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Best West End shows, musicals and plays you need to see in London in 2022

Fancy a night out at the theatre? These are the West End shows, musicals and plays you need to see in London this year.

best west end shows musicals plays london
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Published: Wednesday, 7th September 2022 at 1:10 pm

Whether you're a local or in town for a special occasion, a West End show is a brilliant way to spend an evening. From award-winning musicals to book adaptations, and from re-tellings of iconic stories to limited-time shows, London is jam-packed with entertainment.

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But, how do you choose what to see in London? We've considered everything from budget, genres and cast to give you our pick of the best plays, musicals and theatre shows to see. We've got Hamilton for the history buffs, Back to the Future for a dose of nostalgia, and we already know Disney's Frozen The Musical will be a hit with the kids.

Here are our recommendations for the best West End shows to see in London this year.

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Want to try something out of the ordinary? Here’s our pick of the best immersive experiences you should try in London this year, with themes including Stranger Things, Jurassic World and Peaky Blinders, taking place all throughout autumn.

Buying West End show tickets for a loved one is a brilliant idea as it's something you can both do together, and here's how to get cheap theatre tickets. For more gift ideas, be sure to check out our London experience gifts.

Best West End shows in London at a glance

Best West End shows to see in London in 2022

Come From Away

Come From Away on West End in London
Come From Away cast

This musical tells the extraordinary true story of what happened when 38 planes were diverted and forced to land at Canada's Gander International Airport following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The planes, carrying nearly 7,000 passengers and 19 animals, doubled the population of a small Newfoundland town.

Come From Away serves as a reminder of kindness in the darkest of times as the townspeople quickly sprang into action to comfort and feed the passengers.

Buy Come From Away tickets from £24 at Ticketmaster

Buy Come From Away tickets from £20 at London Theatre Direct

Six the Musical

Six the Musical cast on stage
Henry VIII's six wives

If you watched the Platinum Jubilee concert, you would have caught a glimpse of this bizarre retelling of the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives. In the musical, each wife takes it in turns to share their story of how they were wronged by the Tudor King, and why that means they should be the lead singer of the wives’ pop group.

Buy Six the Musical West End tickets from £20 at London Theatre Direct

Originally debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, Six is now touring the UK, with performances in Brighton, York, Bristol and more. But don't worry, you can still grab tickets for the West End show from now up until September 2023.

Buy Six the Musical UK tour tickets from £13 at ATG Tickets

Hamilton

Hamilton the Musical on stage
Hamilton on The West End

As the winner of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Hamilton is a brilliant choice if you’re in London this autumn and want to treat yourself to a West End show.

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A blend of hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway is the musical backdrop to this show, which tells the true(ish) story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers and George Washington’s right-hand man.

Buy Hamilton tickets from £24 at London Theatre Direct

Matilda the Musical

Matilda the musical on stage
Matilda the Musical

Adapted from Roald Dahl’s much-loved book of the same name, Matilda is taking bookings up to May 2023 for the Cambridge Theatre in London. You know exactly what you’re getting with this musical: wholesome, family-friendly fun.

Buy Matilda the Musical tickets from £24 at Ticketmaster

Heathers the Musical

Heathers on stage
Heathers the Musical

Heathers the Musical is back at The Other Palace until September this year. It’s based on the 1989 cult movie, Heathers, which follows student Veronica as she’s accepted into her high school's popular clique (three girls all named Heather), then gets wrapped up with the rebellious Jason 'J.D' Dean - a teenager who plans to murder everybody at their high school. This is definitely one for a more mature audience.

Buy Heathers the Musical tickets from £30 at London Theatre Direct

The Lion King

The Lion King musical at the Lyceum Theatre, London
The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, London Time Out

A story we all know and love. Based on the 1994 Walt Disney movie of the same name, The Lion King musical play features music from Elton John, actors in decadent animal costumes and giant hollow puppets. The show opened in the Lyceum Theatre over 20 years ago in 1999, and is still going strong after more than 7,500 performances.

It’s the top-earning title in box-office history, surpassing The Phantom of the Opera, and even the Royal Family have seen a performance of this much-loved story.

