Arts & Leisure

For lovers of music, theatre, dance and cinema, London is a dream destination. The capital’s vast range of venues mean that most major and minor bands end up playing in the city at some point. The best of the country’s performing arts scene is also here, with theatre and dance groups from abroad paying regular visits. And film buffs are in the right place, whether in search of Tom Cruise or Tarkovsky.


Barbican Centre

  • Silk Street, City

The Barbican’s amazing array of spaces host theatre, dance, film and music. At the core of the music roster, performing 90 concerts a year, is the excellent London Symphony Orchestra (LSO).

  • Barbican

Eventim Apollo

  • Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith

The Apollo serves as a 3,600-capacity all-seater theatre (popular with big comedy acts and kid’s shows) or a 5,000-capacity standing-room-only gig space.

  • Hammersmith

Jazz Café

  • 5 Parkway, Camden

There’s some jazz on the schedule here, but this two-floor club deals more is soul, R&B and hip hop these days. It’s become the first port of call for soon-to-be-huge US acts, such as Mary J Blige, John Legend and the Roots.

  • Camden Town

Ronnie Scott’s

  • 47 Frith Street, Soho

Opened by the British saxophonist Ronnie Scott in 1959, this legendary institution was completely refurbished in 2006. The bookings are now less interesting, with jazzers joined by pop acts, but there are still some good shows.

  • Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road

Royal Albert Hall

  • Kensington Gore, South Kensington

The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Commemorating its 150th anniversary in 2021, it has hosted the A-Z of names from Albert Einstein to Zucchero. It usually hosts almost 400 events even year – from rock, pop and classical music, to dance, films, Cirque du Soleil and even tennis.

  • South Kensington

Royal Opera House

  • Covent Garden

This is one of the world’s great opera houses. The discreetly air-conditioned auditorium and comfortable seating make a night here an appetising prospect, whatever the performance.

  • Covent Garden

Shepherd’s Bush Empire

  • Shepherd’s Bush Green, Shepherd’s Bush

This former BBC theatre is a great mid-sized concert venue, holding 2,000 standing or 1,300 seated. The sound is decent (with the exception of the alcove behind the stalls bar) and the staff are lovely.

  • Shepherd’s Bush Market

Southbank Centre

  • Belvedere Road, South Back

The 3,000-capacity Royal Festival Hall reopened in 2007 after a £90m acoustic renovation. Next door is the smaller Queen Elizabeth Hall, a broad theatrical space that also houses pop and jazz gigs, and the 250-capacity Purcell Room, which hosts everything form chamber concerts to poetry readings.

The O2 arena

  • Peninsula Square

The O2 arena is home to the world’s most popular music, sport and entertainment events, and so much more. The O2 arena opened in 2007 and in 2019 celebrated it’s 25 millionth ticket sold, alongside being awarded by Billboard as the Venue of the Decade.

  • North Greenwich

indigo at The O2

  • 205 Peninsula Square

Indigo at The O2 is one of London’s most sought after venues. Originally designed for music concerts it has now opened its doors to the corporate, sport and comedy world. Established as a large well known stand-alone venue it has the flexibility to change from a standing gig venue into a private dining space for 540 or a conference space seating over 1000 delegates.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

  • 782 High Road, Tottenham, London

The 62,850 capacity stadium opened in April 2019 and is a major landmark for the city and local area.  As well as being the home to the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, this world-class venue is set to have an exciting year, hosting its first music concerts and welcoming the like of Lady Gaga and Guns N’ Roses.

Theatre & Dance

National Theatre

  • South Bank

The much-admired National Theatre is a cultural landmark: no theatrical tour is complete without a visit to this modernist building. The three auditoriums offer a choice of several productions in a single week.

Old Vic

  • The Cut, Waterloo

The Old Vic is London’s independent not-for-profit theatre, a world leader in creativity and entertainment. Today, Artistic Director Matthew Warchus is building on 201 years of creative adventure, with The Old Vic recently being hailed as ‘London’s most eclectic and frequently electrifying theatre’.

Sadler’s Wells

  • Rosebery Avenue, Islington

Purpose-built in 1998 on the site of the original 17th-century theatre of the same name, this dazzling complex is home to an impressive line-up of local and international performances. In addition to the main theatre, the smaller Lilian Baylis Studio offers smaller-scale new works and works-in-progress.

