As one would expect London has some of the best theatres in Europe and perhaps the world. In particular the West End is very well known to be the home of the top shows in the city. Tickets for some shows can be quite pricey, however if you check for deals online chances are you’ll find tickets for fairly reasonable prices. The ones located in the West End are mostly commercial theatres. We’ve talked about nightclubs and other venues in London that are suitable for a night out. Now it’s time to get cultured and talk about the arts and theatre. There are dozens of theatres in London and the most notable ones feature well known productions that no one should miss. In the Royal Opera House fans of this particular genre will have their socks knocked off. People who move to London from a smaller town will have a blast watching all the shows that are featured in the top 10 London theatres. Not all theatres are situated in West London as there are many non-commercial ones in other parts of the city. If you are at all interested in theatre make sure to check out our list of London’s best theatres below.
The Old Vic is one of London’s most historic theatres. It first opened its doors and raised its curtains in 1818 and ever since then it has made its way into art and theatre folklore. Hollywood star Kevin Spacey ran the theatre for eleven years and thanks to him the theatre and building have been brought back to its former glory. Today they try and host different types of shows and musicals and their program has certainly become more eclectic.
Visiting address: 103 The Cut, Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8NB
Some say that the National Theatre in London is the finest one in the world. Whether that’s true or not should be left to experts to decide but theatre goers will most definitely enjoy all the shows here. The building itself is a true London landmark and is considered to be England’s finest example of brutalist architecture. Rufus Norris is the current artistic director and his program often revolves around slightly edgier shows. Check out their website for more information and ticket prices.
Visiting address: South Bank, London, SE1 9PX
The Young Vic was established back in 1970 as a more youthful alternative to the National Theatre or the Old Vic. Over these five decades it has grown into one of the world’s most influential theatres. In the Young Vic people have the chance to see classic shows well known to most people but with a production twist that makes them more in sync with modern times. It also boasts a pretty neat bar but above all it’s important to point out that ticket prices here are more than reasonable and is one of the rare theatres that attracts plenty of young people.
Visiting address: 66 The Cut, London, SE1 8LZ
This London theatre goes back all the way to the ‘50s when it first made a name for itself. Its current art director Vicky Featherstone has developed a much more experimental approach towards her productions. In the world of acting and art it lacks the influence some other theatres have but the RCT had a bright past and hopefully it will continue building a reputation for being a cutting edge venue that doesn’t shy away from trying out new things.
Visiting address: 50-51 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS
The original Globe Theatre burned down after an accident on the stage when a cannon set fire to the building’s roof in 1613. It was here where Shakespeare’s plays were first staged. Almost half a millennium later the building was rebuilt not far from its original location. As you’d expect most of the plays here are works of the legendary Shakespeare. Even if you don’t catch a show here it’s still a neat venue that should be explored.
Visiting address: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT
The Lyric Hammersmith isn’t just a leftfield theatre. It boasts recording studios and many other rooms that are suitable for different kinds of content creation. In 2015 it underwent a multi-million renovation and so far it’s been a massive success. The theatre and stage are original and date back to the Victorian era. So it retains some of the classic features despite it being a very modern and trendy London venue and theatre. Their roof terrace is a perfect place to have a bite and a quick drink.
Visiting address: Lyric Square, King Street, London, W6 0QL
The Barbican Center is a multi-purpose venue that hosts art exhibitions, theatre shows and productions, movie screenings, and concerts. The theatre has a capacity of 1,156 people. The Center itself is unlike anything else that can be found in Europe and should definitely take a spot on the list of the top London theatres. A neat little factoid is that the theatre was designed for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Quality theatre productions are always on the program here so make sure to check out their website for more information.
Visiting address: Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Wyndham’s Theatre originally opened back in 1899 and over its century of operating it has been home to some iconic shows. The Boy Friend ran an unbelievable 2078 time and gained so much popularity that it was transferred to Broadway. In more recent years it has been host to premiers of shows like The Ride Down Mount Morgan by Arthur Miller and the British premier of Three Tall Women from Edward Albee.
Visiting address: Charing Cross Road, Soho, London, WC2H 0DA
2. Theatre Royal Drury Lane
As always we’re saving the best ones for last. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is London’s oldest theatre and it’s the most stunning one as well. The palatial auditorium will leave many people speechless as it looks absolutely awe inspiring. Charles II ordered the building of a theatre on this spot in 1662. The current auditorium still retains many of the features from its 1820 version of the building. After WW2 the theatre became very popular mostly thanks to its tremendous musicals like Oklahoma South Pacific and Miss Saigon.
It was during the 1990’s when the Almeida Theatre became an influential and important London arts venue. And it’s mostly thanks to the work of Jonathan Kent who took it over in the beginning of that decade. In twelve short years it had fourteen West End transfers. In a short period of time interest was so high that booking and reserving tickets was essential. The building itself has a well-deserved Grade II listing.
Visiting address: Almeida Street, Islington, London, N1 1TA