You're in England. You're a millennial. You're going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II. It's going to be expensive and you're going to love it. Check out these easy tips and tricks to learn what you need to know before seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in London.
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Post updated August, 2019
I've always been a massive Harry Potter fan, so when the script for Harry Potter and Cursed Child came out in 2016, of course I read the entire thing in one day and immediately began to dream of seeing it performed live, in London.
Luckily for us, when we visited London last spring, we were able to see the production in the original theatre and I could not have enjoyed it more. That said, with two full, length plays, it's quite an undertaking! You'll definitely need to plan accordingly.
Here are a few helpful tips, to know before you see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:
Should I see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one day or two?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has two parts, each of which is an entire, full-length play, complete with a full-length intermission. No matter how many times I read this in advance, I always sort of believed it wouldn't actually be that long, or underestimated how much time that really takes, as I'm not in the habit of seeing two plays in one day (nor is anyone).
It's a marathon, Potterheads, not a sprint.
You can buy tickets for both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one day or you can split it up. If you divide it into two days, you'll have Part 1 on one day and Part II the next, or any other, day. You can see on the schedule how frequently the different Parts are shown.
We opted to see the entire thing in one day. We were in London for 10 days, and this was our third day in town. My only real regret about Cursed Child is that I did not split the show up into two separate nights. Each part is long and involved. We're regular theatre goers, but it really was very long. I will also admit that we could have been slightly jet lagged. But, for an entire day, we were essentially either in transit, in the show, taking breaks, or eating, from approximately 1 PM- after dark.
I would highly recommend seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part I one night and Part II the following night, if you have enough time in London to do so and it's not highly inconvenient to get to the Palace Theatre twice. Of course, if that is not possible, you will still have a lovely time!
How early should I arrive at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Your tickets tell you to get to the theatre an hour early for security, before each screening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The Palace Theatre is located in the classic theatre district in London's West End and is easy to get to from anywhere in the city. I'd use the Covent Garden or Leicester Square tube stop and walk from there.
But be advised, follow the instructions regarding arrival time at both Parts I and 2.
I repeat: DO THIS.
I generally take such recommendations with a grain of salt, knowing that they're managing a large number of people arriving at the same time, etc. However, be warned: There is a massive line for security and it moves quite slowly. They check everyone's bags (another tip - don't bring a bag unless you truly, truly, truly need one; it'll help all of us). There's a bar once you get inside, so you'll be fine, even if you're a bit early. There is a hold (as usual) at the beginning of the show.
If you are late, even because of the security line, you will miss the first scene.
Are drinks allowed in the Palace Theatre during Cursed Child?
It's England - of course there are!!! What a smashing country!
There are several bars inside the theatre (don't try to bring your own drinks, obviously). The drinks are expensive, but truly not outrageous. Naturally you can drink before, as well, obviously.
As always in London, be sure to place your "interval" drink order at the beginning of the show. In anticipation of the break, the bar staff will place your drinks on a shelf with a corresponding number for you to pick up during the intermission. That said, if you order in the ornate bar on the Orchestra Level of the Palace Theatre, your drinks are on a very obscurely placed shelf (actual shelf) to the back left of the bar (down a sort of odd hallway). Had someone not told me, I really wouldn't have noticed this was there
Champagne during Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
A friendly reminder, for my American friends, so that you can learn from my mistake!
Do not order champagne unless you're feeling like a big spender!
In London, Champagne is actual, high-end, super expensive, and delicious, French Champagne. For my now-curious British readers who are wondering what I'm talking about - when ordering drinks, American still use the term "champagne" colloquially to mean "fizz" and then the bar tender will list out the different options available - prosecco, cava, etc.
Is there an intermission during Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Yes, actually you'll have two intermissions during this experience! In fact, there is a full-length interval (intermission) in each Part of the play - lots of time for stepping out to the lobby for that quick drink!
How to eat lunch or dinner during Cursed Child
If, like us, you see all of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one day (wow - long), you'll have a significant dinner break between the two performances. There is more than enough time to stop by a pub for dinner.
Most importantly - walk as far away from the Palace Theatre as possible before stopping into a pub. You really do have time. The pubs right next to the theatre are absolutely slammed each night, but if you just walk a ways up Shaftesbury Avenue (or practically any direction into Covent Garden, etc.), you'll be fine. This is a highly populated/commercial area - you won't be wanting for choices. I would definitely select a pub in advance, though, so that you can walk directly there and not end up wandering around aimlessly and wasting time.
But, remember, you'll have to wait in line and go through the full security procedure again when you come back to start Part II - so do allow enough time for that.
And finally - enjoy!! Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is such a treasure and it's so wonderful to be immersed in the Wizarding World!
It's our childhood, on stage, for an entire day. You're going to love it.
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