If you’re living in London or visiting London, I’ll bet there’s one thing on your bucket list for your time here- and it’s to see some good old London West End shows. People flock from all over the world to experience London theatre, and with good reason, but all that demand means that the cost of a popular show can reach the heady heights of over £200! I’m a firm believer that the arts should be for everyone, and luckily, there are a few ways to get round the hefty ticket prices. I’m going to let you in on some secrets to getting cheap West End tickets to the BEST shows, so that you can experience the magic without breaking into a sweat at the ticket price.
Last Minute London Theatre Tickets
If you are looking for cheap theatre tickets last minute, TKTS booth in Leicester Square is the place to go. Here you can find heavily discounted tickets to the very best London West End shows- if you are not particular about which show that you see, you are likely to find a bargain.
Last minute theatre tickets do mean that you have to take a chance and show up in person to try and get tickets for a show, but you can also get tickets from TKTS booth for the following day which eliminates a bit of the risk. If you’re in central London anyway, you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain if you can score a huge discount to a popular show.
TKTS booth opens at 10am from Monday-Saturday, and 11am on Sundays so get down early to get the best chance of a discount.
Theatres, writers, promoters and actors don’t like to see empty seats- it makes a show look unsuccessful- so by selling discount theatre tickets last minute, the theatre is being filled and the show is still making some money. In theatre-land, this practice is called ‘papering’ as they are papering over the fact that there are empty seats- and you can seriously benefit from this (as long as the show is actually good!)
Cheap West End Tickets Lottery
To get cheap tickets to London West End shows, you can partake in ticket lotteries which make getting a bargain ticket price all the more exciting! They are by no means easy to win, so if you live in London or the surrounding areas this one is for you as you can keep entering the lottery every single day to be in with the chance of winning some cheap theatre tickets in London.
So just how cheap are these lottery tickets? The theatre lotteries are always free to enter, and you can bag yourself some pretty incredible seats- at some theatres, you could even be in the front row. The ticket lotteries are usually for the most popular shows- currently you can win £10 tickets to Hamilton which is a notoriously difficult show to get tickets to, and eye-wateringly expensive.
Many weekly ticket lotteries are run by TodayTix, you can head to their website to find ticket lotteries for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and more. Just fill out the form and keep your fingers crossed!
You can also enter the individual lotteries for Matilda (tickets reduced to £25) and Aladdin (tickets reduced to £20), tickets are drawn a few days ahead of the performance, and you will be notified by email if you are a winner.
If you’re planning to be in central London anyway, you can also go in person to the box office to enter lotteries for certain shows. The Book of Mormon has 21 tickets per day allocated to the ticket lottery, priced at £20 each, and you can enter 2 and a half hours before the show starts.
App Based Ticket Lotteries
To make it even easier to enter the lotteries for cheap West End tickets, you can download show-specific apps to your smartphone and even enter free daily lotteries to win tickets to shows like Hamilton for £10. The more you enter the lotteries, the bigger your chance of winning tickets so get into the habit of entering regularly to increase your chances.
Young Person Ticket Discounts
Now that I’m no longer 25 (sob!) I can’t make the most of these offers- but you might be able to. These theatres offer some fantastic young person discounts:
Young Vic offer a limited number of £10 tickets for every single one of their productions for those aged 25 and under.
Donmar Warehouse has a ‘young and free’ initiative where those aged 25 and under can sign up to their mailing list to get tickets offered by ballot.
Almeida Theatre has £5 tickets available for every production for under 25s.
If there is a specific production that you have your eye on, check the concessions page on the theatre website and see if you could be eligible for a discounted theatre ticket.
Happy ticket hunting!