The ultimate guide to getting London theatre tickets
Here's everything you need to know about London theatre and the West End.
Millions of people visit London's West End every year. The buzzy central London location boasts famous streets, restaurants and shops, but the West End is also synonymous with world-class theatre. West End theatres are open all-year round with popular musicals, new productions and entertainment for everyone.
We’ve got all the London theatre tips and tricks on how to get tickets for West End shows, as well as tips on where to sit, theatres to visit in London and where to book tickets. Read this comprehensive London theatre guide for all you need to know before booking tickets to a West End show.
Best West End shows to buy tickets to
With many West End shows to see in London, it can be difficult to decide which West End shows to buy tickets to. When you're booking London theatre tickets, we advise you to be flexible with your performance dates, so that you can guarantee better ticketing availability. Weekend performances typically sell out faster than weekday performances, so we advise booking a weekday performance to ensure you select the seats you want to avoid missing out.
If you're booking tickets for a popular West End show, or a long-running West End show, we advise booking tickets as soon as possible. This way, you can ensure you're seeing the show you're looking forward to and get excited to see live theatre. Many West End shows in London are booking performances for up to 12 months in advance, so plan your theatre trip ahead of others and get the seats you want.
We also advise being flexible with the show you want to see. If there's a few shows you want to see, why not let us help you with your next theatre trip? Read our London Theatre reviews and discover more about the latest West End productinos.
- Mamma Mia!
- The Lion King
- The Book of Mormon
- Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
- Matilda the Musical
- Frozen the Musical
- Back to the Future: The Musical
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Best West End shows for adults
Many West End shows are suitable for adult audiences. If you're looking for West End shows for adults, we recommend shows with a higher age rating. Shows with a higher age suitability are less likely to have children in the audience, so you can enjoy a adult night out. Here's some West End shows suitable for adults in London.
The Book of Mormon musical follows two missionaries, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, on their two-year mission to Uganda. While spreading their faith, the pair discover that religion is a contentious topic and not everyone will agree with them. The Book of Mormon is by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and they're joined by Robert Lopez. Listen out for hilarious songs such as "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream" and "All American Prophet." The Book of Mormon in London plays at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and you can book tickets now.
Dance, jive and have the time of your life at the Mamma Mia! musical. The feel-good ABBA show follows a young woman named Sophie who prepares for her wedding day. But before she ties the knot, Sophie wishes to find out who her father is once and for all, so invites all three potential men to the wedding without her mother knowing. Cue family chaos, relationship worries and arguments. But by the wedding day, the married couple isn't who you'd first expect. The ABBA musical includes many of ABBA's greatest hits, including "Take A Chance on Me," "Waterloo" and "Does Your Mother Know." Mamma Mia! plays in London at the Novello Theatre, and you can book tickets now.
Tina Turner isn't just a singer. She's an icon. Discover more about the soul-stirring sensation Tina Turner in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. The inspirational musical sees a young Anna-Mae Bullock grow up in Nutbush, Tennessee and break out of her community to become the global rock and roll star we recognise her as today. The musical isn't all glitz and glamour though. The show portrays her private life too, including her turbulent relationship to husband Ike Turner. No Tina Turner show is complete without a killer list of songs though: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical songs include "Proud Mary," "River Deep Mountain High" and "Private Dancer." Tina: The Tina Turner Musical plays in London at the Aldwych Theatre, and you can book tickets now.
Best West End shows for families
Entertain the little ones in the West End and introduce children to live theatre at family-friendly shows. Many West End shows have an age recommendation attached due to themes and topics discussed in a production. During the summer months, family-friendly theatre takes over the West End too, with shows such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Room on the Broom. Check out all the family theatre shows in London. Here's some West End shows suitable for families in London.
Feel the "Circle of Life" in the West End and see The Lion King in London. Based on the Disney film, The Lion King musical follows young lion cub and heir Simba as he bravely ventures across the Pride Lands of Africa to eventually become King. Along the way, Simba makes friends with animals Timon and Pumbaa, and must defeat his evil uncle Scar from assuming his rightful position. The Lion King musical includes songs by Elton John including "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "I Just Can't Wait To Be King." Plus, younger audience members will be in awe of a menagerie of puppets circling around the theatre. There's something for everyone in The Lion King in London. The Lion King plays in London at the Lyceum Theatre, and you can book tickets now.
