London holds enormous appeal for the world’s tourists, with millions flocking there year after year to drink in the atmosphere and sample the most famous sights and sounds. It’s an easy city to visit, thanks to impressive rail transport links, and it offers distractions that will appeal to just about everyone.

If you’re got a passion for musical theatre, then a visit to the West End is surely in order. But exactly which shows are making the biggest splash? Depending on your enthusiasm, you might make time for several of them.

Musicals to add to your list

One of the best things about musical theatre is that it’s unpredictable. While the classics have their enduring appeal, you never know when something truly original might come along and disrupt things. For now, we can pick out a handful of productions as exceptional. In every case, you’ll want to book ahead to avoid disappointment!

The Lion King

This is a musical based on a Disney film which was, in turn, loosely based on Shakespeare. You can expect to hear all of your favourite songs from the original animated picture, propelled along by traditional African rhythms and dance numbers. It’s showing at the Lyceum Theatre, and will be until February 2024, at least.

Phantom of the Opera

This absurdly popular show has been running since 1986, making it older than most of the cast. It deals with a masked figure who skulks around an opera house, until he is discovered by a singer. It’s among the most successful musicals in history, with a worldwide gross in the billions. It’s on at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Les Misérables

Les Mis, as it’s affectionately known, is the longest-running musical in the history of the West End. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, it recounts the struggles of a convict fleeing the law while attempting to atone for past misdeeds. Now running at the Sondeim Theatre.

We Will Rock You

This Queen-inspired show helped to supercharge the ‘Jukebox Musical’ genre. All of the most famous Queen classics are included, meaning that it’s a must for fans of the band. It was created by the band themselves, in collaboration with Ben Elton. It’s now showing at the London Coliseum, after a break of nearly ten years.


The success of Hamilton demonstrates that the West End isn’t just about what’s familiar: there’s still room for something unexpected to emerge. Hamilton smashed all records when it first launched on Broadway, and now it’s made an appearance at the West End, at Victoria Palace Theatre. The work of Lin-Manuel Miranda, this musical has picked up 11 Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize – which makes it among the most decorated musicals in history!