First Time Visitors

Frequently Asked Questions from first time visitors to the National Theatre.

Where is the National Theatre?

On the South Bank, by the river Thames in London, next to the Southbank Centre and about half-way between the London Eye and Tate Modern.

What can I do at the NT?  

As well as seeing shows, you can attend talks, take backstage tours, view exhibitions, browse and shop in our Bookshop, sit and relax in our foyers or terraces, and have a cup of coffee, a snack, lunch, or dinner.

Can I come to the NT if I’m not seeing a performance?

Absolutely. We have large foyer spaces with plenty of areas to sit, meet friends, or view the exhibitions.

Where is the entrance?

There are many entrances, but the main and most useful one is by the Bookshop on the ground floor, adjacent to the riverside. The Cottesloe Theatre has its own entrance on the east side of the building, which is generally only open before performance times.

What time is the NT open?

Mondays to Saturdays, 9.30am to 11pm. We open later on Bank Holidays, usually from 4pm, and we also open from noon to 6pm on many Sundays throughout the year – Go to the What's on section and check our calendar listings to find Sunday opening times for the date of your visit.

How many theatres does the NT have?

There are three theatres: the Olivier, Lyttelton and Cottesloe.

The Cottesloe is currently closed for reburbishment and will reopen as the Dorfman Theatre in 2014. For more information on this and other redevelopment works please visit the NT Future website.

A new theatre, The Shed, is providing a third playing space for the company while the Cottesloe is closed. For more information view The Shed

Why are the theatres named the Olivier, the Lyttelton and the Cottesloe?  

The Olivier Theatre is named after the National's first artistic director (1962 until 1973), the late Lord Olivier, then Sir Laurence Olivier (made Baron in 1970); the Lyttelton after the National's first Chairman (1962 until 1971), Oliver Lyttelton (the late Lord Chandos); and the small Cottesloe Theatre after the late Lord Cottesloe, first Chairman (1962 until 1977) of the South Bank Theatre Board.

Does each of the theatres have its own bar, toilets and cloakroom?

All three theatres have their own bars, toilets and cloakroom. There are cafés and restaurants in the main building, close to the Olivier and Lyttelton theatres.

Booking tickets

How can I book tickets?

Tickets can be booked online at, by phone (020 7452 3000), or in person at the box office on the ground floor. Telephone and in-person booking are available between 9.30am and 8pm.

How much are the tickets?

There are a wide range of ticket prices, which can vary from show to show − usually from £12 upwards. We also offer a number of concessionary prices. The production pages on this website give more information, or phone the box office on 020 7452 3000 for prices and availability.

How do I collect my tickets?

If you book your tickets more than seven days ahead, you can have them sent to you for a small handling charge. If you book within seven days – or if you prefer – you can collect them from the box offices in the building or from the ticket collection machines in the foyers. You will need to bring the card you made the booking with to collect your tickets.

Where is the box office?

There is a main advance box office on the ground floor, but there are also box offices for the Olivier and The Shed theatres which open before performances.

When is the box office open?  

9.30am to 8pm, Mondays to Saturdays. Bank holidays vary and we also open on many Sundays in the year, so check the listings for details.

How can I get a £12 seat?

For Travelex £12 Tickets performances, half of the seats in the auditorium are £12. We usually offer £12 tickets for most other performances as well, but there are not so many of these and availability can be limited.

What is Travelex?  

Travelex £12 Tickets is a partnership between the National Theatre and Travelex to enable half the seats in the Travelex performances to be £12. View the Travelex page to find out which shows are part of the Travelex £12 Tickets Season.

How can I book online?

Select the show or talk you are interested in from the website, and click on the Buy Tickets link. All generally available unsold seats are on sale online.