Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Perhaps the most historic of London's theatres, the Theatre Royal dates back to the early 17th century. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1670 a new theatre was built on this site, to a design by Sir Christopher Wren.
Wren's first building was burned to the ground in 1672, so he designed a second, more elaborate theatre on the same site. That theatre opened in 1674, with a performance attended by Charles II.

Wren's theatre was demolished in 1791 to make way for a new building, designed by Henry Holland. Holland's theatre burned down in 1809, so a fourth theatre was built, this time designed by Benjamin Watts. It is Watts's building that we can see today. With a capacity of 2205 it is still one of the largest theatres in London's West End.

Though the theatre name suggests it is located on Drury Lane, it only backs onto that street; the front entrance is actually on Catherine Street.

Across Catherine Street from the theatre entrance is the Nell of Old Drury pub. An underground tunnel links the pub and the theatre, and rumour has it that the tunnel was used by Charles II to secretly visit his mistress, Nell Gwynn.