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London theatre: the best shows to book for half term

Matilda the Musical is perfectly naughty half-term viewing
Matilda the Musical is perfectly naughty half-term viewing - Manuel Harlan

One of the best ways to entertain children (and parents!) during the upcoming autumn holiday is booking half term theatre tickets. London has a fantastic range of entertainment, from family-friendly musicals to plays, and beloved long-running productions to exciting new arrivals.

If you’re not sure which family theatre shows would suit you best, read on for the Telegraph’s handy guide, which includes insights from our expert critics on these plays and musicals for children. We’ve also got age recommendations for every production, plus you can find discounted tickets on Telegraph Tickets whether you’re looking for Matilda tickets, Harry Potter tickets, Six tickets or anything else.

Plus we’ve got handy round-ups of the best London plays and musicals, and the top family shows. So, get planning now and book your tickets for the best half term theatre shows.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace Theatre ★★★★★ 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre - Manuel Harlan

In a nutshell: “British theatre hasn’t known anything like it for decades and I haven’t seen anything directly comparable in all my reviewing days... It raises the benchmark for family entertainment.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 10+

Booking until: March 3, 2024

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Matilda The Musical, Cambridge Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Matthew Warchus’s thrilling, warm-hearted production, exuberantly designed by Rob Howell and with pin-sharp choreography by Peter Darling, constantly combines comedy with a sense of wonder.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 6+

Booking until: Dec 15, 2024

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Back to the Future: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre ★★★★★

Back to the Future: The Musical
Back to the Future: The Musical - Sean Ebsworth Barnes

In a nutshell: “Thanks to video and illusionist wizardry, the steam-spouting DeLorean skids into view from nowhere and takes off over the stalls, achieving a kind of 3D Hollywood magic... A feelgood triumph.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 6+

Booking until: Feb 11, 2024

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Six, Vaudeville Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Six is a marvellous show, dripping with invention and intelligence, and one which brings not just happiness in the moment but hope for the future of the British musical.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 10+

Booking until: Apr 28, 2024

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Frozen the Musical, Theatre Royal Drury Lane ★★★★★

Disney's Frozen the Musical
Disney's Frozen the Musical - Johan Persson

In a nutshell: “It’s pure West End spectacle, exactly what you want for a production likely to be many kids’ first experience of theatre, and told with a blazing passion that is surprisingly affecting.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 6+

Booking until: Jun 2, 2024

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The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Watching the show alongside my rapt children, I was struck by how much it succeeds in speaking to the heart rather than the head... A deeply felt celebration of life.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 6+

Booking until: Jun 2

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Mrs Doubtfire, Shaftesbury Theatre ★★★★

Mrs Doubtfire
Mrs Doubtfire - Manuel Harlan

In a nutshell: “Never doubt I love Mrs Doubtfire, the feelgood but not fluffy-minded musical that has pitched up at the newly made-over Shaftesbury Theatre... A sure-fire hit, my dears.” Read the full review

Booking until: Jun 2

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The King and I, London Palladium ★★★★

In a nutshell: “The whole affair is a satisfying blend of bombast and subtlety. Many of the songs remain transcendently lovely, chief among them that invitation to madly polka, Shall We Dance?.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 5+

Booking until: Mar 2

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My Neighbour Totoro, Barbican ★★★★

My Neighbour Totoro
My Neighbour Totoro - Manuel Harlan

In a nutshell: “Totoro is magnificently humongous with a mighty, reverberating growl, wicked smile, lumbering walk and bouncy castle of a fluffy tum. The wow-factor of his spectacular appearances is worth the price of admission alone.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 4+

Booking until: Mar 23

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Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre ★★★★★

In a nutshell: “Netflix gives the West End its event of the year... The jaw-dropping coups range from the infernal, supernatural engulfing of a hulking US battle-ship to acts of levitation.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 12+

Booking until: Jun 30

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Mamma Mia!, Novello Theatre ★★★★

Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! - Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

In a nutshell: “Phyllida Lloyd’s slick production is still a tremendous crowd-pleaser... Buoyed by Abba’s enduring brilliance, it’s a welcome shot of pure sunshine.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 5+

Booking until: Sept 28

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Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre ★★★★★ 

In a nutshell: “Nicholas Hytner’s box of tricks, the Bridge, unleashes the show all around you if you’re one of the 380 punters standing in the thick of it... It’s an extravaganza that explodes every which way.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: All ages (under-16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult if buying immersive standing tickets)

Booking until: Aug 31

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Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre ★★★★

Wicked
Wicked - Matt Crockett

In a nutshell: “Joe Mantello’s production has satisfyingly old-school bombast: instead of screens, its impact comes from the detailed, fabulously over-the-top steampunk design. The orchestra is the biggest in the West End – and it shows.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 7+

Booking until: Dec 15

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The Play That Goes Wrong, Duchess Theatre ★★★★

In a nutshell: “Seldom has disaster delivered so many belly laughs... This spoof am-dram staging of an Agatha Christie whodunit is the perfect recipe for absurd slapstick.” Read the full review

Age recommendation: 8+

Booking until: Nov 3

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