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Wilton's Music Hall

Theatre, Performing arts space Wapping
5 out of 5 stars
(38user reviews)
 (© James Perry)
© James Perry
 (courtesy Wilton's Music Hall)
courtesy Wilton's Music Hall
 (© Rob Greig)
© Rob Greig
 (© Mike Twigg)
© Mike Twigg

Time Out says

This freshly refurbished historic theatre is more gorgeous than ever

Walking down Graces Alley towards Wilton's Music Hall is a bit like stepping into another world – or rather back in time to the mid-19th century, when John Wilton opened his concert hall behind the Mahogany Bar pub. Thanks in part to the Methodist Church and John Betjeman, this lovely old building has survived the intervening century and a half more or less intact.

The exterior – cobbled together from five Victorian house fronts – is chicly shabby, with peeling paint in mismatched colours, and long-extinguished gas lamps hanging along the walls beside flower baskets (brimming in the summer). And a sensitive refurb in 2015 made the wise decision to keep the same artistically crumbling vibes going inside: the theatre's church-like auditorium now features modern lighting, heating and ventilation, but most of the period features are still in place, albeit faded: the 'barley sugar' cast iron pillars, the sloping wooden floor, the carved balcony and the classical arches around the upper walls. And the attractively crumbling plasterwork, gilt, and exposed brickwork throughout the building make it one of London's most beautiful theatres.

Wilton's acknowledges its history as a music hall with a line-up that often features opera, musicals, and concerts. There are also touring dates of big-name theatre shows, plus one-off cabaret shows that set the piano jangling in Wilton's bohemian downstairs bar. One of the world's oldest surviving music halls and an architectural gem, it remains a choice hang-out for the post-work crowd, who enjoy its wine list and cocktail menu both in its plethora of inside nooks, split across three rooms, and in the lamplit Grace's Alley outside.



Address: 1-4 Graces Alley
off Ensign St
E1 8JB
Transport: Tube: Tower Hill/Aldgate East
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  • Shakespeare Until Saturday November 23 2019
  • Fringe Friday November 29 2019 - Saturday January 4 2020

Users say (38)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:36
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Wilton Music Hall is one of the most beautiful theatres I have ever seen in London.

Why? Because it's captured and preserved the Victorian style better than anywhere else. Stepping through the threshold felt more like stepping back in time.

It's not shiny or modern, neither grand or vast. The walls are worn and the paint is peeling, and gas lantern long extinguished. But there is charm there that not many theatres in London can boast. It's shabby chic. Even the signage is victorian-esque. 

More than just a theatre, there is a bar with a decent selection of craft beers on tap and an upstairs dining area. You're welcome to catch-up with friends, drink and be merry at Wilton even if you don't have a ticket to a show.

Honestly, one of London's great hidden architectural gems. It's easy to see why it's the choice of venue for many after-work drinks and events.


What a beautiful venue! It feels out of place amongst the housing estates of Shadwell but what a delight it is to step inside. I felt like I had gone back in time to the day it was built, it has recently been renovated but all the period features are still there. The two bars are charming and the hall itself it stunning. They have an eclectic mix of shows on their bill, so there is plenty for everyone, but I say just find an excuse to come here for a drink, you wont be disappointed. 


This music hall truly is one of a kind in London.

Originally a pub built in the 1740s, it changed owners and became an eclectic place with a functioning music hall at the back. Today, this Grade II listed building is the oldest surviving music hall in the world and retains its charm and unique personality.

Several rooms, accessible through a maze of corridors, offer loads of place to sit down, have a drink and spend some time with friends. Some rooms are quite small and provide a more intimate setting. Downstairs is the beautiful Mahogany bar. In a half-historical, half-hipster décor, you can enjoy good pub food for a reasonable price.

At the back is the impressive hall. It is surprisingly beautifully decorated and gives you a weird sense of grandeur. You can choose to join the history tour to visit the interior at your own pace and get some interesting details about the place, or book a show. They have all sorts of acts, from cabaret to dance and theatre – your pick.


I quite literally stumbled on Wilton's Music Hall during the year that I lived in Shadwell and it has to be the loveliest little discovery I ever made there. It recently underwent quite a lot of refurbishment and now that it's all over you can search for a perch round all the old nooks, crannies and passageways of this historic and truly hidden gem.

