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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 25 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Sarah Barrell

London’s theatre and music scene is one of the oldest in the world – and its theatres and concert halls some of the most striking in design and architecture.

From the loving recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre on the Southbank to the Brutalist blocks of the National Theatre, and the ornate Royal Albert Hall, with its unbeatable acoustics for orchestras, the buildings are as much a part of the story as the plays and concerts you’ll see performed inside.

The famous ‘West End’ (around Covent Garden and Soho) is the centre of it all, home to a collection of historic theatres which house a mixture of long-running plays and musicals and short-running shows. But you’ll find great theatres as spread out as London Bridge, Hackney and Chelsea, too, often with a certain ethos, such as championing new writing or showcasing different styles of dance.

Recommendations

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National Theatre

London, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Exterior view of the theatre during the daytime

From classic drama to musical comedy, the National’s three stages (the Olivier, Lyttleton and Dorfman) epitomise the best of British theatre. Boundary-pushing, and world-class quality.

Adult price: £45

Min age 5

Best for ages 13+

Duration: -

Old Vic

London, United Kingdom (UK)

External side view of the theatre during the daytime

Thanks to artistic director Kevin Spacey, this 19th-century theatre has enjoying a glittering revival. One of London’s premier sites for performances by some of the world’s best-loved actors.

Adult price: £12

Min age 3

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1+ hours

Website >
More details >

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

London, United Kingdom (UK)

A full crowd viewing a show in the twilight hours

A magical leafy setting that’s as memorable as the shows themselves, Regent’s Park Outdoor Theatre is one of London’s must-do entertainment experiences.

Adult price: £25

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1-3 hours

Royal Albert Hall

London, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Exterior view of the hall during the daytime

London’s premier venue, this iconic circular Victorian concert hall hosts everything from circus acts to classical music, with perfectly-crafted acoustics.

Adult price: £15

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1+ hours

Royal Court Theatre

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Street view of the theatre building

London’s best-known platform for new playwrights. Effortlessly cool, intellectual, and influential, this is theatre at its most exciting.

Adult price: £12

Best for ages 18+

Duration: Varies

Website >
More details >

Shakespeare plays at The Globe

London, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
external view of the theatre, a round white building

Shakespeare’s works are brought vividly to life at this half-timbered, riverside replica of the Bard’s Elizabethan theatre. A pilgrimage for Shakespeare fans.

Adult price: £10

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 1-3 hours

When: April-October

Frequency: daily

West End Musicals

London, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
West End Musicals

See the world’s best theatre and musical theatre, staged in 40 magnificent, history-laden venues known as the ‘West End’.

Adult price: £45

Best for ages 8+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: Daily

Frequency: daily

Royal Opera House

London, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Exterior view of the opera house during the daytime

This grand setting in Covent Garden is home to both the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies, and the place for lavish, spectacular performances by the world’s leading singers and dancers.

Adult price: £45

Min age 5

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1-3 hours

Logistics

Price from: £20
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
Frequency: daily
When: All year round
Duration: Varies

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

London

Greater London, United Kingdom (UK)

view of houses of parliament at night

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