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With the kids to the theatre in London

London is perhaps the most child-friendly city in the world. There are playgrounds, amusement parks, fairs, toy stores, museums, leisure pools and zoos. There are also theatres with performances specifically for children. Your kids will have fun experiences with a comprehensible edition of Shakespeare or an entertaining puppet show. Here are the 3 best children's theatres in London.

London boasts around 230 theatres in all shapes and sizes, with performances for every possible target group and a total of over 100,000 seats. This count doesn’t even include the many amateur theatres. Several theatres focus specifically on children, offering a wonderful afternoon or evening outing for the whole family. There is no need to worry about a possible language barrier: these performances are so visually appealing that even the little ones, who may not understand any English, will have a great time.

A performance at the Polka Theatre
A performance at the Polka Theatre


The Unicorn Theatre

Unicorn Theatre for Children

The Unicorn Theatre has been hosting performances for children and young people since 1947. In 2005, the theatre moved into a custom-built award-winning facility on the South Bank near Tower Bridge. There are 2 halls - the Weston Theatre with 300 seats and the Clore Theatre with seats for 120 people. The Unicorn Theatre has hosted child-friendly versions of classics such as 'Henry V’ by Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen’s 'Hedda Gabler' and 'The Dwarfs' by Harold Pinter. Every day there is either a performance, a backstage tour or a workshop for the whole family.

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Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, London, 

Fun children's theatre on The Broadway

The Broadway in Wimbledon features a children's theatre that is just as cheerful as its façade. The Polka Theatre has been staging plays, musicals and sitcoms for children from 0 to 14 years for the last 30 years. There are 2 halls – the larger one seats 300 people and the smaller one holds 90 people. The selection of plays ranges from cheerful adaptations of Shakespeare to an opera performed by marionettes. The venue also hosts talk shows and workshops. Before or after the show you can enjoy coffee, sandwiches, juices, fruit, tea and cupcakes in the theatre café.

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Polka: from Shakespeare to a puppet opera

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The Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, 
Puppet boat: from Disney to Punch

The puppet theatre boat on the Thames

The Puppet Theatre Barge is exactly what the name suggests: a puppet theatre on a river boat. Since 1982, the boat has hosted a repertoire that ranges from Disney's Brother Rabbit and Punch and Judy, to the Fables of Aesop and adaptations of Shakespeare, Lord Byron and Dickens. The stories are played by puppets and shadow puppets, accompanied by atmospheric music and wonderful sound effects. The boat, which seats up to 50 children, is moored during the summer months on the Thames in Richmond and for the rest of the year in Little Venice near Paddington Station.

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Puppet Theatre Barge, opp. 35 Blomfield Road, Little Venice, London, 

Photo credits

  • The Unicorn Theatre: Kake, Flickr
  • Polka: from Shakespeare to a puppet opera: Polka Theatre
  • Puppet boat: from Disney to Punch: Jorge Royan,