The Mahogany bar is a really impressive cocktail-stop before any East London date and the events calendar for the beautiful old hall is eclectic and thoughtful - they hold everything from swing dance workshops to Shakespeare adaptations so keep an eye on it!


I adore Wilton's - I only wish it was a little easier to get to! I've seen two unexpectedly brilliant productions here - a ballet version of Dracula which we watched on Halloween, and the recent 'The Depraved Appetite of Terrare the Freak'- a brilliant opera and puppetry mash up. Tickets are very reasonably priced and the upstairs balcony offers a clear view of the whole stage. They serve a decent cocktail in the upstairs bar too...


One of these hidden gems which I love to go to. It's close to a tube station and one of those places you can forget your in London. Everything is so antiquated and its like a different world when you step in. I havent seen any of the productions however I have had the honour of attending a wedding there. The setting was perfect. Its a great place to capture love, laughs and great times. The downstairs bar is perfect for a quiet drink after work. Why would you go to a pub when you have this lovely bar :) 

As London's oldest surviving music hall, Wilton's really is a hidden treasure. From regular events including concerts and vintage fairs to the wonderful bars inside, this is a truly unique venue. Well worth a visit. 


One of the oldest music halls in the world! It has so much character and is well worth the trek to get here.  The adjoining pub hosts jazz events that are great in the summer evenings, but there are also a range of shows all year round.

Find an excuse to go, step back in time and enjoy some great music.  


This is such a delightful place. This music hall has been lovingly restored and made into a glorious place to visit. The walk up to the hall is like stepping into Mary Poppins land or something. In the back streets of industrial East London,sits a beautiful time warp of a building.

Putting on a range of events,find any excuse to visit Wilton's Music Hall,it's so pretty! 


Wilton’s is a truly magnificent, atmospheric venue that claims to be the oldest surviving music hall in the world. A range of really eclectic events take place there - I went to a reading of Angela Carter's poetry, for example. 

It is a real hidden gem, tucked away down an alley - you'd never know to find it unless you went looking for it. The exposed brickwork, inside and out, is stunning, lending the building a rustic feel.


There's something in the atmosphere here.  Hardly a breathtaking venue - but the past permeates the building and creates a feeling of bonding with your fellow audience members.  People come because they want to see the building as well as the performances.  Always worth checking their website for the enormous variety of shows they put on - and they are usually great value.  Only downside is the limited eating/drinking space, particularly when you can't use the outside space but looking forward to my next visit.

Went there to see their first Pantomime this Christmas and I fell in love with this venue and also with the bar.

Really good atmosphere, decoration and the staff is very very friendly.

It is now on my favorites list. :) 


Write a review...Wilton's is so so amazing. Easy to find for the geographically challenged (it's got it's own blue pointer sign) tucked down a little alley. It's unassuming facade - recently had a facelift this place, and huge wooden door is the gateway to a truly stunning venue.

It's visually impressive, to the left is a large bar area, plenty of exposed wooden beams, random assorted chairs, and the name - in typical music hall fashion (constructed of lightbulbs) really does light up the wall. Timeless, heavy patterned curtains section off different seating areas of the cocktail bar upstairs  It's a wonderful place to visit, historical and well maintained. It's a cracking little place - unfortunately not seen a play here yet but I can imagine it's a fabulous place to watch liver performance in such gorgeous surroundings. Well worth it.

I've seen a fair few gig venues in my time, but nothing is as special as Wilton's. Seemingly hidden down a side alley in East London, it doesn't look like much from the outside (especially as it's been undergoing construction and is hidden under scaffolding!), but hidden away inside is the most charming old theatre, adorned with strings of fairy lights. With bare walls and an intricately carved balcony, the acoustics are amazing and the atmosphere is electric. If you’re looking for a really special night out, make Wilton’s your first stop.


Really stunning and unique venue. Great acoustics for a concert - the lovely wraparound balcony is probably the optimal viewing spot. Make sure you leave time before/after concert to visit the bar. They do weekly guided tours too, though I have not yet been. 


