Fancy getting your hands on FREE tickets to London shows for kids? Of course you do! Here’s what you need to know about how to do just this during Kids Week in the West End each August
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The magic of London shows for kids
I’m ashamed to say that for a long time I didn’t believe that theatre and young kids could mix. My misconception was that the shows were too highbrow and the little wrigglers were just too…er, wriggly.
All that has changed for me since the kids hit three-years-old when we gradually started to introduce them to local and outdoor theatre of all shapes and sizes.
So when we were invited to see the preview of Kids Week at The Apollo Theatre in London I couldn’t wait to give the girls a taster of the very best London shows for kids.
What is Kids Week in the West End?
Kids Week is run by Society of London Theatre (SOLT) to offer free theatre tickets for children throughout the month of August.
Free tickets are available for shows for young people aged 16 or under. They just need to be accompanying an adult paying full price. Half price tickets can be purchased for an additional two children joining them.
The idea is to encourage more young people and their families to experience the magic of live theatre.
As well as seeing some top West End shows, kids can get involved in a wide range of free events, workshops and activities. There’s storytelling, backstage tours, cast meet-and-greets and choreography lessons too.
Kids Week shows
Kids Week incorporates some of the best shows in the capital – what better reason to plan a visit to London?
Performances range from light-hearted comedies for the whole family like David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny to classic productions such as 42nd Street and darker dramas like The Woman in Black.
During a preview performance we saw an enchanting showcase of songs, dances and back stage snippets.
The girls’ faces were a picture when the Bear from We’re Going On A Bear Hunt wandered around the stalls. And they enthusiastically took part in aerobics with the Tiger from The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
Tot’s highlight was seeing When I grow up from Matilda performed by one of the four actors who play the role on the West End.
We also got plenty of behind the scenes insights, like being shown how the seemingly simple set of Everyone’s Taking About Jamie transforms with the story and seeing a Q&A with the young actors who play Simba and Nala in The Lion King.
Kids Week tickets are available for shows in August. All booking, postage or transaction fees have been waived too.
For more information on London shows for kids, summer activities and Leicester Square deals visit the Kids Week website.
Where to eat after a West End show
Following on from our tantalising Kids Week preview at The Apollo Theatre the girls and I headed to Planet Hollywood for an early dinner before our train home to Devon.
We really enjoyed our meals off of a packed menu with everything from steaks to noodles and pizza. The Chocolate Comet Super Nova Milkshake was a particular hit. I lost most of mine to the girls!
Planet Hollywood not only serves up great meals, it’s heaving with curiosities to keep kids of all ages (and their folks) entertained. TV screens showing movie clips, music videos and live footage from inside the restaurant caught my flagging girls’ attention.
They also had colouring sheets to keep them amused while we ordered our meals. No wonder Planet Hollywood has been named by BookATable as London’s most child-friendly restaurant four years in a row.
Meanwhile I was astonished by all the memorabilia splashed over the walls. We ate in the shadow of The Joker’s long pistol that was brandished by Jack Nicholson in Batman.
And just next to us was one of 007’s suits from The Spy Who Loved Me. One star studded area that the girls did appreciate was the wall of back-lit, multi-coloured hand prints.
Time for more adventures in London with kids?
Take a look at these guides to fun in and around the capital for all budgets:
- easy and cheap weekend itinerary for visiting London with kids
- where to see the best views of London
- what to see on the South Bank
- day trips from London
- tips for visiting London with a toddler
- what it’s like to have afternoon tea at the Waldorf
- things to do in Windsor
Find more days out in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in my big round up of 101 UK attractions for families.
Disclosure: we were invited to experience the Kids Week preview and dine at Planet Hollywood. Our travel to London was covered by the Kids Week team. In exchange for this I have provided coverage on the blog. All opinions are my own.