Matilda the Musical follows the courageous story of Matilda Wormwood, a schoolgirl who dares to prove herself to the world. Audiences meet her as a gifted child who tries to show herself off, only to be met with begrudging parents and a wicked, bullying headmistress who is determined to crush her spirit. When Matilda confines in her teacher Miss Honey, the pair begin a school revolution and by the end, it pays off to be a little bit naughty! Younger audience members at Matilda the Musical will be inspired by Matilda's ability to dream big and her desire to continue learning. Matilda the Musical is based on Roald Dahl's children's book, and is cleverly adapted by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin. Matilda the Musical plays in London at the Cambridge Theatre, and you can book tickets now.
Step into a winter wonderland via Frozen the Musical in the West End. The hit Disney film starred Idina Menzel as queen Elsa as she defies her strong, icy powers to rule over Arendelle. Now, audiences can relive the movie magic in the Frozen musical, complete with all the popular Frozen songs including "For the First Time in Forever," "Love is an Open Door" and "Let It Go." Frozen the Musical is also at a newly-refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane, which now boasts new bars, afternoon tea services and a restaurant. Enjoy a family-friendly day at the theatre and see Frozen the Musical. Frozen the Musical plays in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and you can book tickets now.
Best West End shows for date nights
Date nights in the West End make for a great evening. Instead of catching dinner and drinks with your beau, why not spend a few romantic hours together at the theatre. See the romantic spectaculars in the West End, and fall in love with theatre. Here's the most romantic shows in London right now.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical focuses on four key themes: freedom, beauty, truth and love. Enjoy the blossoming love story between American writer Christian and stunning chanteuse Satine in this specatcular show. Moulin Rouge! The Musical features famous iconography from both the Parisian nightclub and the 2001 movie of the same name. Think elephants, giant windmills and high-kicking dancers to thrill and kick your date night up another level. Plus, with over 70 pop songs in Moulin Rouge! The Musical, you'll be singing the night away. Moulin Rouge! The Musical plays in London at the Piccadilly Theatre, and you can book tickets now.
The latest Cabaret revival in London adds an extra layer of sensuality and rawness to what you may first expect. From the moment you step in the theatre, you're welcomed in the Kit Kat Club, London's hottest date night location. There, you'll be guided around the venue with dancers and musicians around every corner. Then take your seat in the immersive, in-the-round theatre and wait for the action to begin. The Cabaret musical features an all-star cast who inject new life into Kander and Ebb's twentieth-century classic. Don't miss out on the Olivier-winning musical in London. Cabaret plays in London at the Kit Kat Club, and you can book tickets now.
Want to see a date night musical in London? Head to the West End's Pretty Woman: The Musical. The 1990 romcom is now a big, bright musical, and Edward Lewis and Vivian Ward's unconventional love story shines on stage. There's plenty of Hollywood glitz in the musical's creative team too: a rock score from Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and a story by Pretty Woman film creators Garry Marshall and J. F. Lawton. A date night at Pretty Woman: The Musical would be pretty big... no... huge! Pretty Woman: The Musical plays in London at the Savoy Theatre, and you can book tickets now.
How to buy West End theatre tickets
Booking London theatre tickets is simple on LondonTheatre.co.uk. On our site, you can browse the dozens of shows which are currently playing in London and book tickets to West End shows on right now. Theatre tickets on LondonTheatre.co.uk are available for plenty of West End and Off-West End shows right now, as well as shows coming soon. However, there's a couple of types of West End theatre tickets you may not be aware of. Take advantage of all the West End tickets on offer and see shows in London. Plan a future theatre trip and book tickets to shows opening soon. Here’s all the shows opening soon in London.
Day seats are theatre tickets which are available to purchase on the day of a performance. They're ideal for theatregoers who are looking to book tickets at the last-minute. Day seats often have excellent deals too, as you can purchase rush tickets and lottery tickets in the morning and see a show that same evening.
You can book tickets for performances on the same day on London Theatre. Check out our last-minute West End tickets availability and see a show now!
The vast majority of London theatre tickets allow each attendee to have their own seat. But some theatres will let patrons in to stand and watch a production. Audiences at Shakespeare's Globe can stand and watch a Shakespeare play, recreating a time-old tradition of 16th-century theatregoers standing for hours to see the newest Shakespeare plays of their time. Check out Shakespeare shows in London.
