Theatreland Hotels, History and Guide

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Theatreland – The Greatest Shows on Earth

Theatreland is in the beating heart of the West End. Rivalling New York’s Broadway, it is the name given to the concentration of world-renowned theatres in London around Covent Garden, Drury Lane, Shaftsbury Avenue and The Strand.

Technically, Theatreland refers to the theatres in an around these areas but there are a few that sit outside the West End, such as the Apollo Victoria in Westminster and Sadler’s Wells in Islington.


Theatreland Hotels

When it comes to hotels near Theatreland, the best factors to keep in mind are location, location, location. If you’re planning a London theatre break then you need a hotel that’s perfectly placed for the best London theatres. You need to find a hotel that leaves you within a stone’s throw of the best restaurants, bars and theatres.

If you’re looking for an ideal four star hotel for London theatres, The Rathbone is perfectly placed for any Theatreland trip. Conveniently located within walking distance of all the best venues, The Rathbone is among the very best positioned West End Theatre hotels.

A four star boutique hotel in the heart of the London theatre district, The Rathbone offers exceptional service and while also providing a quiet, peaceful and tranquil haven from where to base your trip. So whether you’re after a one-night theatre trip or a longer stay in London taking in a number of West End shows, The Rathbone is one of the longest established and most prominent Theatreland Hotels.


Getting to Theatreland

Theatreland is served by lots of tube stations including Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus and Holborn and you will also find a great selection of restaurants and bars with great pre-and post-theatre dining deals.

Stayed for one night, the staff were very friendly and efficient. The bed was very comfortable and room and bathroom were spotlessly clean. We will be staying here again!

Location was perfect, all the staff were welcoming, friendly and very helpful and the full English breakfast was excellent. We will definitely stay here again on our next visit to London!

Booked an executive double as part of birthday celebrations for my husband. Arrived early for check in but the Manager surprised us with a complementary upgrade to a suite!

This is the perfect place to stay in central London, it's hard to beat this gem in the city. We had a very comfortable stay and it is highly recommended!

I work in London and I thought I'd give this hotel a chance. The service was amazing and it is in a great location!

The hotel was well situated for the West End sights. It was small and quiet with a quirky feel, the staff were exceptionally polite and helpful and we loved the breakfast!

A sweet hotel with polite and service-minded staff close to Regent Street and Oxford Street and Covent Garden. It a nice hotel with clean soft beds and crispy white sheets!

We really enjoyed our stay. Hotel decor was great, our room was a good size and we also enjoyed our breakfast. We had great stay and we'll definitely come back.

Stayed here for a weekend with friends. Location is superb but what especially stood out for me was the staff. They were extremely friendly and eager to help. Recommend this wholeheartedly!

Charismatic hotel in an excellent location within walking distance of the West End. Friendly, welcoming & professional staff, comfortable room and I will certainly stay here again.

We chose this hotel for it's location and because we could request twin beds. Turned out to be a great find and we would definitely stay here again!

I liked the Rathbone. Attentive service at breakfast; rooms clean and a very comfy bed. I would definitely stay again as the rate per night is excellent for such a central hotel.

Our favourite hotel. It's perfectly located with a fantastic choice of restaurants on the doorstep. A classy hotel with understated yet personal service and luxurious bedrooms - a must stay place.

A really great hotel, the staff were most courteous and helpful, the bathrooms were spotlessly clean, the rooms large and warm and breakfast was superb!

The staff were very friendly, the breakfast was excellent and one of the best cooked breakfasts we've had! We'd definitely stay here again.

It was so nice to walk away from hectic Oxford Street to the quiet of Fitzrovia and the warm welcome we got at the hotel. I cannot fault it and would definitely stay there again.

We stayed for one night between Christmas and New Year. We had a lovely continental breakfast included in our room rate and the location is excellent. We'd stay here again!

This is my 4th time here. It has old English charm and a lovely lounge and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The staff are welcoming and warm and the beds comfortable.

The Rathbone is a friendly hotel with an old world feeling, perfect for a couple nights in London. The breakfast was excellent - go for the full English - and the staff are great!

Helpful staff at check-in, beautiful art-deco reception, bar and breakfast room and my partner had a cocktail and said it was the best espresso martini she'd ever had. I'd thoroughly recommend this hotel!

I've stayed here several times and choose this hotel every time I travel to London. I've tried other hotels and always keep coming back to the Rathbone.

The location is perfect and the best thing is that when you have been in London visiting galleries and shops all day, getting back to the Rathbone feels like coming home.

Stayed here for two nights and absolutely loved it. From the moment we entered, the staff made us feel so welcome and we would certainly recommend this hotel!

All I can say is that I couldn't fault the hotel on anything! From the moment you arrive till you leave the service and hospitality is tremendous. It's a 5 star hotel masquerading as a 4 star!

