Royal Opera House

Photo: Marc Rohde / Wikipedia
Royal Opera House map
Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden WC2E 9DD
Work 0207 304 4000

Opening times and price

Opening hours:
Box office – 10 AM to 8 PM (Mon–Sat)
Visiting hours are subject to change

Getting to Royal Opera House

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London bus fares
Charing Cross BKL NRN, Covent Garden PCL, Embankment BKL CRC DSC NRN, Holborn CNT PCL, Leicester Square NRN PCL
The nearest train station to Royal Opera House is Covent Garden
London underground fares

The Royal Opera House started out in 1732 as the Covent Garden Theatre, but a disastrous fire gutted it in 1808. A second theatre opened just one year later – but that burnt down in 1856.

The third and final theatre was renamed The Royal Opera House in 1892. Most of what we see today was refitted in 1996 at a cost of £210 million.

Royal Opera Company, and ballet

The building’s long history has led to it getting a number of great British debuts. For example, Mozart’s Don Giovanni was first performed here in 1817, as was The Marriage of Figaro. Other great operas to get a London airing include The Barber of Seville, and Puccini’s Tosca.

The vast majority of the productions are put on by the Royal Opera Company – England’s leading operatic company – but were joined in 1946 by the Royal Ballet.

The two companies now share an orchestra and chorus of forty-five singers.

Awful 0% Poor 0% Okay 0% Good 33% Great 67%
  • TomK – “Best venue in London. You know its going to be good the minute you walk inside because its so ornate, just like an opera house should be. The seats are good and comfortable and the legroom is like sitting in first class on a plane. You've even got elbow room at the sides. I could probably fall asleep in them and have a good kip. The stage is first class too. It's so deep and the sets are like actual buildings. It looks like they have actually built a proper set behind the dancers out of bricks and stone. And 1 minute later that has all gone and maybe been replaced by a forest. It is amazing what they can do.”
  • ian meyer – “I've been to a couple of opera houses in my life -- the one in paris and the sydney opera house and I think this is probably 2nd after the one in paris which just looks fantastic. I dont like opera all that much (my wife drags me along) but I have find that there's still plenty to enjoy. The stage at the royal opera house is huge and the sets that I have seen look amazing. Sometimes they dont look like sets at all -- it looks like they have built actual proper concrete buildings on the stage, and I saw a forest once too. It is very well done. The best effect that I ever saw was in the nutcracker, when the christmas tree 'grew' by rising out of the stage until it was making the dancers look like midgets (which I think was the intention -- the dancers were 'shrinking' rather than the tree growing. But I’ll have to ask my wife!).”

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If you enjoy this then try: Barbican Hall (walk it in 26 mins or catch a train from Covent Garden to Barbican Hall); Cadogan Hall (catch the tube from Covent Garden to Cadogan Hall); London Coliseum (you can walk it in 6 mins); Royal Albert Hall (catch the tube from Covent Garden to Royal Albert Hall) and Royal Festival Hall (walk it in 12 mins or catch a train from Covent Garden to Royal Festival Hall).

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