Now booking: hot tickets for a London day-trip or short break this summer

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Hot tickets for a London day trip: The Secret Cinema

Must-see shows, exhibitions and experiences in the capital over the next three months

Get your tickets for a day trip or weekend in London – we've gathered the best ideas for things to do, theatre shows and biggest events.

1. The King and I

London Palladium, until 29 September

The hot ticket of the summer in London, as Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic musical comes back to the West End for the first time since 2002. The true story of a 19th century British nanny going to work for the King of Siam is in town, producers insist, for a strictly limited run. The cast will be led by Kelli O’Neill as Anna and Ken Watanabe as The King, who played the lead roles in the show’s Broadway run.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: The King and I

© Paul Kolnik

2. Witness for the Prosecution

County Hall, South Bank, SE1, currently booking until March 2019

If you love Agatha Christie – and who doesn’t? – this acclaimed, brilliantly staged revival will be a mouthwatering prospect. It’s being staged in the palatial old council chamber at County Hall, with the audience sat on padded benches as the jury. They get to weigh up the evidence in the case of Leonard Vole, accused of murdering a rich widow, as the courtroom action goes on around them.

“Christie’s ingenious courtroom drama fits perfectly in County Hall”, said the Guardian, while Time Out called it “deliciously enjoyable”.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution

© Helen Maybanks

3. London Nights

Photography exhibition at the Museum of London, until 11 November

Nocturnal London is revealed with 200 photographs ranging from the late 19th century to the present day, some never seen before. The exhibition captures all aspects of the night-time capital through time, from Blitz blackouts to modern-day shift-workers and magical neon-lit cityscapes.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: Piccadilly at night

© Bob Collin

4. Secret Cinema: William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet

Secret outdoor location, 8-19 August

The biggest production yet from the dons of immersive cinema, as they bring to life in 3D this 1996 Claire Danes/Leonardo di Caprio film, set in the world of organised crime in modern Los Angeles. Join an audience of 5000 each night for a full-on, head-turning, immersive, experience, with actors, live music and surprises.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: The Secret Cinema

© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

5. Courtauld Impressionists: from Manet to Cézanne

National Gallery, 17 September to 20 January 2019

The story of Impressionism and post-Impressionism told through a selection of more than 40 masterpieces by artists including Cézanne, Renoir, Manet and Seurat. This is the first time since 1948 that the major Impressionist works of the Courtauld Gallery have been shown at the National Gallery.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: Courtauld Impressionists

Edouard Manet, Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil, 1874. On long-term loan to The Courtauld Gallery from a private collection. © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

6. Huge bouncy castle obstacle course for adults

The Monster, Alexandra Palace, 24-27 August

The world’s biggest bouncy castle comes to north London: a 300-metre-long inflatable obstacle course, complete with an 18 metre Megaslide and a Tunnel of Love.  There are morning sessions for kids over 11, but mainly this is for adults. At £20 a go, it’s not cheap – but it is unique and there’s a roster of food and drink pop-ups to enjoy once you’ve completed your circuit.

7. See Napoleon’s cloak at Buckingham Palace

21 July to 30 September, adult tickets £24.

Since The Queen first opened her primary residence (and garden) to the public back in 1993, it has become one of the must-see London sights; you only have ten weeks in a year to glimpse inside the royals’ gilded world.

If you have never been, this is a good year to go: to celebrate his 70th birthday the Prince of Wales has selected over 100 works of art for a special exhibition in the State Rooms, which will be included in the tour. Among the items on display will be Napoleon’s cloak, originally presented to George IV by one of Wellington’s Field marshals, as well as works produced by three of the arts charities set up by Prince Charles himself.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: Buckingham Palace

8. Open Air Cinema

July to September

See films including Casablanca, The Greatest Showman and, guilty pleasure Spice World with Luna Cinema’s programme at iconic venues across the capital, including the RAF Museum in Hendon, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Battersea Park, Holland Park and Hampton Court Palace.

Meanwhile, at Somerset House’s open-air film festival, Summer Screen (9-22 August), there’s a very diverse roster of films including Sleeping Beauty, Blue Velvet and Selma showing in the beautiful 18th century courtyard.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: Luna Cinema open air

© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

9. Little Shop of Horrors in the open air

Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park, 3 August to 15 September

The kitschsy 60s musical about a man-eating plant comes to this magical setting: Regents Park has Britain’s first professional permanent open-air theatre. The cast includes former Busted singer Matt Willis.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: Little Shop of Horrors

10. Now booking: James Graham’s Sketching

Wilton’s Music Hall, 26 September to 27 October

Short scenes of London life by a variety of writers, all incorporated into a bigger story by Olivier Award-winning writer James Graham. Staged in the faded 19th century grandeur of Wilton’s, London’s oldest surviving music hall, Sketching is inspired by Charles Dickens’ Sketches by Boz, bursting with the random tales and adventures that make up the rich tapestry of city life.

Hot tickets for a London day trip: James Graham's Sketching

Don’t forget to check out Boundless Tickets for the best deals before you book. You can save up to 60% plus a further 10% as a Boundless member across a whole host of theatre tickets, attractions, exhibitions and tours.

And more great ways to save on summer days out, read our Cheap ideas to entertain kids and the Best things for kids to do on a rainy day. If you're lucky enough to have a day out without kids, don't miss our ideas for the Best days out for grown-ups.

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