National Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Public and national theatres
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© Philip Vile
© Philip Vile
© Philip Vile
Rob Greig / Time Out
Rob Greig / Time Out
Rob Greig / Time Out
Rob Greig / Time Out
Rob Greig / Time Out
South Bank

The world's greatest theatre?

Arguably the greatest theatre in the world, the Royal National Theatre is also one of London's most iconic landmarks and perhaps this country's foremost example of brutalist architecture. It boasts four auditoriums – Olivier, Lyttelton, Dorfman and Temporary – a firm foothold on the West End thanks to 'War Horse' and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time', and its NT Live programme beams its greatest hits to cinemas across the globe.

NT Live is just one of the initiatives to issue forth from the golden reign of Nicholas Hytner, which saw a canny mix of modernised classics, popular new writing, the odd worthy excavation from the canon and a splash of hip experimental work fill out the houses night after night, something further driven by a major initiative to reduce ticket prices by actively seeking private sponsorship, notably that of Travelex, who heavily subside tickets in the Lyttelton and Olivier.

The current artistic director is Hytner's successor Rufus Norris, whose initial programming has stuck with many Hytner fundamentals but offered an edgier, more international spin.

Following major upgrade work in 2014, the National Theatre sports all manner of eating and drinking facilities, including flagship restaurant House. Our top tip is The Understudy, a fine riverside bar which brews its own lager and plays excellent music.

Venue name: National Theatre
Address: South Bank
Opening hours: 9.30am-11pm Mon-Sat (12noon-6pm Sun when there is a performance in the building)
Transport: Tube: Waterloo
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Pick a date

  • Children's Until Saturday January 2 2016
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  • Exhibitions Until Saturday April 30 2016 Free
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  • West End Until Saturday December 19 2015
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  • Musicals Until Tuesday March 15 2016
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  • West End Until Tuesday March 29 2016
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  • Drama Saturday November 28 2015 - Wednesday February 10 2016
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  • Drama Tuesday December 1 2015 - Saturday January 16 2016
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  • Drama Thursday December 3 2015 - Sunday January 10 2016
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  • Shakespeare Friday December 4 2015 - Saturday March 5 2016
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  • Rap, hip hop and R&B Saturday December 5 2015
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening
Ekaterina A

Might be the most special venue in the entire world for me. You could spend the entire day here and fell at home & entertainted. Contantly changing yet stays the most welcoming. It may look like a fortress from the outside but once you step in you just don't wanna leave. Magic space! Happy 52th birthday, btw )

Maya Jani

A wonderful space for the public as well as a place to see some fantastic theatre, often at extremely reasonable prices. Really good coffee too!


Nothing like the National! Best night out in London and seeing the inner workings of his great theater is a delight! Don miss it!!

Faye Dawson

The National never fail in excelling with putting on some first class pieces of theatre. The Travelex season makes it even sweeter, as well as the building being a great example of brutalist architecture, and located in one of my favourite parts of London.

Alice Waller

Outstanding. If you haven't been to watch something here yet, you haven't experienced true London. This is how theatre should be done.