Free theatre tickets for kids and other ways to save on seats

You can take the kids to see a top West End show for free this August with the return of Kids Week. Here’s how to snap up free - or cheap - tickets

Box Office Sign at a Theatre in London
(Image credit: Getty images)

You can treat the kids to free tickets to see more than 45 top shows and musicals this summer including Wicked or Disney’s the Lion King or Frozen, but you’ll need to be quick as tickets for this annual event go fast.

Popular shows usually come with a hefty price tag and a trip to the theatre is often a luxury with tickets going for well over £100 in the West End. We reveal how you can get free tickets for the kids this summer.

Snap up free tickets for kids week

Kids can see a range of top shows in London’s West End throughout August for free, as long as an adult going with them pays full price.

There’s a huge choice of shows with performances available until 31 August, but tickets go fast, so it’s well worth booking as soon as you can.  

Kids can go free to shows including Disney’s Frozen, Grease the Musical, Disney’s The Lion King, Mamma Mia, RSC’s Matilda the Musical, Wicked, The Tiger Who Came To Tea along with The Wizard of Oz and Back to the Future – the musical.  

You can book tickets through the official Kids Week website and kids must be 17 or under to qualify. In addition to one free kids’ ticket per adult, you can also take another two more children for half price.

If there’s several of you going along, it’s worth knowing you can book up to a maximum of eight tickets with this deal, but only one free child ticket with each full priced adult one.

Another tip is to be as flexible as possible, especially when it comes to both the shows you want to see and your available dates as free tickets may not be available at every single performance of each show.

And while booking fees can often bump up ticket prices, with Kids Week tickets there are no booking fees to pay.

Shaftesbury Avenue in London

Shaftesbury Avenue, in the heart of London's West End

(Image credit: Getty images)

Free activities and special events for kids week ticketholders

As well as the chance for kids to see a range of shows for free, many theatres also have other free activities for Kids Week ticketholders. Look out for ‘Kids Week Curtain Calls’ where anyone who’s booked tickets for Kids Week can stay for a post-show Q&A or other special events after the show. There may also be dance and musical theatre workshops and backstage tours so check with the theatre for details.

If you’re making a day of a trip to London, Kids Week ticketholders can  also benefit from discounts and deals at restaurants where kids can eat free or you may get a discount of up to 25% at selected outlets. 

Other ways to save on theatre tickets

Sites like the TKTS booth in Leicester Square sell ‘on the day’ tickets with savings of around 20 – 40%, and depending on the show, discounts could even top 50%.

You can also book online and we found tickets for shows including Aspects of Love and Les Miserables for tonight with discounts of up to 41%.

Half-price theatre tickets with Lovetheatre

Right now you can get discounts of over 40% booking tickets through Lovetheatre and it’s also worth searching sites like for ticket deals. Check seating plans before booking through sites like theatremonkey.

With theatremonkey you can search for the theatre and it brings up seating plans with seating advice.

Cheap theatre ticket deals at local theatres

Theatre curtains

(Image credit: Getty images)

There are plenty of other shows and plays on beyond the West End.

You might be able to join a local theatre, for a small fee, so you’re first in the queue when new shows come out or get discounted tickets.  

ATG Theatres have venues across the country including the Bristol Hippodrome, King’s Theatre in Glasgow, Milton Keynes Theatre and the Princess Theatre in Torquay. It sells an annual ATG Theatre card from £35, which entitles you to a range of offers and discounts including no booking fees on most shows, free ticket exchange and 25% off drinks at the bar.

Another way to save money is by booking tickets for dress rehearsals or preview performances.   

At the Curve Theatre in Leicester, you may be able to get dress rehearsal tickets for just £1! These are only available for selected shows, but you can contact the theatre in advance to find out which shows are likely to have these discounted tickets. You may not be able to book until the day itself but if you live locally it’s a great way to see a show for next to nothing.

And if you’re happy to stand for the performance, you can get tickets for just £5 at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Go on the website, check the show you want and you’ll find details of ticket prices and performances so if the £5 option is still available, you can book in advance. 

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Sue Hayward

Sue Hayward is a personal finance and consumer journalist, broadcaster and author who regularly chats on TV and Radio on ways to get more power for your pound.  Sue’s written for a wide range of publications including the Guardian, i Paper, Good Housekeeping, Lovemoney and My Weekly. Cats, cheese and travel are Sue’s passions away from her desk!