Shaftesbury Avenue is the beating heart of London’s West End Theatre district. Here you’ll find a cluster of some of the country’s most famous theatre venues – the Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud, Queen’s Theatre, Palace Theatre and Shaftesbury Theatre. The buildings are festooned with neon lights and show billboards. And the ambience is buzzy and bustling.
Unsurprisingly, this theatreland hotspot attracts crowds in their droves – day after day and night after night. As part of Soho, Shaftesbury Avenue’s general vibe is vibrant and eclectic. Eccentric dressers abound, while speciality shops and traditional pub are sandwiched between theatres and high-street shops.
Shaftesbury Avenue is located in London’s West End in the Soho district and bordering Chinatown and Covent Garden. It is in travelcard zone 1. The avenue runs from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street crossing over Charring Cross Road in the process.
While Shaftesbury Avenue does not have its own underground station, it is just walking distance away from Tottenham Court Road station, Leicester Square Station and Covent Garden station. Tottenham Court Road is on the Central and Northern Line. Leicester Square station is served by the Northern Line and the Piccadilly line. And Covent Garden station is on the Piccadilly line. There are good bus links on Shaftesbury Avenue leading to north, south, west and east London.
As well as being home to some of the finest theatres in Britain (and by extension, the world) Shaftesbury Avenue is also close to great galleries, huge multi-screen cinemas and tourist hotspots like Trafalgar square and Buckingham Palace. No wonder this is an area that attracts regular footfall.
The restaurant scene here does a roaring trade, catering to the after-work-drinks-and-tapas crowd, pre-theatre goers and tourists.
As with most tourist-centric destinations in London, fast-food establishments and chain eateries are very much par for the course on Shaftesbury Avenue. But there are also some interesting, independent venues as well, not to mention some sophisticated restaurants for the discerning palate.
On Hanway Place, just a short walk from Shaftesbury Theatre, you’ll find the Michelin-starred Hakkasan. Expect haute Chinese cuisine in a super swanky setting. Peking duck with caviar and pancakes anyone?
At Belgo Centraal, meanwhile, their claim to fame is offering one of the largest selection of beers in the UK. It’s a Belgian restaurant specialising in all the country’s top hits – from waffles to mussels and, of course, beer.
With one of the most beautiful – and arguably most secret – dining gardens in London, Dalloway Terrace really is a hidden gem. The menu focuses on hearty British fare with a fresh, seasonal rotation of ingredients.
Tourists and toffs
Given that Shaftesbury Avenue is well and truly on the tourist trail, it’s no surprise it sees a large number of visitors daily. There is also a glut of hotels in the area which further serves to push tourism into the vicinity.
You would have to be very well-off to be considered a ‘local’ given that the average house price is an estimated £1.4 million. Whether local or not, this area is certainly frequented by well-heeled Londoners who choose to shop, take in a show and dine.
Shaftesbury Avenue could certainly benefit from another Michelin-calibre establishment. But tapas-style places and quick gastropub fare also do well in the area and easily sate the pre-theatre masses. Whatever your venture, this is a goo