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Theatre Tips West End

5 things to know before seeing “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in 1 day in London’s West End

No spoilers below

So you’ve made it! It’s the time when you’re thinking of getting tickets to see “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in London. You probably saw a thousand reviews online, so this will not be a review. This will be more of a practical FAQ for anyone looking forward to seeing the show at the Palace Theatre. Ready? Let’s go!

I have to admit, the show is truly magical. It uses some of the finest special effects I’ve ever seen in theatre – it’s worth buying a ticket to see these alone!

How to get a discount or a cheap ticket to see “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in London?

So the tickets for this show are infamously expensive. There are a couple of reasons: it’s extremely popular and sold out almost every night since 2016 when it premiered, but also you’re buying a ticket for 2 shows. The first half starts at 1 PM (2 acts with an interval), and the second act starts at 6 PM (again, 2 acts with an interval). It’s a decent 6 hours in the theatre!

How to get a reasonably priced ticket?

  • Always book early, I recommend 3-4 months in advance – that’s when the cheapest tickets are still available (you could score each ticket for £27 but these would be balcony seats with restricted view)
  • Try your luck in “Friday Forty” – click here to enter

Each Friday we release 40 tickets for every performance, located in great seats throughout the theatre, and priced at £40 (£20 per part), for the following week.

 To enter the lottery you need to visit or download the TodayTix app. You can enter the lottery at any time between 12.01 am to 1.00 pm every Friday via the button below, valid for performances the following week. At 1 pm every Friday the lottery will close, and the winners will be notified between 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm the same day.

Today Tix Website

Please note that “Friday Forty” is incredibly difficult to score – through my 4 years in London I only met 1 person who managed to win it. So don’t rely on it too much, but give it a try!

Interior of the Palace Theatre, source:

Very important: check the seat reviews

This is key. The Palace Theatre is a stunning venue, but it does have some seats with a seriously obstructed view. I sat on the balcony and the first 3 rows at the balcony all face the railing in the front. I sat in row C, in the middle (seats 13 and 12), and the railing was obstructing the actors’ faces view for almost 50% of the time. People sitting in the first 2 rows were even more unlucky. So make sure, before you book, to check seat reviews on Seatplan. When seats are marked as red, do avoid them!

The interior of the Palace Theatre during “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

How long is “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, or what’s the running time?

Part One of the performance, which includes a 20-minute interval, lasts for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Part Two, also including a 20-minute interval, lasts for 2 hours and 35 minutes. The show runs on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Part One starts at 2pm and finishes at 4:40pm, while Part Two begins at 7pm and ends at 9:35pm.

Should I read the “Harry Potter” books before I see the show?

If you ask me, YES. The play is based 19 years after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and stars some of the main characters from the saga. There are some comments connecting the stories from the books with the action of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and without knowledge of the saga, I would feel a bit lost.

If reading the books is not an option, just get to the theatre a bit earlier and get the program (£5, very reasonably priced). It includes a short summary of all the books that you could read in a couple of minutes. There’s also a glossary of terms used in the play, to help you become less of a muggle 😉

Can I bring food or drinks inside?

I would not recommend it, however, I had no issues bringing a cup of bubble tea and a tumbler of water with me. There are bars with drinks and snacks located at each level of the theatre. There’s a long break (2 hours) between both parts of the play and that’s when you can go out and have a proper sit-down meal in a restaurant nearby.

My request: please don’t bring noisy snacks with you. If you have to, please open their packaging before the show starts!

How early should I arrive to the theatre?

Around 48 hours before the show you will receive an email with the details, which in my case asked you to arrive 1 hour before the show. I thought it was a little excessive so ended up getting to The Palace Theatre by 12.30 PM and got through security in 5 minutes. Then I had to climb the stairs to the very top, but still, I had more than enough time to walk around, pop by the loo, and find my seat. So I would say 30 minutes before the show is more than enough.

Entrance to the Palace Theatre

Where to eat dinner during the interval?

Luckily, the Palace theatre is located in the heart of London’s West End, so you’ll have plenty of options. However, please note that it’s an extremely touristy area so the best spots require a table reservation at least a couple of days in advance. You will have 2 hours between both parts of the play which gives you plenty of time for a relaxed meal. Some of my recommendations:

The Real Greek

My favourite place for an informal dinner in the West End. Very decent Greek food served on small plates (mezze) and served on “towers”. Sunday to Thursday they have a dinner deal from 5 PM, called Filoxenia Menu. You can pick 4 dishes for £16 and it’s more than enough for 1 person! Book a table online in advance, as it’s always full!

My recommendation: spicy feta dip, Santorini fava.

The Real Greek – St. Martin`s Lane, 54 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4EA

Saravana Bhavan

A great choice for a vegetarian meal. Fantastic Indian cuisine, reasonably priced and served quickly. The whole menu is meat-free and you can get a gigantic dosa and piping hot masala chai in just a couple of minutes. Sometimes catching the attention of the waiter takes more time than waiting for food!

My recommendation: bhava dosa, mattar paneer, and masala chai

Saravana Bhavan, 17 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0EP

Mother Mash

My number 1 choice when I feel like having something “British”. A restaurant with a simple concept: you pick your mashed potatoes (from many flavour options), then a sausage or pie (vegan options available), and a gravy. And voila, you get a carb-heavy meal, ideal for a cold autumn or winter day.

Their farmer’s gravy (red wine, onion, smoked bacon, and mushrooms) is to die for!

Mother Mash, 4 New Row, London WC2N 4LH

Zuzanna Chmielewska

Digital Marketer by profession, published travel book author, avid theatre goer and an amateur Malaysia tour guide in my free time. Find me in one of London's theatres, travelling in Asia or cooking and photographing new recipes in my kitchen. I would try anything once (at least!). My theatre blog:



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