Theatreland Hotels, History and Transport 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.

Made our anniversary memorable . Booked the same day to arrive in the afternoon and the staff were very welcoming . In the room for 10 mins and room service surprised us with 2 glasses of Prosecco and strawberries dipped in chocolate. Best breakfast we have had in a long time, freshly cooked to order. On leaving all reception and management staff asked and made sure our stay had been a pleasant one.

I ended up here after a disastrous attempt to stay at a nearby hotel. I booked shortly before midnight, arrived just after and had a room in 20 minutes. The staff were courteous and understanding. The room was fantastic - larger than I expected with a full desk and even if I hadn't been exhausted, I would have found the bed heavenly. I snagged this hotel on a great last-minute deal, but it's one I'd consider paying full-freight for when I go to London.

Stayed for one night and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The location is perfect for a night out and shopping. Five mins walk from Oxford St and 10 from Soho, Piccadilly and Chinatown. Breakfast was fresh and hot. Tea and coffee in the room was lovely. On leaving they offered to store our bags if we were going shopping. We would definitely stay at the Rathbone again.

Another lovely stay at The Rathbone - nothing is too much trouble for the staff and I always feel welcome. As I often travel alone, the hotel feels very safe and yet is in the heart of London with easy access to the tube. The room is always spotlessly clean with all the little touches you would expect. The bed is comfortable and there is constant hot water. Breakfast is cooked personally for you and is in a quiet relaxed setting. Superb as always.

We stayed here for one night as we were going to the London Palladium. It is conveniently located only a short walk from Oxford Street. The hotel is charming and the room was comfortable with tea and coffee, friendly staff in all areas and an excellent shower! It's perfect for a couples' stay in London.

I always stay at the Rathbone when in London on business. It is friendly and very comfy. The bed is a double and extremely comfortable and everything you could want is right on your doorstep.

This is our return stay at the Rathbone and it did not disappoint. We felt welcomed as soon as we received our confirmation email. We were  given access to our suite very early on our arrival which was exceptional. All of the Rathbone team are helpful, professional and friendly. I would like to single out Leilah whose customer service is the best I have seen in my many years of travel. She enhanced every aspect of our stay and made us feel special and at home.

We always stay at The Rathbone on our annual visit to see Les Miserables. This hotel is a gem, understated but with excellent staff who provide a first-class service. The rooms are luxurious and extremely comfortable and the location of the hotel makes it a great base.

We would recommend this hotel for comfort and location, just a short stroll to Oxford Street. The lounge area was lovely for pre-dinner drinks. The staff were lovely and friendly with a welcoming smile, very helpful and polite. Thank you to all the staff who made our stay delightful.

The plus points were the friendly staff, cleanliness of the hotel, the English breakfast was cooked well, the location was very quiet as it is tucked away  off the main drag and check in and out is quick!

Stayed here 6-8th Jan. Though we arrived early, our room was ready. After entering the room, the staff delivered a cake which was a lovely surprise. Very happy with the large room and clean bathroom. The hotel is very quiet, even though it’s very centrally located. We opted for cooked breakfast and were glad we did. A great stay, lovely staff, perfect location, good breakfast and fantastic room. Will visit again.

Stayed here 5th - 7th Jan as a couple. We were given a standard room which was clean and spacious and as a young couple we thought that the hotel was in a good location for bars, nightlife and shopping. We would stay here again!

It's hard to fault this hotel, the location in itself sells it. It is so quiet and yet so central to everything!

The hotel is lovely inside but the real stars were the staff, nothing was too much trouble they really went above and beyond. I would happily stay here when I next visit London, the location is perfect and the staff are fantastic.

We stayed here as a couple on a Friday evening. It was stylish, convenient for Oxford Street and Soho and in a quiet area of Fitzrovia. It was clean and comfortable with a very relaxed bar area. I recommend the Rathbone and will return!

Theatre, bars, pubs, restaurants, transit - great location and all within walking distance. At night the hotel is so quiet it's like sleeping in the countryside. Very comfortable beds with all the amenities I needed and some very nice extra touches.

Great location & a beautiful boutique hotel within walking distance of London's attractions. Thoroughly enjoyed my stay, especially the cooked to order breakfast. Rooms were spacious & well maintained. I highly recommend the Rathbone & would definitely stay again!

The hotel was lovely and the staff were professional and welcoming and the traditional decor makes it a cosy and relaxing. The breakfast room had a peaceful atmosphere and service was quick. The room was lovely, clean and comfortable and it is in a great central location.

