Forget Lapland this Christmas. Theatreland is where the real magic happens. There are plenty of family-friendly shows on in the West End this Christmas, which you’ve already booked, obviously. But there’s so much more to the West End than seeing a show. Whether you’re a local or visiting for the first time, we’ll help you plan your trip so you can be as stress-free as possible. Just call us your fairy godmothers.
Follow our hints and tips about getting the most out of Theatreland and make sure you’re fed, watered and entertained all day long. Plus, we’ll help you find some brilliant deals on transport, sightseeing and eating.
How to get around
It has to be said, despite its bad rep, London’s public transport services are amongst the top in the world. But no matter how convenient the underground is when you’re on your own travelling to work, it’s not always the most appropriate form of transport… especially with the Christmas rush. But we have a quick, easy and cost-effective solution that’ll suit your whole family.
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. But with Q-Park, things are a lot simpler. There are seven Q-Park parking lots around central London and each offers a 50% discount on up to 4 hours of parking after 12pm with a valid theatre ticket for the same day. And getting your discount is easy. 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.
How to see the sites
While in London, you might as well catch a glimpse of some world-famous monuments and buildings. The easiest way to do that is by taking a little trip down the river. The fact that it’s also a great way to commute the city is just an added bonus! There are two companies that offer discounted river rides with Official London Theatre or TKTS tickets.
Avoid the Christmas shoppers and that rush hour crush with Thames River Services. Enjoy a relaxing sail from Greenwich to Westminster (with stop-offs in between) and see the riverside sites without bumping into people or having to bend around other buildings. Get 2-for-1 tickets on the Hop-On Hop-Off River Passes with your theatre tickets when you book through us.
Just like Thames River Services, you can useCircular Cruiseto traverse the city via its most famous landmark. Making stops at Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier and St Katharine’s Pier (for Tower of London) returning nonstop to Westminster, getting around London has never been so relaxing. Like Thames River Services, 2-for-1 Hop-On Hop-Off River Passes are available with your TKTS or Official London Theatre tickets.
Great grub for great prices
With so many great restaurants in London, how do you choose where to go? More importantly, where can you go that doesn’t break the bank but is still delicious? We’ve partnered with loads of London restaurants that offer brilliant deals with your theatre ticket.
Add a bit of heat to your wintry London visit with a visit to Talli Joe. The vibrant and innovative Indian restaurant was featured among the Best Indian Restaurants In London by Evening Standard, as well as in the Best Restaurants In London by Conde Nast Traveller 2017 and Time Out’s Best 100 dishes of 2017. Serving small plates and half plates, it’s a great way to get a little taste of many things or even dine family style.
With your Official London Theatre or TKTS ticket, you can get 15% off your meal or dine on the pre-theatre menu for just £15.
Add a bit of fun and technology to your meal by visiting Inamo – a Pan-Asian restaurant that uses an interactive digital ordering system. Each table has a projector attached which provides a touchscreen tabletop that offers games, a peek into the kitchen and more. Offering a wide range of sushi and Asian tapas platters, it’s a great way to explore different flavours and textures. With your theatre ticket, you can choose four dishes from a pre-theatre set menu for £26.
Keep the troops entertained with this bar-cum-restaurant that has giant screens, ping pong, darts, and pool for your enjoyment. Serving fresh sourdough pizzas, meaty burgers, and classic game food, like wings and nachos, it’s a great place for a relaxing meal before or after your show! And with your ticket, you can 20% off your food and drink bill on the day of your performance.
Making a weekend of it? Then spend your Sunday celebrating your favourite musicals with a scrummy brunch, bottomless drinks and some fabulous drag queens. Taking place every Sunday from 12pm-2pm, you can save 20% with your valid theatre ticket.
Leave that chunky tomato soup for eating in front of the TV. Instead, enjoy this warming, moreish bowl of Ramen at Shoryu. Serving hot bowls of authentic 12-hour simmered ramen, this restaurant will take you to Southern Japan and back again, just in time for the curtain to go up. Save 20% on your meal with your theatre ticket.
Free things to do
Though London can be on the pricey side, there’s a lot to do without feeling the need to delve into your piggy bank. Here are some brilliant free things to do that you shouldn’t miss while visitingTheatreland.
Well, it is Christmas after all. 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 be warned, those Christmas lists are going to expand every second you’re in there!
After Hamley’s turn the corner and enter Carnaby Street. The colourful strip has fun, quirky brands and the current Christmas lights make the street itself a brilliant Instagram hotspot.
At the end of Carnaby Street, on Great Marlborough Street, is Liberty London. The unique and beautiful department store sits within a Tudor revival building. It holds luxury women’s and men’s wear, cosmetics, jewellery, stationery, and more.
For the full-on London Christmas shopping experience, head to Oxford Street. Here, you’ll not only see the extravagant Christmas decorations, but you’ll have all the high street shops you could ever want – all in one long stretch. Visit the many department stores and get all your gift buying done in one fell swoop. You can even visit the world-renowned Selfridges.
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.
The annual festive park of Winter Wonderland will be opening in Hyde Park from 22 November to 6 January. There you’ll be able to wander around the yuletide constructed village, peruse the stalls, take part in games, go on rides, or try some fairground treats. Entry is free but activities are priced individually.