How to Pick the perfect London West End Show

If you know what the word ‘thespian’ means, then we’re gonna be instant friends. As a bit of a self-confessed theatre lover, I have long been attending shows on both Broadway and West End, as well as travelling shows back at home in Australia or Circus shows in Las Vegas. I just love live shows, particularly musicals.

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see a few on West End: most recently Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as The Lion King, Matilda, Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys, the Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. I’ve also seen more shows than I can remember on Broadway, including hugely successful shows like Book of Mormon and Chicago, as well as shorter running shows like Aladdin, Newsies, Cinderella, and Something Rotten!

So, who better to ask when considering what show to see on London’s West End!? I volunteer as tribute, with absolute delight.


Picking A London West End Show

The easiest way to choose the right show for you is to decide whether you want to see an upbeat musical, a slow and sombre classic, or see a play.

Musicals on West End

Right now in 2015, there are some great musicals on West End. The longer running the show, the more successfully it has been received by crowds, however this usually means you will pay a higher ticket price to see those shows. Don’t forget there is a discount TKTS stand in Leicester Square. Arrive early (opens 10am) to land great tickets to great shows, for a lower discounted cost.

The Lion King

The Lion King has quickly become one of the world’s most popular and successful musicals that has travelled the entire world. Telling the classical Disney film, it is the costumes and set design that truly makes the show as special as it is. This is a great all-rounder show that will suit everyone and a great choice for first time theatre goers.


Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends – the Wicked Witch of the west and Glinda the Good Witch. This is a great option for a girls night out or for something light hearted, fun, and with incredibly talented performers. Easily one of my favourite musicals!


Another high energy, fast paced Disney production that is a great option for the kids. In typical Disney style, it is a lot of fun and best suited to a young or young at heart audience.


This is a great choice for those who don’t typically enjoy “the theatre”, as it is something completely different and in a class of its’ own. If you’re dragging along a non-theatre goer but love the theatre yourself, this is a safe bet.

Mama Mia

This is a great choice for a girls night out and perhaps more suited to an older crowd. While it is a great show, it is a little more geared toward adults.

Jersey Boys

An incredible show vocally, and very entertaining from start to finish. This would be a great choice for couples as your boyfriend might not kill you for dragging him along to this one!

Kinky Boots

A fun, light-hearted musical and great for a girls night out.

Billy Elliot

Despite having a child as the lead, Billy Elliot is more geared to a mature audience. It is also a great British classic, so where better to see it than on West End!?


Another great addition to the London theatre seen came a few years ago in the form of Matilda. Although this is a kids show, it is a littler darker than the likes of The Lion King or Aladdin, so it is also a great choice for the adults.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Based on Roald Dahl’s classic story – this is a newer addition to the London musical scene, and a welcomed one! The child performers are particularly talented and really drive the story home.

Old Musical Classics

And now for the classics!


Cats is a great all-rounder show that has had one of the most successful runs on West End. Right now it is back for a limited season (until January 2nd, 2016), so be sure to lock this one in sooner rather than later!

The Phantom of the Opera

Now in its 29th year, the Phantom of the Opera remains to be one of the most successful running shows. It is a much slower, darker show, so certainly not the right choice if you’re looking for something fun and upbeat. But if you admire the opera and classical music, this one is for you!

The Mouse Trap

A very popular classic is The Mouse Trap, a crime/mystery show that has had an incredible run over the years.

Plays on West End

As you like it

If you’re in need of a little Shakespeare to wiz you back in time to London’s glory days, then consider heading over to the National Theatre (taking bookings until March 2016).


A great British play to attend if in London during its’ run (27 Nov – 19 Dec) in 2015.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Lets end on a high note shall we! Next year (2016) the Harry Potter franchise expands into live theatre! The play is set to hit West End in summer of 2016 – exciting times!

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  • janelle.kay@me.com'
    Janelle Kay
    February 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    I love the theatre! This summer on our trip to London we are going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Romeo and Juliet! I am so excited!!!

    January 5, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    […] I’m a sucker for a good Broadway show, so I get just as excited when I’m across the pond in London and can view new shows on London’s West End. See here for a full West End Theatre Guide. […]

  • freelancerenamul@gmail.com'
    Clipping Path Service
    November 25, 2015 at 7:49 am

    So wonderful and nice city is London .It`s looks very beautiful and so stunning i am very happy to traveling the London city .Thanks lot for sharing London ….

