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Cultural day trip: The best musicals & theatre shows in London

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Sunday Theatre Shows in London’s West End

Best musicals and theatre shows in London

Fancy a cultural day trip to the capital city? These musicals and theatre shows in London make for a brilliant day out.

London’s West End is well known as the place to enjoy an exciting musical production or a heavy-weight theatre show.

From long-running hit shows such as The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera, which have been entertaining audiences for decades, to most recent ones like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – musicals and theatre shows in London make for an enjoyable visit to the capital city.

What’s more, musicals and theatre shows in London are more accessible than ever, with many offering additional weekend matinee and evening performances. Opting for theatre shows in London’s theatreland at the weekend allows for a more leisurely and family-friendly pace in the city; the transport network is quieter, and the crowds are more tolerable.

So, if you’re looking to go beyond Oxfordshire on a cultural day trip, do consider seeing one of the musicals and theatre shows in London listed below. We’ve considered everything from budget, genres and cast to ensure there’s something on the list for everyone. Go on then, it might just be a brilliant way to spend an afternoon or evening, giving your week a fun-filled theatrical finish.

 

1. Disney’s The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre

Disney’s The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre

Now in its 22nd year at London’s Lyceum Theatre, Disney’s The Lion King is a unique theatrical event seen by over 110 million people worldwide. As the sun rises and the city reawakens, watch in awe as giraffes strut, gazelles leap and birds swoop, bringing the Serengeti – and the story of Simba – to life all around you. Ingenious puppetry, stunning effects and enchanting music by Elton John, Tim Rice and Lebo M will transport you to the heart of the African Pridelands.

Age guidance: 6+

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes including interval

Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7RQ

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2. Wicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre

Wicked at The Apollo Victoria Theatre, London

Wicked, the West End musical phenomenon is probably “London’s No 1 show”. With music and lyrics by multi-Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winner Stephen Schwartz and a book by Tony Award-nominee Winnie Holzman, this “devilishly clever spin on The Wizard of Oz” (The Daily Telegraph) is currently the ninth longest-running West End musical of all time, having been seen at the Apollo Victoria Theatre London by over ten million people.

Age guidance: 7+

Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval

Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LG

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3. Disney’s FROZEN: The Musical at Theatre Royal London

Disney’s FROZEN: The Musical at Theatre Royal London

Disney’s FROZEN – the beloved animated film that always gives us chills – is now playing in London’s West End. For the first time in forever, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane has reopened its doors, bringing Elsa and Anna’s story to the stage in this heart-melting theatrical production. With incredible special effects, jaw-dropping scenery, and all the songs you know and love, it’s an unmissable experience that will stay with you long after the curtain falls.

Age guidance: 6+

Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes including interval

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JF

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4. Pretty Woman: The Musical at Savoy Theatre

Pretty Woman: The Musical at Savoy Theatre, London

Once upon a time in the late ’80s, Vivian met Edward, and her life changed forever. It’s time to head back to Beverly Hills and experience one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time live on stage at its glamorous new home – the Savoy Theatre. Get ready to fall in love in London with the record-breaking box office smash-hit. Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Savoy Theatre will lift your spirits and light up your heart.

Age guidance: 12+ contains some moderate sexual references.

Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes including interval.

Savoy Theatre, Savoy Court, The Strand, London WC2R 0ET

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5. Jersey Boys at Trafalgar Theatre

Jersey Boys at Trafalgar Theatre, London

Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Olivier Award-winning, true-life phenomenon, Jersey Boys. They were just four guys from New Jersey until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of it. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jersey Boys brings you on a fabulous journey of fame, friendship and music.

Age guidance: 12+, parental guidance advised as show contains language that may not be suitable for younger audiences.

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes incl. interval

Trafalgar Theatre, 14 Whitehall, Westminster, London SW1A 2DY

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6. Back to the Future: The Musical at the Adelphi Theatre

Back to the Future: The Musical at the Adelphi Theatre

Welcome to Hill Valley! Take an electrifying ride back in time with the 1985 blockbuster film and pop culture phenomenon. The production features original music by multi-Grammy winners alongside hit songs from the movie, including The Power of Love, Johnny B. Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time. When Back to the Future: The Musical hits 88mph, you’re gonna see some serious… entertainment. Book your tickets yesterday!

