The Best London Theatre Breaks by Train

Becky blog author avanti social team

By the Avanti Web Team

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13 min read | 24 June 2024

The vibrant buzz of London's professional theatre scene continues to captivate and stands as the global destination for lovers of the stage. 

You’re never far away from the thrill of spectacular sets, storylines, and show tunes in London. From classic plays to the latest musicals and adaptations, the city’s West End has it all.

We’ve collected all the information you need to plan your London theatre break by train. From show selections to hotel and dining options, our guide ensures that your London theatre break will be a seamless and unforgettable experience. 

We’ll even share how to get the cheapest train tickets for your theatre trip to London.

Why choose London for a theatre break?

A trip to London isn’t complete without a visit to the West End, which is home to some of the world’s best shows. Of the 241 theatres in London, 39 are in the West End.

You’ll find evening and matinee shows in London all year round. However, some, like Frozen, lend themselves to the festive season. A Christmas trip to London is a magical way to celebrate, especially with a theatre show to see.

With a show pencilled in, you can visit London’s many other attractions, too. Ideas include the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Natural History Museum, and Borough Market.

What type of shows can you see in London? 

London’s West End offers a huge variety of comedies, love stories, Shakespeare plays, murder mysteries, and musicals. From iconic shows like Les Mis to emerging musicals like The Little Big Things, there’s something for everyone.

A view of the world-famous Royal Albert Hall in London.

Where can you see a show in London? 

At the time of writing, these are 15 of the West End’s theatres currently showing an outstanding musical or play. 

While opening times and performances may fluctuate season by season and year by year, these shows are considered popular enough to be playing fairly frequently.

1. His Majesty’s Theatre: The Phantom of the Opera 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s acclaimed The Phantom of the Opera has played at His Majesty’s Theatre for over 30 years.

Renowned for its longevity, it’s the West End’s second-longest-running musical and third-longest-running overall show. The musical features the iconic ballads ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Masquerade’, and ‘All I Ask of You’.

His Majesty’s Theatre has showcased productions in London for over 300 years. This theatre has been the home of several shows, including Oliver Twist, Fiddler on the Roof, and West Side Story.

His Majesty’s Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: Haymarket St James's, London, SW1Y 4QL

  • Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus

2. Victoria Palace Theatre: Hamilton

Hamilton recounts the life of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton through R&B, hip-hop, and blues-inspired music. 

The West End musical has received 11 Tonys and seven Oliviers. It has also won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

With a history of over 100 years, Victoria Palace Theatre has housed an array of hit musicals. These musicals include Annie, Billy Elliot, and Kiss Me Kate.

Victoria Palace Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: 79,Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5EA

  • Nearest tube station: Victoria

3. Soho Place: Heathers The Musical 

The Big Little Things has just finished its extended run at the Soho Place Theatre. This is the first show to get an extension at the Soho Place. The theatre is now getting ready to welcome Heathers the Musical for 6 weeks only. Following its smash hit runs in London's West End, two record-breaking national tours the WhatsOnStage 'BEST NEW MUSICAL' winner Experience Heather the Musical up close and personal like never before. The show will be running from 22nd May - 6th July 2024.
Heathers The Musical is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High:The Heathers.

Soho Place is the first new-build theatre to open in the West End in the past 50 years. Its round auditorium creates an immersive experience for audiences, who enjoy panoramic views of the stage.

Soho Place: Essential information

  • Address: 4 Soho Place, Charing Cross Road, London, W1D 3BG

  • Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road

A view of theatre seats, seen through a crack in theatre curtains from backstage.

4. The Lyceum Theatre: The Lion King

Disney’s stage adaptation of its loved-by-all animated film is a must-see. Outstanding puppetry and a spectacular set make this show unforgettable.

With music from international talents like Elton John and Tim Rice, this has remained one of London’s biggest musicals. The band plays a total of nearly 40 indigenous African instruments to recreate the iconic sounds of the region.

Back in the 18th century, the Lyceum was an opera house. During the 1900s, it became a ballroom, where artists like Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Queen, and Led Zeppelin played.

Today, the Lyceum is London’s first and only playhouse to show The Lion King and has been doing so since 1999. Thousands of people visit every year.

The Lyceum Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: ‍21 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7RQ

  • Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

5. The Vaudeville Theatre: Six 

Six gives voices to Henry VIII’s underrepresented six wives. In this musical, each wife has her own ballad, inspired by modern iconic female artists like Beyoncé and Lily Allen. 

After selling out multiple seasons at the Arts Theatre, the Vaudeville Theatre is now Six’s permanent home.

