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Theatre trip to the West End of London

Coach hire to London for a weekend break or a day out gives you a fantastic range of things to do, but there's no business like show business and a trip to London’s West End to see one of the magical theatre shows is a must do.

London is fortunate to have some of the best plays and musicals in the world, and as soon as you disembark from your hired coach or minibus you will find yourself immersed in this colourful cultural district that offers more than just those glittering neon lights and famous faces.

London theatre breaks by coach are a hugely popular choice. Watching a West End show takes you away from whatever's happening in the outside world for a few wonderful hours. West End shows raise the feel-good factor and allow you to escape to a world of colour, music, dance and entertainment.

But before you book your hire coach and take your seat at a London theatre, here are some essential facts and tips you should know about a Theatre trip to the West End of London.

A history of London’s West End

The famous and at the same time “infamous” West End has created legends and wild stories over the years, but the glamorous and buzzing Theatre land area that we know and love today is at the heart of London’s cultural scene and brings delight to millions every year with its shows, restaurants, pubs, shops and nightlife.

However, it was not always the case and back in 1642, someone actually deemed entertainment “illegal” in London and The Puritans closed all London theatres for 17 years.

Thankfully, that ban was subsequently lifted in 1660 and with the West End reborn, London theatres thrived and for over 350 years, it has been entertaining residents and visitors ever since.

A popular start to a Theatre trip to the West End of London and coach hire drop-off point is The West End’s oldest theatre which is still in use today, the fantastic Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, which opened in 1663 and it’s been a royal favourite ever since. A little-known fact, the Royal Drury Lane Theatre is the first place where people could hear both the National Anthem and Rule Britannia played before performances.

As popular theatre grew, the number of theatres that opened in the West End expanded to meet demand and most are still there today. In 1720, the Theatre Royal at the Haymarket opened, followed by the Adelphi in 1806. Then, thanks to the Theatres Act of 1843, laws on performing plays relaxed and even more London theatres opened becoming Theatre land as we know and love it today.

It’s not just massive spectacles that London’s West End caters for and the theatre with the smallest capacity in the West End is the Arts Theatre, with seating for just 350 and is home to London's original basement night haunt, the Covent Garden Cocktail Club.

As well as the magnificent musicals that are known across the globe and bring delight to millions, the West End also has plenty of hard-hitting intimate dramas to enjoy, with some deep and thought-provoking performances.

The West End has some of the longest-running shows in the world, let's look at a few iconic ones that remain hugely popular so you can get your coach hire to London booked and grab those much sought-after tickets.

Longest-running and most popular theatre shows

The three longest-running West End musicals and plays which still run today and attract bumper crowds are The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre, which started its run in 1974. The hugely acclaimed Les Misérables at Sondheim Theatre which started its run in 1985 and was closely followed by the haunting The Phantom Of The Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1986.

Some say that The Mousetrap is to London theatre land what The Ravens are to the Tower of London. The superbly acted and suspense-ridden West End production is recognised as a defining murder mystery and is written by Agatha Christie, the best-selling novelist of all time.

Les Miserables takes audiences on an amazing roller coaster of a journey that is filled with darkness, laughter, suspense and jaw-dropping musical numbers that collectively set your emotions running as Victor Hugo's acclaimed story unravels.

What Les Miserables delivers with every performance is dazzling staging and backdrops, as well as some of the best musical performances you will ever witness.

Les Miserables has every audience standing in appreciation at the finale, with nerve-jangling exhilaration and appreciation of an epic performance.

The Phantom Of The Opera is spellbinding and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic, haunting and soaring musical score is easily recognised across the world. The show is widely considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular productions in history.

Other magnificent shows that we should mention are Wicked, Tina Turner's The Musical, Moulin Rouge, The Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia. There are, of course, many more.

What better way to celebrate an anniversary or birthday than hiring a minibus or coach and spending a weekend in London or a day trip to enjoy a top London show.

If you are staying for the weekend, then you can expand your coach hire itinerary and include a sightseeing tour for some essential London icons and shopping or spend some free time in Covent Garden and walk through some of London's sights. You could easily take in a second show the next day, as there are afternoon matinees or evening performances available for all the top West End shows.

Our coach hire specialists will be with you every step of the way to help plan and deliver a stunning theatre trip.

Final Notes

A theatre trip to the West End of London with minibus hire is a truly memorable day out and of course, whether you want lunch before a show or dinner after the matinee there are literally thousands of restaurants in the West End with a huge range of cuisines and pricing.

Whether you’re looking for a quick, cheap meal or a lavish Michelin Star feast, there’s literally something for everyone, and your coach can drop you off, before or after the performance.

As well as the theatres, the West End has many of London’s major attractions, shops and restaurants making it a must-see for any visitor, so book your coach hire now for a wonderful London West End experience.

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