The 10 Most Beautiful Theaters in the UK

View From The Minack Theatre In Cornwall, England
tbradford / Getty Images

The United Kingdon has a strong theater culture with some of the world's greatest playwrights and actors hailing from cultural hubs across the country. Get to know some of the oldest and most beautiful theatres in the UK and see the famous stages that have shared performances from Shakespeare to Puccini for delighted audiences through the decades.

01 of 10

Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic

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Address
King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED, UK
Phone +44 117 987 7877

As the oldest continuously working theater in the English-speaking world, the Bristol Old Vic has seen some of history's greatest actors grace its stage. It recently went through a huge redevelopment which includes a new studio theater as well as a focus on improved accessibility and sustainability. Tours are available and are absolutely worth the money to explore the Georgian auditorium and historic Coopers’ Hall up close. A bar and cafe are available inside the building for freshments before or during the show and the theater’s location on the cobbled King Street means you’ll have easy access to some of Bristol’s best bars and cafes. 

02 of 10

Wales Millennium Centre

Wales Millenium Centre

Construction Photography / Avalon / Contributor/ Getty Images 

Address
Bute Place, Cardiff CF10 5AL, UK
Phone +44 29 2063 6464

One of the major cultural hubs of Wales, designed by Jonathan Adams, this theater draws over 1.5 million visitors a year to Cardiff Bay. Home to some of Wales’ cultural powerhouses such as the Welsh National Opera, National Dance Company Wales, and Literature Wales, this is where you can see the latest shows, concerts, and talks. The building's intriguing design takes inspiration from the sea cliffs and steel industry of South Wales as well as the jagged slate mines found in the north. The iconic Welsh script on the front was composed by the former National Poet of Wales, Gwyneth Lewis. You can book a backstage tour to really appreciate the inner workings of the theatre and your ticket will also provide you with a discount at the cafe.

03 of 10

Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House

 Joseph Okpako / Contributor/ Getty Images 

Address
Bow Street, London WC2E 9DD, UK
Phone +44 20 7240 1200

The Royal Opera House was formed as the Covent Garden Opera Company in 1946 inside a building that was constructed in 1858 and previously used as a dance hall. It is one of the most iconic theaters in Britain, known for its traditional opera and ballet performances from the world-famous Royal Opera company and Royal Ballet, as well as new works by contemporary composers. A tour of the Royal Opera House is highly recommended and due to the working nature of the theatre, no two tours will be the same. This is the best way to appreciate the beauty of the theatre and learn some little-known facts; you will also get 10 percent off the shop and cafe with your ticket.

04 of 10

Georgian Theatre Royal

Georgian Theatre Royal yorkshire

Epics / Contributor/ Getty Images

Address
Victoria Road, Richmond DL10 4DW, UK
Phone +44 1748 825252

As Britain’s most complete Georgian playhouse, this theater offers experience tours so you can really make the most of this gorgeous building. You will also learn about life as a Georgian actor in the 18th century and see Britain’s oldest surviving stage scenery: the newly restored Woodland Scene. A very unique aspect of the Georgian Theatre Royal is that it's licensed to host weddings and will even make personalized tickets for your ceremony while provide a set, lighting, and sound. Regular shows and an annual pantomime are held here as well as performances by the Youth Theatre.

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05 of 10

King’s Theatre

glasgow King’s Theatre, Glasgow

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Glasgow's King Theatre is one of the most historic and significant theaters in all of Scotland. Designed by famed architect Frank Matcham with Art Nouveau and Baroque influences, the theater opened in 1904. It is host to the latest touring shows and has a cocktail bar, The Picture Lounge, for relaxing prior to the performance as well as a bookable VIP Ambassador Lounge to make your visit extra special. Its annual Christmas pantomime is one of the most beloved in the U.K. and has starred some of the greatest Scottish actors over the years.

06 of 10

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Globe Theatre

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Address
21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, UK
Phone +44 20 7902 1400

No visit to London would be complete without paying a visit to Shakespeare's Globe, the historic open-air theater on the bank of the River Thames. A visit is not only a great way to see the latest Shakespeare plays, but the theater also hosts other plays from the early modern period as well as reimaginings of classics. The Globe is a particularly educational space and is worth visiting even if you don’t see a show. Their guided tours take you right through the history of this amazing building and how it survived the plague, political oppression, and fire. The shop has unique items that can only be found here and the attached Swan Bar and Restaurants means you can have dinner or lunch before your show. 

07 of 10

Royal Exchange Theatre

Interior of Royal Exchange Theatre with a dome ceiling and marble columns

Courtesy of Royal Exchange Theatre

Address
St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH, UK
Phone +44 161 833 9833

In the heart of the city, this grand building opened in 1976 and is the largest in-the-round theatre in the U.K. The theater seats 700 people within a pod that is suspended under the grand dome ceiling within the theater. It’s a remarkable piece of engineering that will have you wondering how it was constructed. Host to the latest touring productions, concerts, and literary festivals, the Royal Exchange Theatre is a hub for culture in Manchester. The Rivals Bar and Restaurant is open before each performance for refreshments.

08 of 10

Lyric Theatre

Wooden details and empty seats in the Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Courtesy of Lyric Theatre

Address
55 Ridgeway Street, Belfast BT9 5FB, UK
Phone +44 28 9038 1081

The Lyric Theatre is a community and social hub for anyone interested in the arts and creative learning space as well as a host for a wide range of shows to suit every taste. Many of the shows put on are produced and directed entirely within the theater and performed in the large Danske Bank auditorium. Described as one of the "best British buildings built this century" by architecture critic Ellis Woodman, this theater (first established in 1958) won a number of architecture awards after its 2011 rejuvenation. Spacious lobbies overlook the river and the Cafe Bar provides a space to mingle and relax in.

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09 of 10

Minack Theatre

Minack Theatre

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Address
The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance TR19 6JU, UK
Phone +44 1736 810181

Easily one of the most unique and dramatic theaters in the U.K., Minack Theatre is built on a granite cliffside overlooking Porthcurno Bay towards craggy headlands and the Lizard peninsula on the horizon. Whether you’re seeing a daytime or evening show, the atmosphere truly can’t be beaten. When there isn’t a show on, you’re welcome to explore the theater (dogs are welcome too!) and there are also some light snacks and drinks available to buy as well as a small shop. The Minack Gardens are attached to the theater and offer 1.5 acres of rare plants from all over the world. You may even be lucky to spot seals or a school of dolphins in the water below.

10 of 10

Theatre Royal, Bath

Theatre Royal Bath

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Address
Saw Close, Bath BA1 1ET, UK
Phone +44 1225 448844

A beautiful example of Georgian architecture, this Grade II listed building was built in 1805 and is the historic hub of Bath’s theater culture. Theatre Royal Bath hosts weekly touring performances including West End productions and smaller local plays. Being in the center of the city, it has the benefit of being surrounded by Bath’s top attractions including a wide range of wine bars, restaurants, and cafes within a few minutes' walk meaning you will have plenty of options for refreshment before your performance. 

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The 10 Most Beautiful Theaters in the U.K.