Royal 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

Open Now

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Address: Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, UK

Phone: 020 7452 3000

Official Website: Royal National Theatre

Map of nearby accommodations:


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

How to get to Royal 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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Rated 4.7 out of 5National Theatre Star Rating

5 Star Rating Went to see Anthony and Cleopatra and sadly arrived 15 minutes late but the staff were so nice and explained they could get us in at the scene change. The bar had a quick service though I would recommend downloading the App so you can order drinks before and just collect. A great place to visit.

Sam Collier - 17 days ago

5 Star Rating Fantastic place to visit and unlike any other London theatre that I've been too. Few places to eat inside but a lot of restaurants outside if you want some food. The National Theatre bookshop is well worth a visit.

Warren Rosen - 26 days ago

5 Star Rating The National Theatre is located on the south bank of the Thames River -- there is a river walk along the south bank. Currently, there is construction around the site and getting there by auto might experience delays. The NT has several performance auditoriums and can offer several productions concurrently. The physical layout and acoustics of the auditoriums is very nice. I saw Anthony and Cleopatra -- excellent.

Todd Ganos - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Absolutely amazing shows. The Olivier theatre in particular is beyond impressive with the revolving stage that stretches over 5 stories underground. Performances are of incredibly high quality, featuring world renown talent and brilliant writers. Also really enjoy the additional exhibitions explaining a bit more about the theatre.

Danielle Lloyd - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating There are two parts to this review. Firstly the building and institution itself was great. All the staff were very friendly and helpful and the cloak room was free and extremely efficient. The second part is the performance itself. We saw War Horse. It was excellent. The puppetry around the horses was amazing and it was very easy to suspend disbelief. Even my very doubting teenagers enjoyed it very much. Go and see anything you can.

Craig Priddle - 2 months ago


An official one minute welcome to the National Theatre in London

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