Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

The Royal Opera House: What You Need To Know

The Royal Opera House: What You Need To Know
The Royal Opera House

Covent Garden's iconic Royal Opera House is home to both The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. A theatre has been on the site since 1732, but since 1858, the current building has served as a central cultural site for London.

During World War II, it was used as a dance hall, but then the decision was made to use it as home for both ballet and opera, opening in its current form in 1946. The beautiful venue has played host to opera legends such as Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas, and also ballet greats such as Margot Fonteyn.

Here is everything you need to know if you're travelling there.

Where to eat

Cafe Murano is one of three of Angela Harnett's excellent, relaxed Italian restaurants. This one is a three-minute walk from the Royal Opera House and offers a brilliant value set menu. The restaurant prides itself in using seasonal produce and makes all its own excellent pasta on site. Two courses are £20 and three courses are just £24, and it's served from midday until 7pm and from 9.30pm-11pm; perfect for before or after a performance.

Clos Maggiore is a Covent Garden legend and one of the most romantic restaurants in London. It's ideal for a special night out, but it's not cheap. However, it offers a surprisingly good value pre- and post-theatre menu; From Monday to Thursday between 5pm-6pm and 10pm-11pm they offer two courses for £25 and three for £29, which includes a glass of bubbles. They also have a pre- and post-theatre menu on Fridays and Saturdays for £29.50 for two courses between 5pm-6pm.

Ballet Shoe Department
Royal Opera House Ballet
Shoe Department

Frenchie is the London outpost of the incredibly popular Paris brasserie. Situated a few steps from the Royal Opera House, it's a light and bright place to get your French food fix.

The pre-and post-theatre menu is served Monday to Sunday, 5.30pm-6pm and then 10pm-10.30pm for £29 for two courses and £32 for three. Food is delicate, but brilliantly balanced, with an amazing cheese selection - as you might expect.

Homeslice is a casual, yet excellent pizza place, tucked away on Neal's Yard, situated about a six-minute walk from the Royal Opera House. Pizza is served whole, or by the slice, with a brilliant selection that changes with the seasons. There is always a Slice Of The Month, such as the amazing Wagyu beef, truffle crème fraiche, cipollini onions and salsa verde. Yum!

Where to drink

The Champagne Bar in the Royal Opera House itself is a lovely place to grab a glass of champagne before a performance. With a beautiful vaulted glass ceiling, it's a buzzy place and open whether you're attending a performance or not.

Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels is a charming little wine bar, almost hidden in a corner of Neal's Yard. They have a wonderful selection of wine by the glass and by the bottle; staff are very knowledgeable if you want to try something different and are happy to advise. They also have a short, but excellent menu of light bites, cheese and brilliant charcuterie.

10 Cases is a buzzy little wine bar and shop on Endell Street, situated a four-minute walk from the Royal Opera House. It's a fun concept where the owners offer a short list of ten white, ten red, sparkling, rosé and sweet wines of which everything is available by the glass/carafe/bottle and purchased in just ten case orders. In years of trading, the same wine has not been listed twice.

The Royal Opera House: What You Need To Know
Royal Opera House auditorium

Ticket Offers

The Royal Opera House offers tickets starting from just £3 if you book early enough. It also has a great way of getting last-minute tickets, even for sold-out events, called Friday Rush.

When the timer counts down to 1pm each Friday during the Season, 49 new Friday Rush tickets are made available to buy for each of the performances listed at the bottom of this page:

If you're a student, you can register with Young ROH, allowing you buy unsold tickets for Royal Ballet and Royal Opera productions at the bargain price of £10.

Welcome Performances are designed for families who know nothing about opera or ballet. Tickets are between £5-£20.

Tickets are also available for the Linbury Studio, a modern space in the basement of the Opera house. Tickets for performances here are much cheaper than the main stage.

Location and transport

The Royal Opera House is located in the heart of London's Covent Garden.


The nearest Underground stations are Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Holborn and Charing Cross.


Pay and display parking is available nearby. Free street parking nearby is available after 6.30pm. Use the brilliant app AppyParking to check street rules.

The Royal Opera House: What You Need To Know
Royal Opera House
Costume Department


There is step-free access across the Royal Opera House, from the ground-floor café and foyer to a range of seats in the performance spaces.

There is also a free, specialised Access Membership to all visitors who need assistance. This service provides access to various facilities such as personalised seat allocation based on your requirements, ticket discounts, free companion tickets and more.

There is a very useful, comprehensive guide to accessibility on the website:

While you're there...

Tucked in a quiet corner of Covent Garden is a place called Vertical Chill - London's ice-climbing wall. For beginners and experienced climbers alike, the venue features an eight-metre-high ice wall on which to perfect your skills. All equipment and clothing is provided, and staff are friendly and encouraging. It's an unusual and exhilarating way to spend an hour or two.

Contact Details


Royal Opera House
Bow Street, London,WC2E 9DD

Phone 020 7304 4000


Related Articles

From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan