The best theatres in London are among the city’s most iconic staples of culture. West End is the city’s theatre district, with dozens of world-class venues showcasing high production performances that often feature big-name actors. If you're looking to see a variety of theatre productions, such as plays, dance, and classical music, this is the place to be. Tickets for in-demand plays come at hefty prices, but you can still catch a show in London if you’re flexible with your dates and times.

    While theatrical greats are easy to find in London, you can visit fringe theatres for equally impressive productions. Shows are presented by local troupes and offer more immersive viewing experiences that the grand halls of West End theatres often lack. Whichever you prefer, you'll find no shortage of performances available among the best theatres in London.

    1

    Shakespeare's Globe

    Visit London's Shakespearean centre

    Shakespeare's Globe is a recreation of the Globe Theatre where you can enjoy the classic works of Shakespeare performed under similar conditions as the plays originally were during their debut. This Shakespeare exclusive venue is frequently considered to be the best place in the city to see Shakespeare plays. While Shakespeare's Globe is a recreation of the original 17th century Globe Theatre, it doesn't allow for the same number of spectators. Modern safety standards have reduced the number of attendees to 1,400, rather than the original 3,000. You'll find this theatre along the Thames’ south bank by Millennium Bridge.

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    Location: 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2079 021400

    Map
    2

    Royal Opera House

    Enjoy high-class performances

    The Royal Opera House is a popular theatre where you'll find plays, operas and ballet performances by some of the most critically acclaimed performers in the world. You'll find numerous productions performed every year with many centred around particular holidays. While both the building and the performances tend to elicit images of high society and historical opulence, the theatre itself is quite welcoming towards people from all walks of life. No dress code is required other than wearing what you find to be comfortable within reasonable standards of decency. You'll find this theatre just a short walk east of Covent Garden station.

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    Location: Bow St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2072 401200

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    3

    Young Vic

    Find high-quality theatre at a low cost

    Young Vic is a performing arts venue that's dedicated to showcasing a wide variety of theatrical productions while maintaining accessibility and affordability for all who want to partake. Its commitment to affordability was cemented back when it was part of the National Theatre run by Laurence Olivier. In the modern theatre, you'll find a thrust stage setup with a seating capacity of 420, so it creates a much more intimate and informal atmosphere when you see a show. The performances can vary quite a bit, as they'll play classics and new productions alike. You'll find it all just a short walk from London Waterloo East.

    Location: 66 The Cut, Bishop's, London SE1 8LZ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2079 222922

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    photo by Ewan Munro (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    4

    Sadler's Wells

    Enjoy inspiring dance performances

    Sadler's Wells is a world-leading theatre focused on the art of dance with more than 3 centuries of rich history and a diverse programme of performances. The production company here is one of the most well-known in the world, and they produce more original performances than any other theatre in the world. Since 2005 alone, more than 170 new dance performances have been brought to the stage. You can experience it all for yourself on the northern end of Clerkenwell just south of Angel Station.

    Location: Rosebery Ave, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4TN, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2078 638000

    Map

    photo by Sadler's Wells Theatre (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    National Theatre

    Experience three theatres in one

    The National Theatre or Royal National Theatre is one of the most prominent theatres in the city and features 3 distinct theatres with various offerings. The first is the Olivier Theatre, which is named after the theatre's first artistic director and legend Laurence Olivier. It has plenty of seating for 1,100 people, and it's modelled after the theatre at Epidaurus. You can also visit the Lyttelton Theatre, which is slightly smaller with a proscenium arch design that fits 890 spectators. Finally, the Dorfman Theatre is more intimate with a capacity of 400 people. You can explore it all on Southbank just past the Waterloo Bridge.

    Location: Upper Ground, Bishop's, London SE1 9PX, UK

    Open: Most shows begin at 7 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)2074 523060

    Map
    6

    Barbican

    Visit a comprehensive arts centre

    The Barbican is a performing arts centre that not only hosts concerts and plays, but it also showcases film screenings and art exhibitions of both the classic and contemporary varieties. It's the home of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In addition to the theatre offerings, you'll also find some bonus features, like a library, several interesting restaurants and a conservatory. You can see it all for yourself among the Barbican estate in the City of London.

    Location: Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 7 pm, Saturday–Sunday from noon to 7 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)2076 384141

    Map
    7

    London Coliseum

    Enjoy luxurious theatre

    The London Coliseum is a luxurious theatre and the largest in all of London where you can enjoy high-end opera and ballet performances. In total, you'll find 2,359 seats inside, so you can expect impressive and grand performances on its stage. The building is luxurious with a massive proscenium arch that is the widest in the city, along with a triple revolving stage, though that feature isn't used often. You'll even find lifts for step-free access to every level of seating except for the Upper Circle. See it all for yourself in Covent Garden just a few steps from Leicester Square Station.

    Location: London Coliseum, St Martin's Ln, London WC2N 4ES, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +44 (0)2078 459300

    Map

    photo by Colin (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    8

    Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

    Visit an open-air theatre

    Regent's Park Open Air Theatre is a theatre in the park where you can see outdoor performances that predominantly consist of musical concerts and stage plays. It's large for an outdoor theatre with more than 1,200 seats, and it frequently hosts classic productions with Shakespeare plays and classics like Peter Pan. It's also important to note that this theatre has the biggest bar of any theatre in London. It runs the entire length of the stands, circling around their backside on the ground. You can see it all for yourself in The Regent's Park by Queen Mary's Rose Gardens.

    Location: The Regent's Park, Inner Cir, London NW1 4NU, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)3334 003562

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    photo by TomJAnderson (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    The Old Vic

    Visit the birthplace of legends

    The Old Vic is a historic and world-famous theatre known for its supreme cast, who often goes on to star in their own right, and that usually returns for productions. When you visit this theatre, depending on the show you see, you might just be sitting amongst a stage graced by legends. They host a variety of different productions, including classics and contemporary works starring icons of stage and screen, like Clair Foy, Daniel Radcliffe and Indira Varma. Check it out for yourself in The Cut, just a short walk from Waterloo Station.

    Location: The Cut, Bishop's, London SE1 8NB, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)8448 717628

    Map

    photo by Kwh1050 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Unicorn Theatre

    Explore theatre for younger audiences

    Unicorn Theatre is specially designed to appeal to younger audiences from children to young adults with family-friendly productions that adults can enjoy as well. When you look through their programme, you'll find recommended ages for each production. Most shows tend to fall within the pre-teen to the teenage range, but you'll also find some catered towards kids as young as 2 years old. Whatever you're looking to see, you'll find all their showings just a few steps west from Potters Fields Park by the Tower Bridge.

    Location: 147 Tooley St, London SE1 2HZ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2076 450560

    Map

    photo by Stmike7 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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