What you need to know about London Palladium:
London Palladium opened in 1910, although its façade is actually older than that. It’s a Grade II* listed building and is famous for its association with variety performances, in particular the Royal Variety Performance.
It’s also famous for is pantomime – specifically Cinderella. In fact, footage exists of Lennie Dean performing in the show in 1926. In modern times, the theatre has become known as a venue for major West End musicals (Oliver!, The Sound Of Music, Sister Act The Musical and many more have all spent time at the London Palladium), but they triumphantly returned to their roots in 2016 with their first pantomime in 29 years.
Along with seeing some of the biggest names in theatre perform at the venue, London Palladium also hosted a number of hugely famous musicians during the 1930s. This included Duke Ellington and his Orchestra and Louis Armstrong. In the 1970s, there were plans for Elvis to play his first ever performance outside of North America at London Palladium. This, however, never happened as his manager didn’t have a passport.
From the decadent Cinderella bar to the razzamatazz onstage, London Palladium likes its theatricals as bold and shiny as they come. But perhaps the most dramatic happening at the theatre was not theatrical. During the Second World War, an unexploded German parachute mine crashed through the roof and lodged itself over the stage. At one point during the attempt to make it safe, the devise looked certain to explode. But heroic bomb disposal operatives from the Royal Navy, prevented the from detonating.
Top facts about London Palladium:
- London Palladium hosts the annual Royal Variety Performance. Televising the show helped make the Palladium’s interior particularly recognisable, as did ITV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium and, later, Live at the London Palladium.
- The theatre is built on the site of Argyll House (knocked down in the 1860s). This is why the pub opposite is called the Argyll Arms.
- Over the years, London Palladium has seen some impressive transformations to its interior. It was once used for circus shows, which including having a flooded ring for aquatic performances, and as an ice rink.
- In the days before smart phones, London Palladium had a special internal telephone system so audience members in the boxes could phone each other.
- Alfred Hitchcock filmed the climax of The 39 Steps at London Palladium.
Key information about London Palladium:
Tube: The closest tube station is Oxford Circus (Central, Victoria and Bakerloo lines), which is less than a five minute walk to the venue. Alternately, use Bond Street (Central and Jubilee lines), which will take you under ten minutes to walk from.
Bus: Bus numbers 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 23, 25, 53, 55, 73, 88, 94, 98, 113, 137, 139 and also 159 all travel close to London Palladium. Please check the Transport for London website to plan your journey.
Q-Park car parks can be found in the West End at:
Chinatown – 20 Newport Place, WC2H 7PR
Soho – Poland Street, W1F 7NQ
Trafalgar Square – Spring Gardens, SW1A 2TS
Leicester Square – Whitcomb Street, WC2H 7DT
Q-Park offers discounted parking for ticket-holders visiting participating West End theatres. London Palladium is part of the Q-Park Theatreland Parking Scheme.
NCP car parks can be found in the West End at:
Shaftesbury – Selkirk House, Museum Street, WC1A 1JR
Covent Garden – Parker Street, WC2B 5NT
The closest car park to the theatre is: Soho or Oxford St (Cavendish Sq, W1G 0PN).
There are blue badge spaces located on Ramillies Place and Great Marlborough Street.
London Palladium is wheelchair accessible (you can request a ramp for the front steps). They have spaces for wheelchair users in the Stalls. Alternately, you can arrange to transfer to an aisle seat (which tend to have more leg room) and have the wheelchair stored. Theatre staff can bring drinks to disabled visitors in the auditorium.
You can find an accessible toilet by the Ramillies Place entrance or from inside the stalls bar.
London Palladium is fitted with an infra-red hearing system. An induction loop is held at the box office and you can get headsets from the foyer.
Working dogs are welcome in the theatre. You can either arrange for them to come into the auditorium with you or for staff to dog-sit them in the manager’s office.
To discuss access arrangements and to book tickets, please phone 08444 124 648 or email [email protected]
The London Palladium has a selection of in-house bars where you can buy drinks and snacks before the performance starts and during the interval. Its centrepiece is the famous Cinderella Bar. Gorgeously decorated in cream and gold, its name references the theatre’s historic link with the pantomime. Below the most recently created decorations are original panels showing scenes from the fairy tale, including Cinders being reunited with her famous glass slipper.
If you’re looking to feast your belly as well as your eyes, head into Soho or try one of the restaurants on Oxford or Regents Street.