1. Royal Opera House

    One of the greatest opera houses in the world, this theatre is home to the Royal Ballet Company, and hosts international opera productions. Apart from the sumptuous main auditorium, there are the smaller Lindberg and Clore theatres which have music and dance. There are regular backstage tours and occasional big-screen live simulcasts of opera in the Piazza .

  2. The National Theater

    Seeing a play at the National Theater takes you to the heart of London’s cultural life. Within the grey blocks of this innovative building, designed by Denys Lasdun in 1976, you can see a musical, a classic or a new play in one of its three theatres: the Olivier, the Lyttelton or the Cottesloe. Check for free shows and exhibitions in the foyer. Reduced price tickets are sold from 10am on the day of the performance.

    • South Bank SE1

    • 020 7452 3000

  3. Barbican Centre

    Home of one of the best music companies in the world – the London Symphony Orchestra – the Barbican is the City’s most important arts complex. Theatre, cinema, concerts, dance and exhibitions can all be seen here, and there are plenty of restaurants, cafés and bars. The centre also contains a library, convention hall and music school .

  4. London Coliseum

    London’s other principal opera house presents excellent productions sung in English by the English National Opera. The theatre re-opened in early 2004 after extensive restoration work.

    Golden globe atop the London Coliseum
  5. Queen Elizabeth Hall

    Part of the Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, along with the Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery, has a programme of musical, arts and literary activities.

  6. Sadler’s Wells

    After winning a reputation as the best dance theatre in London in the 1950s, Sadler’s Wells now also hosts music and opera. The stunning new building prides itself on its community events as well as its international dance shows .

    Performers at Sadler’s Wells
  7. Royal Albert Hall

    This distinctive, circular building was designed to resemble a Roman amphitheatre, and has a delicate Classical frieze around the exterior. The excellent acoustic inside makes this a premier venue for every kind of concert, including the “Proms” .

    Royal Albert Hall
  8. Royal Court Theatre

    The cream of new drama can be seen at this charming small theater. Recently refurbished, both the main, and tiny upstairs theater, are important London venues. Play “actor spotting” in the new restaurant and bar.

    • Sloane Square SW1

    • 020 7565 5000

    Royal Court Theatre façade
  9. Riverside Studios

    With a glorious location by the Thames at Hammersmith, this is a fascinating arts and media centre. An eclectic programme includes cinema, theatre, dance and the visual arts. Works of such innovators as Samuel Beckett and Peter Brook have premiered here. Once BBC studios, Riverside Studios is still used to make TV shows. The pleasant café and bar are a draw in themselves.

    • Crisp Road W6

    • Tube Hammersmith

    • 020 8237 1111

  10. ICA

    A stately, colonnaded terrace by Nash houses London’s hippest gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts. The ICA’s cutting edge policy on the visual arts includes developing new and challenging digitally-produced works, and Becks Futures, the UK’s largest arts prize for students.

    • The Mall SW1

    • 020 7930 3647

    Colonnade at the ICA
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