butchers can also still be found among the big name supermarkets, and Mckanna Meats in Theobalds Road offers high quality meats and friendly advice. Smithfields Market, in nearby Clerkenwell, also boasts a number of impressive butchers.
There are plenty of off-licenses in the area but for something special, head to Gerry's, Royal Mile Whiskies or for wine connoisseurs, Planet of the Grapes, where you can also organise private tastings for you and your friends.
Come Christmas time, Oxford Circus comes alive with lights and decorations; the display at Selfridges and the Liberty Christmas shop are not to be missed.
LONDON IS OFTEN DESCRIBED AS THE 'WORLD'S MELTING POT AND THIS CERTAINLY SHOWS IN THE QUALITY AND VARIETY OF CUISINES AVAILABLE IN THE WEST END.
The West End is at the very centre of London and well served by the Euston Road (A40) heading West, Edgeware Road (A5) heading North, The Embankment (A3211) linking to the A11 and A13 heading East and the A301 Waterloo Bridge which links to the A3 for the South and South West.
You can catch the River bus from Embankment Pier to Chelsea, Putney and beyond to the West or Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Woolwich to the East.
A tube station is never more than 5 minutes away. The area is served by every single Underground line. Crossrail is due to make its debut in 2018 at Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, bringing a much improved East-West service.
City Airport, Gatwick and Heathrow are all easily accessible either by road or rail.
Take your pick. Euston, Kings Cross, Marylebone, Paddington, St Pancras Eurostar, Farringdon, Waterloo, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria, Liverpool Street and Canon Street are all on your doorstep.