West End theatre recommendations and tips
If you're visiting a West End theatre for the first time, you may be apprehensive of what to do and how to behave at the theatre. Read below for tips and tricks on West End theatre recommendations.
What to wear at the theatre
You can wear any clothing you wish to go to the theatre. There is no theatre dress code, however many theatregoers will decide to dress up for the occasion. Going to the theatre is a special event after all! We recommend wearing smart-casual outfits that are appropriate for daytime and eveningwear. Here's a full list of recommended outfits for West End theatres.
What to eat at the theatre
If you're going to the theatre, then you are allowed to eat in the auditorium. Food in the theatre should be kept to a minimum though to respect the other theatregoers around you. We recommend eating soft foods like marshmallows, jellies sweets, and popcorn. Here's our tips on eating in the theatre and a handy guide to West End restaurants you can visit before or after seeing a show.
How to behave at the theatre
Seeing a West End show is always something to look forward to. So try to make sure that you don't impede on other people's theatregoing experiences. Maintaining theatre etiquette is an excellent way to ensure you and the people around you have a great time seeing a show. Here's our tips and tricks on West End theatre etiquette.
Theatres in the West End
Did you know there are over 200 theatres in London. Whatever street you walk down in London, it’s likely you’re just a few minutes away from an incredible theatre. Discover more about the history of London theatres and step into West End history every time you see a show.
West End Theatres
There are 38 West End theatres in London. The eldest West End theatre is the Theatre Royal Drury Lane which opened on 7 May 1663. The newest West End theatre is the Trafalgar Theatre which opened in 2021. Each West End theatre holds centuries of history in its walls. If you're visiting a West End theatre, we encourage you to walk around the building and see if you can spot nuggets of theatre history! Here's a map of all the West End theatres in London.
Off-West End Theatres
Away from the West End, London is packed with off-West End theatres that showcase extraordinary writing and acting talent in smaller playhouses. Typically, of-West End theatres hold shows for a limited engagement, however many off-West End shows transfer into the West End. We recommend visiting off-West End theatres such as the Barbican, the Bridge Theatre, the Lyric Hammersmith, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre.
Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that visiting the West End for the first time can be daunting. With so many shows currently playing, choosing what to see in the West End or where to sit in the theatre can be tricky. Check out our frequently asked questions below and let us help you. If we don't answer your question below, check out our dedicated London Theatre support site.
What are West End matinee shows?
Matinee shows are performances which take place in the afternoons. Typically, matinee performances start at 2:30pm and are the first performance of the day ahead of an evening performance. Matinee performances are a great way to see theatre at a quieter point in the week. Check out all the West End matinee shows currently in London.
What are West End evening shows?
Evening shows in the West End are the main performance times. Most West End shows will have eight performances a week, and the majority of these performances take place in the evening. Evening shows typically end past 10:00pm, so it’s worth noting the running time of a performance ahead of seeing a show. Find out all the West End running times.
When should I visit the West End?
Whatever time of year, visiting the West End is always thrilling! New productions open in the West End every month, so there’s always something exciting to look forward to. If you’re visiting in the summer months, there’s plenty of summer theatre to enjoy, and if you’re watching shows in the cold December nights, then there's lot of Christmas theatre in London to watch. Don't delay, head to the West End today!
How do I visit the West End?
The West End is the geographical term for an area of central London, typically where many of London’s biggest theatres are located. Many major tourist attractions in London are located in the West End, including Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Travelling into the West End is easiest on tube: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus stations serve the West End area.
What can I do in the West End?
There’s plenty to do in the West End! You could visit every day and never run out of things to do. We recommend seeing a show in London’s West End if you’re spending time in central London. Find out what’s on in London’s West End and book tickets now.
Where should I sit in West End theatres?
Choosing where to sit in West End theatres can be a tricky decision. Most West End theatres have three seating levels: stalls, dress circle, and upper circle. Typically, seats in the stall section that are closer to the stage are popular options, but wherever you sit in the theatre, you can guarantee and excellent time. Here’s our guide to where to sit in the theatre so you can find the right seat for your next theatre trip.
Sophie Thomas started writing for London Theatre in 2018. She’s a West End theatre lover who often shares the latest tips and tricks on London theatregoing, and you’ll often spot her either watching, listening of reading about musicals.
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