A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without immersing yourself in London’s West End and seeing a show. Offering some of the best plays and musicals in the world, London is the place to see the theatre in all its glory. We’ve highlighted some of the West End’s biggest and most notable venues.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The West End boasts 39 theatres with the oldest being the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane which opened in 1663. The theatre has undergone multiple renovations over the years and hosted various notable productions since 1919 including Cinderella, My Fair Lady, Oliver!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Frozen. There’s even been sightings of ghosts around the theatre leading it to be dubbed as one of the world’s most haunted theatres – although many say that a sighting of one signals good luck for an actor or a production!
Getting there: 20 minutes via Tube; take the Central Line from Lancaster Gate to Holborn, then walk nine minutes.
The London Palladium
Another notable theatre is The London Palladium which has not only hosted an array of shows but it has hosted one-off performances including concerts, TV specials and pantomimes. It has also welcomed the Royal Variety Performance more than 40 times. Today the theatre sees an array of productions with something for everyone to enjoy – from live podcasts and concerts to your favourite musical and play.
Getting there: Nine minutes via Tube; take the Central Line from Lancaster Gate to Oxford Circus, then walk two minutes.
Did you know that the Savoy Theatre was the first public building in the world to be lit by incandescent electric lights? Opening in 1881, this theatre has undergone multiple renovations and is now home to some of the best live entertainment around the world, notably Pretty Woman, the musical. The theatre has also hosted many famous premieres including the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and the first public performance in England of Oscar Wilde’s Salome.
Getting there: 22 minutes via Tube; take the Central Line from Lancaster Gate to Tottenham Court Road and change to the Northern Line to Charing Cross then walk five minutes.
The Lyceum Theatre
Dating back to 1765, The Lyceum Theatre has taken many different forms over the years and has welcomed many well-known bands including Rolling Stone, Queen and Prince. With a capacity now of 2,100 it has been home to some of the biggest and most popular musicals of the West End, including Disney’s The Lion King.
Getting there: 20 minutes via Tube; take the Central Line from Lancaster Gate to Holborn, then walk 11 minutes.
Operating as a cinema in part of its early life, the venue made entertainment history when it premiered the very first talking picture to be shown in Britain. Many famous stars have graced the stage here over the years including the likes of Henry Fonda, Judi Dench and Dame Edna. Piccadilly Theatre notably hosted Swan Lake in the 1990’s, a time where ballet and dance began to expand.
Getting there: 17 minutes via Tube; take the Central Line from Lancaster Gate to Oxford Circus and take the Bakerloo Line to Piccadilly Circus, then walk two minutes.
Her Majesty’s Theatre
First opening as the Kings Theatre in 1714 on the accession of George I, it was renamed Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1837 and takes its name based on the gender of the Monarch. Having started out as an opera house, this theatre has become a key venue for London’s live performance scene and hosts the West End’s second longest production, The Phantom of the Opera.
Getting there: 19 minutes via Tube; take the Central Line from Lancaster Gate to Oxford Circus and take the Bakerloo Line to Piccadilly Circus, then walk one minute.