I stayed here for 2 nights for a birthday surprise. The rooms were spacious and clean. The bathroom was nice and clean and the shower was hot. The staff on the reception was so pleasant and helpful and the full English breakfast was great! I recommend you stay at the Rathbone!

Stayed at the Rathbone Hotel for my wife’s birthday. The accommodation was spacious, clean and comfortable and the shower powerful and hot. We had the full English which was nicely cooked to order and delicious and the staff were helpful and courteous. I would recommend this hotel to anyone. Thank you for such a great stay!

Great location, lovely staff and quintessentially English! The staff were courteous and helpful and the rooms clean and comfortable I loved it and would definitely return!

Arrived for a birthday weekend, after a terribly delayed rail journey we were given a free upgrade by the hotel...AMAZING!!! Really made our day. The room was clean and very nice, location is superb and great for a theatre weekend. See you again soon!

Nice hotel and friendly staff. The room was good value for money and the hotel is conveniently located for shopping on Oxford Street and the British Museum (about 15 minute walk).

Everything was spot on. Breakfast was really good and the hotel location was ideal.

We had an excellent stay for my husband's birthday. A free upgrade, a hand-written birthday card and a free chocolate dessert to the room with a candle. All of which I had not arranged, I just said it was his birthday when I booked. Comfortable bed, very clean and the staff were very friendly and helpful.

Good price, boutique hotel, good breakfast, lovely location and the room was very clean and quiet.

Lovely hotel in a great location, very clean with friendly staff who took time to make sure you were happy. Would definitely stay again!

This hotel is greatly positioned for West End in a lovely area full of quirky bars and restaurants. The welcome was very nice and friendly, check in smooth and easy. Our Junior Double was the perfect size for an overnight stay. Would stay here again and would recommend to others.

Very friendly helpful staff and a very clean and well appointed hotel. There was tea and coffee making facilities in the room as well as free bottled water each day. Excellent!

Great location in London close to the theatre district for this elegant boutique hotel with superb service. We had a very nice breakfast each day, there is a cosy bar for cocktails & an afternoon area by the fireplace. A wonderful stay!

Stayed here for 1 night as a birthday treat from my boyfriend and wished we stayed longer! Staff were friendly and welcoming, the room was lovely and clean and the bed was so comfortable! A great hotel and would definitely return!

I stayed here two nights for pleasure in September 2017, and the hotel was lovely. The price was  inexpensive for an upscale hotel in central London and the room was clean, nice, comfortable, and well-appointed. I would return here in a heartbeat.

We stayed over the weekend and had a lovely room. The staff were attentive and breakfast was freshly-cooked and generous. The Rathbone is very well placed for restaurants and sightseeing. We have stayed many times and shall certainly return.

I booked The Rathbone for an anniversary  based on its location and reviews - it was a great choice. Overall the feeling of being looked after by staff who take pride in their jobs and the hotel is wonderful and made the base of our short trip delightful!

This hotel could not be better placed, either for business or for hospitality. The staff are attentive, the public rooms are well appointed and I'll definitely be back.

Stay there! It's like a home away from home!

We spent the weekend at the Rathbone and we had a wonderful time!

It feels like they want to make your stay as good as possible and will help in any way they can. The hotel looks lovely lit up at night and overall it was a very enjoyable stay and we would go back.

My wife and I have stayed at the Rathbone many times, and we love staying there because of its central location yet being somewhat away from all the noise and hustle of this vibrant city.

We stayed at this hotel for one night on Saturday 12th August and were thoroughly impressed with everything from our initial check-in right round to checking out and would recommend it to anybody!

Recommended by a friend and TripAdvisor, we spent three nights at this superbly located quiet hotel which employs exceptionally helpful well trained staff. I'd happily stay here again.

The staff were really polite and helpful, with a smiling greeting each time we came back and the location and other touches made this a great place to stay.

The service was outstanding! This lovely boutique hotel is clean and tucked away but walking distance from Oxford Circus and Theatreland. I would definitely stay here again!

I would stay here again! The location, amenities, and price make it great value in London.

Great location, great value for money, comfy beds and lovely helpful staff. A lovely stay in London!

As soon as my boyfriend and I arrived at the Rathbone Hotel they could not be more welcoming. We would definitely return!

Booked online. Very pleased with location. Staff excellent. Upgraded to Executive room. Huge with a 6ft bed. All in all a wonderful weekend!

1145 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!