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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 06 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Sarah Barrell

This is, without doubt, one of London’s most atmospherically set stages, encircled by Regent’s Park and its elegantly planted Queen Mary’s Garden. With the stage, bar and lawn picnic areas canopied by trees and latticed by climbing plants, fairy lights and lanterns, the magic begins even before the curtain goes up.

For the most part, there’s no curtain as such, although each show stages its production using the al fresco setting with varying degrees of ingenuity. Seasonal set pieces include crowd-pleasing Shakespeare plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night (the debut show in 1932), but the theatre has won a very respectable number of awards for productions that have transferred to the West End and Broadway.

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Price from: £25
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 1-3 hours

Getting there & doing it

Regent’s Park is a 10-minute walk from the Underground at Baker Street station, slightly further from Regent’s Park station. Or use buses that run along Marylebone Road or Baker Street.

Entry to the theatre is via the box office in Queen Mary’s Garden within Regent’s Park, accessed via York Gate, following York Bridge into the Inner Circle. Tickets are hugely popular and it’s essential to book in advance (through Ticketmaster or similar). There may be returns on the day but it’s impossible to guarantee.

When to do it

From May to September, performances go ahead rain or shine, the elements and changing light often interplaying spectacularly with action on stage, and the show may stop and start accordingly.  Shows are every evening apart from Sundays, with matinees usually on Thursdays and Saturdays. Come prepared for all weather (umbrellas are not permitted during a performance). The theatre does not operate outside these months.

On the rare occasion a show gets suspended entirely, tickets may be exchanged in accordance with the theatre’s weather policy.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Durrants Hotel

London, United Kingdom (UK)[1.2 miles]

This grand, family-run hotel has the warmth, intimacy and polished service of a gentlemen’s club in uber-trendy and sophisticated Marylebone.

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Undeniably the most glamorous and timeless of all London’s five-stars. This glorious Art Deco landmark and Mayfair institution is beloved by royalty, rock stars and fashionistas.

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St. Pancras Renaissance

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2 miles]

British heritage at its best in this landmark, Victorian railway hotel, moments from the Eurostar terminal.

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The Standard London

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2.1 miles]

One of London’s hippest hotels, set in a Brutalist 70’s building reimagined as a playful, stylish space.

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Greater London, United Kingdom (UK)

World-class culture, fashion, music, food and history – and a mind-boggling array of bucket list experiences – packed into one extraordinary, incomparable destination. 

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ZSL London Zoo

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.8 miles]

The world’s oldest scientific zoo, in London’s Regent’s Park, contains more than 650 species, including lions, tigers, gorillas and sloths.

Best for ages: Any | £35

British Museum

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2.2 miles]

An awe-inspiring collection of more than seven million artefacts spanning two million years, from prehistory to the present day. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles and a granite head of King Rameses II.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

Covent Garden

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2.7 miles]

This iconic and atmospheric West End square has a historic Victorian market building, street performers, restaurants and boutiques.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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Madame Tussauds

London, United Kingdom (UK)[0.6 miles]

Meet the queen, get a selfie with Stormzy and take the controls of the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca at the world’s leading and original wax museum.

Best for ages: 8+ | £30

Exterior view of the Library during the daytime

British Library

London, United Kingdom (UK)[1.9 miles]

One of the largest libraries in the world, containing an estimated 170-200 million items. Priceless exhibits include the Magna Carta, Beowulf, Captain Cook’s journal, and the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Royal Academy of Arts

London, United Kingdom (UK)[2.4 miles]

An 18th-century mansion of masterpieces sitting pretty on Piccadilly, home to one of Britain’s oldest collections of fine art and regular blockbuster exhibitions.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Exterior view of the grand building surrounding a large square

Somerset House

London, United Kingdom (UK)[3.2 miles]

Famous for its picturesque alfresco ice rink in winter and the Edmund J Safra fountains in the summer, this elegant neoclassical building is also home to an art gallery and upscale restaurant.

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