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TRAVEL TIPS
10 Family-Friendly West End Shows To Take Your Kids To

London’s famed West End is a bucket list must-do. With exciting musicals and plays that span every genre, there is something for everyone. However, not all the shows are family-friendly or suitable for children. While Phantom of the Opera is an undeniable classic and a must-see, it’s not exactly family friendly (the booming sounds of the organ and the crashing chandelier are actually pretty terrifying for young children). We have compiled a list of ten family-friendly, long-running shows so that you and your family can share a magical theatre experience together that you will remember for years to come. 

 

 

Wicked

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production of Wicked, photography by Matt Crockett

Everyone knows the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, thanks to The Wizard of Oz. But what if that wasn’t the full story? What if there was more to her story than her famed villainy? Wicked tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Elphaba and Glinda the Good Witch and explores Elphaba’s motivations for her actions during Dorothy’s journey through Oz. Wicked is a magical and inspiring tale of how love and friendship transcend societally-drawn boundaries and the blurred lines between “good” and “evil”. With award-winning costumes and a killer soundtrack, get ready to soar the western skies with Elphaba, dance through life with Fiyero and learn how to be “popular” with Glinda as you explore love, friendship, and the importance of acceptance. 

*Note: Wicked uses a significant amount of flashing lights and very percussion-heavy music. If this is not suitable for you or your children, we suggest checking out some of the other shows on this list

 

Age Recommendations: no admission for children under age 5, children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult

Location: Apollo Victoria Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 15min with one intermission

Price: from £30 per person

Showtimes: Monday through Saturday @ 7:30PM; Wednesdays & Saturdays @ 2:30PM

 

 

The Lion King

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production of The Lion King

We can definitely feel the love for The Lion King tonight! The animated film is one of Disney’s most-beloved productions to date, the live-action remake released in 2019 brought one of the best tales of a hero’s journey back for a new generation, but dare we say that the stage production takes the cake? The Lion King is the highest-grossing show on Broadway in New York, and the West End production has been dazzling audiences of all ages since 1999. Featuring beloved songs from the animated film (and more!), colorful costumes and inventive props, leave your worries at the door (at least for one night) and experience the classic coming-of-age tale adapted for the stage. Your kids will love seeing their beloved characters reimagined and being a part of Pride Rock as antelopes and gazelles gallop down the aisles. Get ready to partake in the circle of life! It’s OK, we don’t know the opening lyrics to that song either.

 

Age Recommendations: recommended for children aged 6+, no admission for children under 3

Location: Lyceum Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 30min with one intermission

Price: from £35 per person

Showtimes: Tuesday through Saturday @ 7:30PM; Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays @ 2:30PM

 

 

Mary Poppins

While we can’t spell Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious off the top of our heads either, your kids will love singing the song! Following the live-action sequel of the Disney classic, why not see the magic of Mary Poppins live at the revival of the popular stage-adapted musical? Follow the adventures of the Banks children and their practically-perfect nanny and get your “chim chim cher-ee” on in this feel-good tale about a family learning to come together to face adversity and the power of imagination that is practically perfect in every way. Find out what tricks Mary Poppins is hiding in her bottomless bag starting October 23, 2019. 

 

Age Recommendations: recommended for children aged 6+, no admission for children under 3

Location: Prince Edward Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 50min with one intermission

Price: from £30 per person 

Showtimes: Monday through Friday @ 7:30PM; Saturdays @ 2:30PM & 7:30PM

 

 

Mamma Mia!

Photo courtesy of the official website of the West End production of Mamma Mia!

It’s probably a universal truth that no one can sit still when an ABBA song comes on, especially not during “Dancing Queen”, and what better way to introduce your children to the music of the iconic Swedish pop group than through this jukebox musical? The longest-running show on the West End, Mamma Mia! follows the journey of mother-and-daughter duo Donna and Sophie as Sophie tries to find out who her father is by inviting all three possible candidates to her wedding. Of course, all three show up and shenanigans and chaos ensue. Featuring beloved ABBA hits and fabulous disco attire, get ready to sing (and maybe dance!) along with your kids to Mamma Mia! My, my, how can we resist dancing and jiving along and feeling young and sweet? 

