London is famous around the world for being one of the best places to see plays, musicals and West End shows. And what better time to go and see one than Christmas hey?! Whether you’re looking to have a day out with the family after perusing the Christmas markets or are looking for some present inspiration, there’s plenty to catch on stage this winter. So without further ado, here’s our rundown of 25 of the best London theatre shows you can catch this Christmas:
Return to Hawkins with a whole new story from the Duffer Brothers that’s set to hit West End stages later this year. Written by Kate Trefry, the play promises an insight into Hawkins in 1959 – “Before the world turned upside down”. Stranger Things: The First Shadow promises to unravel the mysteries at the heart of the TV show, by taking us all the way back to the beginning with a prequel story about Joyce, Hopper, and the origins of Henry Creel (aka Vecna). Plus it’s directed by none other than Stephen Daldry of The Hours and Billy Elliot fame!
📍 Stranger Things: The First Shadow will run at the Phoenix Theatre until August 25, 2024. Book your tickets here.
2. Edward Scissorhands
Since premiering all the way back in 2005, Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of Edward Scissorhands – based on the beloved film of the same name by Tim Burton – has captivated audiences all over the world. It returns in December to enthral audiences once more at the Saddler’s Wells Theatre in Islington.
Featuring music by original composer Danny Elfman and enchanting dance performances throughout by the likes of Billy Elliot legend Liam Mower, this is going to be one show that you don’t wanna miss this Christmas! Plus, tickets are only £15 – even better!
📍Edward Scissorhands will run at the Sadlers Wells Theatre from December 5 – January 20 2024. Book your tickets here.
3. ELF The Musical
Yes you read it here folks! The beloved smash-hit ELF The Musical returns back to the West End for just eight weeks, telling the tale of the North Pole’s favourite misfit as he explores NYC to find his birth father. Merry mayhem in Manhattan ensues…
Expect some fantastic singing and dancing, laughs aplenty and a hell of a lot of festive cheer. We for one can’t wait to watch this one!
📍ELF The Musical runs at the Dominion Theatre until January 6 2024. Book your tickets here.
4. Sunset Boulevard
One musical and London theatre show that you really can’t miss this winter is Sunset Boulevard, starring none other than the Pussycat Doll-come-actress-come-X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger. Set in the glamorous yet treacherous world of 1950s LA, it follows Norma Desmond (Scherzinger), a faded silent film star who won’t quit fame quietly.
Enamoured by her own delusions of grandeur, Norma is determined to make a triumphant return to the silver screen and will stop at nothing to make it happen… With music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and a limited run time until January 6 2024, this is one you really don’t want to miss…
📍Sunset Boulevard is playing at the Savoy Theatre until January 6 2024. Book your tickets here.
5. Disney’s The Lion King
A tale we all know and love and one of the best shows in London, this West End musical follows Simba and Nala’s adventures as they explore the ‘Circle of Life’ in Sub-Saharan Africa. Featuring incredible music from Elton John, stunning effects, spectacular colours, ingenious puppetry and all our favourite characters, this is guaranteed to be a pretty fantastic night at the theatre. Can you feel the love tonight? We’re pretty sure you will at Disney’s The Lion King!
📍 Disney’s The Lion King is playing at The Lyceum Theatre indefinitely. You can grab your tickets here.
6. Jersey Boys: The Musical
Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Olivier Award-winning, true-life phenomenon, Jersey Boys: The Musical. Legends on stage, they soon found themselves in both personal and professional binds and became victims of several mafia threats, gambling debts and family disasters…
📍 Jersey Boys: The Musical is playing at the Trafalgar Theatre indefinitely. You can get your tickets here.
7. My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Centre
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of My Neighbor Totoro was an absolute runaway success when it landed in London back in 2022. It was so popular, in fact, that when it was first announced, it broke the Barbican’s record for most tickets sold in one day. Be sure not to miss out on the next run of the adaptation of the beloved Hayao Miyazaki cult classic.
📍 Performances of My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Centre will start this November. Grab your ticket here.