Age guidance: 6+

Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes including interval

The show includes flashing lights, strobe effects, smoke and pyrotechnics throughout.

Adelphi Theatre, 409-412 Strand, London WC2R 0NS

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7. Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Far beneath the majesty and splendour of the Paris Opera House hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protégée Christine Daaé is so strong that even her heart cannot resist. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mesmerising score, along with jaw-dropping scenery and breathtaking special effects, magically combine to bring this tragic love story to life.

Age guidance: 8+

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes including interval

Her Majesty’s Theatre, 57 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QL

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8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace Theatre

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The critically acclaimed production is the most awarded West End play in the history of the Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking nine awards, including Best New Play and Best Director in 2017.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is one play presented in two parts that are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.

Age guidance: 10+

Duration: Part One – 2 hours and 40 minutes including interval. Part Two – 2 hours and 35 minutes including interval.

Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 5AY

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9. Matilda The Musical at Cambridge Theatre

Matilda The Musical at Cambridge Theatre

Winner of seven Olivier Awards and over 90 international awards, Matilda The Musical is the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl. With a book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, this is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Age guidance: 6+

Duration: 2 hours 35 minutes including interval.

Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9HU

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10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Gillian Lynne Theatre

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Gillian Lynne Theatre

A new major production of CS Lewis’ classic tale comes to the West End this summer. Step through the wardrobe into the magical kingdom of Narnia for the most mystical of adventures in a faraway land. Join Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they wave goodbye to wartime Britain and say hello to a talking Faun, an unforgettable Lion and the coldest, cruellest White Witch. Voted the nation’s favourite novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe now comes to the stage starring Samantha Womack as the White Witch and is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages.

Age guidance: 6+

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes including a 20 minute interval.

Gillian Lynne Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PF

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11. TINA: The Tina Turner Musical at Aldwych Theatre

 TINA: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre, London

From humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules – she rewrote them. TINA: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race. Her live shows have been seen by millions and she can boast to have sold more concert tickets than any other solo performer…. ever!

Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.

Aldwych Theatre, 49 Aldwych, Holborn, London WC2B 4DF

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12. SIX the Musical at London’s Vaudeville Theatre

SIX the musical at Vaudeville Theatre, London

Critically acclaimed with a spectacularly successful studio album adored on playlists across the globe, this sell-out intoxicating Tudor show sees the six wives of the infamous Henry VIII take to the stage to tell their stories in a pop concert that takes inspiration from some of the biggest modern-day artists. Boundary-pushing, genre-redefining’ (The Australian), SIX, ‘the most uplifting piece of new British musical theatre,’ (Evening Standard) is holding court at London’s Vaudeville Theatre.

Age guidance: 10+

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Duration: 80 minutes with no interval.

Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, Charing Cross, London WC2R 0NH

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13. Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeares Globe

Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeares Globe

April 1945, Northern Italy. Following years of war, Leonata and her daughters reopen their battle-scarred palazzo for a celebration to welcome the partisan soldiers back from recent hard-fought victories. Young lovers Hero and Claudio and proud singletons Beatrice and Benedick have their limits tested like never before in a wild mix of games, pranks and mischievous plots. See Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes reignited this Summer with a riotous new production of Much Ado About Nothing in the Globe Theatre.

Duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes, including an interval

Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

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14. Grease The Musical at the Dominion Theatre

Grease The Musical at Dominion Theatre

After a whirlwind summer romance, leather-clad greaser Danny and girl-next-door Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High for senior year. But can they survive the trials and tribulations of teenage life and find true love once more? Grittier and more electrifying than ever before, the world’s best-loved musical returns triumphantly to the Dominion Theatre with Peter Andre as Vince Fontaine and bursting with hits including Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Hopelessly Devoted to You, and You’re the One That I Want.

Age guidance: 7+. Children under the age of 5 cannot be admitted. Children aged 15 or under must be accompanied by an adult.