Outstanding! All the staff are very attentive and offer a brilliant service. Fantastic choice for breakfast. One of the best hotels we have stayed in. We will definitely be back!

We won a night at the Rathbone and we could not fault staff and the clean rooms. The Food & Beverage Manager was very smart, organised and made us feel welcome. We will be returning!

I must commend the staff! The reception staff went a long way to help us and we will return, which is the first time I've written this for a London hotel! Thank you!

We stayed for 2 nights and couldn't fault the hotel. The staff were great and we came back to the room to find Prosseco and strawberries for our anniversary! We're looking forward to coming back!

One of the best hotels I have been to, it should have 5 stars! It's comfortable and the staff is absolutely AMAZING.  The food is really good and they have amazing gin! I will definitely come back.

What a great decision! We loved it. The staff were great and did everything to make you feel at home. It's surrounded by restaurants and pubs and we will definitely return.

This was my second stay and once again I was very impressed with the courteous staff, the lobby bar, wi-fi and comfortable rooms with large bathrooms. Highly recommended.

The hotel is inviting and clean. The staff were without fault friendly, helpful and charming. The bed was comfy and you can never tire of the view outside.

This is a lovely hotel. The staff couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. The continental breakfast was lovely, fresh and plentiful and we would definitely stay here again!

We lucked out in securing this hotel. Upscale yet priced right and the staff could not be any nicer. Close to everything yet tucked away. Highly recommended!

This is a great little hotel in a fantastic location. We booked a Club room which is quite spacious. Great service, and we were able to check in early when we got there at 11.30am.

A lovely hotel in a great location. The staff were great and the breakfast which we had upstairs was one of the best we've had in a hotel room. For us it was perfect.

A lovely hotel. It was very clean and comfortable with everything you need and all the staff were very pleasant & helpful. Would definitely recommend.

The room was quiet, clean and warm and robes and slippers are provided. I highly recommend this hotel and surely will book here again on my next trip to London!

This is a great location just off Oxford St and near Soho. Staff helpful. Rooms clean and renovated bathrooms. Has old world charm but polished. Would go back again and recommend to friends.

The staff went out of their way to treat us with care and kindness. It was a very easy place to be.  The location was great and I have already recommended it to a friend going to London!

We stayed here for 7 nights and enjoyed every minute. Location is great, in an area full of life - just 5 minutes walk from Soho. We are definitely coming back to the Rathbone!

I wholeheartedly recommend this hotel. A great central location, pleasant and helpful staff, excellent breakfast and a charming lounge and bar. The Rathbone is good value!

Superb! The Rathbone is a welcoming & friendly hotel and it has an excellent location within walking distance of the heart of London & all the things you want to see.

The Executive double room was very comfortable - the bed particularly so....nice thick duvet and lovely sheets. The bathrobe was so soft and fleecy I bought one! Would highly recommend.

Lovely time spent at The Rathbone. Everything you could want in a hotel is thought of. The breakfast was lovely and the staff were attentive and courteous. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

We know and like the area and the hotel. The beds are very comfortable, the staff is kind and helpful, and overall the hotel is a great value. A very high quality place to stay.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The staff were friendly and welcoming and the room very comfortable and clean. Good choice at breakfast. We will definitely return.

The staff at the Rathbone were friendly and could not have been more helpful. The breakfast was great with loads of choice and overall, it's an excellent hotel! Highly recommended.

My thanks to all who made our stay lovely. We will be back! Oh, and the bed was amazingly comfy and the room was lovely and clean!

We had the pleasure of staying at this wonderful hotel and couldn't fault it - the staff were friendly and helpful, the room was lovely and the breakfast was great. Would definitely stay there again!

We were very pleased!  The hotel is in an elegant old building that has preserved the lovely inlaid woodwork. The staff were friendly and helpful and I recommend this hotel highly.

We stayed at the Rathbone for 8 nights and it was a great pick. The location is very convenient and the staff was fabulous!

We couldn't have chosen a better hotel for our 40th anniversary! We were given a glass of bubbly and some chocolate-covered strawberries and the staff were lovely. Thank you!

Stayed for one night and had a great experience. Very helpful staff and a spacious room  The highlight was the full English breakfast, very good quality and expertly cooked. Worth going back for!

We've stayed here several times and will do again. This hotel feel a bit like home, it is in a quaint neighborhood and you can walk from the hotel to everywhere in the centre of the city.

The Rathbone is an excellent hotel! The service is very good and accommodating, the room was perfect and I have recommended it to people who plan to visit London. My new favourite hotel!

Stayed here for two nights. The hotel was very friendly and welcoming and all the staff were excellent. We had a quiet room which was perfect and we will certainly stay here again.

We stayed here for two nights to celebrate our anniversary. The staff were all very friendly. It was spotlessly clean with a great comfortable bed and a super breakfast. Would definitely stay here again!

