The area of London known as Theatreland rivals Manhattan’s Broadway in both the amount of stages and the longevity of its shows.
With over 40 venues, Theatreland launched numerous blockbuster performances in the United Kingdom and across the globe. Not only is the area full of historic performing houses, but it also features many top-rated luxury hotels that should be part of any visit.
Designated with the term Theatreland by the Society of London Theatre and the Westminster council, the district is located in the section of the city known as the West End. It’s bordered by Regent Street on the west side, Kingsway to the east, Oxford Street on the north side, and the street known as The Strand on the south end. Most performance houses are lined along these thoroughfares as well as Shaftesbury Avenue and Dury Lane.
The stages of Theatreland are world renown. The Apollo Victoria is the largest of these in the area. Seating 2500, the 83-year-old former cinema has been the home to numerous musicals since 1981. The London Palladium is one of the older theatres in the area. Situated on Oxford Street, the more-than-century old stage has been home to USO performances during the Second World War, television programmes, and musical variety shows.
Other stages in Theatreland are named after the performers and playwrights who graced them for decades. The 656-seat Garrick Theatre opened in 1889 and was named after the 18th century British actor David Garrick. The Noel Coward Theatre on St. Martin’s Lane was named for the actor and playwright after a 2006 renovation. The Geilgud Theatre was named after the famous actor John Geilgud and has featured plays starring dignitaries of stage and screen like Dame Judi Dench, Richard Burton, Maggie Smith, and Sir Patrick Stewart.
London’s Theatreland has been and is currently home to some of the longest-running shows. To top the list isThe Mousetrap. Premiering at the Ambassadors Theatre in 1952 and relocating to the St. Martin’s in 1974, the Agatha Christie murder mystery is the longest running show in the modern theatre era. At 27 and 26 years respectively, the musicals Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera run a distant second and third to The Mousetrap. Other long running plays of the past and present are The Woman in Black, Cats, Starlight Express, The Lion King, and Wicked.
Though Theatreland is within walking distance to several Tube stations, many visitors to the area make a mini-holiday of their trip, staying one night or two to catch multiple shows in different theatres. The good news is there are a number of hotels in the area that provide maximum luxury and comfort for visitors to London’s stages.
Luxury Hotels for a Theatreland Trip
One of these is The Arch London, at 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch. One of the city’s newest boutique hotels, Arch London spans across several restored townhomes and mews homes to provide 82 guest rooms and suites, individually designed and retaining many of the original features. However, this doesn’t mean old-fashioned. The rooms of The Arch London are fitted with multi-thread linens, sash windows, granite bathroom finishes, and rain showers. On the technological side, accommodations at Arch London offer flat screen televisions in the main room and bathroom with Sky HD, Internet radio, a CD/DVD player, and free wireless Internet.
Outside of the rooms, The Arch London provides unique dining and drinking experiences in the form of HUNter 486 Brasserie. Those who are hungry can sit around the restaurant’s open kitchen to enjoy pizzas from their stone bedded oven or fresh meats off their grill. In the middle of the Brasserie is The Bar, where people can meet for a drink before dinner or one of the Theatreland shows. The 486 Brasserie also provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a proper British Afternoon Tea in the Library.
Another luxury hotel in the Theatreland area is The Goring. Built in 1910, the independently-owned hotel features 71 guest rooms and suites that exhibit quintessential English styles while staying firmly in the 21st century with free wireless Internet, flat screen televisions with satellite channels, access, and video and music on demand. Many of the rooms of The Goring overlook the hotel’s private gardens.
At meal times, The Dining Room offers a menu of traditional English fare. In the summer months, visitors can dine on The Veranda overlooking the Goring Gardens. Afternoon tea is also served here in the summer and in the lounge in the off-season. For a pre or post-theatre drink and bite to eat, the Lounge Bar offers a wide variety of spirits and light fare.
Whether for one night or several, a stay at one of Theatreland’s luxury hotels makes for a more memorable theatre experience.