With some West End ticket prices soaring as high as £250 a show, we look at some of our tried and tested methods to save you money and still get great seats.
1) Finding a bargin
Nowadays, the easiest way for most people to buy tickets in advance of a show is to do it online. It's relatively straigtforward, doesn't take up much time, and you can do it from the comfort of your own sofa. We've found that the main trick with buying tickets online is knowing it's not necessarily about any particular website to buy them from, it's about knowing where the best value for money seats are and then finding a website that sells them. As the motto of theatremonkey.com (a website dedicated to educating the audience on making the most out of their ticket money) goes - 'Not every seat is created equal'.
On theatremonkey, you can choose from a list of many theatres, and each one has a plan that shows the best seats in each price range, also showing the price ranges of the seats. On top of that, they also have reviews from previous audience members so you can spot if a seat is really worth the saving or whether you should splash out a bit more.
Seatplan.com also offer a similar service, with West End attendees posting reviews and even photos from their seats.
2) You have to be in it to win it
If you're a little bit more of a risk taker, day seats and lotteries might be your way forward. If you're willing to risk it at the last minute, day seats can be a great way to see some of the top shows for as little as £10, and these types of tickets are offered by a lot of West End theatres. You will often you have to queue up at the theatre early on in the day in the hope that you can beat everyone else who's after these valuable tickets, but we've had some great successes with this method. You often end up in the first or second row of the stalls too!
Many theatres are now also offering lotteries, which you can enter well in advance of the show date in the hope of being one of the lucky few to win tickets at a very reasonable price. Hamilton for instance offers seats with great views for £10 in it's lottery. We also recently entered the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Friday Forty lottery, winning tickets for the following week's shows at £20 each a ticket - we were on the second row of the stalls with a fantastic view!
Each theatre is different regarding their policies on day seats and lotteries, so it's good to do your research beforehand. Where can you get information on each theatre? Well, aside from the each theatre's official website, theatremonkey is also perfect for that too. They have a whole page dedicated to day seats and lotteries and tips on how to score tickets.
3) Tkts for tickets
If you're quite flexible about what you want to see, another of the 'on the day options' is the Tkts booth in London's Leicester Square. Make sure you head to the official one though, as there are many other "value ticket booths" around that area, who will often try to sell you tickets in poor seats at vastly inflated prices. The Tkts booth is an offical reseller and it's also a nonprofit organisation so it isn't out to overcharge you. You do have to visit the booth in person but it's worth it for some of the amazing savings you can make. The Tkts booths also exist across the pond, where a similar booth sits right in the heart of Broadway and Times Square in New York (which we've also frequented).
The booth sells last minute tickets at discounted prices, and these are often tickets that the theatres are desperate to sell. They frequently include the "premium" seats at many theatres, as quieter shows can struggle to sell them. In the past, we've bought £85 premium circle seats for Les Mis for as little as £40, and 6th row of the stalls seats for Jersey Boys for a similar amount.
You can check out the Tkts website which lists some the tickets they will have avaliabe over the next few days. Obviosuly it's unlikely you're going to get £30 premium seats for the latest big hit, but a lot of the shows will have cheaper seats avaliable - or at least tickets at the original price.
4) Timing is Everything
January and early February are the West End's slowest periods of the year, so this is the time when seats are at their cheapest. Most theatres partake in the "Get Into London" scheme which offer tickets at heavily discounted prices to get people to come along and boost their sometimes flagging audience numbers. The tickets go on sale in the Autumn and you can sign up to get a reminder of when they go on sale.
If you want to take young people to the theatre, check out Kids Week in the summer holidays. They offer buy one get one free tickets - subscribe to them to get alerts when they go on sale.
Midweek shows, especially matinees, are also great and will offer cheaper tickets (if your boss will give you the time off work of course!).
5) Theatre with Friends
If you can get a group of 10 or more people together, you can often qualify for a group rate. Top price tickets of £75+ can be as low as £39pp.
Groupline are one of the top providers of group rates on the West End with excellent service. Once of the best things about the company is that you can reserve tickets in advance for no deposit so you have time to finalise numbers and organise payment.
We've taken a group of 11 to see Wicked for £45 a ticket center stalls (priced around £75pp) so getting a group together can really make a difference.