National Theatre

The Royal National Theatre, home of the National Theatre Company provides both free and paid entertainment every day

Exterior of the National Theatre at Night
Exterior of the National Theatre at Night cc licensed photo by Gary Knight

The Royal National Theatre, commonly referred to as just the National Theatre, was opened in 1976 as the new home of the publicly funded National Theatre Company. They were previously based in the Old Vic Theatre from their beginnings in 1963.

The theatre is of modern concrete architecture and houses 3 separate auditoriums. The main auditorium is the Olivier Theatre which is named after Laurence Olivier, the first artistic director for the theatre. It features an open stage from which seating for 1160 spectators fans out. The Lyttelton Theatre features a proscenium arch design which seats up to 890 guests. And finally the Cottesloe Theatre is a smaller studio space which holds up to 400 depending on the configuration. On the riverside there is a courtyard that is used for outdoor performances during the summer. There is also a free summer festival held there each year.

The theatre's foyers and terraces are open to the public and feature restaurants, bars, exhibition space and a theatrical bookshop. Tours of the backstage are available throughout the day and live music is played in the foyer at 5:45pm and prior to performances. There is no cost for this.

For more information about the Royal National Theatre as well as shows and schedules visit their official website.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes

National Theatre Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Address: London SE1 9PX, UK

Phone: 020 3989 5455

Official Website: National Theatre

National Theatre Reviews

Rated 4.7 out of 5 Star Rating

4 Star Rating Excellent venue! Seats were a little small and very firm, but theater has great sound and all seats had a good view of the stage. I also very much liked the shop.
Elena Ofenstein - in the last week

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5 Star Rating Always a treat to catch a show here. I have never been disappointed, such good value. Brilliant production, well staffed, plenty of seating in foyer areas, even the queue for the toilets moved pretty quickly. And to top it all off, right next to the a brilliant view of the Thames in all it's glory. My friend and I had a quick dinner in the ground floor cafe, very nice and convenient.
Rowena Ritchie - a month ago

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5 Star Rating Superb show of The Witches. Incredible value at £20 a ticket for 4 rows back. Said restricted view/narrow seats but absolutely fine for us & don't think we missed anything, seats c14 & c15. Great view & lucky to have booked to see the very last show of the run. First time in the Olivier Theatre & it's such a lovely venue. We thoroughly enjoyed it & will certainly be back 💜🖤💜🖤💜🧙‍♀️🧙
kitegirluk - 3 months ago

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5 Star Rating My first ever visit to the National Theatre and was very impressed. The seating was excellent with adequate room for my legs, my view of the stage was excellent. It's true I had a good seat but looking around the theatre it didn't seem like there were any bad seats unlike old theatres. I saw a new play called Nye about Nye Bevan starring Michael Sheene which was superb. A great venue and I will definitely go again.
Adrian Windsor - a month ago

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5 Star Rating Hasn't the time to attend 'Nye' but enjoyed the tour of the National Theatre. The layout of the theatre itself really opens itself to the tour, as well as the information panels around the place. Beautiful purpose-built auditoria.
Blue Hanley - a month ago

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Tube Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee LinesWaterloo Station5 Minutes
Circle and District LinesEmbankment Station5 Minutes

How to get to National Theatre by Tube

The National Theatre is just a little north of Waterloo Station. Exit onto Waterloo Road and walk to your left (north) along Waterloo Road. Stay to the right of the BFI Imax Theatre and stay to the right of the approach to the Bridge. The theatre is just before the River Thames on your right hand side.

From Embankment Station on the Northbank simply walk across the Hungerford bridge. The National Theatre is on the far side to your left.

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