National Theatre

Theatre, Public and national theatres South Bank
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(15user reviews)
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National Theatre, The Shed  (© Philip Vile)
© Philip Vile
 (© Philip Vile)
© Philip Vile
 (© Philip Vile)
© Philip Vile
Interior architecture (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre architecture (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre interior (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre Stairs (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out

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

  • Walks and tours Until Thursday October 19 2017
  • Drama Until Saturday August 19 2017
  • Drama Until Thursday September 28 2017
  • Festivals Friday July 28 2017 - Sunday August 27 2017 Free
  • Drama Monday July 31 2017 - Saturday August 5 2017
  • Interactive Friday August 11 2017 - Monday August 28 2017
  • Musicals Tuesday August 22 2017 - Wednesday November 29 2017
  • Drama Tuesday September 5 2017 - Saturday December 30 2017
  • Drama Tuesday September 26 2017 - Saturday October 21 2017
  • Drama Wednesday October 4 2017 - Saturday December 2 2017
  • Show more

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Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

I have a good tip for the national. Their productions are excellent and often sell out very quickly. However they keep a number of tickets for each production to sell on the day. These go on sale at 9.30am for that evenings performance. I have gone twice for productions where the tickets were in high demand. On both occasions I was first in the queue despite arriving just before 9.30. The seats provided an excellent view (although some are restricted, I believe) and were only £15.

The theatres themselves are wonderfully designed and the view and acoustics are great from almost anywhere. The productions tend to be first rate and the auxiliary facilities in the South Bank complex are fabulous. For consistently high class shows, the National Theatre is possibly the best - in the world, not just London!

Laura B

Great location, huge range of plays, multiple theatres in the same building, tickets for 15 quid, great seating areas to eat your sandwich first, tap water on all the bars - what more do you want from a theatre?!

Chandni A

After visiting the concrete central of National Theatre, we thought we would visit the Green Room cafe for dinner. It's a cool all glass building looking out onto Southbank market. It has a European menu and I would say the food is average. We ordered wings for starters and they were quite spicy. We asked for something to cool the spice and the waitress never returned till we had almost finished to tell us they didn't have anything. For mains we ordered a lamb hotdog and the cod dish. The cod dish was really fresh as it was served with garden peas and potatoes. The hot dog was not pleasant, the lamb sausage and bun were both very dry.

The service was also quite slow. We asked for water and would receive one at a time, always having to wait for one to be given to us. We let the venue know about this but they said some of the waitresses were still training so we can't really complain.


Perhaps not the friendlist looking place, but step through the doors and it is amazing the vast amountil at the NT offers. Not only has it 3 theatre spaces, offering a variety of cutting edge productions from both produced at the National as well as coming from around the country. It also has no fewer than 4 doffered places to eat including upmarket House restaurant, Terrace and one of the newestate additions, The Green Room which is out the back of the theatre. The NT puts on events outside overlooking the Thames during the summer, has an amazing bookshop and ample public seating with free WiFi. Got to be seen to be believed.


The national theatre puts on epically large productions with beautiful set designs that you can't help be impressed by. I love that they're so openly encouraging to get people from all works of life into theatre thought NT live and their young person discounts. However, my teeny tiny qualm would be that the productions can feel slightly too big - you sometimes loose the beautiful intimacy that you can find in my very favourite theatre (the Old Vic). That being said - a ticket purchase here will never be too far wrong! 

Bryan R

An amazing contemporary venue that allows you get up close to stars big and small in a tremendously creative space.


We should all be proud of the Nash - concrete jungle it may be from the outside, step through the doors and you'll find new and classic plays at decent prices, a fab bookshop and some brilliant bars and eateries. A jewel in London's culture scene.

Paula - ToT

The National is one of the best places to see a play and the way it stages a production is awesome irrespective of the genre.  The set designs are innovative, exciting and clever.  They have a real variety of productions and consistently change things up.  The cafe is also a good place to grab a drink if you’re ever on the Southbank.


It's a special place The National,I have been there countless times and never been disappointed by any show I have seen there. Putting on fine theatre and innovative works,it's a place to visit time and time again. 

It also has some great places to eat and drink. Most recently I booked a table at Understudy bar before seeing a play and it was great. serving bite size mains,you can have a selection of hot dishes,ideal for a pre-theatre munch and a glass of prosecco.

It always has good ticket offers so you can get tickets at all prices,making it accessible to all.

A very good gift/book shop too : )

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.