We highly recommend this hotel. It's understated but classy. It's modern yet traditional. Breakfast is lovely. Bar is well-staffed. Rooms are very comfy and well appointed and it's in a great location.

It's a beautiful, family run hotel. Small and friendly with great staff. I would not hesitate to come back next time I'm in London. I loved it and all I can do is give the Rathbone 10/10!

We stayed for a birthday treat and the staff put a balloon and decorated cake in the room for us! The room was spotless and breakfast was fantastic. The staff were so friendly which really made our stay.

Good quality, friendly hotel with an excellent room and breakfast. The staff were very helpful and we would certainly stay again.

If you are looking for a hotel in a central location that offers spacious accommodation at a reasonable price, this hotel is for you. I would stay at The Rathbone again, without a doubt.

This hotel is in a perfect location.  It was very clean and everyone was very professional and ready to help. I'll definitely go back there!

As a place to stay in the centre of London I can't fault it. We stayed for two days, the service was great and the people were very friendly!

We booked  as part of a theatre deal and were extremely satisfied. It was very clean with great service and a lovely breakfast. Couldn't fault it. Only stayed one night and wish it was longer.

From beginning to end this hotel was faultless. The location was spot on, there are lots of lovely places to eat and I will definitely book this hotel on my next visit to London!

We loved our stay and the hotel is surrounded by gorgeous pubs and restaurants. The staff were great and we will definitely stay here on our next trip to London. Thank you guys!

The hotel is in the perfect place, the service is impeccable, the staff is fantastic and the rooms are nice and clean. Any request was met with a smile. This hotel will be our choice when we come back! Thank you!

At this great hotel the staff were amazingly helpful, Layla and her team deserve a medal for everything they did to help.We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would recommend to anyone.

A very positive experience! The hotel is in the middle of an area with plenty of good restaurants and the staff is polite and very friendly. I recommend it!

The service was great, housekeeping always keep my room spick and span and the waitresses were polite and friendly, even remembering how I like my eggs to be done!

The staff took an interest in my comfort and helped me to arrange travel around the city and back to the airport - they go out of their way to help you.

The room was very clean, modern and to the European standard. The staff was extremely courteous and helpful. In fact, we cannot say enough good things about the great service the staff provided!

We were made to feel very welcome, the room was lovely and there are some great pubs and restaurants all within two minutes walk. Breakfast was delicious and we will definitely stay again!

A great location close to London's attractions. The rooms are clean, the staff was excellent and they made every effort in making our stay comfortable and enjoyable. Would definitely recommend it.

I chose this hotel due to its close proximity to tube stations. The service from the front of house staff was lovely and I recommend it to people who are travelling for work or for weekends away.

Had an amazing stay! It's in a fabulous location just off Oxford Street near to shopping and all the theatres and there are loads of lovely eateries within 5 minutes. Will definitely stay again!

The service is friendly and excellent, the feeling is very relaxed and we would definitely stay here again, mostly for it’s excellent location and service.

Perfect little gem. Loved the area....excellent restaurants for staying close when you don’t want to venture up in the thick of Soho...our kinda vibe! Staff were amazing and we felt looked after!

The location was perfect and the staff were very friendly. The bathroom has a tub and loads of hot water. We also loved the lobby bar for evening cocktails. We would stay here again!

When we arrived they put a teddy bear on the bed for my children with a handwritten note welcoming them to the hotel. Beautiful breakfast, lovely room and great location. Perfect for families.

The Rathbone is in a perfect location, it had spotless rooms, the most comfortable beds and the hotel staff is very friendly!

In terms of location and the friendliness of the very professional staff - not to mention a quaint room - the Rathbone was great. It's difficult to find the same or better quality for less in such a good location.

Great central location and a clean, comfortable room with lovely soft towels, the kind you sink into!

The hotel is perfectly located, a five-minute walk to Goodge St and Tottenham Court Road tubes. There are plenty of restaurants, pubs and cafes just around the corner and the hotel staff were absolutely amazing!

I really liked this hotel. It was really nice and the staff was very friendly and helpful! I booked a club suite and the location was perfect, within walking distance to Soho.

I would like to share with the world our magnificent experience staying at the Rathbone for our honeymoon. My new husband and I loved this place and we look forward to coming back to the Rathbone in the future!

Great location off Oxford Street  in a quiet area with a good variety of restaurants and the staff are extremely helpful. This is our second visit to the Rathbone and we will definitely return!

It was amazing!  Excellent customer service - professional yet friendly, and the quality of the room felt more like a suite. Highly recommended.

Stayed with friends for a theatre trip. The service was outstanding and the staff could not have done any more to make our stay enjoyable. The rooms are very well decorated and to a high standard. We will be back.