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes, including interval

Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7AQ

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15. Moulin Rouge! The Musical at Piccadilly Theatre

Moulin Rouge! The Musical at Piccadilly Theatre

Enter a world of splendour, eye-popping excess, glitz, grandeur and glory! A world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment, Moulin Rouge! The Musical blends revelry and romance onstage like never before. Pop the champagne and prepare for the spectacular…! After winning critical acclaim on Broadway, a ticket to Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre in London promises to be a gateway to the theatrical event of the year.

Age guidance 12+

Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes, including interval

Content warning: There will be strobe lighting.

Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman Street London W1D 7DY

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16. The Book of Mormon at Prince of Wales Theatre

The Book of Mormon at Prince of Wales Theatre

The New York Times calls it ‘The best musical of this century.’ The Washington Post says, ‘It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.’ And Entertainment Weekly raves, ‘Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.’ After stunning audiences on Broadway and the West End, winning 9 Tony Awards, including Best Musical – and even winning a Grammy award for the soundtrack, The Book of Mormon is rapidly becoming a theatrical phenomenon. Expect laugh out loud funny with insanely catchy music you will be humming for days on end!

Age guidance: 14+. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes, including interval.

Good to know: This production contains strobe lighting, flashing lights and gunshots.

Prince of Wales Theatre, 31 Coventry Street London W1D 6AS

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17. Mary Poppins tickets at Prince Edward Theatre

Mary Poppins tickets at Prince Edward Theatre

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi-award-winning musical MARY POPPINS is now open at the Prince Edward Theatre. Starring Zizi Strallen in the title role and Charlie Stemp as Bert, the magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny is triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs. The stage production of Mary Poppins is brilliantly adapted from the wonderful stories by PL Travers and the original film.

Age guidance: 7+. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Duration: 2 hours and 50 minutes, including an interval.

Good to know: This production contains theatrical smoke and fog effects, pyrotechnics, strobe lighting and loud noises. There will be an auditorium blackout of 8 seconds around 8 minutes into the performance.

Prince Edward Theatre, Old Compton Street, London W1D 4HS

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18. Sister Act The Musical at Eventim Apollo

Sister Act The Musical at Eventim Apollo

Hallelujah, a heavenly casting has been announced for this summer’s musical comedy sensation, Sister Act. Beverley Knight joins the sisterhood as Disco diva in disguise, Deloris Van Cartier, and comedy legend Jennifer Saunders takes up the habit as Mother Superior alongside an all-star cast. Sister Act tells the hilarious story of Deloris, whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder. Brace yourself for this sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music.

Dates: 19 July to 28 August 2022

Age guidance: 10+. Children aged 14 and under to be accompanied by an adult.

Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes, including an interval.

Good to know: Beverley Knight won’t be performing on 24 July matinee, 26 July evening, and 28 July both matinee and evening.

Eventim Apollo – Hammersmith, 45 Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9QH

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19. Mamma Mia! at Novello Theatre

Mamma Mia! at Novello Theatre

Since premiering in London’s West End over 23 years ago, the world’s sunniest, most exhilarating smash-hit musical has thrilled over 65 million people around the world. Fall in love with the irresistibly funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads on a Greek island idyll, all unfolding to the magic of ABBA’s timeless songs. The worldwide phenomenon has now been turned into two record-breaking movies – Mamma Mia! The Movie and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Age guidance: 5+. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Duration: 2 hours 35 minutes, including an interval.

Novello Theatre, Aldwych, London WC2B 4LD

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20. Les Misérables at Sondheim Theatre

Les Misérables at Sondheim Theatre

Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, the world-famous LES MISÉRABLES is undisputedly one of the world’s favourite musicals. Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed fully-staged new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s LES MISÉRABLES is now playing at London’s Sondheim Theatre. This brilliant new staging has taken the world by storm and has been hailed “Les Mis for the 21st Century” (Huffington Post), “a reborn dream of a production” (Daily Telegraph) and “perfect theatre in a perfect theatre” (Sunday Telegraph).

Age guidance: 7+. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Duration: 2 hours 50 minutes, including an interval.

Sondheim Theatre, 51 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6BA

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