Where to See Live Magic: Magic Shows in London and around Britain

Magic is enjoying a resurgence in popularity that looks set to rise quite a bit higher before it plateaus out. Television has helped with this but there is nothing like experiencing magic live and more and more people are feeling inspired to seek out a magic show. Luckily, this means more and more magicians are putting on performances of one sort of another: the laws of demand and supply are working in magic’s favour these days!

In London and around Britain, there are a few venues where magic can be experienced on a regular basis. In addition, you’ll find magicians putting on shows for a short run in one place and/or touring.

A good way to find out what’s on at any given time is to consult MagicWeek, an excellent website that all British magicians know about and feed into and which is updated every Saturday.

Magic Shows in London

The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle has fairly frequent events and shows that are open to the public. Magic Headquarters is two minutes’ walk from Euston Station and thus easily accessible for those of us who live in the North West (although obviously even easier if you live nearer). You can have a virtual look round the rooms, museum and theatre on this site: The Magic Circle venue.

Three different events run regularly at The Magic Circle:

Close-up magic at The Magic CircleMeet the Magic Circle £34
Most Tuesdays – a full evening including a museum tour, close-up magicians, a short lecture on the history of magic, refreshments and a three-act stage show

The Magic Circle Experience £12
Monday mornings as per demand – a shorter experience including a museum tour, some close-up magic and a short stage act

Close-Up @ The Magic Circle £15
Friday evenings once a month – This is a more intimate event, showcasing just close-up magic, with four performers giving a longer set.

In addition, there are often one-off shows that are open to the public. For details of all these events, see The Magic Circle public events.

Simon Drake’s House of Magic

The Secret Cabaret star has created his own House of Magic in a secret location just south of the river in London, which you can visit when it’s open to the public. Tickets include a tour, a buffet and a phenomenal show.

This is an exclusive and extraordinary night out for adults (no children are allowed) and I highly recommend it. If you’re interested, you can read the review I wrote after visiting in 2009.

To find out more and to book tickets, see the House of Magic website.

Richard Leigh’s Magic Shows

Richard Leigh at The Magic CavernRichard Leigh creates more magic per square inch than I would have believed possible. He presents several magic shows around London every week and has written and constructed several others, which are presented by other magicians.

I’ve seen most of the shows – some of them many times – and recommend them all. The Magic Cavern has been running for more than 10 years and is a fabulous hour and ten minutes’ entertainment for all the family.

You can read my archived reviews of The Magic Cavern, The Sideshow of Wonders and Late Night Magic here and get some of the inside story in my interview with Richard Leigh.

To explore what’s on offer and to book tickets, see False Impressions.

Conjuring at the Court

On the last Thursday of every month, a magic show with different performers takes place at the Drayton Court Hotel in West Ealing. It’s organised by two members of The Magic Circle and has an audience of enthusiastic regulars, which gives an indication of its quality. New people are welcome to attend as well, of course, and I’m keen to do so as soon as I can arrange to be in London at the right time.

Find out more and buy tickets through the Conjuring at the Court website.

The Magic, Mind-Reading & Mayhem Show

Every three months (and more often over Christmas and Easter), Magic Circle members Roberto Forzoni and Simon Rosselli organise a magic show at The Ivy House in south-east London. Close-up magic in the bar from 7pm, then the show normally runs from 8 to 10pm, with a twenty-minute interval. Three stage acts from some of the top performers in the UK.

Find out about upcoming shows and book tickets through the Magic, Mind-Reading and Mayhem website.

The Gentleman Cheater Magic Show

On the last Friday of every month at 7.30pm, World FISM and French Magic Champion Christian Gambin performs a close-up magic show at The Courthouse Hotel on Great Marlborough Street, near Oxford Circus tube station.

Play cards with the magician – he never loses. If you’re wondering why, there’s a clue in the title!

Find out more and book tickets through Magic Entertainment London.

The Magic Hour

Tony MiddletonFor some elegant parlour magic as it was performed in Victorian times, head to the Grand Royale near Hyde Park on a Thursday or Friday evening. Tony Middleton, aka Sonic, presents a mixture of close-up and cabaret magic to a maximum of 45 people (aged 10 and over) on each occasion, evoking the Golden Age of Magic in a suitably opulent setting.

Read more and book tickets through the Magic Hour Show website.

West End Magic

A group of magicians, including the polished and amazing Oliver Tabor, put on shows in London and elsewhere on a regular basis. They also run magic workshops for children. Particularly if you live in or around London, it’s well worth keeping an eye on the West End Magic website to see what’s on.

Magic Shows around Great Britain

The Close-Up Show in Bromley, Sevenoaks, Epsom and Brentwood

Chris Wood (Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star) hosts regular evenings of close-up magic, which feature three different close-up magicians performing to a limited-size audience. I have only recently found out about this and it’s an annoyingly long way away but I intend to experience it as soon as possible. Read more and buy tickets: The Close-Up Show

Smoke & Mirrors in Bristol

I haven’t managed to get to this yet but it sounds great: a pub with live magic every weekend.
Check it out and see what’s on: Smoke & Mirrors Bar

High Jinx magic and illusion showBlackpool

Blackpool has long been associated with magic and there are practically always shows to see there. High Jinx (Michael Jordan and Tamsyn Sear, an extremely accomplished duo) has become a popular fixture, providing top-quality magic, circus feats and all-round entertainment.

I saw the High Jinx show in 2012, 13 and 14 and greatly enjoyed it on each occasion (see my review). 5-star magic in relaxed surroundings and at a bargain price, this is the joy of Blackpool!

High Jinx can be found at Viva Blackpool.

Other magic shows are on at the Pleasure Beach: Blackpool Pleasure Beach Shows

Magic Festivals and Magic at Festival Fringes

Edinburgh – Loads of great stuff happening in Edinburgh over the summer. Not only do lots of magicians perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every August, but there’s now a dedicated Magic Festival at the end of June/beginning of July.

South Tyneside – In March every year, the marvellous South Tyneside Council facilitates an International Magic Festival in South Shields, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Buxton – There’s usually quite a lot of magic at the Buxton Festival Fringe. This is getting better organised and more sophisticated every year.

Magicians on Tour

Derren Brown performs live with impressive frequency. You can find his tour dates here.

Morgan & West have a busy schedule of public performances. You can find out when they’re going to be near you by checking the programme of live dates on their website. If you’re not familiar with them, read my review.

Magicians’ Conventions

Blackpool – Towards the end of February every year, Blackpool Magicians’ Club hosts the biggest magic convention in the world, with more than 3000 magicians attending from all the points of the compass.

International Brotherhood of Magicians – This is, as the name implies, a global organisation and it’s divided into ‘rings’. The British Ring has an annual convention in September.

South Tyneside – As mentioned above, South Tyneside Council sponsors a magic festival every year. This culminates in a magicians’ convention.

International Magic – In London, every November since 1972, the International Magic shop has been hosting a magicians’ convention and a festival of magic. As with all conventions, the gala show is open to the public.