© RBO/Luke Hayes

Things To Do

Hattie Lloyd 03/01/24

Royal Ballet and Opera

Royal Ballet and Opera | Gorgeously Plush Arts Venue

Big fan of opera, aria?

In fact, even if you’re not, it’s well worth visiting the Royal Ballet and Opera in Covent Garden. It’s a stunningly grand place to spend an evening, and as well as housing the Royal Opera company (London’s only resident troupe after ENO’s arts council funding was removed), it’s also home to the Royal Ballet, a hyper-talented group of dancers who perform several different shows here a year.

royal ballet and opera

A theatre’s been on this site since 1732, with the first ballet and opera shows performed a couple of years after opening. The Royal Ballet and Opera venue you see today is actually the third incarnation of the theatre, after the previous two buildings burnt down. And it’s stunning – built in the 1850s, the grandiose, Grade I listed auditorium is dripping in candelabras, gilded balconies and red velvet seating. The surrounding areas – the bars, the roof terrace & restaurant, and the second, smaller Linbury Theatre – were renovated much more recently, however, and provide a smart, modern contrast that makes your first view of the stage all the more breathtaking.

Add in a Champagne bar and terrace in a triple-height conservatory, and it starts to sound… expensive. And yes, front row seats are going to set you back a pretty penny. But there are ways around it: tickets for seats right up in the gods start at £7. If you’re aged 16-25, you can also sign up to their free Young RBO scheme for £30 tickets for some of the best seats in the house (plus invitations to exclusive Lates with voguing performances, live music and more). And if you’re an elderly 25+, you can still try for Friday Rush tickets (released weekly at 1pm), where new seats at every price-point are released (even for sold-out shows).

royal ballet

Helen Maybanks

As for what you can expect from the performances, well, the standard is consistently astronomically high. The two companies perform several different productions a year in ‘seasons’, with each show led by a rotating line-up of principals so that no performer gets too exhausted by doing two nights in a row.

royal opera house rehearsals

All these shows are staged alongside a varied events programme, from free lunchtime concerts to backstage tours, ballet classes and public rehearsals. And if you miss a production, you can always catch the ‘Encore’ screenings of recorded livestreams at some of London’s plushest cinemas.

So it’s not just curtains after the final show.


NOTE: The Royal Ballet and Opera stages several productions a year – you can see what’s on, or find out more about the bars & restaurants, HERE.

Royal Ballet and Opera | Bow Street, London WC2E 9DD

Love ballet? Check out what’s on at London’s dance theatres

Royal Ballet and Opera

Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD

020 7304 4000