Just because the Duchess is one of the smallest and youngest of the West End theatres don’t be fooled into thinking it doesn’t have a history of big shows and big stars.
The Duchess opened its doors on the 25th of November 1929 with a production called Tunnel Trench, which was a play that featured Emlyn Williams in the cast.
The incredible interior has remained intact since 1934 and was designed by Mary Wyndham Lewis, the wife of J B Priestley.
Past and present productions at The Duchess Theatre
The current production at the Duchess is the 2015 Olivier Award Winner for Best New Comedy - The Play That Goes Wrong. Fans of Fawlty Towers and farce will enjoy this comedy of errors.
Other key productions include:
- Blithe Spirit – Noel Coward’s play completed a record run of 1,997 performances in 1942
- The Dirtiest Show in Town – Tom Eyen's production had an incredible run of just under 800 performances during the 1970’s
- Oh! Calcutta! – Ran from 1974 to 1980
What’s the best way to reach the theatre?
There are several transport links to the Duchess, so getting there should be relatively easy for most visitors.
The nearest tube station is Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line), approx. 300m away, or there’s Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines), Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly lines), or Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines), approx. 600m away.
Charing Cross Railway Station is just a 10-minute walk away.
RV1, X68, 1, 6, 11, 13, 23, 59, 68, 87, 91, 139, 168, 171, 172, 188, 243 all serve Aldwych, and 4, 9, 15, 26, 76, 176, 341 will all take you to the Strand.
Nearby Santander bike hire docking stations can be found a minute away on Wellington Street, or a few minutes’ walk on Tavistock Street or Kingsway Southbound.
Where are the best places to eat in Aldwych?
Nell of Old Drury, 29 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JS
A favourite haunt of theatregoers, this pub is as traditional as they come. Expect a great selection of beers and a mix of good-natured regulars and tourists in this well-behaved British boozer.
Mishkin’s, 25 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JS
Another great place for locals and tourists, this Jewish-style deli has a lot more than just bagels on offer. An extensive gin and cocktail menu will keep you there longer than you intended.
Christopher's, 18 Wellington Street, London,WC2E 7DD
Christopher’s is the perfect place to celebrate a landmark birthday. The impressive building is grade II listed and the interior is beautifully decorated. Expect American-style fine dining with dishes such as Maine lobster and prime steaks.
I want to make a weekend of it, where can I stay?
The Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych, London WC2B 4DD
The ideal location of The Waldorf Hilton makes this the number one choice for visitors to the Duchess. Located just next door to the theatre, this is also one of London’s most iconic and historic hotels.
One Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BZ
Located just off Covent Garden and London’s famous Theatre district. You’ll be hard pushed to find a more luxurious and better hotel than One Aldwych. This award-winning, independent five-star hotel features impressive rooms, a lobby bar and a screening room offering movies and meals.
The Fielding Hotel, 4 Broad Ct, London WC2B 5QZ
This quirky hotel might not have the biggest rooms but you’ll be glad you stayed here if you’re looking for a relaxing time. The staff are friendly and you’ll feel like you’re far away from the hustle and bustle of Central London.
What nearby sights and attractions should I also visit?
London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7BN
The London film museum is dedicated to the British film industry and has original props and costumes from a diverse selection of old and new films. They are currently holding the Bond in Motion exhibition.
London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB
Originally most exhibits were connected to the pre-TfL London Transport. Nowadays, this fascinating museum covers all aspects of transportation in the city.
St Paul's, Covent Garden, Bedford St, London WC2E 9ED
Known as the actors church, St Pauls has an incredible history and is well worth a visit if you’re looking for something quieter to do.