Home to over 40 venues, West End is London’s main theatre district and has hosted productions since the time of William Shakespeare. Along with Broadway in New York City, West End Theatre continues to set the benchmark for commercial theatre around the world and is home to some of the biggest theatre productions and actors in history.
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The theatre district in London is renowned for a reason. London's West End is home to a number of some of the world's most famous, top-rated, and longest-running shows.
Along with famous musicals like Les Misérables, The Phantom Of The Opera, Mamma Mia!, The Lion King, there are abundant productions and plays in London to see. Murder mysteries, horror shows, romantic shows, comedies, opera, dance – you will find it all in London's West End. You may also see some of the biggest celebrities on stage and on film perform live.
While there is no particular dress code as such when it comes to London Theatre, it is best to wear something semi-casual or semi-formal and something comfortable. As such, jeans are okay, but sweatpants are to be avoided.
Most theatres at West End are air-conditioned, and it can get a bit cold inside the theatre during showtime. So, it is prudent to also carry a light jacket, cardigan, or sweater, just in case.
The duration of West End shows varies but they usually last for 2.5 to 3 hours with an interval included.
Most London Theatre shows usually start around 7 or 7:30 PM in the evenings. There are also some matinee shows during the afternoon on some days during 2 to 4 PM. However, the timings of each show tend to differ so do check your show's timings before booking your tickets.
Yes, London Theatre shows do take place during the day. These day time performances are known as matinee shows.
London's theatre district is properly connected by various means of public transport which makes getting there quite easy. While walking around and exploring is a good option in West End, when short on time you might want to use public transport to get around. Taking the tube or the underground metro is one of the most popular and efficient ways to get there.
Popular West End stations:
What time should I arrive at the theatre before the show?
It is ideal to arrive at least thirty minutes before the showtime.
Inside London Theatre District
Food and drinks are generally not permitted inside the theatre. Most London Theatres do however house a cafe, bar, or restaurant on the premises.
Choosing the right type of seat at a West End show is almost as important as the show itself. The unique experience of watching your favorite story come alive on stage can be diminished if you choose the wrong seats where you have to crane your neck or are not even able to see the stage. To make the most of your London Theatre experience, it is prudent to choose the best seats with your London Theatre Tickets.
Most London theatres have 3 sections: the Stalls, Dress/Royal Circle, and the Upper/Grand Circle. However, many smaller theatres have only 2 sections: Stalls and Dress Circle. A few theatres like the Lyric Theatre have 4 sections, with the added section being the Balcony.
Here's a quick guide to help you understand the London Theatre tickets and seat types a bit better.
The section in the theatres closest to the stage are known as the Stalls section. For this reason, it is the most popular among all the other sections. It is said that for the best views, one should opt for rows 6-8 within the Stalls since these rows offer seats that are nether too close nor too far from the stage.
Anyone looking for the best seat in the house should book a seat in the Stall section. Since the seats in the stall are closest to the stage, the audience can get a clear view of the stage.
Since the seats in the Stalls are closest to the stage, they are also the most expensive in the house. The views from the front rows in the Stall are arguably the best and they also place you closer to the action.
The Stalls undoubtedly offers the best view of the stage. Since this section is located closest to the stage, the viewers get to enjoy a full, clear view, with no obstructions.
The Dress Circle is the first elevated section in a West End theatre. Seats in this section will have you looking down at the stage rather than looking up, as is the case with seats in the Stalls. For the best views, head over to the middle section of the Dress Circle.
The Dress Circle is cheaper than the Stalls, but more expensive than the other two sections.
Those viewers looking for good views with affordable pricing can book a ticket at the Dress Circle. In fact, front central seats in the Dress Circle are considered to be among the best seats in the house with their panoramic views of the stage.
The Dress Circle offers an unrestricted view of the stage. Since the Dress Circle is elevated, the viewers get to look down at the stage, which offers a better experience.
The Grand Circle is the second elevated section in a West End theatre and is located above and behind the Dress Circle. While it is quite far from the stage, some seats in this section may offer decent views if the layout of the theatre is favorable.
Since the seats here are located quite a distance away from the action, the Grand Circle fall under the “budget” category.
If you are looking for a budget West End experience and choosing between front seats in the Grand Circle and the back rows of the Dress Circle, then go for the front few rows of the Grand Circle.
Since the Grand Circle is located quite far away from the stage, the view it offers is not the best. In fact, the last few rows of this section may only offer a restricted view of the stage.
Theatres with a large seating capacity have an additional section which is known as the Balcony. It forms the highest seating level in the theatre. Since the Balcony is farthest away from the stage, you can not expect a great view of the stage.
Since the Balcony is situated farthest away from the stage, it is quite cheap.
Those viewers who are looking for the cheapest tickets and are willing to compromise on the view should book a Balcony ticket.
Since the Balcony section is the furthest away from the stage, viewers may not have a clear view of the stage.
The best and most efficient way to buy London Theatre tickets is by purchasing them online. Not only do you get to skip the hassle of standing in long queues, but online tickets are also safe and they encourage contactless transactions.
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London theatre tickets generally range from around £10 to £120, depending on the show and the seats you choose.
The West End is located in a region in Central London, north of the River Thames. The district is home to several major entertainment venues, theatres, shops and businesses.
The average run time of a London theatre show ranges from 2 hours to 2 hours 45 minutes.
Most evening performances of London theatre shows begin around 7:30 PM. Most theatres are also closed on either Sundays or Mondays.
The seats in the Stalls section are the closest to the stage. This closeness makes these the most coveted and expensive seats in the house. The middle section of the Dress Circle also has great views of the stage.
The Apollo Victoria Theatre is the largest West End theatre in London. The theatre can accommodate 2384 guests at a time.
Yes, you can gift London theatre tickets to a friend by booking them online at www.london-theater-tickets.com. All you need to do is enter their details on the payment page and the ticket will be registered in their name.
There is no official dress code to attend a show at the West End. Many theatregoers wear jeans and T-shirts to shows. However, you might want to dress up in smart casuals or formals to avoid standing out in a crowd.
Generally, children under 16 are not allowed to attend West End theatres without adult supervision. Most theatres do not allow children under the age of 5 to enter any show. However, most London theatre shows have individual recommended age limits depending on the show’s subject matter.
Generally, children above 5 years are expected to pay full price for a London theatre ticket.
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