A London theatre weekend is a great way to enjoy one of England’s most special cultural attractions. Theatre lovers and aspiring thespians with stars in their eyes flock to England’s capital to experience all that the West End has to offer.
Arranging a London theatre weekend can seem a little overwhelming. There are so many theatres, so many wonderful plays to see and so many accommodation options to choose from.
With London’s high accommodation costs and its sheer size, it’s important to plan ahead so that your weekend in London goes as smoothly as possible.
London Theatre Tickets
When you are heading to London for a theatre getaway, the price of tickets vary greatly, depending on the play and the day of the week. Matinee shows are usually cheaper.
The newer and more in demand the production, the more expensive tickets can be. Students and under 26’s can get discounted tickets.
Preview shows are a great way to get cheap tickets, and to see new productions before most people. Bear in mind that the performance may not be as perfect as if you wait until the official opening.
If you aren’t too fussed about seeing the latest show, you can choose one that’s been running for a while to help keep your costs down.
If you are headed to London for a theatre weekend, you may want to purchase your theatre tickets before you come. Websites like London Theatre Direct, LastMinute and TimeOut sell discounted tickets, so it’s a good idea to check them out.
LastMinute has a section with offers for theatre tickets and a meal, as well as an under £15 section. Just make sure you click right through to see the date, time and seats that are being offered before you commit! With theatre tickets going for as much as £100, a £15 ticket could have a restricted view of the stage.
However, buying online may not be the cheapest way to experience the West End.
Buying London Theatre tickets in London
The Leicester Square ticket booth, TKTS at the Clocktower Building offers cheap tickets. It’s run by the Society of London Theatre and you can score up to half price tickets. You may have to queue, but it’s worth it.
You can also try your luck at individual box offices before a show starts. No-shows and other tickets may be available for cheap prices, but you may not get lucky at all, so it’s a little risky!
Where to Stay in London for a Theatre Weekend
As London’s West End is in Central London, accommodation prices nearby are very high. When I went to see Mamma Mia at the Novello theatre in February, we stayed at a Travelodge that was a 6 minute walk from the theatre.
A double room at the Travelodge Central Covet Garden cost £141 for two nights, between two people. The rooms were really clean and the hotel had a bar and offered breakfast. It was convenient and had all that we needed.
If you are travelling in a group, an AirBnB is always an option.
It’s important to realise how spread out London is. If you book somewhere far from Central London, you could find yourself spending a lot of time on public transport making your way from one side of the city to another. If you are only visiting London for a weekend, you don’t want to be spending half that time riding the Underground.
Eating in London
There’s a Pret-a-Manger on almost every street in London, or so it seems. They sell breakfast and lunch items which are really tasty. I have such a weakness for their bircher muesli and any kind of pastry, so we ate breakfast there each day during our weekend in London.
England is famous for its breakfasts, and you can get delicious traditional breakfast fries and brunch offerings for under £10 in London.
London is home to an array of flavours and prices to match your budget. Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants can all be affordable.
British supermarkets are handy for picking up lunch items and snacks during the day.
Pre-Theatre Dining in London
In London’s theatre district, there are lots of restaurants that offer reasonable pre-theatre menus. We discovered an amazing place between our hotel and the Novello theatre that I can’t wait to tell you about!
Sarastro is a magical find, and sure to excite any theatre lover. Inside is an explosion of colour and atmosphere, with lots of little theatre box dining nooks that offer intimate dining with theatrical flair.
We sat in one of the upper levels and had to climb a little ladder to reach our table. It was a lot of fun!
Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me, so the photographs I took are bad really quality.
The pre-theatre set menu cost £17.50 per person. For starters, we got hummus, samosa-like parcels filled with oozing melted cheese and a tzatziki like yoghurt and cucumber dip.
The main course options were more traditional. I got a lasagne, my sister got salmon which came with an almond potato croquette shaped like a pear! My mom went for the chicken.
The combination of Middle Eastern cuisine and more traditional food was ideal, as there’s something for everyone.
The service was really efficient too, and we didn’t feel rushed. All in all, I couldn’t recommend this place any more for a pre-theatre dinner!