The Ultimate Guide to visiting the royal opera house


4.7 Stars out of 5 based on 2844 Reviewsarrow


Mon - Thurs: 9:30am to 5:30PM


Time Needed: 2,5 hours


Fri - Sun: 9:00am to 5:00PM


Price: £18 - £34

Many visitors in London venture to Covent Garden to shop, dine or watch street performers in the dazzling Covent Garden Piazza. But opera, ballet and classical music lovers head to Covent Garden for one reason and one reason only: To see a performance at the Royal Opera House.

Built in 1858, the current Royal Opera House is actually the third to be built at its location on Bow Street, as both of the previous theatres were destroyed by fires in 1808 and 1856.

The original venue was constructed in 1732 (when it was known as the Theatre Royal), and was originally designed to be a playhouse. However, over the years the venue expanded into the world-renowned arts venue that it is known as today, and has attracted some of the biggest names in classical and opera music.


Royal Opera House Atrium
Royal Opera House Paul Hamlyn Hall
Royal Opera House Atrium
Royal Opera House Seats
Royal Opera House Bar
previous arrow
next arrow

Royal Opera House Highlights

Immediately upon entering the Covent Garden Piazza, visitors will be greeted with the massive iron and glass structure known as The Paul Hamlyn Hall (or “The Floral Hall”) which has direct access to the main opera building. This area also boasts a champagne bar and restaurant, so concertgoers can sip on a glass of champagne or have a quick meal before watching a performance.

Besides being blown away by a ballet, opera or orchestra performance, visitors can also choose from two different tours if they want to learn more about this fascinating London venue:

  • The Backstage Tour – (1.5 hours) which includes visits to both the backstage and Front of House areas as the actors prepare for the evening performances. The tour also covers the history of the venue, its current productions, and may even include the rare opportunity to see the Royal Ballet in a classroom (however this is not always guaranteed).
  • The Velvet, Gilt and Glamour Tour (45 minutes) where visitors can learn more about the venue’s architecture and history, and even hear stories from some of the many famous opera singers who once performed at the Royal Opera House. Visitors will also be led to the Royal Retiring Room, which is still used by members of the royal family today.

Special Tips


The seats on the third level balcony are said to have the best sound quality.


If you plan on having a drink or a meal before, after or during the interval of a performance, make sure you pre-book your table beforehand to avoid any hassle of waiting around for service (especially during the busier periods).


Be sure to download the ROH Bars app so you can pre-order your drinks and snacks before or after each performance, or during the interval.

Getting There

getting there


Bow St, London WC2E 9DD, United Kingdom (See map).

getting there

By Tube

The nearest station is Covent Garden, which is a three-minute walk away.

getting there

By Train

The nearest station is Charing Cross which is a ten-minute walk away.

getting there

By Bus

You can reach the Royal Opera House via routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 26, 68, 76, 87, 91, 168, 171, 176, 188, 501 (southbound only), or 505, 521, X68.

Visiting Royal Opera House

To find out which performances are taking place at the Royal Opera House during your visit to London, visit the “What’s On” section on their official website.

During the day, the Royal Opera House is open to the general public as well as anyone who has pre-booked a guided tour, however only ticket-holders will be allowed in during performances.

Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before each performance starts, as latecomers will not be allowed into the venue. There will be announcements alerting all concertgoers at least three times before each performance starts.

There are two bars and three different restaurants located inside the Royal Opera House, all of which open 90 minutes before the start of each performance, as well as during intervals. Please note that any food or drink is not allowed in the auditorium.

For those with mobility issues, there is lift access to all the levels of the main auditorium (except the Orchestra Stalls). If you are watching a performance with your family, children between the ages of five and 14 must be seated next to an adult, and babies and infants will not be allowed into the auditorium.

The use of cameras as well as recording equipment inside the venue is strictly prohibited. There are free cloakroom facilities, but be aware that space is extremely limited so try to avoid bringing large items with you during your visit. All visitors may be searched upon entering the venue, and all large bags and rucksacks must be placed in the cloakroom.

When to Visit

Ticket prices can range anywhere from as low as £15 to as much as £200 depending on which seat or performance you choose. Because performance times and costs may vary, be sure to check out the Royal Opera House’s official website before you visit and/or book your tickets.

Souvenir programmes are available to purchase for £7, and you can buy them in the Main Entrance Foyer, the Paul Hamlyn Hall or the Amphitheatre Lobby.

The Ticket Sales and Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.

Ticket collection for the day’s performances and tours are available between Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m, and the Box Office telephone lines are open between Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Souvenir Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday. The shop is normally closed on Sundays unless there is a performance, in which case its opening hours are from at least four hours before the performance starts (or 10 am.).

You might also like...