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Royal National Theatre
Holiday Travel Guide

Attend fascinating talks, see acclaimed shows and enjoy lunch at this concrete playhouse in the vibrant South Bank area.

With its riverside location and intriguing brutalist design, the Royal National Theatre is one of London’s most cherished cultural treasures. Overlooking the River Thames, the theater welcomes a range of plays to its three stages. View the theater at night, when its façade is illuminated in an artistic display of colored lights.

Take a backstage tour or architecture tour of the theater. Learn about the history of the complex. Access digital content about the theater’s past and present via your smartphone or tablet at the Lyttelton Lounge. Outside the theater is a statue of Laurence Olivier, former art director of this theater, in his famous role as Hamlet.

Watch a dramatic performance in the Olivier Theatre, the main auditorium. The seating capacity here is 1,100. Opt to see a play in the cozier settings of the Lyttelton or the Dorfman halls. Productions range from Shakespearean classics and musicals to contemporary plays and family entertainment.

Meet friends in the spacious foyer and sit down together for lunch at one of the restaurants. Relish the view of the river from the tables of the Terrace Restaurant or the Kitchen. Enjoy a few craft beers at the Understudy bar and get cakes and coffees from the Espresso Bar. Free exhibitions are regularly held in the complex.

Look around the bookshop on the first floor foyer. Browse the fascinating items relating to theater on the online shop. These range from books and manuscripts to toys and stationery. The institution also runs the National Theatre Live initiative, broadcasting performances live from the theater to cinemas around the world.

Book tickets online, by phone or in person at the box office by the main entrance. The theater is open Monday through Saturday. Entering the complex is free though there is a fee for tours.

The National Theatre is in the South Bank area of central London. Walk to the theater, which is beside Waterloo Bridge and the Jubilee Gardens, from the London Underground stations of Waterloo or Embankment. Buses and train services provide alternative ways to get here.

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