The location is perfect, the staff courteous and helpful and our room was beautiful, clean and quiet. The breakfast was lovely and the manager went out of his way to help. We can honestly say 'we'll be back!'

The hotel and staff are excellent. I couldn't fault them and we will certainly be returning. Nothing was to much trouble.

The staff are not only polite, efficient and look the part of a top hotel but they do really behave as if the customer is king. Our room was large, the bed comfy and immaculately cleaned.

The room was clean tidy and calm and light. The staff were kind, happy and just lovely. The Rathbone is a true little gem. ❤

A fantastic stay with exceptionally polite staff who couldn't do enough for you. The hotel has a beautiful finish and I would 100% recommend!

We loved our stay at the Rathbone. It is a small, intimate hotel with a friendly and professional staff. The location was superb! We will stay there again, for sure.

The hotel is located on a quiet road and a short walk from the theatre district. Staff were friendly and efficient and the hotel decor is good.

The Rathbone is an extremely well run independent hotel. It is in a great area and the hotel is clean and very comfortable. I would definitely stay on another visit to London.

Our rooms were lovely, nicely furnished and clean, beds were comfortable and the bathroom was clean with a good shower. I would highly recommend the Rathbone.

Stayed here as a last minute booking for a night out in the West End. We were upgraded to a Club Room which was lovely and clean. Would definitely stay here again!

A very comfortable hotel with wonderful staff. The location is perfect for shopping, theatres and the museums. We wouldn't stay anywhere else!

1297 Reviews

The Greatest Shows in the World

Theatreland has a tradition of longevity and some of the shows are record holders in their own right. Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, first staged in 1952 is the longest running production in the world; Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Les Misérables is the longest-running musical ever to have been staged in the West End (it opened in 1985), overtaking Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats which ran for 8,949 performances and two more of the most popular shows, Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers and Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera played in Theatreland for 26 and 28 years respectively.

In 2013, almost 15m people bought tickets for hundreds of theatre productions at the most famous theatres in the world, including the Lyceum, Her Majesty’s, Cambridge, the Theatre Royal and the Prince of Wales.

Just like the Theatreland hotels that surround them, many of these London theatres feature neo-classical, Romanesque or Victorian façades and sumptuous, lavish interiors. They were designed to appeal to the wealthy middle classes and the aristocracy who saw theatre (and opera) as highbrow forms of entertainment, and due to the protected status of many of these buildings, alteration and modernisation is often hard to accomplish.

Millions of tourists come to London for the theatre and there are lots of hotels near Theatreland, including The Rathbone Hotel, which are just a short walk or taxi ride away.

History of Theatreland

During the Reformation theatre flourished and the first ‘playhouse’ called simply The Theatre, was built in 1576 in Shoreditch. This was swiftly followed by The Curtain, both of which were used by William Shakespeare’s company.

Interestingly, timber from The Theatre was transported to Southwark and was used in the construction of The Globe Theatre, commonly known as ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’. The reason these playhouses moved out of central London was to be outside the shackles of the City of London Corporation but they were all closed in 1642 as the Puritans, advocates of an austere lifestyle, scaled back the perceived excesses of the regime of Charles I, including theatre, gambling and Christmas!

After this period of austerity (known as the interregnum), theatre flourished. Two companies – King’s Company and Duke’s Company – were licensed to perform and the ‘shows’ were held in converted warehouses and buildings that could accommodate large and growing groups of people.

In the next 150-200 years, theatres were popping up all over London and people came from all over the country to see the pre-eminent actors of the day. They all needed somewhere to stay so alongside the new theatres, inns catered for this new breed of ‘tourists’ and morphed into hotels in Theatreland as the area got more and more popular.

In the two decades after the Second World War, creativity was stifled due to the censorship imposed on almost all forms of theatre performed in the UK. Putting on licensed plays was fine because they purposely stayed within the permitted guidelines set out by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office but as works got more controversial to reflect the attitudes of the time, writers and producers took action.

Theatres were designating themselves ‘private clubs’ in order to show plays such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover and while the Lord Chamberlain technically had jurisdiction over these clubs, there was a reluctance to get involved because it became harder to tell the difference between a legitimate ‘private club’ and a theatre masquerading as one.

The censorship was eventually abolished in the Theatres Act 1968.

During the high tourist season, Theatreland hotels get booked up quickly due to their proximity to central London and all it has to offer so it’s wise to book your West End theatre hotel as soon as you know when you’ll be arriving.

The Rathbone: An ideal London Theatre Hotel

The Rathbone is the ideal hotel for the West End theatre district. Not only is the Rathbone’s location ideal, but also because our Reception staff and Concierge will be delighted to help you arrange tickets as well as making sure you know exactly what’s on. They will even provide you with seating plans so you know precisely where you’ll be sitting!

So if you do want to find an ideal hotel for a London theatre break, and you want the very best hotel in Theatreland, look no further!