Whether you’re a born and bred Londoner or you’re making a day trip, you have something in common; you don’t make the most out of the city. The capital has so much to do, see, experience and taste – so it’s a great idea to plan your trip first.
Obviously, you’ve already booked your theatre tickets. Maybe you have the whole family coming down for Kids Week. So that’s the evening’s entertainment sorted. But here are some hints and tips on how to have a brilliant day while you’re in Theatreland. From food to sightseeing, shopping to the best places to park, your perfect day lies below.
How to get around
London’s public transport system is one of the world’s best. But the underground and buses don’t always meet your needs. So we have a few solutions below that may suit your trip better.
Don’t always believe what you hear about London… except when it comes to parking. That’s all true. Finding a decent parking spot that doesn’t cost the earth can be tricky. Luckily, there’s a little-known solution. Q-Park has seven parking lots around central London. Each offers a 50% discount on up to 4 hours of parking after 12pm 7 days a week when you have a valid theatre ticket for the same day. To get your discount, all you have to do is present your parking ticket for validation when you attend a performance at a participating theatre. Once the ticket is validated, the car park pay machine will automatically charge you half price after the performance.
How do you avoid the crowds, the heat and the headaches of rush hour? Take to the river. By using the Thames River Services, you can enjoy a relaxing bob from Greenwich to Westminster (with stop-offs in between) and see the riverside sites at the same time. What’s more, you can get 2-for-1 on the Hop-On Hop-Off River Passes with your Official London Theatre or TKTS tickets. That means you can hop-on and hop-off as many times as you like during the day.
Just like Thames River Services, you can use Circular Cruise to get about the city via its most famous landmark. Calling at Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier and St Katharine’s Pier (for Tower of London) returning nonstop to Westminster, it’s a great way to traverse the city. Just like with Thames River Services, you can get a 2-for-1 on the Hop-On Hop-Off River Pass by showing your TKTS or Official London Theatre ticket on arrival.
Finding great grub
There are plenty of amazing restaurants in London. And we have loads of deals available to help make your trip to the capital a bit more affordable without sacrificing quality.
Kids eat free
During Kids Week, you’ll not only get a free children’s ticket to a selected show, but you can also turn that ankle biter into a burger biter for free, too! We have loads of kids eat free offers specially for Kids Week.
Offering customisable pizzas and salads, Mod is a great place to satisfy the fussier eater out there. With over 30 toppings to choose from, you can be as wild or conservative as you fancy. The best part is, no matter how many toppings you get, you’ll just pay £7.87. Plus, during Kids Week, children aged 16 or below can receive a free mini Mod pizza with any regular Mod pizza or salad.
Visit the original Hard Rock Cafe and see the largest music memorabilia collection in the world, as well as enjoying a mighty fine burger. And children can eat free during Kids Week! Kids can get a complimentary meal from the Roxtars set menu with any main meal purchased. You just need to present your Kids Week tickets.
Dine at one of Gordan Ramsay’s restaurants – Heddon Street Kitchen just off Regent’s Street. The stylish restaurant sits over two floors and has a terrace perfect for people watching. And during Kids Week, children dine for free when accompanied by an adult ordering a main course from the A La Carte menu.
Delicious steak and fresh lobster, this surf and turf restaurant is down-to-earth and rustic with a touch of decadence. The lobster is caught from the Canadian seas and the steak is from County Antrim in Northern Ireland guaranteeing quality. And during Kids Week, kids eat for free when dining with a full paying adult from Sunday to Thursday at the Bloomsbury and Warren Street restaurants. Each child can have two complementary courses from the set menu per each adult enjoying two courses from the a la carte menu.
If you want to spend less time sitting around eating and more time exploring, then an eatery with quick, reliable service and filling meals that don’t require silver service could be just the ticket. Here are some great options that also have offers* available with you TKTS or Official London Theatre theatre ticket.
Whether you’re sharing or keeping it all to yourself, these quick and easy dim sum plates are delicious and filling. And you can get 15% off your total bill – including drinks – by presenting your TKTS or Official London Theatre tickets.
Sometimes, something familiar is all you need to get you through the day, and what’s more familiar and comforting than Italian food. The national brand serves filling and delicious pastas, pizzas, grills and desserts. And with your Official London Theatre or TKTS ticket, you can save 20% on your bill.
Healthy, delicious and sustainably sourced. The three pillars of modern-day eating. Farmstand serves fresh food which is gluten and dairy free. And with your Official London Theatre or TKTS ticket, you can enjoy a meal and drink for £10.
Keeping the kids entertained is tricky. Yes, you’ve got them Kids Week tickets but you don’t want to take them to a boring restaurant where the waiters don’t smile. London has loads of themed restaurants that will wow your kids. You’ll find it fun, too.
