We know it can be daunting to choose the best West End show for your kids, especially when some just aren’t suitable for children at all. However, a trip to the theatre is a fantastic opportunity to create memories and encourage creativity, which makes picking a musical or play that your kids love hugely rewarding.
A one-size-fits-all approach might leave you and your family feeling disappointed or overwhelmed. But with the right information, you can discover the perfect show to provide a day out that your children will never forget, whether they’re toddlers or pre-teens.
Below, we’ve put together a list of our favourite children’s theatre in London, along with a few tips, to help you plan a winning West End experience for the whole family.
The Lion King
Disney’s spectacular musical features stunning puppetry and an unforgettable score by Elton John. Best for age 6+.
Disney's classic tale of a magical nanny and the mischievous Banks children is practically perfect family entertainment. Best for age 7+.
My Neighbour Totoro
The beloved Studio Ghibli film is adapted for the stage in a magical new production which will enchant audiences young and old.
Frozen the Musical
Experience Disney's modern classic on stage in this spectacular musical, featuring hit song “Let It Go”. Best for age 6+.
Discover the untold story of the witches of Oz, with spellbinding songs, a powerful story and incredible visual spectacles. Best for age 7+.
Elf! the Musical
Discover the true meaning of Christmas with Santa’s most enthusiastic elf in this playful family musical, based on the hit film.
Matilda the Musical
Tim Minchin's mischievous musical adaptation is a hilarious, heart-warming modern classic for the whole family. Best for age 6+.
Room On The Broom
Introduce your little ones to live theatre with this fun-filled adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s picture book. Best for age 3+.
Horrible Histories - Terrible Tudors
Discover the story of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and more marauding monarchs, as Horrible Histories returns to the West End. Best for age 5+.
Jack and the Beanstalk
London’s biggest pantomime returns for Christmas 2022 with stars including Dawn French and Julian Clary. Under 4s not permitted.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
Judith Kerr’s classic story about an unexpected houseguest is a roarsome afternoon of theatre for young children. Best for age 3+.
Peppa Pig's Best Day Ever
Join Peppa on an exciting trip this Christmas! This engaging family show is perfect for budding young theatregoers. Best for age 3+.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World is transformed on stage, offering fans a unique new way to experience their favourite fantasy world.
Children will love seeing Pongo, Perdi and their litter of pups on stage in this new musical adaptation. Under 4s not permitted.
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
Travel through the wardrobe to Narnia in this magical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ fantasy novel. Best for age 7+
Frequently asked questions
Popular children’s picture books such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Room on the Broom are regularly adapted for the stage and are the perfect way to introduce your little ones to live theatre.
There are several theatres in London which produce work especially for children up to the age of 11, including Unicorn Theatre and Little Angel Theatre.
When booking, always check the minimum age requirements and content warnings to ensure the show is suitable for your child, whatever their age. Across the West End, children aged 16 and under must be accompanied by, and sat with, an adult.
For slightly older children heading into secondary school, Six is a pop-musical with more complex themes presented in an accessible format. Many other West End plays and musicals are suitable for ages 8+ as long as they are accompanied by an adult. It is best to check guidance and content warnings on a case-by-case basis.
Parent blogger Cardiff Mummy Says suggests talking to children about what they will see and hear inside a theatre, including the architecture and conventions such as the curtains rising and clapping at the end of the performance.
Young children will never be expected to sit completely still in the theatre, but it is always best to prepare them so they do not get upset or confused. Parenting site Kidadl has further suggestions for engaging your children both before and during a trip to the theatre in their theatre guide.
Most West End theatres do not have baby changing facilities, and most shows which allow babes-in-arms run for 45 minutes to one hour in length.
Queues for the toilet can get quite long, so it’s best to make sure your child goes before the performance starts, or is sat on an aisle for easy access in and out of the auditorium.
Babes-in-arms are admitted to shows aimed at preschool aged children. Babes-in-arms are usually up to 12 or 18 months depending on the venue, and they will not need a ticket.
Some productions have concessions and family ticket prices available at the box office. Details of this and how to book are noted on the production page.
Relaxed performances may have quieter music, softer lighting or no strobe lighting, reduced sound effects, and the house lights may remain up. You are able to leave your seat and the auditorium as you wish, and some venues also offer a visual story online to prepare for your visit.
For more information about upcoming relaxed performances and how to book, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.