Shaftesbury Avenue is located in the heart of London and definitely one of the best areas for entertainment and sightseeing. It can be intimidating to try and sift through the huge range of recommendations nearby but if you want theatre, spectacle and history then look no further. If you aren’t local, it’s going to difficult to swing these. Sure, you can find a hotel easily enough but hotels and the immediate vicinity are tourist traps. Consider looking for a Shaftesbury Avenue apartment to rent for a more authentic and centralised experience.
Soho is less than a sixty-second walk from Shaftesbury Avenue. The sleazy epicentre of London’s theatre district has held its own for the most part from the locust that is gentrification and maintained its own sense of character that is uniquely Soho. Tourism and immigration made Soho although there are hints to it’s darker side. There are wonderful old shops and restaurants still run by the immigrant families who founded them. Theatres, pubs and bars play host to a multitude of people and even a few celebrities.
Leicester square is less than a five minute walk and is a great place to start exploring with Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, China Town, and Covent Garden all in the surrounding area. The lifeblood of British cinema – all major premieres usually happen here in Leicester Square. Bronze casts of actor’s handprints instil a sense of the glamour associated with Leicester Square. In the middle of the square is a small garden overlooked by statues of the greats such as Shakespeare, Hogarth and Charlie Chaplin.
The West End does somewhat encompass the above two places, but it also has so much more. It boasts over fifteen million tourists every year – you could be one of them. The West End is one part of the capital that certainly never sleeps, it is home to forty of the capital’s best and most beloved theatres. It’s iconic. However, it isn’t all theatres, there is also a huge number of cafes, bars and restaurants. And the shopping? So much choice from designer labels to thrift store bargains.
Speaking of shopping, St. James’s Market is a must. After a recent renovation with almost five hundred million being spent the area boasts two hundred and ten thousand square feet. It has some premium brands such as Smeg, Asos, Paul and Shark, and a Jigsaw being a few. There are also several restaurants from ramen shops to a Danish bakeries.
Finally, Elms Lesters painting rooms is an extraordinary space. It was built purposefully as a painting studio at the turn of the twentieth century. Since the mid-eighties, the gallery has specialised in contemporary artists whose career began on the street. The building is not only an exhibition space but also houses artists so they can work in residence. Through these affiliations artists often produce work inspired by the location itself and displayed onsite.
There is plenty to do around Shaftesbury Avenue, you just have to know where to look.