Events

Search Events

10 best theatres in London

No visit to London is complete without seeing a show, so check out some of the capital’s world-class theatre venues.
Content contains affiliate links, marked with asterisks (*). If you click through and make a purchase, Visit London receives a commission – every purchase supports London’s jobs and economy.

Find your next favourite West End musical, captivating dramatic play or breatktaking opera at one of the illustrious theatres of London. Immerse yourself within the timeless universe of a Shakespeare play at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, see some of the most innovative productions at the National Theatre, or indulge to the beauty of a ballet performance at the Royal Opera House. Whether you are after the excitement of a long-running West End sensation or the anticipation of a new London theatre production, the city's best theatres have something for everyone's taste.

Seize the moment and book your London theatre tickets online with us today to unlock savings of up to 60% on these unforgettable world-class performances. Don't miss out on the chance to experience the magic of the stage in one of the finest theatre districts in the world.

1. Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House

Located in the heart of Covent Garden, The Royal Opera House is a major performing arts venue, attracting culture enthusiasts. It is home to The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and the orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Enjoy a wide range of world-class shows, from timeless masterpieces like Carmen, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, to seeing classics with a modern take. Or embark on a behind-the-scenes tour of this historic gem, exploring the opulence of the auditorium to uncovering the secrets of this historic theater.

2. Shakespeare's Globe

Take part in a guided tour at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre et explore 400 years of history. ©London & Partners/Michael Barrow

Step back in time at the Shakespeare's Globe, a reconstruction of the Elizabethan playhouse where Shakespeare's plays were performed. The Globe stages shows between April and October, with cheap theatre standing tickets from just £5. The program features some classics including Romeo & Juliet and MacBeth along with new productions. Theatre enthusiasts can take a tour of the Shakespeare Globe and explore 400 years of fascinating history. The Bankside site also includes the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; a candlelit intimate theatre based in the indoor playhouses of Jacobean London.

3. Young Vic

Young Vic

An extremely influential London theatre, the Young Vic has an international reputation for staging some of the most diverse and innovative theatre plays. The Young Vic, intended as a playground to create a new kind of experimental theatre, hosts expimental works along with groundbreaking shows. Here, you can find global stars working alongside emerging artists to create vibrant pieces that often attract a younger audience and push the boundaries of traditional theatre.

4. Sadler's Wells

Sadler's Well. Credit: Philip Vile

Sadler's Wells theatre in Islington is one of the world's leading dance venues, captivating audiences with a kaleidoscope of mesmerizing performances, bringing renowned international and British dance shows to London. This London theatre explores and stage dance in all its forms with international dance company making this London venue a hub showcasing exciting programs. Enjoy all forms of dance, including contemporary, circus, ballet, Bollywood, tap, tango, flamenco and much more. Sadler's Wells offers a rich tapestry of artistic experiences to explore and enjoy. 

5. National Theatre

National Theatre. Credit: Philip Vile

Standing along the Thames and the London's South Bank, the National Theatre houses three auditoriums: the Olivier Theatre, Lyttleton Theatre and Dorfman Theatre. Experience a variety of exceptional performances from timeless Shakespeare classics and international classic drama, to cutting-edge new plays and captivating musicals. Known as the epicentre of the London best theatre scene, many of the must see productions are staged at the National Theatre, and also offers visitors captivating behind-the-scenes tours offering a glimpse into the magic of theater production.

6. Barbican

Barbican Theatre

The brutalist 1980s Barbican Centre is a leading art and conference centre located in the heart of the City of London, pushing artistic boundaries by showcasing art in all its forms. The Barbican has a multitude of activities under his roof with a concert hall, two theatres, three cinemas, two art galleries, a library, restaurants, shops and a conservatory. The venue is home to the London Symphony Orchestra as well as a London base of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and presents an exciting international programme of shows, talks and festivals.

