Best London Musicals for Children
Although there is always a plethora of fantastic musicals and plays touring London’s West End at any given time, if you are looking for a show during Half Term that is suitable for younger children it can sometimes be hard to find something that strikes the right balance between being fun for them and bearable for you! It is worth noting that if you want to visit the West End with very young children, babies and toddlers are not allowed in all theatres and as a general rule children must be aged 5 and above before they will be granted admittance, even if there is no other formal age restriction on that particular production. Half term is an understandably popular time for London theatres, so we recommend booking your tickets in advance to get the best deals.
Set Age Limits
Whilst some shows will allow in children of any age and provide unenforced guidelines as to whether a production is suitable, some shows operate strict age restrictions and will not allow any persons under these age limits into the theatre, whether they are accompanied by an adult or not. Examples of such shows include Billy Elliot the Musical (8+), and War Horse (10+).
Rather than forbidding anyone under a certain age, there are a number of popular West End productions that provide a rough guideline for parents to help them to decide whether the show is suitable for their child. This is the case for shows like Shrek, Wicked and We Will Rock You. Although there is no particularly strong language or violence in any of these shows, it is left to your discretion as to whether you would be comfortable taking young children along.
Top 5 Shows to See with Children
Here are our top 5 shows for children, with options for every age level:
Academy Award Winning Director Sam Mendes brings the classic Roald Dahl novel to the stage in spectacular fashion at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This child-friendly story about a young boy who wins a golden ticket to enter the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka will delight parents and children alike. Featuring a brand new original score by the writers of ‘Hairspray’, this is set to be one of the biggest theatrical events of the year, and a perfect treat for your little ones!
Suitable for ages 5 and up.
The Lion King has been running since 1999 in London at the Lyceum Theatre, and now in its 14th year shows no signs of its popularity waning. A dizzying combination of eye-catching costumes, African beats, huge puppets and flawless dance routines, this stage adaptation of the Disney classic film brings all the main characters to the stage with familiar songs that will have the whole family singing along, including Can You Feel The Love Tonight, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King and Circle Of Life. With matinee performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and the unusual allowing of children over 3 into the show provided they do not distract other viewers, it is an excellent choice for those with younger children.
Suitable for ages 5 and up.
A tale loved by children from all over the globe, Roald Dahl’s classic novel Matilda has been transformed into a West End musical that features all of the characters you love (and hate!) from the story such as the child-throwing, chokey-loving Mrs Trunchball and the sweet and delicate Miss Honey. Children will love this adaptation and adults who remember the 1996 movie featuring Danny DeVito will also be captivated. Featuring a fun score and matinees three times a week, Matilda the Musical is perfect for children of all ages.
Suitable for ages 6 and up.
For slightly older children aged 10 and over, War Horse is a must. The story is the tale of a determined boy and his pet horse and is set against the back drop of the first world war. For children who have a keen interest in history, the show exemplifies the truthful hardships of war in the early 20th Century. War Horse is also great for creative children with big imaginations; the lifelike puppets and dreamlike sketch book backdrop will inspire both their hearts and minds.
Suitable for ages 10 and up
Wicked tells the story of the Elphaba and Glinda, the witches of Oz, long before they were defined as Good and Wicked. As two budding sorcery students with very different personalities, they are forced to live together whilst they attend classes at Shiz University. As they discover the darker secrets of Oz’s political regime, Glinda and Elphaba form an unlikely friendship, questioning what it truly means to be wicked. With spectacular costumes and sets, this is a big, heart-warming show that’s perfect for the whole family.
Suitable for ages 8 and up.
If you are looking for tips on taking young children to the theatre, be sure to check out our excellent guide which will answer all of your questions from booster cushions to where to sit.
Have you been to any musicals with children and have shows you want to recommend? Do you agree with our family-friendly choices? Let us know using the comment box below!