Shakespeare’s Globe

  • 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside

For years, the late Sam Wanamaker campaigned to recreate the open-air theatre where Shakespeare first stages many of his plays. The result, which is open for tours as wells as for theatrical productions, was well worth the wait. The season runs from April/May to October; the free-standing Pit tickets are excellent value.

Adelphi Theatre

  • Strand

This art deco theatre has a rich musical theatre history, having hosted Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard and Love Never Dies and more recently Kinky Boots and Waitress. It is currently home to Back to the Future: The Musical.

  • Covent Garden

Cambridge Theatre

  • Earlham St

The Cambridge Theatre is home to Matilda The Musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company. With original songs by Tim Minchin, this musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel has won seven Olivier Awards and over 90 international awards.

  • Covent Garden

Gillian Lynne Theatre

  • Drury Lane

The Gillian Lynne Theatre made history in 2018 when it became the first West End venue to be named after a woman, Dame Gillian Lynne. Home to smash-hit sensations including Cats, War Horse, School of Rock the Musical and is home to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Cinderella.

Her Majesty’s Theatre

  • Haymarket

Renamed, rebuilt and refurbished numerous times since 1705, Her Majesty’s Theatre is at the beating heart of London’s live performance scene. It is home to one of the world-renowned The Phantom of the Opera, seen by over 140 million people Worldwide

The London Palladium

  • Argyll Street

The London Palladium has been the home of variety for over a century, and to this day delights audiences with its array of acts. Michael McIntyre, Madonna and Dita Von Teese have all graced this world famous stage as well as blockbuster musicals and the annual Pantomime.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

  • Catherine Street

Sitting on the oldest theatre site in the World, Theatre Royal Drury Lane reopens this year after a £60million restoration and refurbishment project to reinstate its former 1812 glory. With unforgettable experiences including afternoon tea, historic theatre tours and Disney’s Frozen the Musical.

The Other Palace

  • Palace Street

The Other Palace is a lively, inventive place; one where bold new ideas are explored, imaginations fired, and the talents of our next-generation of theatre-makers are encouraged, nurtured and celebrated.

Woolwich Works

  • The Fireworks Factory, Royal Arsenal

Woolwich Works is London’s new landmark creative district. Due to open in 2021, it is a multi-million pound project to restore five heritage buildings in the Royal Arsenal to create large-scale, flexible performance and event spaces, rehearsal studios, bars and a café,. The site will be home to local, national and internationally renowned resident artistic companies.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

  • King Charles Court

London’s creative conservatoire, Trinity Laban is a world-leading organisation for music and contemporary dance education, and the only one of its kind in the UK. Based in the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and the Laban building in Deptford, the talented students give regular public performances and recitals.

  • New Cross

The Turbine Theatre

  • Arches Ln, Nine Elms

An independently owned theatre on the banks of the Thames next to the iconic Battersea Power Station, founded and led by Artistic Director Paul Taylor-Mills. Nestled under the arches, this unique location puts on a number of great shows and musicals throughout the year.

  • Battersea Power Station


Curzon Soho

  • 99 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho

Expect a superb range of shorts, rarities, double bills and seasons alongside new international releases at this great cinema, which also has a buzzing café, and a decent basement bar.

  • Leicester Square

Electric Cinema

  • 191 Portobello Road, Notting Hill

A legend among London filmgoers, the Electric is one of the city’s oldest cinemas. It’s now gone from old fleapit to luxury destination, with leather seats and sofas plus a bar inside the auditorium.

  •  Ladbroke Grove

Cineworld at The O2

  • The O2, Peninsula Square

Cineworld at The O2 is London’s biggest cinema (on the number of seats) with a number of exciting ways to watch a movie. From extreme cinema in 4DX, to a whole night out in one with VIP, the huge Superscreen, or 270-degree ScreenX – you can choose how you want to watch your favourite films.

Archlight Cinema

  • 22 Arches Lane

A bespoke cinema experience located on Arches Lane at Battersea Power Station showing the latest releases and much-loved classics. Purpose built for comfort with a sound-proofed design, state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos surround sound and a selection of fine wine, craft beer and delicious homemade treats to choose from.

  • Battersea Power Station

London Hack

Central London shops open late (7pm or 8pm) on one night a week – Thursday in the West End, Wednesday in Chelsea and Knightsbridge

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