8. Operation Mincemeat
A ripping yarn and hysterical musical comedy set during World War Two in 1943, Operation Mincemeat tells the unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler? With five-star reviews across the board, this is one London theatre show you really can’t miss in 2023.
📍 Operation Mincemeat is playing at the Fortune Theatre until February 2024. Book your tickets here.
9. Mrs Doubtfire
After a critically-acclaimed run in Manchester, the hilariously funny new musical Mrs Doubtfire has made its way to the West End in 2023. Out-of-work actor Daniel will do anything for his kids. After losing custody in a messy divorce, he creates the alter-ego of Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. But he’ll end up learning far more about parenting through her than he could have ever thought…
📍 Mrs Doubtfire is playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre until January 13 2024. Get your tickets here.
10. The Witches
A rip-roaring musical version of Roald Dahl’s timeless classic, The Witches features words and lyrics by Olivier Award-winner Lucy Kirk and music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy. Taking place at the National Theatre until January 27 2024, you’ll follow the story of Luke and his gran, who have got just one chance to stop some scary witches ‘from squalloping every stinking little child in England‘. Yikes!
📍 The Witches is playing at the National Theatre until January 27 2024. Get a hold of your tickets here.
11. The Time Traveller’s Wife
What happens when you combine a best-selling novel, Grammy-award-winning musicians (Joss Stone and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart), and a powerhouse production team? You get the newest musical to hit London’s West End: The Time Traveller’s Wife. Following the story of the time travelling Henry and his love, Clare, the musical takes us along on their unusual, and non-linear journey as they try to stay together despite everything.
📍 The Time Traveller’s Wife will play at the Apollo Theatre from October 7. Grab your tickets here.
12. Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
In a time when the world is changing forever, there is one place where everyone can be free. Welcome to the Kit Kat Club, home to an intimate and electrifying new production of Cabaret starring Fra Fee and Amy Lennox. One of the most successful musicals of all time, Cabaret features music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and is based on the play by John Van Druten. This is Berlin. Relax. Loosen up. Be yourself. Enjoy!
📍 Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club will be at the Playhouse Theatre indefinitely. Get your tickets here.
The multi-award-winning West End production of Hamilton brings the global musical hit to London’s Victoria Palace Theatre. The story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War, Hamilton helped shape the very foundations of the America that the world knows today. The score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway – the story of America then, told now.
📍 Hamilton is playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre indefinitely. Get your tickets here.
14. Mamma Mia!
See the world’s sunniest, most exhilarating smash-hit musical in 2023! Since premiering in London’s West End over 23 years ago, this feel-good show has thrilled over 65 million people around the world. Fall in love with the irresistibly funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads on a Greek island idyll, all unfolding to the magic of ABBA’s timeless songs. Whatever age you are, you can’t help but have the time of your life at Mamma Mia! Voulez-vous – aha!
📍 Mamma Mia! is playing at the Novello Theatre indefinitely. Get your tickets here.
15. Guys & Dolls: The Immersive Show
Immerse yourself in the streets of Manhattan in Guys and Dolls directed by Nicholas Hytner. Expect to hear all the classic numbers from the hit Broadway show including ‘Luck Be a Lady’, ‘Sit Down You Are Rocking The Boat’, ‘Adelaide’s Lament’, ‘Guys & Dolls’ and more, as you move freely around the stage and interact with the characters too in this fully-immersive experience.
📍Guys & Dolls: The Immersive Show is playing at The Bridge Theatre until February 2024. Grab your tickets here.
16. Les Misérables
Come on. You know Les Misérables – it’s only one of the most famous London theatre shows. Perhaps even one of the most famous theatre shows of all time! In fact, it’s the longest-running musical the West End has ever seen. And now the story of Jean Valjean and the French revolutionaries is given an exciting overhaul with a new production and case including Luke Kempner, Katie Hall, Will Callan and more.
📍 This run of Les Misérables is running at the Sondheim Theatre until September 2024. Secure your tickets here.
