A Photo Walk through the historical theatres in London

The aim of this Photo Walk was to highlight the importance of the Theatre in the English culture. Thus we had a photo walk  to discover and enjoy the historical theatres in the well-known London’s West End area.

According to different sources (and mainly the theatres websites), the oldest theatres are as follow:

  • Theatre Royal Drury Lane, opened 07 may 1663
  • Sadler’s Wells, Roseberry Avenue; opened 03 June 1683
  • The Haymarket (Theatre Royal), Haymarket; opened 29 December 1720
  • The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; opened 07 December 1732
  • The Adelphi (originally Sans Pareil), Strand; opened 27 November 1806
  • The Old Vic (originally Royal Coburg), Waterloo Road; opened 11 may 1818
  • The Vaudeville, Strand; opened 16 April 1870
  • The Criterion, Piccadilly Circus; opened 21 March 1874
  • The Savoy, Strand; opened 18 October 1881
  • The Harold Pinter Theatre (originally The Comedy), Panton Street; opened 15 October 1881

Among the above mentioned 10 theatres, the following five were chosen for the photo-walk:

  • Meeting and starting point: The Old Vic theatre in Waterloo.
  • Second stop the London’s oldest Theatre, in the heart of the West End, The Theatre Royal;
  • Just in front of the previous theatre, the third stop is inside a fascinating one, home to the main performances for both theatre and ballet in London and Worldwide: The Royal Opera House;
  • Passing by the suggesting Covent Garden, the walk ends up to the Strand, to discuss the origins of The Adelphi theatre;
  • The last but not least site of this photo-walk,  The Vaudeville

The  Theatre scene holds great importance in English culture. All theatres have made their mark over time, which partly explains why people are still engaging with them by appreciating them for their cultural values and historic treasures. Each theatre began in almost the same way and time, but each one has a different history, different actors and unique performances. All these important characteristics have shaped the form and nature of the theatres, giving interesting perspective to each of them.

THE OLD VIC: The 6th oldest theatre in London. Before becoming The Old Vic, it was called The New Victoria Palace; a theatre which has seen such names as The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Ludovico Einaudi.


THEATRE ROYAL – DRURY LANE: Its first name was Theatre Royal, Brydges Street. It is the oldest functioning theatre in England opened in 1663. It has been closed and reopened several times.



THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE.: It has been destroyed by fire twice, the first time in 1808 and the second time in 1856, after the theatre reopened in 1847 as the Royal Italian Opera. In 1892 the theatre was renamed as The Royal Opera House.


THE ADELPHI: The 5th oldest theatre in London, has changed its name at least seven times, since first opened in 1806. It holds a record of the longest ‘West End’ run of an American musical: Chicago.


The 7th oldest theatre in London and the third theatre built on the Strand. Since 1892 it has had just five owners. This could well be one of the reasons of its success.



  • Susan Shojaee

    Susan Shojaeeis an enthusiastic 26-year-old who has a degree in Languages and a Master in International Tourism Management. Currently working in London, Susan is proud of her Italian heritage. She finds her passion in languages, travel, world cultures and loves meeting new people.

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