Are you wondering what to wear to London theatre shows? Seeing a West End show should be on everyone’s London bucket list, but many people worry about the London theatre dress code. In this guide we will tell you what to wear to the theatre in London alongside information on which shows you can dress up for.
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Is there a London Theatre Dress Code?
The good news is that there isn’t an official London theatre dress code or West End dress code.
Generally speaking most people who are going to the theatre in London will wear either a smart casual or casual dress code.
I would say generally speaking you will see more casual attire at matinees, mainly because people will be doing other sightseeing on the same day. While at night many people dress slightly fancier and will adhere to a smart casual dress code.
Formal wear really isn’t necessary at a London theatre. Even at the Royal Opera House there is no dress code. Many people consider this to be the strictest in terms of what to wear and you will see people dressing up for the Royal Opera House however it is not required.
For guidance on what to wear to other London venues with dress codes check out the below posts:
Considerations on what to wear to London theatre shows
So now you know that there is no London theatre dress code, what should you consider when putting together your West End outfit.
Are you going to a matinee or evening show
Generally speaking you will find most people at a London theatre matinee will dress casually. For instance you will see lots of jeans and sweaters and even t shirts in the summer.
That is because most people who are attending the matinees will also be doing more sightseeing as part of their itinerary.
While at night most people stick with a smart casual dress code but this is not expected or enforced. For this reason we recommend packing whatever you are most comfortable in.
Weather should dictate your London outfits no matter the time of year you are visiting including on the day you are going to the West End.
For more information on what to wear for the weather in London check out our month specific guides:
- What to wear in London in January
- What to wear in London in February
- What to wear in London in March
- What to wear in London in April
- What to wear in London in May
- What to wear in London in June
- What to wear in London in July
- What to wear in London in August
- What to wear in London in September
- What to wear in London in October
- What to wear in London in November
- What to wear in London in December
London is a city best seen on foot, so footwear is an important factor in any London packing list. Therefore don’t worry about wear smart shoes or heels for the theatre in London. Sneakers, sandals, boots and flat shoes are all acceptable for the theatre in London.
Leave the big bags at home
There is not much space in theatre stalls in London, especially at the older and unrenovated theaters.
Also there are security checks at London theatre entrances. Therefore to save time and space it is important to bring with you only the essentials and limit your bag size.
What to wear to London Theatre in Summer
London theatres in summer can be hot. Many London theatres don’t have air conditioning and therefore can become very hot places in summer.
Therefore we recommend wearing whatever is comfortable in the heat. We recommend:
Maxi Dress and Maxi Skirts
These are comfortable in the heat and protect your legs on the seats.
Trousers and Blouses
Loose trousers and blouses made of natural fabric are good in hot places and look smart for evenings at the theatre.
What to wear to the theatre in London in Winter
The number one thing to remember when putting together you London theatre in winter outfits is packing for the weather. London in winter is cold and rainy so be sure your outfit can cope with this weather.
When I visit the theatre in Winter I wear
Jumper and Jeans
This is my go to matinee outfit for London in Winter
Dress and Tights
A dress with thick tights is perfect for evenings at London theatres when people tend to dress smarter.
What to wear to theatres shows in London in Fall and Spring
Depending on the month you are visiting depends whether you should lean more towards the Winter or Summer outfit.
If you are visiting in one of the shoulder seasons check the weather just before you travel and dress accordingly for the weather.
Should I dress up to go to the theatre in London?
While you don’t have to dress up in formal clothes or smart casual clothes for the theatre in London, there are also shows where people will dress up to go.
For instance I have been to both Frozen and Beauty and the Beast in the London west End with my little girl. Both my daughter and many other children dress up as Anna or Elsa to watch this show, but it wasn’t a requirement.
But what about adults? There are actually some shows in London where adults dress up. For instance some adults will wear their Hogwarts Robes to go and watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Many people will also dress up as characters when watching Beetlejuice or the rocky Horror Theatre Show. In fact the latter of these really started the theatre dress up craze in the Uk.
And more recently you will see people dressing up as or wearing the colors of their favorite queen when they go to see SIX the Musical.
However even at shows where people do dress up, it is not a requirement.
FAQs about what to wear in the West End
Is there a dress code for theatre in London?
Though many people expect there to be a dress code at London theatres the truth is there isn’t. Therefore dress for the weather and time of year when looking for the perfect theatre outfit.
Can I wear jeans to the theater in London?
Yes, the good news is that you can wear jeans to the theater in London. As there is no London dress code you are fine to wear jeans.
They are more commonly seen at matinees but I have personally worn jeans to both matinees and evening shows in London and have never felt out of place.
What to wear to SIX the Musical?
All of the above guidance works for watching Six the Musical in London. However many people choose to dress up or pay homage to their favorite queen in their outfits.
Therefore if you want to know what to wear to Six the musical we recommend the following colors:
- Gold/ Yellow for Catherine of Aragon
- Green for Anne Boleyn
- White and Black for Jane Seymour
- Red for Anne of Cleeves
- Pink for Katherine Howard
- Blue for Catherine Parr
You can also pay homage in the style of outfits such as a jump-suit for Catherine Parr or shorts for Anne of Cleeves.
Or you could choose a hairstyle homage such as Anne Boleyn’s bit up and bit down Princess Leia buns.
Note we are visiting this musical in a couple of weeks so will add pics once we have been.
Do you have any other questions about what to wear to a London theatre show? Drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.