The Vaudeville Theatre originally hosted vaudeville shows in the 1800s and 1900s. Since then, the theatre has undergone two major refurbishments. 

The architects preserved many of the building’s original features. These features span from its ornate ceilings to its old-school stage mechanics.  

The Vaudeville Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: 404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH

  • Nearest tube station: Charing Cross

6. The Piccadilly Theatre: Moulin Rouge 

The Piccadilly Theatre becomes Paris’ Montmartre Quarter for this glitzy yet tragic tale. The musical adaptation of Moulin Rouge remixes songs by popular artists like Adele, Elton John, and U2.

Based in Piccadilly at the heart of the West End, this theatre was the first to show a ‘talking picture’ film. 

After screening films for several years, the Piccadilly Theatre became a cabaret house. Since then, it has hosted ballets like Swan Lake, plays like A Streetcar Named Desire, and musicals like Ghost.

The Piccadilly Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: 16 Denman Street, London, W1D 7DY

  • Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus

7. The Apollo Victoria Theatre: Wicked 

The prequel to The Wizard of Oz, Wicked has been a worldwide sensation for decades. 

This production has collected over 100 awards and is one of the longest-running musicals in London. The musical is particularly famous for its hit songs ‘Defying Gravity’, ‘Popular’, and ‘The Wizard and I’.

The Apollo Victoria Theatre's history dates back to 1930. when it first opened as a cinema. In the era  of 'Super' cinemas. The venue was hailed for its art deco unique interiors, which still prevails to this day.
In 1981. the Apollo Victoria reopened as a theatre and it wasn't long before it became one of the leading West End theatres, hosting musicals such as The Sound of Music, Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, Starlight Express and Saturday Night Fever. Wicked has been casting its spell over audiences at the Apollo Victoria since 2006.

The Apollo Victoria Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: 17 Wilton Road, Pimlico, London, SW1V 1LG

  • Nearest tube station:Victoria Station

8. The Prince of Wales Theatre: The Book of Mormon

The satirical musical The Book of Mormon tells the story of two missionaries who preach their faith in Uganda. The creators include writers from South Park and Frozen. 

Since opening on the West End in 2013, the musical has won four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.

The iconic Prince of Wales Theatre has been standing since the 1880s. During its early days, the theatre hosted French revue-style productions. When these died out in the late 1930s, the theatre began showcasing musicals and plays.

The Prince of Wales Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: Coventry Street, London, W1D 6AS

  • Nearest tube station: Charing Cross

9. Novello Theatre: Mamma Mia 

Those looking for sing-along fun will love Mamma Mia, the Abba musical tribute. Many of Abba’s biggest hits feature in the musical. These songs include ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘The Winner Takes It All’. 

The show creators also worked on the 2008 film adaptation, so fans of the film are sure to love the musical.

Named after the Welsh actor, singer, and composer Ivor Novello, this theatre has only held its name since 2005. Before this, it had also been known as the Strand Theatre, and the Waldorf Theatre before that.

The Novello Theatre has been the home of all sorts of productions, including a string of Shakespeare plays between 2005 and 2007.

The Novello Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: Aldwych, London, WC2B 4LD

  • Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, reflecting in the River Avon, with a swan in the foreground.

10. The Garrick Theatre:  

Once a hotbed for comedic shows, the Garrick Theatre now runs a programme of classical plays and musicals too. Productions previously held here include Horrible Histories and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The Garrick Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: 2 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH

  • Nearest tube station: Leicester Square

11. The Duchess Theatre: The Play That Goes Wrong

Olivier Award winner for the 2015 Best New Comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong is the West End’s longest-running comedy show. Audience members try to solve the hilarious murder mystery before the final act. However, nothing is as it seems.

As a more intimate venue, The Duchess Theatre doesn’t have any side-of-house boxes. This means every seat enjoys frontal stage views, creating an immersive and captivating setting for the play.

The Duchess Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: 3-5 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5LA

  • Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

12. The Cambridge Theatre: Matilda 

Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and with music by Tim Minchin, Matilda brings Roald Dahl’s famous book to the stage. Nostalgic scenes like Bruce Bogtrotter eating chocolate cake come to life in this musical, which has won over 100 awards.

The Cambridge Theatre’s small setting makes it ideal for smaller, intimate plays. This doesn’t make the shows on offer here any less iconic, though. After all, stars like Audrey Hepburn and Joan Collins have taken to the stage.

The Cambridge Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9HU

  • Nearest tube station: Covent Garden and Leicester Square

13. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Frozen The Musical 

After Disney entranced the world with its animated film Frozen, the company produced a Broadway version. The West End version that followed has won seven WhatsOnStage Awards and four Olivier nominations. 

