London

"All the world's a stage," said Shakespeare, immortal words heard for the first time right here in London. And whether you prefer your theater, music, and art classical or modern, or as contemporary twists on time-honored classics, you'll find that London's vibrant cultural scene more than holds its own on the world stage.Divas
"All the world's a stage," said Shakespeare, immortal words heard for the first time right here in London. And whether you prefer your theater, music, and art classical or modern, or as contemporary twists on time-honored classics, you'll find that London's vibrant cult
"All the world's a stage," said Shakespeare, immortal words heard for the first time right here in London. And whether y

"All the world's a stage," said Shakespeare, immortal words heard for the first time right here in London. And whether you prefer your theater, music, and art classical or modern, or as contemporary twists on time-honored classics, you'll find that London's vibrant cultural scene more than holds its own on the world stage.

Divas sing original-language librettos at the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare's plays are brought to life at the reconstructed Globe Theatre, and challenging new writing is produced at the Royal Court. Whether you feel like basking in the lighthearted extravagance of a West End musical or taking in the next shark-in-formaldehyde at the White Cube gallery, the choice is yours.

There are international theater festivals, innovative music festivals, and critically acclaimed seasons of postmodern dance. Short trip or long, you'll find the cultural scene in London is ever-changing, ever-expanding, and ever-exciting.

No matter where you head, London's art and performing arts scenes have been setting global trends for decades—and even for centuries, when you count Shakespearean theater and Handel oratorios. Fringe theater, classical ballet, participatory chorales: you name it, and London probably did it first (and often still does it best).

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  • 1. Barbican Centre

    City of London | Dance

    Opened in 1982, the Barbican is an enormous Brutalist concrete maze that Londoners either love or hate—but its importance to the cultural life...Read More

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  • 2. Battersea Arts Centre

    Battersea | Theater

    Battersea Arts Centre has a reputation for producing innovative new work as well as hosting top alternative stand-up comics. Performances take...Read More

  • 3. Curzon Soho

    Soho | Film

    This popular independent movie theater opposite Chinatown runs a vibrant and artsy program of mixed repertoire and mainstream films, with a...Read More

  • 4. Frieze London

    Regent's Park | Art Galleries–Arts

    A glamorous contemporary art fair, Frieze London brings the crème de la crème of the international art world to London each October. Its sister...Read More

  • 5. Meltdown

    South Bank | Music Festivals

    The wildly eclectic and very cool Meltdown Festival generally takes place in June at the Southbank Centre. It's curated by a different big-name...Read More

  • 6. National Theatre

    South Bank | Theater

    When this complex designed by Sir Denys Lasdun opened in 1976, Londoners were slow to warm-up to the low-rise Brutalist block, with Prince Charles...Read More

  • 7. Royal Albert Hall

    Kensington | Dance

    Opened in 1871, this splendid iron-and-glass-domed auditorium hosts everything from pop and classical headliners to Cirque du Soleil, awards...Read More

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  • 8. Royal Opera House

    Covent Garden | Dance

    Along with Milan's La Scala, New York's Metropolitan, and the Palais Garnier in Paris, this is one of the world's great opera houses. The resident...Read More

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  • 9. Sadler's Wells

    Islington | Dance

    If you're into leading classical and contemporary dance companies, head to this purpose-built complex, which opened in 1998 and is the sixth...Read More

  • 10. Southbank Centre

    South Bank | Concerts

    The general public has never really warmed to the Southbank Centre's hulking concrete buildings (beloved by architecture aficionados), products...Read More

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  • 11. Wigmore Hall

    Marylebone | Concerts

    London’s most beautiful venue for chamber music also happens to boast near-perfect acoustics. The hall has a rich history, including hosting...Read More

  • 12. Almeida Theatre

    Islington | Theater

    This Off West End venue, helmed by director Rupert Goold, premiers excellent new plays and exciting twists on the classics, often featuring...Read More

  • 13. BFI London Film Festival

    Film

    More than 200 feature films, many of them world or European premieres, plus shorts and artist talks, grace the program of the BFI London Film...Read More

  • 14. BFI London IMAX Cinema

    South Bank | Film

    The British Film Institute's glazed drum-shape IMAX theater (now, confusingly, operated by Odeon) has the largest screen in the United Kingdom...Read More

  • 15. BFI Southbank

    South Bank | Film

    With the best repertory programming in London, the four movie theaters here are effectively a national film center run by the British Film Institute...Read More

  • 16. Bridge Theatre

    London Bridge | Theater

    This gleaming theater on the banks of the River Thames by Tower Bridge is the brainchild of director Nicholas Hytner and producer Nick Starr...Read More

  • 17. Cadogan Hall

    Kensington | Concerts

    Once a church, this spacious venue is home to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the English Chamber Orchestra performs here regularly. The...Read More

  • 18. Everyman Hampstead

    Hampstead | Film

    The antithesis of a noisy, sticky-floored multiplex, the Everyman arthouse chain offers a premium cinema-going experience with ticket prices...Read More

  • 19. Hackney Empire

    Hackney | Dance

    The history of this treasure of a theater is drama in its own right. Charlie Chaplin is said to have appeared at Hackney Empire during its days...Read More

  • 20. Kings Place

    King's Cross | Music

    The cultural jewel of the King's Cross transformation, this airy concert venue is the headquarters of the London Sinfonietta. Its resident orchestra...Read More

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