Ballet is one of the most beautiful performance arts out there, and luckily for us dear reader, London is home to some of the most talented dancers in the world. Let’s not kid ourselves, putting on those pointed shoes is a lot of work, but when the stage comes to life via the combination of music and movements, the result for us the audience is truly spellbinding. But where do you go to witness one of these magical shows? Well luckily for you, we’ve done all the work here at Secret London HQ. So, without further ado, here’s eight of the best places to see ballet in London:
1. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
It’s impossible to wander through Covent Garden without gazing up at the awe-inspiring Royal Opera House. And, really, is there any classier way to spend the evening than by being serenaded by some of the best names in the business? You’ll find world-renowned shows, a lively atmosphere and beautiful architecture here – as well as some of the best ballet performances in the entire world by resident in-house dance troupe The Royal Ballet.
Upcoming shows include ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Cinderella’, so check out what’s on via their website here. Plus, not only can you watch some opera or ballet at the ROH, but you can also check out the restaurant, café, shop and rooftop terrace for a fully-planned evening in London’s cultural capital. If you find yourself strolling about the area on a Sunday afternoon and without a ticket, there’s often free music and activities here too so it’s well worth paying the venue a visit.
📍You’ll find the Royal Opera House at Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD.
🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.
2. Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Islington
Another one of London’s most famous dance venues here, the Sadler’s Wells Theatre has been a home for the arts for more than three centuries. Their ambitious year-round programme explores and celebrates dance in all its forms, with a particular emphasis on more avant-garde and progressive productions.
One of the best places to see ballet in London, they’ve got everything here from classic renditions of ‘The Great Gatsby’ to ‘Ballet Flamenco’ with the legendary Sara Baras – which fuses traditional flamenco with captivating ballet! Sounds like a winner to us… They also regularly do performances of ‘The Snowman’ come Christmastime, which is the perfect show to bring along the kids and give them some festive cheer. They’re also opening a new venue in Stratford later in 2023 – keep your eyes peeled on their website for further updates.
📍You’ll find the Sadler’s Wells Theatre at Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN.
🚇 Nearest station is Angel.
3. The Peacock Theatre, Holborn
Just down the road in Holborn lies The Peacock Theatre – which is in fact an offshoot of Sadler’s Wells and is billed as ‘Sadler’s Wells in the West End’. There’s a 999-capacity theatre here, and they play host to dance performances, opera, conferences, ballet, pop concerts, circus shows and award ceremonies too.
Upcoming performances include ‘Message in a Bottle’ and ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’, and they’ve also got a vibey bar here so it’s worth arriving early to grab a pre-show bev and snack too.
📍You’ll find The Peacock Theatre at Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT.
🚇 Nearest stations are Holborn and Charing Cross.
4. London Coliseum, Charing Cross
This opulent building was constructed all the way back in 1904 and it holds the title of being the West End’s largest theatre with a capacity of a mighty 2,359 seats. Home to the ENO (English National Opera), it’s a fantastic space in which to see some opera and some ballet too.
In terms of ballet, they’ve got performances in the pipeline from the prestigious English National Ballet as well as the Christmas favourite ‘The Nutcracker’ featuring exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s popular score played live of course.
📍You’ll find the London Coliseum at St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4ES.
🚇 Nearest stations are Charing Cross and Leicester Square.
5. Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington
Opened in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall is one of London’s most iconic and treasured buildings and it has seen everything from orchestral performances to gigs from the likes of Bonobo and the famous Haçienda Classical.
It’s also one of the world’s most spectacular places to watch world-class ballet companies do their thing. From grandiose ‘in-the-round’ productions to much-loved festive favourites, the Hall hosts a range of productions for ballet lovers and newcomers to the genre alike. You can check what’s coming up via their website here.
📍You’ll find the Royal Albert Hall at Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP.
🚇 Nearest station is South Kensington.
6. Barbican Centre, Barbican
Now when you think of the austere surroundings of the Grade II-listed, Brutalist Barbican, you don’t automatically think of ballet right? Well – you’d be wrong, as they regularly have it on the bill alongside other theatre and dance shows and art exhibitionstoo.
The ethos behind the performances you can find here is ‘daring to be different’, so you can expect some pretty out-of-the-box stuff, it has to be said. Don’t miss out on a visit to the verdant Barbican Conservatory, which is essentially a glass-bound rainforest right in the heart of the City. It’s also completely free to enter!
📍You’ll find the Barbican at Silk Street, Barbican, London, EC2Y 8DS.
🚇 Nearest station is Barbican.
7. The Place, Euston
Our penultimate spot on this roundup of where to see ballet in London is The Place – one of the most exciting and innovative dance spaces in Europe which is home to the celebrated London Contemporary Dance School. And while contemporary dance and ballet don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, they’ve often got ballet performances on here, so it’s worth keeping an eye out on their events listings page for further details.
They’re based close to King’s Cross St. Pancras station, so this one is more than easy to find. You’re also just down the street from one of our favourite BYOB restaurants in town – the Malaysian street food-inspired spot ‘Roti King’ – pre-show meal anyone?!
📍You’ll find The Place at 17 Duke’s Road, London, WC1H 9PY.
🚇 Nearest station is Euston.
8. Central Hall, Westminster
Rounding off this list of where’s best to see ballet in London is the magnificent Central Hall. A Grade II*-listed Edwardian venue right in the heart of Westminster, it first opened its doors back in 1912 as a centenary monument to the Methodist founder John Wesley. Since then, it’s hosted a whole gamut of historically and culturally-significant events – including spellbinding ballet performances.
This Spring, the magic of Candlelight is illuminating this beautiful venue for a spectacular evening of ballet performances guided by Tchaikovsky’s most revered works. The string quartet Artisti con Brio are set to take on the captivating compositions of ‘Swan Lake‘ and ‘The Nutcracker‘ while gifted ballerinas dance to select pieces from the evening’s programme. It’ll certainly be a night to remember and you can get a hold of your tickets here.
📍You’ll find Central Hill at Storey’s Gate, London, SW1H 9NH.
🚇 Nearest station is St. James’ Park.
So there you have it – eight of the best spots to watch ballet in London. From the iconic Royal Opera House to prestigious Sadler’s Wells Theatre, there’s a venue to suit every taste, so see where takes your fancy and settle in for a night to remember!