The Old Vic and Young Vic: What You Need To Know
After working on the first phase of an extensive refurbishment, Waterloo's Old Vic not-for-profit theatre continues to build on 200 years of history.
And just down the road, located on an old bomb site, the Young Vic started life as the first residence of the Royal National Theatre under Laurence Olivier. It was only meant to be there for five years, but remains in the same location today, refurbished and more vibrant than ever.
Here is everything you need to know if you are travelling to either of these brilliant neighbouring theatres.
Where to eat
The Anchor & Hope is one of London's best gastropubs. Located a stone's throw from both theatres, it features a daily-changing menu of British-focussed dishes of seasonal produce. The dining area is quirky and you may have to share a table, but the quality of the food and the extensive wine selection are both exceptional. You can't book unless it's for Sunday lunch, but dinner service begins at 5.45pm and staff will rush through your order if you say you're going to the theatre.
The Laughing Gravy is another excellent pub, about ten minutes from the theatres. Service starts at 5pm, so perfect for a pre-show bite. The focus of the menu is British classics with a French influence, served to a very high standard. Vegetarian options are always innovative, and the dining area is light and airy.
Maries Cafe appears to be a rather less glamorous spot on Lower Marsh, serving up fried breakfasts to builders during the day. However, don't be put off, as the place also serves fantastic and authentic Thai food at incredibly low prices. Spring rolls and Tom Yum soup are legendary, and they operate a bring-your-own policy for booze, at just £1 per person.
The Cut is an excellent, on-site bar at the Young Vic. Everything is designed to be served in time to get to the show. The quality of ingredients is particularly high and the rooftop bar area is a lovely place to be on a summer's evening. Weekday evening see a happy hour from 5-6pm for £6 cocktails, and their excellent tapas is offered at £11.50 for three dishes and £18.50 for five.
Where to drink
Vaulty Towers might be one of London's quirkiest drinking dens, furnished with discarded props from nearby arts venue and theatre The Vaults. They have frequent event nights and a good selection of drinks.
The Stage Door is an independent pub located round the back of the Old Vic. As the name suggests, it is very much an arts and theatre pub, with a lively crowd. They stock a wide range of craft beers and ales, and the venue has a pleasant rooftop terrace for when the days are warmer.
The Duke of Sussex is a cosy and well-designed pub located five minutes from both theatres. The atmosphere is always friendly and the wine list is excellent. Bar snacks are brilliant here, so don't miss the homemade scotch egg or sausage roll.
The much-loved Penny bar and cafe in the basement of the Old Vic has been refurbished and has a brand new speciality gin menu. It's a cosy and very convenient place to grab a drink or snack before a show. You don't need a ticket to have a drink there, making it a good option for the Young Vic as well.
The Young Vic has toilet facilities, including accessible toilets, on both levels of the theatre. The ground floor is level-access, and the first floor is accessible via lift or stairs. The first floor toilets are gender-neutral.
The Old Vic has gender neutral toilet facilities in the Penny bar on the basement level and on the Baylis Circle level. There is also a separate wheelchair accessible loo and a separate gender neutral loo with an enclosed sink in the Penny bar.
There is another wheelchair accessible loo within the auditorium itself.
The Young Vic offers £15 tickets to over-60s for weekday matinee shows, and there are a number of £10 tickets for students and people aged 25 and under for every show.
They also run 'Lucky Dip' tickets for £10 that guarantee a standing spot, but you could be moved to a prime seated spot if last-minute seats become available. 10% of tickets are given away to neighbours and schools, regardless of box office demand.
At the Old Vic, for £5 a month, you can join OV Extra, which offers free tickets, discounts and various other goodies. You can also sign up for PwC Previews, which offers at least half the seats for £10 during the first five performances of a show.
Location and transport
The Old and Young Vic are both located on Waterloo's The Cut, just behind London's Southbank.
The theatres are a two-minute and five-minute walk respectively from Waterloo Station, served by South Western National Rail and Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee and Waterloo & City tube lines. Waterloo East, served by South Eastern Rail, is a ten-minute walk.
The theatres are served by bus lines 1, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 68, N1, N171 and N68.
Pay and display parking is available nearby. Nearby car parks are Hayward Gallery, Hungerford Bridge and The National Theatre car park. Free street parking nearby is available after 6.30pm. Use the brilliant app AppyParking to check street rules.
There are bike racks next to the theatre on Webber Street, Lower Marsh and Waterloo Road.
The Old Vic now has a programme called Access Membership; members can book tickets online, including wheelchair spaces and the best seats to view captioned performances. The theatre holds audio-described performances and has a Sennheiser Infrared System, with headsets available to use for those hard of hearing.
The Young Vic holds relaxed, audio-described and captioned performances. The main house and studio spaces are wheelchair-accessible via level access on the ground floor, and via a lift to the first floor of the main house. They aim to help everyone enjoy the theatre and so for specific access requirements, they recommend calling 020 7922 2922.
While you're there...
Tucked under Waterloo Bridge on Queen's Walk is the only outdoor secondhand and antique book market in southern England. A secret to many, it is open every day, come rain or shine, and it's a lovely place to while away an hour or two while browsing every type of book, map and print.
The Old Vic
The Cut, London
The Young Vic
66 The Cut, London
020 7922 2922
Photo Credit: Young Vic, Philip Vile, David Jenson