Royal Opera House
About Royal Opera House
Founded in 1732, the Royal Opera House is one of the UK’s preeminent cultural institutions. The stunning historical landmark is located at the heart of central London in Covent Garden and serves as the home to the world renowned Royal Opera and Royal Ballet Companies. Paul Hamlyn Hall, a large, breathtaking iron and glass structure, stands as the lobby and entrance to the opera house, where several exhibitions, concerts, private events, and public functions are held. The extensive arts venue also includes the Linbury Studio Theatre, a smaller secondary performance space with retractable seating, considered to be one of the most technologically advanced theatre facilities in Great Britain. The current building is the third iteration of the famous site, having burned down twice in 1808 and 1856. Originally called the Theatre Royal, the venue officially became known as the Royal Opera house in 1892 and has since been London’s predominant epicentre of opera and ballet. After four decades and £213 million worth of renovations in the late twentieth century, the beautiful complex is now one of the most modern and simultaneously historical sites in London.
- Fun Facts About the Royal Opera House
- Before producing ballet and opera exclusively, the institution was home to various types of performance. In the early nineteenth century, the world-renowned pantomime clown Joseph Grimaldi made his name performing in the famous theatre.
- For 50 years the venue was known as the Royal Italian Opera until 1892 when Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” was presented in German by Gustav Mahler and the company dropped the “Italian” from its name.
- The institution almost became a permanent dance hall after World War II, but eventually merged the distinguished ballet and opera companies under one roof.
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Transportation & Parking
There is no designated parking at the Royal Opera House for ticket holders. The nearest NCP car parks are five minutes' walk away at Drury Lane and Shelton Street. A limited number of orange badge bays are available in the vicinity, but are not reserved for the use of Royal Opera House patrons. Royal Opera House ticket holders are entitled to a 50% discount at Q-Park car parks via the Theatreland Parking Scheme. To qualify, you must get your car park ticket validated at the Main Entrance Foyer desk and the 50% discount will automatically be applied when you pay at the car park pay machine. The nearest Q-Park car park is about eight minutes' walk away in Newport Place, Chinatown. Bus Routes: 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 26, 68, 76, 87, 91, 168, 171, 176, 188, 501 (southbound only), 505, 521, X68 all go to the Aldwych, which is close to the Theatre.