  • pottiez.marie@gmail.com'
    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    October 8, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    The Lion King was incredible, the most amazing show I ever saw. I felt like I was 5 years old again. And they are all so talented!! It was undoubtedly my best night in London…

  • britt.jeffs@gmail.com'
    October 8, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I’m a huge lover of the theatre. Over the years in Melbourne I’ve seen Annie, Mamma Mia, Billy Elliot, Lion King (twice), Les Miserables, The King and I, Wicked, Once and most recently Matilda in Sydney.

    My Nan reckons the Australia shows are even better than the West End ones she have seen. But theatre on the West End is definitely a priority for my London trip- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks great. I might also be tempted to see Wicked again as it is by far my favourite musical (although I’m not sure it will be as great without Jemma Rix!

  • rosy.mccaffrey@hotmail.co.uk'
    October 8, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Don’t Forget Les Mis…. I saw a couple of years ago and it was AMAZING! definitely worth paying out to see it!

    Going to try out the ticket booths when I go beginning of next year… I’ll take note of the tip to get there early!


    Rosy x

  • geigervicky@web.de'
    October 7, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    We watched `The Lion King`in August and it was amazing ! Great list, thanks Brooke 🙂

  • kthorson85@gmail.com'
    October 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I’ve actually never heard of the Mouse Trap! I’m adding it to my must see list!

  • tallgirlbigworld@gmail.com'
    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    October 7, 2015 at 2:59 am

    I saw Miss Saigon in London in June, and it was amazing! The woman who played Kim had the most amazing voice, and the cast in general was simply fantastic. I love that you did a post just for the theatre; I always try and see shows when I travel!

  • annacarolina.n@hotmail.com'
    Anna Nunes
    October 7, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Great post as always, but I missed Les Mis on Queen’s Theater?
    I went to see last May and it’s INCREDIBLE ! Worth every pence.
    Next October 8th the original London production celebrates its 30th anniversary !


  • laura_martin1996@hotmail.com'
    Laura Mareno
    October 7, 2015 at 1:24 am

    I want to see Mama Mia so baaaad!! It must be so fun! kisses:D

  • leonieparker@btinternet.com'
    Leonie Parker
    October 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    I love the West End !! There are so many good show on at the moment.

    Leonie ♥

  • camillagash@hotmail.co.uk'
    Camilla @ Summer Isn't Over
    October 6, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I LOVE musicals and going to the theatre is such a treat! Seeing Miss Saigon on the West End over Christmas last year has to be one of my favourite memories. Such an amazing show.

  • kerjan@backpackbabe.com'
    Backpack Babe
    October 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Awe, the Lion King!! seriously one of the best plays of all time 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • mgcook@hotmail.co.nz'
    October 6, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Great post! Definitely going to go see a London west end show when I’m there next year! 🙂

  • laurenfraser00@gmail.com'
    October 6, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Love the new logo change!

  • cayce@nijifeels.com'
    October 6, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Aww, I’d love to see these all! But especially The Mouse Trap (huge Agatha Christie fan here) and Billy Elliott (loved the movie).

  • contact@travelalphas.com'
    October 6, 2015 at 7:56 am

    This is a great list! I’m going to come back to this list when I want to book my tickets for my next London trip! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • note.from.charlotte@gmail.com'
    Charlotte Bax
    October 6, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Teehee I walked exactly there! Because my nickname is Charlie my boyfriend HAD to take a picture of me under the billboard 😛
    I’m not really a theatre person, I prefer movies and their epic symphonic soundtracks, but I loved hanging out @ Covent Garden. The street artists are really good!

  • poshbrokebored@gmail.com'
    Posh, Broke, & Bored
    October 6, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I love London’s West End! The first ever show I saw when I moved to London was The Lion King. 8 years on and my method for picking the perfect show has not evolved one bit – my way is WATCH ALL THE SHOWS. Preferably with a good ol’ song and dance 🙂

    Jasiminne |

  • How to Pick the perfect London West End Show - Amando BlogsAmando Blogs
    October 6, 2015 at 6:52 am

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