The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is an area of Central and West London in which many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated.
Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross. Lying to the west of the historic Roman and Medieval City of London, the West End was long favoured by the rich elite as a place of residence because it was usually upwind of the smoke drifting from the crowded City!
Taking a fairly broad definition of the West End, the area contains the main concentrations of most of London's metropolitan activities apart from financial services, which are concentrated primarily in the City of London (although many hedge funds base themselves in the West End). The area is rich in art galleries and museums, government buildings (mainly around Whitehall), hotels, media and legal establishments, shops, theatres, cinemas, nightclubs, bars and restaurants.
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