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

Currently Closed

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


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 Get a drink and go to third floor for views of river. Maybe wait until theatre productions have started as very busy otherwise. Gift shop has unique gifts and books. And lots of concrete with the occasional Apple laptop.

G B - 5 days ago

5 Star Rating Two small theaters with great atmosphere and high end productions. I can only recommend visiting this amazing place. You‘ll thank me later.

Anthony mois - 11 days ago

5 Star Rating This was my first time at the national after hearing great things. Antony and Cleopatra was excellent and the stage was out of this world. Such clever design and interesting pieces. Highly recommended venue, not cheap but really good! The seats are very comfortable too... expect to have to put your bag in the cloak room if it's bigger than a handbag though

gravity Williams - 18 days ago

5 Star Rating Such a friendly place. We arrived with a school party and everyone was smiling and welcoming. Inside is immaculate and peaceful with plenty of open space. I was expecting carnage in the toilets during the interval but there were plenty of facilities and our two classes were back in seats with plenty of time to spare. The actual theatre is intimate and the seats slightly tiered for better viewing. Only a few children had hindered view from an adult sitting in front.

Sarah Purdey - 22 days ago

5 Star Rating London’s (if not Britain’s) landmark theatre. It’s brutalist design is a break from other classic theatre design. The interior is spacious and while it can be a challenge to navigate on the first trip it is well signposted. Bars, toilets and relaxing amenities are well maintained. Once out on the South Bank there are plenty of fine options for good dining and further drinks. As the National theatre it is always going to be home to well produced and highly regarded shows. Definitely worth a trip at least once while in London.

Derwin Brennan - 2 months ago


An official one minute welcome to the National Theatre in London

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