The cost of a ticket to one of London’s best West End shows can be daunting but luckily there are plenty of great deals to be had. If you know where to look for them of course. As with most great deals, it might take you a little bit longer to plan and book but the results are certainly worth it. There’s nothing better than taking your seat to enjoy one of the most sought after shows in London’s buzzing theatre district and knowing that you didn’t have to bankrupt yourself in order to get there.
The first step is to buy your tickets. Buying tickets is relatively easy and there are a number places which sell West End tickets at a discounted price. In some cases you can get over 50% off the full sale price. If you want to buy a package or are considering that it might be more straightforward (i.e. accommodation and ticket prices all in one) then make sure you look at the breakdown of costs as you may be able to secure your ticket and your hotel cheaper if you book them separately. But, firstly to the tickets:-
Theatre Box Office
If you want to see a specific production then you can buy tickets direct from the theatre’s box office. Bear in mind that these are unlikely to be discounted. However, if you want to chance it you could turn up a day or two before the show and see whether you can buy standby or return tickets.
Tkts Booth, Leicester Square
The tkts booth in Leicester Square is well known for offering half price and discounted tickets up to a week in advance of productions. This is a great place to purchase your tickets if you aren’t particularly bothered about which theatre show you see, but would rather just see something whilst visiting the West End. For the cheapest tickets you are best to turn up on the day and buy a ticket for that same day.
Online Third Parties
There are many online websites which offer discounted or reduced tickets for London’s West End. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with making use of one of these websites just be sure to do a little bit of research on them before you send your hard-earned money over. Not every website is being run by a tout, but you wouldn’t want to be caught out. The best way to consider these websites is that if the deal looks too good to be true then it probably is. You need to be sure that you are only buying from a legitimate ticket agent and one way to do this is to check whether they are members of STAR (The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers). If at any point you are unsure about the transaction then go with your gut and cancel. There would be nothing worse than turning up to a theatre only to find out that your tickets weren’t genuine.
London is incredibly accessible, wherever you are travelling from and London’s West End is easily reached by public transport. The nearest tube stations are Oxford Circus, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Arriving at any of these will put you within walking distance of the areas 30 theatres.
Once you have secured your ticket then the next step is to find suitable accommodation. There are plenty of excellent hotels near the West End theatres, and they cover a range of budgets from the basic to the 5 star. Many of the hotels closest to the West End run theatre deals for those people who are travelling into the capital specifically to see a production and so it would be worth checking direct with the hotel first to see whether there is any special offer to be had. If not, there are a number of great websites which offer discounted hotel rates, many of which don’t require you to pay upfront.
Try not to be tempted by staying further away from the West End, even if the hotel rates seem cheaper. Remember that you will have to pay to travel from your hotel to the theatre and that you may cause yourself to be delayed due to traffic or congestion. It isn’t worth the stress of rushing to get to your show. If you can’t resist the deal, then make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get to the theatre ahead of the production start time; latecomers are not often admitted once the show has begun.
Food & Drink
As with accommodation, there are a number of fantastic restaurants located within London’s West End which offer excellent pre and post-theatre drinks and dinner packages. These can be a really great way of ensuring that you get something to eat before you head into the show, and often represent good value for money. A quick online search will show you the restaurants closest to your chosen theatre.
If you have the time it will certainly pay to consider the cost of each element of your West End theatre break separately before comparing it to the many packages which are on offer. Whilst on paper these package deals seem to offer value for money, and claim to be passing on a significant discount, bear in mind that the company organising them must also take their cut and so arranging your own theatre break may turn out to be cheaper in the long run, even if it takes a little bit more time and research on your part.
Above all, remember that London’s West End is one of the best theatre districts in the world and is there to be enjoyed. However you land your tickets, we hope that you have a great time and come away feeling inspired.