The Palace Theatre opened in 1891 as the Royal English Opera House, and was built in a bold Renaissance style. Situated directly on Cambridge Circus the venue is seen by thousands of people each day, and is one of the most impressive theatres in London's West End.
The auditorium is split over four levels, with varying degrees of visibility throughout. The theatre seats around 1400 people and manages to feel quite intimate, despite its height.
The Stalls are divided into two sections by a central aisle. The section does not curve, unlike the higher levels, meaning that each row looks directly at the stage. The first four rows feel very close to the action, so for a better overall view many prefer to sit slightly further back. The overhang from the level above begins to obstruct the view from row M, with the rear 2 rows suffering considerably. The legroom is generally good in this section, although taller audience members may prefer to sit closer to the central aisle in order to feel less cramped.
The Dress Circle
The Dress Circle is the first level above the stage and feels surprisingly intimate. The section is well raked, meaning views over the heads in front are clear. The rows all curve around the balcony, meaning some seats at the end of each rows are restricted. The first row suffers from having tight leg room, and the seats feel quite low. Views of the stage are generally excellent throughout the section, and remain unobstructed even towards the rear.
The Grand Circle
The Upper Circle is the second level above the stage and begins to feel quite high. It is divided into two blocks by a central row, and is steeply raked so views over the heads in front are good. Safety rails are at the end of each row near to the stairs, creating restrictions for those seated at the end of each row. The rows curve quite dramatically round the balcony, meaning that there are a number of restricted view seats at the end of each row. The section feels very high, and those towards the back of the section will be far away from the stage. Row A of this section are marked as 'restricted legroom' and are not suitable for those over 5'8''.
The Balcony is the largest of the seating levels and is extremely high and far away from the stage. It is one of the highest balconies in the West End, and views from the rear of the section are extremely restricted. The section is severely raked, and is not suitable for those with mobility issues or scared of heights. The front rows have limited legroom. Safety rails and handrails create obstructions from many seats.
Where are the best seats for children at the Palace Theatre?
Children are most comfortable when they have clear views of the action. The best seats are in the centre of the Stalls and near to the front of the Dress Circle. The front row of the Dress Circle is quite low, and feels very close to the stage. Aisle seats are also recommended for easy access to the facilities in the theatre.
Where are the Restricted View seats?
Stalls: The first and last two seats in rows A-K are marked as restricted view, along with Box 2 and Box X. Dress Circle: Both box C and A are marked as restricted view, as well as the first and last two seats in rows A-C. Grand Circle: The first and last 4 seats in row A and the first and last 5 seats in row B are marked as restricted view, alongside all boxes on this level. The whole of row A is marked as restricted legroom. Balcony: All seats in the Balcony are high and the section is steeply raked. All seats have partial restriction from seeing all of the action on the stage.
What if I am hard of sight or hearing?
The Palace Theatre is fitted with an infra-red hearing loop system, with headsets available in the main foyer. Binoculars are also available for guests in the Grand Circle and Balcony, and should be replaced in the back of each seat at the end of the performance.
How many steps are there in the theatre?
The Palace Theatre is very tall and spread over four levels. There are 2 steps up to the main foyer, from which the Stalls is a further 3 steps down. The Dress Circle is 30 steps up, 56 steps to the Grand Circle and 77 to the Balcony.
Where are the toilets located?
There are male and female toilets located on each level of the Palace Theatre.
Access: There is an adapted toilet by the accessible entrance on Shaftesbury Avenue.
Where are the bars located?
There is a bar located on each level of the Palace Theatre, as well as a VIP room on the Dress Circle level known as the 'Royal Room'. There are cloakroom facilities for all guests on the Stalls and Dress Circle levels. There is no level access to any of the bars, but drinks can be brought to disabled audience members in the auditorium.
Are there wheelchair facilities in the theatre?
Wheelchair users can use the side entrance to the theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue which has level access from the street. There is space for one larger wheelchair at W27 in the Stalls and two further spaces for smaller wheelchairs at W26 and 27. Transfer seating is also available to any aisle seat in the Stalls, and up to four wheelchairs can be stored by the theatre. The management can dog sit up to four access dogs during each performance.