This unique restaurant offers a dining experience like no other found in London and the only one of its kind in the UK. Designed as an exotic jungle that recreates the best sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest, it’s perfect for families, romantic couples, groups and big kids. With your TKTS or Official London Theatre ticket, you can enjoy a two-course pre-theatre set menu meal for only £19 or 15% off your food bill.
Get all the glamour of Hollywood without the 11-hour flight at Planet Hollywood. With iconic movie memorabilia on display throughout the restaurant, themed dining areas, a merchandise shop, a buzzing cocktail bar and a resident DJ every evening there’s a lot to keep your whole family occupied. Plus, with your Official London Theatre and TKTS tickets, you can save 20% on food, soft drinks and merchandise!
Each table at this Pan-Asian restaurant is interactive. Order your food, play games, get a peek into the kitchen and more with the table-top projections. The inamo menu centres on sharing plates of sushi, Asian tapas, and larger sharing dishes. With your theatre ticket, you can choose four dishes from a pre-theatre set menu for £24 or get your little one a free dessert during Kids Week.
Big night out
Big date? Anniversary? Birthday? You’ve dressed to impress so you should dine to impress, too. Whatever the occasion, these pre- or post-theatre meals will provide an experience your date will remember for years to come.
Contemporary Japenese cuisine served beautifully in a modern but relaxed setting. With a Robata grill and expert sushi chefs, every bite is filled with flavour, fresh ingredients and sophistication. Roka also has an open kitchen so you can watch the meticulous chefs at work. Enjoy a pre- or post-theatre menu from £33 per person.
Whether you’re seeing Dreamgirls and want somewhere hyper convenient to dine or you want to savour the old glamour of the West End, Savoy Grill is the place to be. Restored to its former glory, the Savoy Grill is decked with shimmering chandeliers, polished wood, burnished mirrors and white-clothed tables. Enjoy two courses for £31.00 or three courses for £35.00 per person with your TKTS or Official London Theatre ticket.
Found in the historic, five-star London Marriott Hotel County Hall, Gillray’s Steakhouse + Bar is best known for its stunning views as well as its Aberdeen Angus steaks. Get two courses and a glass of sparkling wine for £25 when you show your TKTS or Official London Theatre ticket.
There are lots of other restaurant deals available with your theatre tickets including meals at Tali Joe’s, Ping Pong, Duck & Waffle Local, and Smith & Wollensky.
*Please note that terms and conditions apply to all offers. Information correct at date of publishing (27 July 2018).
Free things to see and do
Though it’s true that the capital is on the pricey side, you can definitely have a great London experience without making your purse cry £2 coins using £50 notes as hankies. Here are some brilliant free things to do that you shouldn’t miss while visiting Theatreland.
Oxford Street, Regent Street, Covent Garden Piazza… they all have world-famous shops which are attractions in and of themselves.
If you’re bringing your kids to the city for Kids Week, Hamleys is a must. With seven floors of toys, games, magic tricks and fun, it’s an absolute wonder to behold. You can spend hours exploring the shelves, but we recommend sticking to the live demonstrations.
Just behind Hamleys is Carnaby Street. The colourful strip has fun, quirky brands and the street itself is a brilliant photo op. There are often decorations hanging over the pedestrian-only street as well as ornate archways saying “Welcome to Carnaby Street”.
And at the end of Carnaby Street on Great Marlborough Street is Liberty London – a decadent department store in a Tudor revival building. Specialising in luxury goods – including women’s and men’s wear, cosmetics, haberdashery, jewellery, and stationary – it’s a beautiful building filled with beautiful things.
On the west side of Oxford Street you’ll find Selfridges. Though a little way away from Theatreland, the giant department store is calling you.
For a short period this summer, Covent Garden will play host to a Disney’s Aladdin and The Lion King pop-up shop. Located on Long Acre, visitors will have the opportunity to get a closer look at the iconic masks, puppets and costumes from the shows. And throughout the month, there will be live performances and activities.
Museums and galleries
London is full of free museums and galleries. From the British Museum to the National Gallery, you can see and learn a lot for zero pounds. If you have time to jump on the tube, visit Exhibition Road where you’ll find the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A.
Nicknamed the concrete jungle, you may expect London to be void of green spaces. But, there are actually loads. Hyde Park has gorgeous gardens, memorials, and statues. St James’s Park is surrounded by palaces and is filled with wildlife. And Regent’s Park has the incredible Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – among other things.
Whatever you choose to do while you’re here in Theatreland, make sure you don’t waste a second… or a penny. Take the time to plan your trip and you’ll save a lot of time on the day.