You could pay full price. Or you could try a handful of our top tips for buying cheap London theatre tickets. Here are 16 ways to cut the cost of experiencing some of the best shows on the planet. Cheap thrills are the name of the game!
16 top tips to get discount theatre tickets
- Buy tickets as far as possible in advance for shows you know are going to be popular. Make a note to check when the tickets first go on sale so you can get in there first and grab a bargain. Sometimes you can buy advance tickets four months or more ahead of the opening date.
- Choose seats further away from the stage. Being close to the stage doesn't always give you the best view anyway – it depends on the theatre. In some the front row views are obscured by the stage itself, making tickets in places like the balcony a much better deal. Seats in the tiers, often with great views from above, are almost always cheaper than the stalls.
- Take your chance on the day. It's possible to track down low cost day tickets from the box office of the theatre in question, often for less than elsewhere. Contact the theatre direct to see what time they release their batch of day tickets. It's usually early in the morning and there's often a two ticket per person limit.
- See a preview before opening night. Many theatres sell cut price tickets for shows before the opening night, when the performance is still a work in progress, almost ready to go but not quite 100%. Fascinating if you like to see the nuts and bolts behind the finished masterpieces and often just as good as the real post-opening night deal.
- Go with a group of friends and book seats at a bulk discount. Bulk bookings can get you as much as 50% off, and the more of you there are in your group, the more likely you are to grab an excellent bargain.
- Meal and hotel deals are great. It might turn out that your hotel and show tickets together cost less than the tickets on their own. The same goes with post and pre-theatre meal deals.
- Buy from the box office of the theatre itself, or the website, for some of the very cheapest deals. One thing to bear in mind – look out for tout sites. They can look very much like actual theatre websites but they're full of ads for other theatres, a sure sign.
- The tkts booth in Leicester Square has been around since 1980, the only official half price and discount theatre ticket source in town and run by the Society of London Theatre. You can buy tickets there on the day itself and as far in advance as a week. You'll find it in Leicester Square's Clocktower Building, and there's another at Brent Cross.
- The London Theatre Passport comes from Viator, popular with foreign visitors and student travellers. It lets you choose from a limited number of shows on the day. If the show you want to see is included, you could get tickets for as much as 50% off.
- Avoid Friday and Saturday nights, when most people like to see shows. Weekday tickets are usually much cheaper.
- Follow the theatre or the show itself on Twitter and Facebook, where excellent special offers and discounts originate.
- Returned tickets are often available around an hour and a half before a show starts, sent back by ticket agencies. But prepare for disappointment – there are no guarantees and you might find you need to join a massive queue.
- Discount websites like ours are always great for finding substantial discounts on West End theatre tickets. Check our page: https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk/cheap-theatre-tickets
- If you live close by or have an easy journey into the West End, it may be worth signing up as a 'friend' of the theatre. Membership usually comes with discounts and special offers.
- Monday morning ticket sales are excellent, and some London theatres offer tickets for a tenner or so on Monday mornings, sometimes even for shows that are officially sold out.
- Patience is a virtue! You never know. If all else fails, with a bit of luck the show you want to see will run and run, giving you the opportunity to catch it some time in the future even if you can't track down a cut price ticket right now.