The Best Theatres in London's West End

Piccadilly Theatre
Piccadilly Theatre | © Wikimedia/Turquoisefish
Photo of Nicholas Atkins
4 September 2017

London’s West End is known for one thing above all else, the wide range of fantastic theatres. Here’s a run-down of five of the best.

Lyceum Theatre

Theatre
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Lyceum Theatre
Lyceum Theatre | © Wikimedia/Tom Morris
This glorious 2,000-seat theatre is located in the City of Westminster on Wellington Street, just off the Strand. This location is steeped in theatrical history. There has been a theatre called the Lyceum here since 1765, and the present site opened in 1834. The design of the interior of the theatre was unique because it had a balcony overhanging the circle, which was unheard of at the time. Speaking of the circle (of life), it is currently home to The Lion King.

New London Theatre

School, Theatre
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New London Theatre
New London Theatre | © Wikimedia/Edward
New London Theatre | © Wikimedia/Edward

As you might expect, this one doesn’t have as many years behind it as some of the grand old West End theatres featured. The current theatre here opened in 1973 and was designed to be flexible enough to be able to show unusual works and experimental productions. The theatre featured revolutionary features, including the large revolving mechanism, which allowed the stage, orchestra pit and some of the stalls seating to be turned 360°. The site does have a long and colourful history and has played host to entertainment venues as far back as the 1600s. It has hosted some of the great shows of recent times including the production of Grease in 1973, which launched the career of Richard Gere. It’s now the home of School Of Rock.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Theatre
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Clue is in the name again with this one. It has some serious royal connections with two royal boxes, which every monarch since the restoration has visited. It has been providing entertainment for the masses and the royals alike since 1663. The theatre is currently playing host to 42nd Street, Broadway‘s biggest show brought to the West End’s biggest stage.

Lyric Theatre

Theatre
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Lyric Theatre
Lyric Theatre | © Wikimedia/Andy Roberts
The spacious Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue has 915 seats (507 of them in the stalls/dress circle) over four levels. With several bars and a VIP room, there’s plenty of opportunities to wet your whistle before attending one of the world class productions on offer here. It is the oldest theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue and opened in December 1888. It has since hosted a huge range of comedy, drama and musicals, including a residency from Al Murray the Pub Landlord and Night Of The Iguana starring Woody Harrelson.

Piccadilly Theatre

Cinema, Theatre
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Piccadilly Theatre
Piccadilly Theatre | © Wikimedia/Turquoisefish
Hidden behind Piccadilly Circus on Denman Street, The Piccadilly Theatre has been the host of some of the biggest moments in entertainment history. In its early days, the Piccadilly operated as a cinema which premiered the very first talking picture ever to be shown in Britain, The Singing Fool with Al Jolson. It is currently showing the West End adaptation of Dirty Dancing, so get ready to sing such classics as ‘Hungry Eyes’ and ‘I’ve Had The Time Of My Life’ at the top of your voice!

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