Centuries collide in the retail and entertainment playground that forms the beating historic heart of London
Theatres, restaurants, bars, shops, museums, monuments, parks and squares – the West End of London presents an hallucinogenic mix of everything the urban condition has to offer. Frenetically developed over the past five centuries and evolved from ancient settlements that existed even long before that, the overriding urban character of this district is historic and offers a rich catalogue of architectural styles. But London’s innate dynamism reveals pockets of modernity too, channelled not just through buildings but in the charged vigour and bristling animation of West End street life. Consequently the West End is home to some of the most iconic public spaces in the UK and they combine to form an unparalleled sequence of squares, circuses and arcades threaded right through the heart of London. Therefore observing the development of the West End with its constant shifting between the formal and informal, the private and the public and the grand and the intimate is key to understanding the wider development of London and the essential role that its public spaces play in the construction of the city’s urban character.
WALK START LOCATION: Temple station / Map
WALK ENDS: Near Oxford Circus