Monday, October 1, 2012

Guest Post: London’s West End on a Budget

Today's guest post comes to us from the lovely Lucie Crouch, and is about something all of us London-lovers care about... theater!  London's theater scene is legendary, and legendarily expensive, but Lucie has some great ideas for how to get the most out of your experience. As a side note, please be aware that I am not personally endorsing any of the links below, but feel free to contact Lucie if you have any questions for her!

London’s West End on a Budget

When you think of London’s West End, am I right in thinking you get mental images of sparkling lights, luxurious evenings out, champagne intervals and the bright lights of the big city? Well you aren’t wrong.  The West End is not only full of dazzle and luxury; it’s one of the wealthiest parts of London. So does that mean you have to have a title, or be a bright young thing to get involved with the West End? Nope! 

We all know that when you’re on your travels, be it at the start, half way through or if they’re drawing to an end then you’re most likely to be living on a bit of a budget. So is it possible? In one word, yes. You have to remember though that it’s not likely you’ll be able to get a centre seat in the front row, but does that mean you won’t get a good deal? Why not at all.

One of my favourite things to do, was to loiter outside a theatre and just before the theatre starts, theatre tickets sell off pretty cheap. If you’re in a big group you might not all get to sit together, but if it’s just a couple of you then the odds are in your favour.  

Theatre Tickets are pretty easy to get hold of on the internet, so if you’re planning your trip in advance this is a really good way of getting tickets at a reasonable price. Check out some theatre blogs and theatre news sites, as these often have some really good deals. Most of the time you can choose your seats as well which is always a bonus, some examples of deals are Ghost tickets for £20, or The 39 Steps for £12.50. Or how about the West End and Broadway hit, One Man Two Guvnors for £12, that’s really not too pricey!

The cost of holidays as many will know, drastically increase when you go on a family trip. Having the kiddies in tow can seriously put a barrier on what you can and can’t do.  But fear not- there is a whole world of children’s theatre in London for you and the family to enjoy, and again this shouldn’t break the bank if you book your tickets in advance, or try and get some discount or last minute deals. 

Shows like Oliver!, Matilda the Musical and The Tiger who came To Tea, are beautifully staged, colourful and imaginative shows that will keep you just as enthralled as the vertically challenged members of the audience. 

If you keep an eye out as well, in the daytime there are some pretty good dinner and theatre deals, just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get from the restaurant to the theatre, I know from experience doors shut twenty minutes after a performance starts, you don’t really want to buy a ticket for nothing.

One thing I really recommend is visiting the West End at Christmas time. Theatre and pantomime is a bit of a tradition in England during this time of year, and there’s such an air of magic about the place you’ll never forget. The streets are lit up like a Christmas tree, and it’s just amazing, so if you’re looking for a city break at Christmas, or if you fancy taking the family on a cultural day out, or if you fancy doing something different in the evenings or afternoon, then I’d really recommend London’s West End. 

Lucie is a freelance journalist and west end theatre enthusiast. You can follow Lucie on Twitter @LadyLucieCrouch.

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