Things to do in London

Complete guide to the very best West End plays

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There’s something about watching live theatre that no other experience can match up to. From the masterful flourish with which each actor performs on stage to the elaborate sets and numerous costume changes, each theatre production is truly special. Speaking of theatre, one of the finest and most popular performance centers in the world is, of course, London’s West End.

The best West End plays — some originals and others being Broadway transfers — are truly unmissable. On your next trip to London, take some time out and experience the magic of live theatre in West End. Here’s our handy selection of the best West End plays.

Top 3 Reasons to Watch a Play at West End

  • Great actors
    The quality of acting in London's West End is legendary - and for good reason. Many of the biggest stars in the world got their start treading the boards on these stages. So if you want to see some truly talented performers, a trip to the theater is a must.
  • Amazing sets and costumes
    A visit to the theater isn't just about the acting - it's also about being swept away by spectacular set designs and costumes. With some of the best stage technicians in the business, London's West End theaters always manage to create an unforgettable atmosphere.

Top Plays to Catch at West End This Season

London's “Theatreland” houses over 40 venues where both theatre veterans and young newcomers come together to create musicals and plays that are relevant, funny, and poignant in equal measures.

While West End show musicals portray a heightened sense of reality, what with all the song and dance, plays are more authentic and true-to-life.

Here are our top picks to watch while you're in the city:

How to Buy Tickets to West End's Plays?

With Headout, you do not have to worry about yout tickets! Headout offers the best prices for tickets to the most popular shows in the West End. In addition, our selection of seats is incredibly varied, so you're sure to find one that fits your needs and preferences.

Plus, we allow you to book way in advance, or the day before, even for the best shows!

How to Dress for a West End Play?

  • Dressing for a play in the West End can be tricky. While black tie is always an option, it's not always necessary.
  • Most theaters will have a dress code listed on their website, so be sure to check before you go.
  • A nice dress or suit is always appropriate.
  • If you're looking to make a statement, try pairing your outfit with some bright and bold accessories. A striking pair of earrings could be just the ticket, or you can go head-to-toe glamorous with a full sequin ensemble.
  • Don't forget to check the weather, too—nothing kills an evening at the theater like being ill-prepared for London's unpredictable weather.
  • A light jacket or shawl may be the perfect finishing touch for your look.

No matter what you wear, arrive in style and make sure you enjoy every minute of the show!

Insider Tips

If you're new to theatre, or to London's West End, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your experience:

  • Plan ahead - many of the big shows in the West End sell out well in advance, so if there's a specific show you want to see, book tickets as early as possible.
  • Dress smartly - even if you're not going to a formal event, it's still worth dressing up for a night at the theatre. It'll make the experience that much more special.
  • Arrive on time - theatre starts on time, and there's nothing more frustrating than having to miss the beginning of a show because you're stuck in traffic.
  • Don't disturb - Switch off, or put your devices in silent mode to avoid the wrath of your fellow audience!
  • Take advantage of discounts - we offer plenty of discounts and deals on London theatre show tickets, so make sure you check them out before booking!
  • Explore the area - after the show has ended, why not explore some of London's iconic landmarks and attractions nearby? There are plenty to choose from!
  • Talk to locals - if you're new to town, don't be afraid to ask for advice about what shows and attractions are worth visiting. Locals will have the best recommendations!
  • Have fun - above all else, remember to enjoy yourself! Going to the theatre is an amazing experience that you'll never forget, so make sure you make the most of it!


Which are the all-time best West End plays to watch?

The best plays in the West End are always changing, so it's hard to give a definitive answer. However, some perennial favourites include The Mousetrap, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. These iconic shows have been running for decades and still draw huge crowds. 

Is it worth watching a play in West End?

With world class performances from acclaimed actors, jaw-dropping sets and unforgettable music, the West End plays are a must-see for anyone looking to be entertained. Whether you're visiting London or have lived here your entire life, there's always something new and exciting in the world of theatre. So make sure to check out what's on in the West End today – you won't regret it!


What is the longest running play in the West End?

The longest running show in the West End is Agatha Christie's Mousetrap, which opened in 1952 and is still running today. 

Are there discounts for children to watch plays in West End?

Yes, there are discounts for children to watch plays in the West End. Many theatres offer discounts for under 18s, or children aged 14 and under. 

What is the difference between plays and musicals?

Theatre plays are typically serious in nature, while musicals are often more lighthearted and entertaining. Theatre plays often use dialogue and stage directions to move the story along, while musicals typically use song and dance to tell their story.