17. The Choir of Man
Welcome to The Choir of Man—the best night in your local you’ve ever had. It’s a party, it’s a concert, it’s a lock-in like no other. Featuring breathtaking reinventions of chart-topping hits from artists including Guns’N’Roses, Fun!, Adele, Avicii, Paul Simon, Sia and many more, this musical has something for everyone. Get ready to get your rock god on.
📍 The Choir of Man is playing at the Arts Theatre London until February 2024. Get a hold of your tickets here.
18. Dear England
Dear England traces the turbulent story of the England men’s football team under the management of Gareth Southgate. Based on extensive research and interviews, the show presents a fictionalised account of the struggles faced by the team. Following an extremely successful run at the National Theatre, the show is set to join the ranks of other London theatre shows on the West End.
📍 Dear England will run at the Prince Edward Theatre until January 13 2024. Get a hold of your tickets here.
19. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
The much-praised adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel previously enjoyed a sell-out run at The National Theatre. Now it’s back in London for even more theatre-goers to be dazzled by the adventure and visual spectacle. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane finds its main character thrown back in time to his 12th birthday. As his friend tries to convince him that a farmhouse pond is in fact an ocean, they must reckon with magical forces that threaten to destroy everything around them.
📍 The Ocean At The End Of The Lane will run at the Noël Coward Theatre until November 25 2024. Cop your tickets here.
20. Moulin Rouge! The Musical
“Where’s all my soul sistas? Lemme hear ya’ll flow, sistas...” Enter a world of splendour and romance, of eye-popping excess, of glitz, grandeur, and glory! It’s one of London’s most glamorous theatre shows, set in a world where bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment. Pop the champagne and prepare for a theatrical celebration of truth, freedom, beauty and love… Moulin Rouge! is more than a musical— it is a state of mind.
📍 Moulin Rouge! The Musical is playing at the Piccadilly Theatre until March 2024. Grab your tickets here.
21. Frank & Percy
Two legends of the stage and screen, Sir Ian McKellen and Roger Allam, star in this poignant comedy that traces an unexpected relationship blossoming between two men. Frank & Percy lets the audience into their world of park-bench conversations as they discuss the weather, their dogs, and more. Will they make a life-changing decision, or is it simply too late?
📍 Frank & Percy will run at The Other Palace Theatre until December 17 2024. Grab your tickets here.
22. Back To The Future: The Musical
Head off on a journey back to 1955 with Marty McFly and Doc Brown in this award-winning adaptation of the iconic movie. You’ll be tapping your feet along to new music alongside the iconic tracks from the film itself. It’s an 88mph thrill ride – but let’s hope you don’t get stuck in the past and manage to return Back To The Future.
📍 Back To The Future: The Musical is running at the Adelphi Theatre with performances through to mid-February 2024. Get yourself a ticket here.
23. Matilda The Musical
Another one of the best London theatre shows you can watch this festive period here. Inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl, Matilda The Musical is the multi-award-winning musical brought to the stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Featuring original songs by Tim Minchin, discover the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.
📍 Matilda The Musical is playing at the Cambridge Theatre until December 2024. Get your tickets here.
24. The House of Bernarda Alba
Our penultimate addition of this list of London theatre shows to see this winter is a real treat we have to say. Written by the incredibly talented playwright and screenwriter Alice Birch (of Dead Ringers and Normal People fame), The House of Bernarda Alba follows steely matriarch Harriet Walter as she imposes an iron-rod rule over her five daughters after the passing of their beloved father. It’s playing at the National Theatre until January 6 2024.
📍 The House of Bernada Alba is playing at the National Theatre until January 6 2024. Get a hold of your tickets here.
25. TINA – The Tina Turner Musical
Our final addition to this London theatre shows roundup is a real humdinger. From humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules, she rewrote them. This fantastic stage musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race. Featuring her much-loved songs, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd. You’ll get to celebrate the late and great legend herself as you get to sing along to all the hits. After all – she’s Simply the Best!
📍 TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is playing at the Aldwych Theatre, 49 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DF. Get hold of your tickets here.
So there you have it – the best London theatre shows to see for the 2023 festive period. From musical classics to heartwarming tales – there’s something for everyone here!