How to find discount London theatre tickets
The most important tip to bear in mind when trying to get discount London theatre tickets is to be flexible. If you can choose from a variety of shows and dates you are much more likely to find a bargain.
There are also two other useful rules of thumb – weekday matinee performances are always cheaper than weekend evening performances and picking up tickets in person at the theatre box office is always cheaper than having them posted to you.
So, you’ve got your shows and dates in mind and you’re ready to search. Start with handy online theatre ticket comparison sites. These provide ticket price and availability information from a variety of ticket retailers who supply tickets for performances at all of London’s major venues. All you need to do is select the show and the date range you are interested in and they do the searching for you.
Once you have selected the tickets you require, you are transferred directly to the retailer’s website where you complete your booking. Many sites include major providers such as Lastminute.com and London Theatre Direct in their comparisons so you don’t need to check those sites separately.
The better sites will allow you to search in a number of different ways for all the best deals available. One particularly useful feature is that of detailed seating information. This can tell you which seats have better or worse leg room and which have the best views.
If you’re still not finding big enough discounts, it is worth hunting for time-limited deals. Bear in mind that these offers are, by definition, temporary and may only be available at certain times of year.
For London venues, you may be able to identify 2-for-1 London scheme offers. If you travel into London by train to see a show, you can get 2-for-1 tickets to a whole selection of major musicals and theatre productions. There may be restrictions on days of the week or ticket types but it’s definitely worth checking out – you only need to travel from a station a few stops away to qualify.
The Get Into London Theatre scheme also offers discounted tickets for a range of London shows every year. There are no booking fees or postage charges but it only runs for a few months a year.
With any purchase the biggest discounts usually involve the most effort, and theatre tickets are no exception! If you’re prepared to get up early and queue for a while you can get up to 70% off in some instances.
The TKTS booth in Leicester Square, in the heart of the West End, opens at 9am selling tickets for that day’s performances. It’s a good idea to have at least four or five shows in mind that you have read about and know you want to see, as the chances are there may not be tickets available for your number one choice. There is only one official TKTS booth, run by the Society of London Theatre, opposite the Odeon Leicester Square. Any other outlets claiming to be TKTS are not genuine, so beware.
If there is only one show you really want to see, check with that theatre to see if they offer standby tickets. These are usually offered at 8am on the day of performance to the over 60s, unemployed and students, and any that are left may be offered to anyone who wants them approximately one hour before the performance begins.
So, hopefully you’re now fully prepared to start your quest for discount theatre tickets. Don’t forget when you go and see a show it’s not just about what’s happening on stage. Many of London’s theatres are beautiful historic buildings and some, like The Lyceum Theatre, even have their very own ghosts!
Still, at least if you take advantage of the great discount ticket deals out there you can be sure that it won’t be your credit card bill giving you a fright!
Photo credit: Graham Soult