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Top 5 Longest-Running Shows in London

London has gained a reputation for having one of the best theatre scenes in the world. Not only are there new shows gracing the West End and beyond all the time, but some stalwart plays and musicals just refuse to go away. These world-class shows offer guaranteed entertainment, whether you’re going to the theatre as a couple or enjoying an outing with the whole family.

The Mousetrap

No guide to London’s long-running shows would be complete without The Mousetrap. Agatha Christie’s murder mystery set at Monkswell Manor opened in the West End in 1952 and has been running ever since. You can see it at St Martin’s Theatre in Covent Garden, where there is a blue plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of the world’s longest-running play. Traditionally, the audience is asked not to reveal the twist ending to anyone when they leave, so be sure to keep the secret amongst yourselves.

The Mousetrap is suitable for families with children of 11 years old and above.

The Lion King

A surefire hit with all the family, The Lion King is a beautifully staged musical, which has won multiple awards over the years. You and your children will be transported to the plains of the Serengeti via the stage at the Lyceum Theatre, in the company of Simba, Mufasa, Timon and Pumbaa. There is singing, dancing and stunning costumes in this much-loved Disney classic.

Children over the age of six are likely to enjoy The Lion King, but it is important to judge whether your child will manage with the two-and-a-half-hour running time, which includes an interval.

The Woman in Black

Cleverly performed by just two actors, The Woman in Black is an exploration of horror and mystery in the style of a gothic novel. It has been staged in the West End for nearly three decades and is currently hosted by the Fortune Theatre. The plot follows the story of a lawyer who tells the tale of a curse he believes has been cast over his family.

The Woman in Black is recommended for children over the age of 11, due to its spooky themes. The original novella is on some GCSE syllabuses, making a trip to the theatre with teenagers studying the text a great idea.

Les Miserables

Known affectionately by theatregoing audiences as Les Mis, this musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece is an exploration of themes of revolution, idealism and redemption. It is the longest-running musical in the West End, with its songs and emblem of Cosette in a ragged dress against the backdrop of the French flag being instantly recognisable. Plan a visit to the Queen’s Theatre to see it for yourself.

If your children are under seven, it’s worth organising a theatre trip to London to see Les Mis as a couple’s date.

The Phantom of the Opera

When it comes to numbers, The Phantom of the Opera has some impressive figures to flaunt. Now in its 32nd year, it has won more than 70 prestigious theatre awards and has been seen by in excess of 140 million people. If you would like to join them, then book tickets for a performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre during your London stay. Follow one of theatre’s most enduring tales in this Andrew Lloyd Webber hit.

The Phantom of the Opera is perfect for adults and children over ten years old.

Image credit: Nikada via iStock

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