London’s a beautiful city. Obviously. Well, at least it’s obvious to me – I fell in love with the city when I first visited it in 2007. Since then I often felt the need to go back – which by now I do quite regularly and that usually has just one main reason: to see a West End show. If you ever went to see a musical in Germany you know that tickets sometimes are hardly affordable – especially when you like to see actors faces and expressions and emotions. So I personally wouldn’t consider the last row my favorite spot – especially when it comes to seeing a show again. And again. And again. You get it. 😉
Musical tickets in London aren’t generally cheap either. But today I’d like to give you a few tips and tweaks for a West End visit with a student budget.
Day seats – something to perpetuate a British stereotype: it’s basically queueing. It’s very simple: Theatre box offices often sell a certain amount of tickets for performance(s) on the same day for a reduced price of around 25-30 pounds (sometimes even less!). All you have to do is queue and be there when the box office opens. Usually you can get front row tickets (which aren’t released to the general public to be bought in advance!), but please check with the box office so you’re not disappointed. From my experience, two hours before opening is enough to secure yourself a day seat. I can recommend theatremonkey.com for reports and information about how many tickets are sold and where it the theatre they usually are.
So if you don’t mind getting up a little earlier, you can save quite a bit on theatre tickets. And waiting in line doesn’t have to be as boring as it may sound: I had some very interesting and entertaining conversation with fellow “day seaters” about last see shows.
In the UK it’s common to sell restricted view seats or seats with reduced legroom to fairly reduced prices (and I mean reduced! Not those 10% off you get if you book last row instead of middle stalls in Germany). But be warned: reduced legroom means reduced! If you’re tall or God blessed you with long legs: those seats won’t be for you. Restricted view on the other hand is a bit more difficult to categorize. It sometimes means you won’t see the actors feet (restricted view seats for Billy Elliot, second row, stalls.) or you might have a side view of the stage and won’t see the far left corner of the stage . Most shows specify the kind of restriction when you choose your seats.
So if you don’t mind not being in the middle of the row, or in the middle of the stalls, you might want to look out for those seats. I can recommend seatplan.com for decision support!
A very obvious tip, I admit it, but always worth a try! Theatres often release tickets to resellers a couple of days before the performance where they’re sold for a reduced price – no one likes empty seats in a theatre. The most popular way is probably the TKTS ticket booth in Covent Garden – on their website you can even see what tickets will cost for certain shows up to two daysin advance. New – but with the same principle – is the app TodayTix. You can book your tickets directly through the app, pay online and get your mobile ticket. So if you don’t want to queue for day seats – or spontaneously decide you want to see a show: this might be your chance.
You see: There are quite a few options to save money on theatre tickets without taking away too much of the theatre experience and the overall enjoyment of the show.
Have you seen a show in the West End? Or the UK in general maybe?