Buy The Lion King tickets up to June 2023 from £30 at London Theatre Direct

Wicked

Laura Pick and Sophie Evans in Wicked at
Laura Pick and Sophie Evans star in Wicked Broadway Shows

Wicked knows a thing or two about being ‘Popular’! This musical is the prequel to The Wizard of Oz, and it tells the story of Elphaba (the future Wicked Witch of the West) and her friendship with Glinda (the Good Witch of the South). It was nominated for 6 Tony awards, including Best Actress, and, honestly, we went to see the musical with our families, and it’s deserving of every single nomination.

Buy Wicked tickets from £20 at Ticketmaster

Frozen: The West End Musical

Frozen The West End Musical
Frozen: The West End Musical Johan Persson

Back in January 2019, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane embarked on an ambitious project to restore its historic theatre to its former 1812 glory. Now, in 2022, it reopened its doors with showings of Disney’s Frozen. The jaw-dropping sets and special effects really make this musical magical as it brings to life the scenery from the film.

Buy Frozen the Musical tickets from £25 at Ticketmaster

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen
Dear Evan Hansen London Theatre Direct

Dear Evan Hansen is a coming of age musical about teenager Evan who’s struggling with social anxiety and whose therapist encourages him to write letters in an attempt to help his mental health. His letter accidentally falls into the hands of his classmate Connor, who later takes his own life. Upon finding the letter, Connor’s parents mistakenly assume that Evan and their son were best friends, and welcome him into their family. Things get out of hand very quickly (as we're sure you can imagine).

Ticketmaster currently has an offer on that means you can save up to 36% on selected seats. Prices start at just £30 a ticket.

Buy Dear Evan Hansen tickets from £25 at Ticketmaster

Back to the Future: The Musical

Back to the Future: The Musical
Back to the Future: The Musical Amands Malpass

If the hugely enthusiastic description on From The Box Office is anything to go by, Back to the Future: The Musical will be the most electrifying experience of your entire life — possibly more important than, say, childbirth. The musical follows the plot of the blockbuster film: teenager Marty McFly is blasted back in time to the year 1955 by eccentric scientist Doc Brown and unwittingly changes the course of history.

If you watched Britain's Got Talent this year, you might have caught a sneak peek of Back to the Future: The Musical on Britain's Got Talent. Since its special appearance, the musical has decided to extend its West End run into 2023, so there's even more opportunity to go and see it.

Buy Back to the Future: The Musical tickets from £19.55 at Ticketmaster

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon at the London Theatre
The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre London Theatre

From the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, comes this comedy musical about two Latter-Day missionaries who are posted to a remote Ugandan village to preach the faith of the Church, and to convert its inhabitants to Mormonism. The locals are uninterested, however, as they face more pressing issues such as famine, HIV/AIDS, FGM, and oppression from their warlord.

Buy Book of Mormon tickets from £24 at Ticketmaster

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Visit London

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part play written by Jack Thorne and based on J.K. Rowling’s original story. It follows Harry, Ron and Hermione 19 years after they saved the wizarding world, and they’re joined by a new generation of wizards and witches to stop mysterious evil forces for another time.

Buy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets from £15 at ATG Tickets

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, we've included two walking tours in our top London walking tours piece, which will be a lot of fun for any aspiring wizard.

Get Up Stand Up!

Michael Duke as Bob Marley in Get
Michael Duke as Bob Marley in Get Up Stand Up! Get Up Stand Up

Get Up Stand Up! is the five star Bob Marley musical. It follows the life of Bob Marley as he sets out to advocate for justice through his music, and it features his most-loved tracks like ‘No Woman No Cry’, ‘Three Little Birds’ and ‘Could You Be Loved’.

Get Up Stand Up! tickets are also included in Ticketmaster's current offers so you can get up to 35% off selected seats.

Buy Get Up Stand Up! tickets from £18 at Ticketmaster

Buy Get Up Stand Up! tickets from £18 at London Theatre Direct

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black Tristram Kenton

A bucket list show from London's West End. We've only ever heard amazing things about this spooky play based on Susan Hill’s 1983 book of the same name. It’s directed by Robin Herford, who directed the original cast in 1987 when the show first took the stage in Scarborough, before opening at The Fortune Theatre in London in 1989.

