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

Official Website: National Theatre

Fee: Yes

Open Now

Regular Hours:
Hours may be subject to change. Please verify on the official website, especially where Covid restrictions are in effect.

  • Monday: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thursday: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • Friday: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • Saturday: 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sunday: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Category: Performing Arts

Address: Upper Ground
South Bank
London SE1 9PX
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 20 7452 3000


Yelp Rating:
4.5 out of 5 4.5 Star Rating
Based on 93 Reviews.

See all reviews on Yelp

5 Star Rating I saw Translations and Absolute Hell at the National and I also took a tour of the space. The bookstore has fun novelty items and a vast selection of plays... Read More

Elizabeth G. Jun-30-2018

4 Star Rating We came here to see a performance of Macbeth. The prices were reasonable and the performance was good. I would say the theatre was a bit warm on a hot day... Read More

Jon C. Aug-18-2018

5 Star Rating We LOVE the National Theatre! Our group of forty from Arizona enjoyed a private tour of this wondrous facility! We learned of the history and founding of... Read More

Lee P. Jul-05-2016

Accommodations near 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 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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An official one minute welcome to the National Theatre in London

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