7. London Coliseum

Watch the English National Ballet with the Nutcracker at the London Coliseum this Christmas. Image courtesy of The English National Ballet/ © Laurent Liotardo

The home of the English National Opera, the London Coliseum is a lavish theatre and of the largest in the West End with a grand total of 2 359  seats. This landmark theatre in London hosted some outlandish musicals including timeless classics My Fair Lady, Hair Spray and electrifying performances such as We Will Rock You. Resident company of the London Coliseum, the English National Ballet continues to enchant audiences with its mesmerizing performances including The Nutcracker, a Christmas tradition. 

8. Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Choose within a selection of plays to watch under the stars at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Image courtesy of David Jensen/ Feast Creative Web.

Soak up the magical atmosphere of Regent's Park Open Air TheatreEvery summer, the award-winning open-air theatre offers a captivating program of Shakespearean classics, exhalting comedy, compelling drama, and delightful family-friendly theatre shows nestled performed between the lush trees of Regent's Park. It has a reputation for staging some of the best musicals in London, ensuring every visit is a truly memorable theatrical experience.

Prices from £17.85 Book now

9. The Old Vic

The Old Vic is an iconic theatre in Waterloo boasting 200 years of creative storytelling and captivating London theatre goers. Orginally a music hall and home to vaudeville acts, to later become the first home of the National Theatre. The venue has welcomed many of the world’s best theatre performers, from Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft and John Gielgud, to Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Peter O’Toole, not to forget Michael Gambon.

10. Unicorn Theatre

Unicorn Theatre

The Unicorn Theatre in London Bridge is the UK's leading theatre dedicated to producing inspiring shows for young audiences. Let little ones enjoy an exciting programme of high-quality theatre show in London, aimed at introducing children and young people to the magic of theatre. The theatre's innovative programming includes adaptations of classic stories, original works, and collaborations with emerging and established artists. 

What is the most famous theatre in London?

The London West End is famous for its iconic venues where many historic theatres hosted countless world-famous shows. His Majesty's Theatre stands as the second oldest theatre in London and brings to life the rich tradition of story telling. From the timeless classics like West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof to beloved favourites such as Bugsy Malone, the stage of His Majesty's Theatre has witnessed the best that London has to offer. After 38 years, The Phantom of the Opera continues to captivate audiences with its haunting melodies and mesmerising performances taking a life of their own at His Majesty's Theatre.

What is the oldest theatre in London?

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is considered to be the oldest theatre still standing in London today. The theatre was built in 1663, and while the original building is today no more, the venue has since had several renovations and reconstructions resisting the test of time. Some legendary musicals were brought to Drury Lane's stage including Rodgers and Hammerstein incomparable production of Oklahoma, My Fair Lady starring Julie Andrews, not forgetting the longest run the Theatre Royal had with the production of Miss Saigon. It remains one of London's most prestigious theatre scene and currently shows Frozen, a Disney smash-hit musical.

What is the biggest theatre in London?

Famous for its distinctive dome and striking red brick façade, the Royal Albert Hall was inaugurated in 1871 by Queen Victoria and boasts a seating capacity of more than 5,000 spectators, providing an unparalleled setting for one of a kind performances. With grandiose interiors and unparalleled acoustics every performance is here to make history. From the annual BBC proms, to acoustic orchestras, and star-studded concerts featuring global icons like Adele, the Royal Albert Hall has seen it all. It regularly hosts spectacular productions like Le Cirque du Soleil transforming the Royal Albert Hall into the most magical universe. Did you know? The Royal Albert Hall has welcomed sporting events too, with Muhammad Ali gracing its stage for exhibition matches, alongside other world-class tennis tournaments.

How many theatres are in London?

Many renowned theatres are located within the official London Theatre land, the West End, with many ground breaking theatre productions to be found all over the city. There is a grand number of 241 theatres in London, making it one of the most vibrant theatre scenes in the world showcasing a wide variety of shows and genres.

Which is a famous area in London for theatres?

A great number of musicals and astonishing theatre productions take place on the West End. The London theatreland is formed of around 40 theatres, all located within the heart of London, from the Strand to Covent Garden and Leicester Square to Piccadilly Circus, the streets are busting with theatre goers lining up the neon lit venues. St Martin's Lane, Drury Lane and Shaftesbury Avenue are home to some of the best London theatres.