Whether it’s your first time in the city or not, London is ripe with opportunities, whatever your age and whatever your business in the city. When visiting for a shorter period of time, it can be difficult to immerse yourself outside of the standard tourist traps. There is plenty to do away from the crowds of the South Bank and the selfie obsessed Buckingham Palace tourist swarms, and finding these hidden gems isn’t easy. The best bet for guests at the Shaftesbury Paddington Hotel, is to ask a local.
Whether it’s a member of staff or a passer by, there are plenty of Londoners who would be willing to give you tips for a tack-free trip in the city. You could be after the best shopping near Paddington Station, or an afternoon tea joint in the Camden area, and there’ll no doubt be a Londoner on hand to point you in the right direction. Today however, we’ll be focussing on London’s immersive entertainment venues.
Take a trip to the West End
The West End is the world famous entertainment area of central London. Here you’ll find a range of bars, theatres and clubbing venues, ripe for the picking. You might be looking for a family friendly theatre show, perhaps the Lion King at the Lyceum, or a serious piece of theatre during the Pinter season at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Maybe you’re after less serious theatre, such as The Play That Goes Wrong, a farcical metatheatrical trip whisking you from your seats in the Duchess Theatre into a chaotic world of murder mystery mayhem.
We all know West End Theatre can be a real strain on the bank, so ensuring that you are getting the best value tickets is important. Any London local who regularly attends theatre will direct you to the nearest box office and ticket selling kiosk; many are located around the West End of the city. On top of this, you will find that box office returns are available at the theatre at which the show you want to see is being staged. Arriving at opening time, a limited number of West End Matinee and evening tickets will be sold at a massively discounted price, meaning you could be spending anything down to £10 on a front row West End Theatre ticket! Get down early though, these hot in demand tickets can get nabbed very quickly indeed.
…And further afield
It’s not only the West End showing the best shows. Find a range of venues further afield showing some of the most cutting edge fringe theatre out there. The Arcola in Dalston, the Royal Court in Sloane Square and the National Theatre on the South Bank, all offer off West ENd shows and are often some of the best critically acclaimed and thought provoking performances out there. Think long lost rediscovered writing, and new plays from fresh and exciting blood on the London Theatre scene. For underground and immersive performances, check out the Vault underneath Waterloo for some weird and wonderful extravagance.
Music in London
With such a history of rock and roll in London, it’s no surprise that there are so many musicians trying to make it in the city. For the best hidden gems in the music world, try out the Old Blue Last in shoreditch, the 100 Club in Oxford street, Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston and the Blues Kitchen in Camden.