A guide to the best theatres in London

people walking on the street near building

Is London the best destination in the world for theatre?

With a theatre district to rival Broadway in New York as well as a multitude of historic performance venues, London is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to see a live show. Where else in the world can you see Shakespeare performed on the site of the bard’s original playhouse just a short train ride away from some of the best productions of the 21st century?

Use this guide to the best theatres in London to help make your time in England’s capital city completely unforgettable.

The West End

London’s must-visit theatre location is, of course, the West End. Home to iconic nightlife areas such as Piccadilly Circus and arty Covent Garden, there is much to explore here other than the theatres. However, it is the shows that make the West End such a popular tourist hotspot. 39 theatres act as the backdrop for a vast range of world-class shows from colourful musicals to haunting plays. A great option for children is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre, or Cambridge Theatre’s Matilda The Musical.

Shakespeare’s Globe

Before the West End came into its glitzy glory, a different part of London was known for its playhouses. Head further down the River Thames to Southwark Bridge and you will find The Globe Theatre, a reconstruction of the playhouse where Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed. Watch classic interpretations of Shakespeare’s most loved plays in a mock-up of an authentic 1600s setting.

National Theatre

In complete contrast to the old-world charm of The Globe is the National Theatre. Set just a little way further up the Thames, this modern masterpiece offers tourists the chance to see a collection of contemporary plays, from thought-provoking comedies to tear-jerking tragedies. As a charity, the National Theatre is committed to bringing theatre to everyone and there are often talks and teachings to be enjoyed alongside the performances. This venue aims to welcome all no matter their age or background, so you are sure to find something that appeals.

Royal Albert Hall

Another unmissable theatre in London is the Royal Albert Hall. This striking building has a rich history spanning 150 years and masterful Victorian architecture to match. As beautiful on the inside as it is from the outside, the Royal Albert Hall is the perfect venue for an anniversary or special occasion where you want to feel regal for a day. It is primarily used for grand music concerts as it has the perfect acoustics for orchestral performances, but there is also theatre to be enjoyed here like the special Cirque de Soleil production that is currently running until March 2023.

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