- The National Theatre is a cultural melting pot of spellbinding stories, fun family activities and entertaining days out.
- Get some insider knowledge and peek into life backstage on one of their family days.
- Participate in workshops led by theatre-makers and artists and ignite a passion for writing, performing, and everything theatre.
The National Theatre on London's South Bank is a prominent performing arts venue in the UK. As one of London's best theatres, it aims to be as diverse and inclusive as possible, reaching the widest audiences.
It has a fantastic programme of shows in London, along with events, workshops and sessions for families that make the perfect day out for any budding performer, or those that just love to play. Theatre and performance are all about exploration and fun, so it's no wonder kids absolutely love it. This allows children to develop their team-building skills, unleash their creativity and have a blast.
Be sure to check out the amazing family days the National Theatre has to offer, where you can discover the skills of production and hidden secrets of what goes on behind the scenes. Try out designing a costume, learn how actors perform realistic fights without getting hurt, try to do some composing inspired by the stunning music on the production set and meet some of the team who bring NT productions to life.
Don't miss out on the fun and informative workshops, where, for the day, you could become a playmaker and treat the whole family to a unique performance and theatre experience. By taking inspiration from the stories at the National Theatre, you can create characters, make costumes, devise a script and weave it together in a performance at the end of the day. A great learning experience for kids, this gives them the space to explore, be creative, while also directing them to organise their talents.
The National Theatre is centrally located just on the River Thames, so if you're looking to travel around some more, why not go on an exhilarating Thames Rockets tour and zoom around the city on a speedboat.
What to know before you go
- There are several fantastic restaurants, cafés and bars found throughout the National Theatre building offering family-friendly food, many with alfresco seating that overlooks the vibrant South Bank area. They use seasonal and best quality ingredients to create a range of food and drink that everyone can enjoy. Being in central London, there are plenty more family-friendly restaurants nearby, from Greek street food, to dining on the Thames, and of course, classic burgers and pizza.
- National Theatre welcomes families and breastfeeding is allowed anywhere on site.
- Most public spaces in the National Theatre are fully accessible to buggies and wheelchair users.
- There are free and accessible, public toilets and baby-changing facilities.
- National Theatre offers a wide range of services to make performances and events accessible, such as signed performances, audio-described performances, touch tours, smart caption glasses, captioned performances and relaxed and sensory adapted performances.
- Via Tube, Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines), Southwark (Jubilee line) or Embankment (Northern Bakerloo, Circle and District lines) via Hungerford Bridge are closest and a short walking distance away.
- If travelling by rail, Waterloo, Waterloo East and Charing Cross (across the river via Hungerford Bridge) are all around a 10-15 minute walk to the National Theatre.
- Tons of buses serve the area and can drop you within a five-minute walk of the Theatre. Routes that cross Waterloo Bridge include the 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, X68 and 77 (stopping at Upper Ground near the Royal Festival Hall), while the 381 stops on Stamford Street and the 211 and 507 stop on Waterloo Road near Waterloo station.
- Stationlink provides a fully accessible, low-floor bus service stopping at Waterloo. Route 705 runs every 30 minutes, linking Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street, London Bridge, Waterloo, St Thomas' Hospital, Victoria, Victoria Coach Station and Paddington.
- If cycling to the National Theatre, there are bicycle racks situated at the corner of Theatre Square, outside the Espresso Bar, which is on the northwest side of the National, and just opposite the Dorfman Theatre on the east side. There are also three Santander docking stations nearby – one in Concert Hall Approach and two in Upper Ground (one below Waterloo Bridge).
- The National Theatre basement is the on-site car park, which is accessed from Upper Ground (opening times are from 6am to 12 midnight, Monday to Friday, and 7am to 12 midnight, Saturday and Sunday. Note that when the National Theatre building is closed there is no step-free access from the car park. This also applies on Sundays all day, and before 9.30am and after 11pm on other days.
- The entrance ramp to the car park is at the south-west corner of the National Theatre, on Upper Ground, by Theatre Avenue (the road between the National Theatre and the BFI).
- There are free spaces for Blue Badge holders and people with access needs, where they can be dropped off at the top of Theatre Avenue (the road in between the National Theatre and the BFI), before parking in the car park.
- There is limited space for those with oversized vehicles above ground. These spaces should be booked ahead of the visit.