 

Age Recommendations: recommended for children aged 12+, no admission for children under 5

Location: Novello Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 30min with one intermission 

Price: from £18 per person 

Showtimes: Monday through Saturday @ 7:45PM; additionally, Thursdays & Saturdays @ 3:00PM

 

 

Matilda

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production of Matilda

Embrace and celebrate the power and intellect of your children and live (and relive!) the wonders and magic of childhood in this award-winning stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic. Meet the precocious Matilda and the gang of revolting children as they stand up for themselves and band together to defy their menacing headmistress Miss Trunchbull. While everyone will envy Matilda’s powers of telekinesis, “When I Grow Up” will deliver all of the feelings. Join the fight against Miss Trunchbull in this feel-good tale that will teach and inspire young girls and boys alike to be strong and to stand up for what’s right. 

 

Age Recommendations: no admission for children under 5, children under 16 must be accompanied by adult

Location: Cambridge Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 45min with one intermission 

Price: from £30 per person 

Showtimes: Tuesdays @ 7:00PM; Wednesdays & Saturdays @ 2:30PM & 7:30PM; Thursdays & Fridays @ 7:30PM; Sundays @ 3:00PM

 

 

Come From Away

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production of Come From Away

“Tonight, we honor what was lost, but we also commemorate what we found”. While Come From Away deals with some much heavier topics than the other shows on this list, we believe that this show based on true stories is one the most important shows currently on the West End. Following the September 11th attacks on New York, 38 planes were forced to make emergency landings in the small town of Gander in Newfoundland, Canada. The town’s population doubled overnight and the people of Gander opened their homes and their arms to everyone on the planes. The characters are based on the real-life residents of Gander and the 7,000 people they welcomed into their homes, and critics have lauded the show as a heart-warming tale of the capacity for human kindness even in the darkest of times. Witness the people of Gander exhibit the importance of acceptance and tolerance, as well as the ability of humanity to triumph over hate. Especially in today’s fractured times, take your children to experience this heart-tugging love letter to the people of Gander as we together set aside fear and hate and relearn the value of human kindness. Trust us, bring tissues. 

 

Age Recommendations: recommended for children aged 10+, no admission for children under 4

Location: Phoenix Theatre 

Duration: 1hr 40min, no intermissions

Price: from £25 per person 

Showtimes: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays @ 7:30PM; Wednesdays & Saturdays @ 2:30PM and 7:30PM

 

 

The Play That Goes Wrong

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production of The Play That Goes Wrong; photography by Helen Murray

We couldn’t resist including this laugh riot of a show. We adore Mischief Theatre, especially their show about the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempting to put on a serious, murder-mystery play named The Murder at Haversham Manor, but everything that can possibly go wrong, goes wrong. From a lost Duran Duran CD to people not remembering their lines to arguably the best pun in existence to the set just breaking down, this show is three laughs a minute and features a mind-boggling set and some VERY impressive physical humor. If you and your family are looking for a fun night out and some laughs, this crowd-pleaser is sure to deliver! Never before have our stomachs hurt so much from laughing at the many mishaps on stage. 

 

Age Recommendations: recommended for children aged 8+, no admission for children under 5

Location: Duchess Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 5min with one intermission

Price: from £24 per person 

Showtimes: Tuesday to Friday @ 7:30PM; Saturdays @ 2:30PM; Sundays @ 3:00PM & 7:00PM

 

 

School of Rock

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production for The School of Rock

Stick it to the man together with your kids at this high-energy musical about a rock singer and guitarist, recently kicked out of his band for continuously trying to upstage the leading man, who pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prep school and forms a band of fifth-grade musical prodigies to win an upcoming Battle of the Bands contest. Get ready to rock with your kids at this rambunctious show, featuring a wide host of insanely talented children who bring such heart to the show. Discover your inner rocker together, and who knows, this show might even inspire the inner musician in your child! 