One of my favourite London venues, Wilton’s has no equal in the capital (or arguably pretty much anywhere else). It is a veritable London treasure, inconspicuously situated down a pedestrian East London alleyway. The place just drips with character. See a show; do the History Tour; hang out in the just reopened (a little earlier than planned) and now more spacious Mahogany Bar, minus central pillar; enjoy one of the drinks combinations in the upstairs Cocktail Bar ... It looks and feels great post-renovation and has retained its semi-dilapidated historic charm. The official completion date of the second and final phase of the £3.6 million Capital Project is next month. Well done to the team involved. A true London success story. Go visit. You'll love it.

I went to Wilton's last night as a guest of Time Out who staged a Silent Disco in association with Sony Xperia. Having wound my way thorough the backstreets around Tower Bridge and The Royal Mint, Wilton's was a real discovery. It feels like the whole of London's history took place here and the building is showing the signs of age and action - but in a very good way. Gong from the bar into the main space decked out for the entertainment was simply AWESOME. Picture enclosed. The old and new met in one gloriously fun combination. I wonder what the Victorians would have made of it ? I know my verdict - Loved it ! 

moderatorStaff Writer

Wilton's is a spectacular place to enjoy a drink – the shabbiness of the building gives the place so much charm, and you'll find yourself unable to stop marvelling at the crumbling details all around. It's rarely overcrowded and the selection of drinks is excellent. Definitely worth making a special trip to this area of London to enjoy.

We went on the WIltons Music Hall tour yesterday to learn more about the building and it's history. Fascinating! We really enjoyed our visit - the half derelict look really adds to it's character. We also made a video of our visit,

What an amazing place, a living museum in every way! One of the most exciting an vesatile entertainment venues I have ever visited. I often see Wiltons featuring in many films & tv shows - many millions of people have actually seen it without realising that this is no film set, but a real life venue. If in London you MUST visit this place, you will not be disappointed.

The most inspiring, soul energising, sensuous place that keeps you coming back for more because you can't quite get enough on one visit. I want to get married here so that I can share this mesmerising venue with everybody love. You can't describe it with words. It is justified only with a visit, it is true love at first sight, and should be shared with those who will appreciate it for it's full worth. Wiltons you are amazing! Keep Wiltons doing what it is great at. Bringing people together, to enjoy the moments that count, in a place that keeps every second sacred. Thank you Wiltons! Xx

This beautiful, special venue is one of the reasons I love London so much. The oldest surviving music hall, worthy of any backing and funding, literally oozes charm, history and atmosphere.

Amazing one off venue that is a hidden gem in London. History in every brick. Should be visited at least once if not many times :-))

An absolutely amazing place. So full of history that the walls practically ooze with character. If you go on a Monday you can have a great guided tour and learn even more about it. Go along and support Wilton's fund raising campaign by seeing a show, buying a drink or even wearing a t-shirt ! Because it's worth it !!!

This is a brilliant venue with great food and some amazing eclectic shows. Unfortunately funding is not forthcoming to save this historic building but if every Londoner contributed £1 Wilton's would be saved:)

A wonderful place - brilliant eclectic shows and a great bar. Go on a Monday and book in for a fantastic tour.

One of my favourite places, Wilton's is a magical building that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time. Great entertainment, great atmosphere, friendly staff and the best bar in town!

A true hidden gem of London! With its historie it is the perfect setting for that lunch meeting, the afterwork pint or just to go and experience one of their great shows in the great hall. The tour is a true experience for historie loving geeks!

There can't be many people left in London who haven't discovered the lovely Wilton's, the world's oldest music-hall and probably the most beautiful. You can see all sorts of amazing things at Wilton's, from grand opera to ping-pong - if you haven't been there yet, what are you waiting for? It's not difficult to get to, and it's not scary, whatever your auntie might think.

Absolutely my favourite place in London! Its an amazingly quirky and unique venue with a great bar, friendly staff and wonderfully off the wall events and shows. I would say everyone should visit but then I might not get my usual sofa in the bar

an absolutely magical venue hidden away in the heart of the east end. An absolute must visit, with a big variety of quirky events including everything from ping pong tournaments to cabaret to classical concerts to theatre. Definitely check it out!

One of the most magical hidden places in London. A MUST see. They hold fabulous events year round.

I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Wilton's Mahogany Bar on a recent trip to London from the U.S. The bar is on the first floor of the building and is a nice spot for live music on nights when Wilton's is not offering a performance in its theater space. The bartenders were friendly and attentive, the beer was cold and the entertainment lively. You can also take advantage of some tables and benches set up outside outside on Graces Alley.

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