As the setting is so minimal with few props and scarce sound effects, it creates a chilling atmosphere and your imagination runs wild. You’ll definitely be scared to walk to the loo by yourself afterwards.

Buy The Woman in Black tickets from £22.50 at ATG Tickets

Les Misérables

Les Miserables London
The Les Misérables cast

What makes West End’s longest-running musical so magical is how immersive it is; with the backdrops of paintings by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables’ author, and the powerful performances from every single member of the cast, you feel like you’re at the heart of the action.

Buy Les Misérables tickets from £24 at London Theatre Direct

TINA: The Tina Turner Musical

Aisha Jawando Tina Turner TINA musical london west end
Aisha Jawando as Tina Turner Manuel Harlan

Aldwych Theatre welcomes you to TINA. The musical includes all of Tina Turner's much-loved songs, and follows her journey to stardom, from her humble beginnings in Tennessee to the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll — with her live performances selling more tickets than any other solo artist across the globe. It showcases all the ups and downs along Tina's way, and you'll leave the theatre feeling very motivated.

Buy TINA: The Tina Turner Musical tickets from £12 at Ticketmaster

For a limited time only, GoGroopie is offering TINA: The Tina Turner Musical tickets with a hotel stay, plus breakfast from just £99. Choose from a three or four-star hotel, and a one or two-night stay in this package deal.

Buy TINA: The Tina Turner Musical tickets with a hotel stay, plus breakfast from £99 at GoGroopie

Upstart Crow

David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan in Upstart Crow
David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan in Upstart Crow Gary Moyes

David Mitchell, of Peep Show fame, is returning to the West End as William Shakespeare in the play Upstart Crow. The show originally debuted in February 2020 before Covid-19 forced theatres to shut, and now it's back with a limited run at London's Apollo Theatre. Mitchell is joined by Gemma Whelan, who you'll recognise from the hit TV show Game of Thrones.

Buy Upstart Crow tickets from £28.75 at Ticketmaster

My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro
My Neighbour Totoro coming October 2022 Playbill

The world premiere of the stage adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro is coming to London in October. If you've seen the Studio Ghibli film, you'll know that it's wholesome, joyful, family-fun, and we have high hopes that the West End show will live up to our expectations.

Buy My Neighbour Totoro tickets from £33 at London Theatre Direct

& Juliet

& Juliet
& Juliet Time Out

It's the greatest love story of all time, with a modern twist. & Juliet reimagines what Juliet's life would've been like if William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet didn't end quite so tragically. This musical comes from the writer of Schitt's Creek, so you can expect a lot of laughter and tons of fun.

Buy & Juliet tickets from £24.50 at Ticketmaster

Good the play

good the play david tennant
David Tennant stars in Good ATG Tickets

Don't miss out on Good the play tickets for the opportunity to see David Tennant live in the West End, starring in an adaptation of Cecil Philip Taylor's play Good. On the West End from October, the show transports you to World War II as you follow John Halder (played by Tennant), a seemingly 'good' man as he battles between doing the right thing and his desire for a simple life.

Buy Good the play tickets from £20 at ATG tickets

Bat Out Of Hell — The Musical

bat out of hell west end musical london
Bat Out Of Hell — The Musical ATG Tickets

Bat Out Of Hell — The Musical is described as Romeo and Juliet meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and features an electric soundtrack from Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman. The award-winning musical is centred around rebellious love as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, falls in love with Raven, the daughter of the oppressive ruler Falco. Expect drama, action, and huge hits like including I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

Buy Bat Out Of Hell tickets from £30 at London Theatre Direct

If you live outside of London and you're not planning a trip to the capital any time soon, then you're in luck! Bat Out Of Hell is touring the UK and Ireland until the end of this year.

