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Best kids' theatre in London 2022

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.

Frequently asked questions

There are shows suitable for all ages in the West End, including those aimed at toddlers and pre-school aged children. These are shorter than a standard play or musical and feature lots of interaction, puppetry and songs. 

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.
Musicals are a great option for the whole family, with songs and choreography making their stories engaging for a wide audience. Long-running family musicals like Matilda, Mary Poppins and Wicked are particularly popular for families with children aged 6 - 11.

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.
It’s a good idea to talk to children about the show they are going to see, especially if they have not attended a live performance before. If it is based on a book or television programme, try to watch this before attending so they recognise the characters on stage. 

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.
Many shows for younger children are at theatres with pushchair storage in the cloakroom, such as Theatre Royal Haymarket and Leicester Square Theatre. Space is limited and operates on a first-come, first-serve basis and all pushchairs, prams and buggies must be collapsible. 

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.
Booster seats are a great way to ensure your child can see the stage clearly. Most children’s and family shows will offer booster seats, including Disney’s Frozen and The Lion King. These can be collected at the theatre when you arrive and may be limited to first-come, first-serve.
Tickets for shows aimed at younger children are usually cheaper than tickets for other West End plays and musicals. Some shows offer different prices for child and adult tickets, such as Stick Man.

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.
Many West End shows have dedicated access and relaxed performances for audiences of all ages.  

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 help@seatplan.com.
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