We are lucky enough to live near to London. We visit the West End regularly. At 8 years old my daughter had seen 9 West End Shows. Here is our opinion on the best west end shows for kids.
TOP TIP: Kids Week is a fabulous way to introduce your children to West End Theatre. During kids week under 18s visit Theatre free when accompanying a full paying adult. You can also grab tickets to Theatre shows at a reduced rate by using specific sites and apps such as Today Tix or Disney Tickets UK which sell tickets for the week ahead on Mondays to Lion King and Frozen for £29.50 each – you can buy a maximum of two tickets. Lily and I used Disney Tickets UK to get cheap front row tickets to see the Lion King.
Best West end shows for kids:
This is quite a subjective question. My children had both been going to local performances since around 9 months old. They have both always loved theatre. At 3 years old my son would happily sit still through a show lasting 55 minutes. My daughter at 6 went to her first west end musical and she absolutely loved it. I would recommend taking your child to a few local performances. If they enjoy the experience and you think that they would enjoy a west end musical for children then take a look at the shows I have listed below and note their age recommendations and minimum ages.
These shows are the ones I consider to be the best west end shows for kids. I will list the shows that we have seen and recommend at the top then list all the other West End shows for kids that are currently showing underneath.
Although these shows are ideal for children, they are great fun for adults too!
Matilda The Musical
Lily and I have seen Matilda The Musical three times now. It is, without a doubt, Lily’s favourite west end show for kids. It is difficult to say a lot about the amazing Matilda The Musical without giving too much away! It can be a bit scary in parts so I would definitely follow the recommended age guidelines – it is more appropriate for children over the age of 6.
Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Matilda The musical adaptation was written by Dennis Kelly and features original songs by Tim Minchin. Matilda The Musical has now been delighting audiences for over 10 years in the West End. It is a feel good musical with high energy, good pace, witty writing and catchy songs. The Musical appeals to both adults and children alike and has firmly sealed its place as one of the best West End shows for kids.
Matilda The Musical only loosely follows the storyline of the book/film. The key characters are there so you can expect to see Matilda, Miss Trunchball, Miss Honey, Mr & Mrs Wormwood, Amanda Thripp, Bruce Bogtrotter. This is an adaptation of the book/film and not everything that you read or see in those is translated onto the stage.
Lots of our favourites moments from the book and film can be seen on stage in Matilda The Musical such as Mrs Trunchball swinging Amanda Thrip by her pigtails, Matilda’s magic in the classroom and Bruce eating chocolate Cake.
The storyline has been enhanced and extended for the stage production. Matilda The Musical has a fantastic soundtrack. We listen to the songs from the show a lot, I have the CD soundtrack from the west end show in my car and we listen to the soundtrack at home on Amazon Music too. Even my 3 year old knows lots of the words – I cannot wait until he is old enough to come with us to watch the show.
Without giving too much away, the show is engaging and entertaining for both children and adults from start to finish. My favourite part of Matilda the Musical is the swing scene!
Age Restrictions for Matilda The Musical
Matilda the Musical is recommended for those age 6+ children under 4 are not permitted into the auditorium.
Matilda The Musical is one of the best west end shows for kids and adults alike!
Disney – Frozen The Musical
Frozen the Musical delights audiences at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Frozen the musical follows the storyline of the film closely and has included some favourite numbers from the film such as Let it Go and love is an open door and is one of the best West End shows for kids – Lily and I both loved it.
Frozen The Musical, as expected, provided some special Elsa magic. It has an epic costume Change which to this day has left me wondering how it is done – I want to go back to watch it again just so I can take a closer look!
A must for Frozen fans – this is one of the Best West End show for kids. Lily and I both absolutely loved it.
Age restrictions for Frozen the Musical
Frozen the Musical is recommended for those age 6+ children under 4 are not permitted into the auditorium.
Disney – The Lion King
The Lion King is one of the most popular West End shows for kids, although, it can be a little scary in parts!
The opening scenes provide some of my favourite moments in musical theatre. Rafiki captivates with those opening bars, the elephant and the animals come striding down alongside the audience and it just majestic and breath taking. The music, the costumes, the storyline all come together to provide a feast for the senses. I have personally seen The Lion King in the West End 6x it is the show I have seen the most and it never fails to delight me right from the opening bars to the very end.