Buy Bat Out Of Hell UK and Ireland tour tickets from £13 at ATG Tickets

Best of Enemies

zachary quinto david harewood best of enemies west end play
Zachary Quinto and David Harewood star in this political play The Guardian

This political play focuses on the nightly televised feuds between conservative William F Buckley Jr and liberal Gore Vidal. It stars Zachary Quinto, best known for playing Spock in the Star Trek films, as well as Chad Warwick and the sinister Dr Oliver Thredson in the first two seasons of American Horror Story, and David Harewood of Homeland and Blood Diamond fame.

Best of Enemies is at the Noël Coward Theatre for a limited 14-week run.

Buy Best of Enemies tickets from £18 at London Theatre Direct

What time do West End shows start and finish?

Like with the price, this depends entirely on the show, and whether you've got a matinee or evening performance. Most shows run for two hours to two and a half hours, with a 15-minute interval. A matinee performance usually starts at 2:30pm, whereas the evening performances will begin around 7:30pm.

West End show weekend breaks and hotel stays

If you're travelling to London for a West End show, it makes sense to spend a few days in the city; especially if you're planning on seeing an evening performance which will have you leaving the theatre at around 10pm (that's our bedtime!).

There's a number of websites, like Holiday Extras, where you can book your theatre tickets and hotel in one go. You can choose which theatre show you'd love to see, then select how many nights you'll stay around your chosen date, and it'll suggest hotels just a stone's throw away from the theatre.

Plus, as it's a package deal — a theatre show and hotel combo — you'll save a couple of quid, too.

Book a West End show and hotel stay at Holiday Extras

What is the easiest way to get to the West End?

Travelling to the West End when you live outside of London can seem like a mean feat. But we're here to reassure you that it can be done with minimal faff and on a budget, too.

Train timetables are usually released 12 weeks in advance, and train operators put cheap train tickets on sale shortly afterwards. The nearer your travel date, the more expensive the train tickets will be, so be sure to snap-up tickets as soon as possible.

Railcards are also a great way to save a couple of quid on your travel — 1/3 of the total ticket fare to be precise. Find the right Railcard for you at Trainline.

If you live too far away from London to comfortably travel there and back in one day, and let's face it, a lot of us do, you may want to consider an overnight stay. Airbnb offers private rooms and entire homes all across London, so you're bound to find somewhere that fits your budget.

What are the best seats in a theatre?

If money is no object, you might as well spend a bit more to get closer to the action at a West End show. However, with all the different parts of the auditorium, it can be tricky to know where to select seats which guarantee the best viewing experience; so we've done the difficult work for you.

Here's the breakdown of all the seats in a theatre, and where to sit for maximum viewing enhancement.

The Stalls are considered the best seats in the house as they're on the ground floor and closest to the stage. In a lot of West End theatres, there will be rows and rows of ground floor seats, so you can choose to be on the front row, somewhere in the middle, or right at the back; the closer you are to the stage, the pricier your seats will be.

The Dress Circle, sometimes referred to as the Royal Circle, is the next level up from the ground floor. The Dress Circle gives audience members an advantage as they can see what's happening across the whole stage — something that people in the stalls might not be able to do, particularly for props or characters at the back of the stage.

Next up is the Upper Circle, also called the Grand Circle. This is another level up again, and will be one of the cheaper theatre tickets available (unless the theatre has a Balcony which not many of them do). You'll be able to see everything on the stage, however, you may miss finer details, such as an actor's facial expression.

The cheapest seats in the house are Restricted View. All theatres will sell tickets for what they deem a 'restricted view'. However, as we mentioned earlier, one of our RadioTimes.com team went to see Wicked with their mum, and the supposedly 'restricted' view was anything but. We can't guarantee this will be the case in all theatres, though, and you may find your view obstructed by a safety rail or a pillar.

Sitting in a box is an excellent way to make your trip to the theatre even more memorable. Typically located on the same level as the Dress Circle, a box can be hired out for just you and your party, which means you get perks like strangers not squeezing past you to go to the loo during a dramatic moment.

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Head to our Going Out section for more on new ticket releases, like how to get Harry Styles tickets and how to get The 1975 tickets. Or, head to our best escape rooms in London guide for recommendations on which one you should try next.

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