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How to Get Cheap London Theatre Tickets

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This post is about the many ways you can get discount theatre tickets in London, including in London’s West End, the world-renowned theatre hot spot.

Looking to save money throughout your trip? Look at our guide to London on a budget.


GET DISCOUNT TICKETS BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

Buy in advance. When you know you’re on the way to London, get hunting straight away. Oftentimes, tickets bought well in advance can come with a significant discount.

Although the other ticket procurement methods in this post may help you save money, there is no guarantee that you will get tickets for the show that you want on the date you want.

Purchasing your tickets in advance ensures you will see the show you want on the date of your choice.

Check out these discount websites such as StubHubTheatre MonkeyLondon Theatre Tickets, and Last Minute.


London Discount Tourist Passes

Holders of the London Pass can receive up to 25% off several West End Theater productions, such as Thriller, An American in Paris, Aladdin, Kinky Boots, and more.

These passes can be purchased in advance of your trip to London. Besides saving you money on theatre tickets, tourist discount passes can save you quite a bit of money on other popular activities.

To find out what kind of savings are available for London attractions and activities, see our post, London Attraction Passes: Which One Is the Best to Buy.


Buy Tickets through a Discount Website or App

TodayTix is an easy-to-use website that sells discounted tickets to shows.

It also has a very useful app where you can enter some of the digital lotteries, which we will talk about below.

Also, check London Theater Direct for discounts and the official London Theatre website for occasional special offers.


See a Show in the Off-season

If your heart is set on seeing a London theatre show without spending all your money on this special experience, consider traveling to London during the tourist off-peak season.

Tickets can be less expensive in the spring and fall. On the other hand, prices are more expensive during the summer months and can go even higher during the Christmas holidays.


Take Advantage of Kids Week

Throughout the month of August, children 16 and under can go for free to any participating theatrical show but they must be accompanied by an adult with a paid ticket.

Kids Week offerings include an assortment of plays, musicals, plays, comedies, and children’s shows.


TKTS BOOTH

Run by the Society of London Theatre, TKTS is a non-profit organization that is the largest purveyor of discount tickets in the West End.

TKTS offers "day of show" tickets which means you can find some great discounts as shows want t fill every seat in the house.

Show availability changes daily so best if you have a few shows in mind you would enjoy seeing.

Though the famed TKTS kiosk in Leicester Square is currently closed, TKTS seats can be purchased online here.

Tickets for that day's shows go on sale online at 12:01 am every day.

More shows and additional tickets may be added during the day so keep checking the TKTS web page for up-to-date information.

TKTS does also sell advance tickets, but they've made their reputation on selling deep discount on-the-day tickets.


TICKET LOTTERIES

Test your luck by entering one of the ticket lotteries to get the chance to buy rock-bottom prices for top shows.

In-Person Lotteries

On the day of the show, head to the box office of the theatre of the show of your choice about the box office about 2 to 3 hours before curtain time.

Be prepared: some box offices accept only cash-only payment; some have ticket limits such as two per person, and some may require that you have a  photo ID.

Digital Lotteries

Tickets for many shows are available through ticket lotteries accessed online via a website or app.

As the name implies, it is a lottery system, so there is no guarantee you will get tickets for that night’s show.


RUSH TICKETS

Rush tickets are tickets that can be purchased at the box office on the day of the performance. Rush tickets can cost as low as  £15!

Rush tickets are last-minute tickets that go on sale at the box office the day of the show. Each theater has its own policy so best to call in advance or look at the theatre's website before going over.

Take note that some theatres offer Rush tickets to "concessions", meaning people with special statuses, like Students and Senior Citizens.

The pros and cons of trying for Rush tickets are straightforward.

The pro: The prices cannot be beaten! The major con is that you will have to put in some time and effort to get Rush tickets.

You are not guaranteed to get a ticket, as theaters have a limited quantity of Rush tickets each day and they are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

We recommend that you first try for Rush tickets with the TodayTix app. This may spare you a trip to the theater box office first thing in the morning.

Be aware though that Rush tickets, whether offered in person or via an app, go fast.

TIP: Pay just £10 for a theater show through the National Theatre's Friday Rush program. Every Friday at 1 pm, a limited number of tickets are released online for performances the following week.

Offerings include select West End productions of National Theatre shows as well as shows at the National's three theatres. Tickets are limited to 2 per person, per production.


STANDING ROOM ONLY AND RETURNS 

Standing Room

Some shows offer day-of-show standing room tickets. Theaters want to fill every single seat in the house. Last-minute tickets can be pretty cheap as they are sold literally minutes before the curtains rise.

The pros: saving loads of money on a great show! The cons: standing for 2+ hours. But some theatres will bump up ‘standing-only tickets to sitting tickets in case of no-shows.

The Lyceum Theatre offers £20 tickets to the Lion King once all other tickets are sold out. You will be in the Upper Circle and on your feet, but the savings can't be beaten!

Also, the historic Shakespeare's Globe offers £5 standing tickets for performances.

Return Tickets

Occasionally, when unable to attend shows people have bought tickets for, they will call to get a refund and ‘return’ their tickets.

These tickets can only be nabbed at the last minute, and only ever in person but may have a bit of a discount and the seats may be better than other options.


OTHER TIPS TO SAVE YOU MONEY

View the matinee

Evening shows are by far more expensive than daytime productions. Catch a matinee to save yourself loads of money – and also, the theatre tends to be less busy during the daytime.

Go during the week

Weekends are the busiest time for London’s West End. Going during the week can sometimes get you nearly a full 50% less for your weekday ticket, instead of the weekend.

Grab the Metro

London’s free daily morning newspaper, the Metro is available to pick up in every Underground station in town.

With extensive listings of current shows running in the West End, the Metro occasionally publishes promo codes and advertises discounts you may not otherwise find anywhere else!

Get on Social Media

Twitter and Facebook. Nowadays, social media is a huge way for theatres to reach consumers.

Occasionally, discount promotions and tickets are advertised on Twitter and Facebook, specifically for friends and followers of the individual theatre.

Stick with Tried and True

Think of seeing some London classics to help you save more money – think Les Miserables or Mama Mia for example. The newer the show, the more expensive the tickets will be.

Go as a group

Group bookings can get MASSIVE savings – sometimes up to 50%! So grab your friends and make it a group occasion.

Look Beyond the West End

London is packed full of theatres, including some smaller ones. Smaller theaters offer excellent performances at prices significantly lower than those based in the West End. Take a look at places like:

Don't forget to check out our many pay-what-you-like walking tours of London!

About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: November 23rd, 2021
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