Complete with an icy set, special effects, and lighting, the show creates a magical winter wonderland for all ages.

The oldest theatre in London, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane dates back to the 1600s. While showcasing musicals and plays is its main purpose, this theatre has also held many concerts.

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Essential information

  • Address: Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JF

  • Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

A row of traditional red theatre seats.

14. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar

A phenomenon that has hooked audiences for over 50 years, Jesus Christ Superstar is a classic musical. 

With music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, this production has received unprecedented accolades. These accolades include the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.

The award-winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre offers a unique outdoor setting for its productions. It’s one of the largest auditoriums in London and is the oldest professional, permanent outdoor theatre in Britain. 

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: Regent’s Park, NW1 4NU

  • Nearest tube station: Baker Street

15. The Sondheim Theatre: Les Misérables

Based on Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables is the West End’s longest-running musical.

Four decades after its launch, thousands of people buy tickets for this reimagining of the fight for freedom in 19th-century France. Les Mis songs like ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘One Day More’, and ‘On My Own’ are considered some of the most impactful in musical theatre.

The Sondheim Theatre inherited its name from the iconic composer Stephen Sondheim. The theatre opened with a classic Italian Renaissance design in 1907. However, after the Second World War, it underwent a modern refurbishment.

The Sondheim Theatre: Essential information

  • Address: Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6BA

  • Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus

Tips for London weekend breaks with a show

Once you’ve chosen a show, you may like to plan a theatre weekend in London around this show. In this case, you’ll need some restaurant recommendations, local hotel options, and train tickets.

To get the most out of your London trip, make use of the following tips.

Staying in a hotel near the theatre

Make life easier by booking a hotel near the theatre you’re visiting. Several well-rated hotels offer stays for around £250 a night. These options are all within walking distance of the West End:

  • The Kings Arms, Westminster Borough: Prices start at £240 a night

  • The Resident, Covent Garden: Prices start at £234 a night

  • The Montague On The Gardens, Bloomsbury: Prices start at £245 a night

  • The Chesterfield Mayfair, Mayfair: Prices start at £251 a night

Choosing a restaurant with a pre-theatre menu

Theatre shows can often coincide with dinner time. Fortunately, several restaurants near London’s theatres offer pre- and post-theatre dining to fit around your show. For example, you can try:

  • Bardo, St James’: This Italian restaurant’s pre-theatre menu appeals to a broad variety of tastes. Find the restaurant at 4 Suffolk Place, SW1Y 4HX.

  • Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, Mayfair: Seafood lovers will enjoy this restaurant’s pre-theatre shellfish platter. Find the restaurant at 11-15 Swallow Street, W1B 4DG.

  • Brasserie Zédel, Piccadilly Circus: This French restaurant offers a range of pre-theatre three-course meals. Find the restaurant at 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED.

  • The Delaunay, Covent Garden: This European restaurant offers pre/post-theatre meals in the heart of the West End. Find the restaurant at 55 Aldwych, WC2B 4BB, steps from the Novello Theatre.

Enjoying your London theatre break by train

Travelling by train can be preferable to driving into London, where parking is expensive and the roads are busy. You can also save on the cost of transport by booking cheap London train tickets.

The most cost-effective time to travel is during Off-Peak hours. Off-peak trains run outside commute hours and are usually the quietest. This means your relaxing theatre trip to London can begin right away.

Two female friends laughing together on an Underground platform.

London theatre breaks by rail: How to get to London for a show

Avanti trains travel to London Euston from all over the UK, which makes reaching your London theatre break by train easy. Some of the most popular locations to travel from include:

  • Birmingham New Street: Around five trains depart Birmingham for London every hour, reaching Euston in just over one and a half hours. The average ticket price ranges from £18.50 to £46.00.

  • Manchester Piccadilly: Around three trains depart Manchester for London every hour, reaching Euston in just over two hours. The average ticket price ranges from £67.00 to £72.70.

  • Liverpool Lime Street: Trains depart Liverpool every hour for London, reaching Euston in just under two and a half hours. The average ticket price is £72.70.

Make your theatre trip to London with Avanti West Coast  

Download the Avanti West Coast app to book the best-priced London train tickets from your phone. Book directly with us to guarantee the lowest price.

You can save even more by booking Advance, Group, or Family train tickets. A Railcard will also save a third on all train journeys. Also, signing up for Club Avanti will give you access to additional discounts and rewards.

Heading to London?

You can buy your tickets through Avanti West Coast. Buy your tickets directly to save on fees. You can save even more by booking as a group, booking in advance or buying a Railcard.

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