Children's theatre in London - the best shows for kids of all ages

From tiny tots to older kids, we've got your next family theatre trip covered.
'Room on the Broom'
© Francis Loney 'Room on the Broom'
By Time Out London Theatre |

It's never to early to introduce kids to the magic of theatre, and London's bursting with shows that'll delight junior audiences. There are gentle puppet shows for babies and toddlers. Rainbow bright, song-stuffed adventures for young kids. Smart dramas that are sure to hold teenagers rapt. And spectacular musicals that'll get the whole family on side.

London boasts quite a few dedicated kids' theatres, including Little Angel Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, and Polka Theatre. But we've got the goss on loads more child-friendly shows across the capital. Here are our our picks of the theatre, shows and performances will suit the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups too.

If you're planning ahead for the school holidays, check out our 101 things to do in London with kids. Or for treats the whole family can enjoy, have a look at our favourite West End theatre shows.

Theatre for all the family

Theatre, West End

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

icon-location-pin Piccadilly Theatre, Soho

Three theatres, three casts, one major disaster and seven Olivier Awards on, the National Theatre’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel about Christopher Boone, the teenage ‘mathematician with some behavioural difficulties’ remains a thing of unbridled wonder…

Time Out says
Theatre, Musicals

Matilda the Musical

icon-location-pin Cambridge Theatre, Covent Garden

'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents. Like the curly-haired little girl in the famous nursery rhyme, when it is good, it is very, very good. And it's even better when it's horrid. 

Time Out says
Theatre, West End

The Lion King

icon-location-pin Lyceum Theatre, Covent Garden

Nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence. With the surge of 'Circle Of Life' reverberating through your chest, Julie Taymor's animal creations march on, species by species. For a global blockbuster, 'The Lion King's absolute theatricality is astonishing. It's perfect for a musical, allowing both distinct flavours and an eclectic carnival spirit. 

Time Out says
See more recommended family shows

Theatre for children (5+)

Theatre, Puppetry

The Wider Earth

icon-location-pin Natural History Museum, Brompton

Starring seven actors and 30 handmade animal puppets, this show brings Victorian naturalist Charles Darwin's story to life. Aged 22, he set out on the HMS Beagle, and encountered flora and fauna that led him to discover the theory of evolution. Unfolding in a specially created theatre space at the heart of the Natural History Museum, this is a whimsical look at a landmark moment in scientific history.  'The Wider Earth' is the handiwork of David Morton (creative director of Aussie company Dead Puppet Society) and comes to the Natural History Museum after premiering in Queensland in 2016. Ages 10-plus.

'Twelfth Night' at Southwark Playhouse
© Rawpixel
Theatre, Shakespeare

Twelfth Night

icon-location-pin Southwark Playhouse, Elephant and Castle

This music festival-inspired take on Shakespeare's comedy is aimed at older kids and teens. An onstage band will soundtrack the story of a girl searching for lost twin brother in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Anna Girvan directs. Ages 10-plus. 

See more kids theatre recommendations

Theatre for young children (0-4)

Baby Show, Unicorn Theatre
© Helen Murray
Theatre, Children's

Baby Show

icon-location-pin Unicorn Theatre, London Bridge

A Unicorn Theatre long-runner, Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis's ‘Baby Show’ is one of London's rare regular theatre experiences for the very young. A light and sound-based sensory experience for ages six-to-18-months, it tends to be very popular and advance booking is advised.

Theatre, Children's

Wow! It's Night-time

icon-location-pin Little Angel Theatre, Islington

A curious little owl explores the night skies in Little Angel Theatre's new show for toddlers. It's an adaptation of a Tim Hopgood picture book, and the follow-up to last year's hit 'WOW! Said the Owl'. Puppets and gentle storytelling create a gentle story of about the wonders of the forest after dark. Ages two-to-five.

'Hippity Hop' at Artsdepot
© Suzi Corker
Theatre, Children's

Hippity Hop

icon-location-pin Southbank Centre, South Bank

Oily Cart make some of the best shows for young kids around, so it's great to see their hippy hoppy musical for tots making a comeback. This multi-sensory, interactive performance introduces under-fives to the world of hip-hop by telling the story of a lost baby's journey to find her mum. 

See more of the best London shows for little ones

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