Lily loved seeing the Lion King and to be honest, was not a huge fan of the film before we went – the musical won her over!
Age restrictions for The Lion King
The Lion King is recommended for those age 6+ children under 3 are not permitted into the auditorium.
Wicked The Musical
Wicked the musical is a wonderfully unique piece of musical theatre. It is a fantastic west end show for kids. It follows the unlikely friendship of Elphaba (the green witch) and Glinda the popular blonde.
Expect huge musical numbers such as Defying Gravity and For Good. Wicked has a wonderful set, intricate lighting and songs that grab your attention. It id a wonderful piece of musical theatre. The Wicked storyline can get confusing in places, but that has not stopped me enjoying the production twice!
Lily really enjoyed watching Wicked – at the time we saw the show Lily was 7. The big musical numbers wowed her, but she did find the plot a little confusing at times.
Age restrictions for Wicked The Musical
Wicked The Musical is recommended for those age 7+ and children under 3 are not permitted into the auditorium.
Six The Musical
Six The Musical is a very clever yet simple production. The songs bring to life the stories of the six Henry vii ex wives. Lily was very familiar with the soundtrack to Six as theatre school had covered a lot of the numbers. We also have the soundtrack downloaded on Amazon Music.
Set in The Vaudeville Theatre with quite a small stage, this one is all about the music, the voices of the 6 performers and the energy they bring the to the show.
Mike had reservations about Lily seeing this production as it is not a West End show for kids. In reality with Lily just being 8 some of the raunchier lyrics just went right over her head.
Lily really enjoyed watching Six, as did I. As it is less of a theatrical production it feels more like a pop concert than a west end show. For that reason, it is one I imagine that we will only see once.
Age restrictions for Six The Musical
Six The Musical is recommended for those age 10+. Children younger than 10 are permitted. Personally I would recommend it for children at least age 8+ as it is not really a musical specifically aimed at children. Lily was 8 when she saw Six the musical. Lily already knew all the songs from theatre school and had been asking to see the show for a year!
Back to the Future
Mike and I were bought tickets to Back to the Future for Christmas. We went alone without the children, but there were children sat not far from us in the theatre. I think this would be a great west end show for kids aged 10+.
The show is based around the first of the Back to the Future shows. The stand outs for me were the car at the end – just wow! We were in the stalls, no spoilers but wow and book stalls near the front centre!
The quality of the actors in this show is absolutely outstanding. Totally believable characterisation meets musical brilliance with a touch of theatre magic!
A wonderful show that delighted me beyond my expectations.
Age restrictions for Back to the Future
Back to the Future is recommended for those age 6+ children under 4 are not permitted into the auditorium.
Children’s Theatre London
There are lots of shows that regularly tour the West End aimed at younger children. The West End shows aimed at younger children tend to feature one act only with no interval and a short duration of up to an hour to keep little ones engaged.
Both my children are theatre fans and we have visited Little Angel – a Children’s Theatre London.
Our favourite children’s theatre London
Tiger who came to Tea – this tours the West End often and has lots of singing to keep the children engaged. George loved the huge tiger and still watches the show clips regularly on YouTube!
What the ladybird heard – Julia Donaldson children’s books are our favourite and the stage production of What the Ladybird Heard is so much fun. Very engaging for young children our 2 & 7 year olds (at the time) loved it.
The Christmas themed West End shows below are also appropriate for younger guests.
Another great introduction for younger children into theatre is to take them to The Little Angel Theatre in North London. It is a small local theatre, which uses puppetry to share inspiring stories.
Christmas Themed West End shows for kids
The Snowman – This children’s classic, by Saddlers Wells Theatre can usually be found at The Peacock Theatre in December. My little boys face at 2 when The Snowman flew was an absolute picture!
Stickman – Usually lands in the West End at Christmas. Another Julia Donaldson favourite. Both my children love the book, the Stickman trail and the west show!
I hope that this post has been useful and that you have found the best West End shows for kids. Do tag me on social media if I have inspired your trip.