West Central London Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History

    The WC1 and WC2 postcode districts were only established in 1917, but the areas included in these postcodes have a very rich history. Oxford Street in West Central London follows the route of via Trinobantina, a Roman road that linked Colchester and Hampshire. The road’s name has changed many times over the years and has been known as Tyburn Road, Uxbridge Road, Worcester Ro...Read moread and Oxford Road. In the late 18th century the area was purchased by the Earl of Oxford and it was developed. It became famous for its shops during the 19th century. In World War II Oxford Street was badly bombed and four departments stores, including John Lewis and Selfridges, were damaged. Drury Lane in West Central London came to prominence when Sir William Drury, Knight of the Garter in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, built his London residence there. In the 17th century, Drury House became the home of the Earl of Craven and then became a public house that was run by the Earl’s supposed mistress, the Queen of Bohemia. During the 18th century Drury Lane became one of the worst slums in the whole of the capital and was dominated by gin palaces and brothels. Covent Garden was mainly fields until the Anglo-Saxons turned it into the trading town of Lundenwic. After they left, it went back to arable land and was walled off to be used as orchards and gardens for Westminster Abbey. It was referred to as ‘the garden of the Abbey and Convent’, hence the name Covent Garden. Read less

  • 2. Now

    West Central London is a very popular destination for tourists and London residents alike. With famous attractions including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the London Transport Museum it is a great place to go and be entertained.

  • 3. Events

    In mid to late November every year, a celebrity turns on the spectacular lights on Oxford Street in front of thousands of people. Over the year celebrities who have had the honour of turning on the lights include Cliff Richard, the Spice Girls and Linford Christie.

  • 4. Attractions

    West Central London is full of fantastic world famous attractions including the Covent Garden Market. From humble beginnings as a small fruit and vegetable market it had developed into a fashionable square by 1654. Although it fell into disrepute in the 18th century when it became a well known red light district, it was redeveloped and organised when Charles Fowler built a neo-...Read moreclassical building to cover and control the market. Now the market has been expanded and includes the Floral Hall, Charter Market and the Jubilee Market. The central building was re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980 which contains cafes, pubs, small shops and a craft market. It is a bustling tourist attraction that welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do

    The London Transport Museum was originally built in the Victorian era by William Rogers of William Cubitt and Company as a flower market. The iron and glass building was converted into the museum in 1980 and displays many examples of buses, trams, trolleybuses and trains from then 19th and 20th centuries. If retail therapy is more your kind of thing then you will love Oxford S...Read moretreet. Europe’s busiest shopping street has major department stores, flagship high street shops and hundreds of smaller shops. Read less

  • 6. Business

    With its world famous attractions and excellent shopping, West Central London’s most important industries are retail and tourism. Thousands of people visit the area every day to shop, work or simply see the sights.

  • 7. Transport

    As a centrally located area in the capital, West Central London has excellent Underground and rail links. There are many London Underground stations in West Central London including Marble Arch, Bond Street, Oxford Circus and Covent Garden. They are several train stations nearby that offer services to the rest of the UK. All four London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted an...Read mored London City Airport) can be easily accessed from West Central London. Read less

  • 8. Entertainment

    The Royal Opera House, which is often referred to as ‘Covent Garden’ was built in 1732 as the Theatre Royal. It was designed by Edward Shepherd and was primarily a playhouse when it first opened. Many of Handel’s operas and oratorios were written for Covent Garden and the Opera House is still committed to staging world class opera performances. The Theatre Royal on Drury...Read more Lane was opened in 1663, making it the oldest continuously used theatre in London. It is a Grade II listed building and since 2008 it has been owned by composer Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. Famous musicals that have graced the Theatre Royal’s stage include Oliver!, Miss Saigon and Shrek the musical. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks

    There are many famous landmarks in West Central London including the Royal Opera House, Theatre Royal and Covent Garden Market and Square. St Paul’s church in Covent Garden was designed by Inigo Jones in 1631. It is often referred to as the Actor’s Church because of its long association with the theatrical community.

  • 10. Interesting Fact

    Both Oxford Street and Drury Lane have been immortalised but in very different ways. Oxford Street is a square on the British monopoly board while Drury Lane is mentioned in the famous nursery rhyme about the Muffin Man: ‘Do you know the Muffin Man who lives on Drury Lane?’

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