 

Age Recommendations: recommended for children aged 8+, no admission for children under 5

Location: New London Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 20min with one intermission 

Price: from £30 per person

Showtimes: Tuesdays & Fridays @ 7:30PM; Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays @ 2:30PM & 7:30PM; Sundays @ 3:00PM

 

 

Six

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production of Six; photography by Idil Sukan

Divorced, beheaded, died...divorced, beheaded, survived. But just for you, the six queens are live in concert! Who doesn’t know of the fates that befell the six wives of King Henry VIII, and what better way for your children to learn about six of the most well-known queens in England’s history than through a history lesson disguised as a pop concert? The six queens will each sing about their lives while arguing over who had it worse at the hands of Henry the VIII and should thus be the group’s lead singer. Throughout the course of the show, the queens realize that they do not need the love of Henry VIII to be validated as people and learn to sing for themselves and rewrite their own stories. While this is a show that might appeal to girls more than boys, bring your boys along for a fun sing-along history lesson and teach your girls to embrace and be the strong, independent queens that they are!

 

For bonus points, book our family-friendly Exploring the Tower of London tour with your kids to learn more about these queens and their fates! 

 

Recommended Ages: no admission for children under 10

Location: Arts Theatre

Duration: 1hr 10min, no intermission 

Price: from £36 per person 

Showtimes: Monday through Saturday, showtimes vary by day (possibilities include 4:00PM, 6:30PM, 8:00PM, and 9:30PM shows), check websites for details

 

 

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

Photo courtesy of the official website for the West End production of Harry Potter & the Cursed Child; photography by Manuel Harlan

Earn some cool-parent points and take your kids to see this magical play that has won numerous awards! Don't worry, this play has J.K. Rowling's official stamp of approval (she was involved in the writing of the show) and is considered to be the eighth official story in the beloved series. Nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, follow our beloved Harry, who is now Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic (they grow up so quickly, don' they), as he embarks on his latest adventure: parenting a teenage son who, upon his arrival to Hogwarts, is sorted into...Slytherin (*gasp*). Favorites Ron and Hermione (and their daughter!) also return, along with Draco Malfoy and his son (hello, mischief). Audiences will follow along this epic saga that sees your beloved characters grow up and a new generation of wizards enter Hogwarts. Be warned though that this play is split into two parts (which means you'll have to get tickets for both parts), and each part has two acts (so it's quite a big time commitment and you'll have to do some epic scheduling to accomodate seeing this play). However, if the reviews (and the 23 awards the West End production has won) are anything to go by, this show is definiely a must-see for Potterheads of all ages. Might we cheekily suggest that you follow our family-friendly "The Enchanting World of Wizardry" tour (where you will follow in the footsteps of Harry) with this show?

 

Recommended Ages: recommended for children aged 10+, no admission for babes-in-arms. Children under 15 must be accompagnied by an adult

Location: Palace Theatre

Duration: 2hrs 40min with one intermission for Part One, 2hrs 35min with one intermission for Part Two

Price: tickets currently on sale through August 2, 2020, and are priced from £15 per person if bought separately (for Parts One and Two) and from £30 per person if bought together

Showtimes: the regular show schedule is as follows: Part One @ 2:00PM & Part Two @ 7:30PM on Wednesdays; Part One @ 7:30PM on Thursdays; Part Two @ 7:30PM on Fridays; Part One @ 2:00PM & Part Two @ 7:30PM on Saturdays; Part One @ 1:00PM & Part Two @ 6:30PM on Sundays.

*Note: show schedule is subject to change, so please check their official website for details. It is recommended to see the two parts consecutively, but if that does not work for you, you can also see the two parts on separate days.

 

 

Happy theatre-going! 

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