London Theatre Tickets

There are many reasons that London stands out as one of Europe's cultural hubs, not least of all its thriving West End, home to some of the best playwrights and thespians in the world.

In the past, the British theatre scene was more or less off limits to most of the general public. These days, however, it's not only welcoming and inclusive - it's also pretty affordable too.

That being said, theatre-goers of all stripes are still encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for a bargain. Here are our top tips for finding affordable tickets.

1 - Try the previews

It seems counter-intuitive, but quite often new shows are cheaper at the start of their run than at the end. This is because theatres generally begin with a "preview" period whereby an early version of the production is put on so that the cast and crew can test the waters and iron out any rough patches before it goes live.

The upshot for the general public is that preview ticket are generally a lot cheaper. Admittedly, you won't be buying the full finished article, but if all goes well you might get to say you were there when the next Phantom of the Opera first debuted.

2 - Avoid go-betweens

As with hotels, flights and concerts, there are a host of websites out there that purport to take the hassle out of buying theatre tickets by functioning as a helpful middle-man between you and the proprietors of the play.

This sounds great on paper, but it generally comes with a considerable extra cost, without much in the way of benefit. To avoid this, our advice is simply to go directly to the source. That way you know exactly what you're paying and there's less chance of complication on the day of the show.

3 - Restricted view seats

It sounds like most people's idea of a terrible night out: you buy expensive tickets to the latest Andrew Lloyd Webber play, only to find that your seat is right behind a giant concrete pillar that obscures your view of the action.

Granted, that could be an issue, but restricted view seats - in other words, the ones that don't exactly offer the best vantage point for spectators - are a great way for cash-strapped arts enthusiasts to taste the theatre experience. Just make sure you can at least see part of the stage!

4 - Special discounts

The West End might have a reputation for being snobby and exclusive, but there nevertheless are several initiatives out there aimed at attracting people of varied backgrounds through the theatre doors.

This includes full-time students, disabled people, over 60s and in some cases under 25s. If you think you qualify, then don't be afraid to take advantage of it when booking a ticket. Even if they don't have anything advertised online, it's always worth giving them a ring to see what they can offer you.

5 - Last minute deals

The idea here is much the same as a last minute upgrade on a flight. Nine times out of 10, it probably won't work, but every so often you get lucky with a generous member of staff who feels like making someone's day.

So, if you can't quite stretch to the full fee, why not give it a try? Just find a quiet moment, walk over to the kiosk and ask if they can cut you a last minute deal. You'll be amazed how many stories there are of this actually working.

There are ticket booths in front of every theatre which will give you a much lower price on the day if any seats are still available. It is worth a try!

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