The station was opened on 30 May 1870 by the DR (now the District line) when the railway extended its line from Westminster to Blackfriars. The construction of the new section of the DR was planned in conjunction with the building of the Victoria Embankment and was achieved by the cut and cover method of roofing over a trench. Due to its proximity to the South Eastern Railway's Charing Cross station, the station was originally called Charing Cross. On 6 April 1914, the CCE&HR (now a part of the Northern line) opened a one stop extension south from its terminus at Charing Cross. The extension was constructed to facilitate a better interchange between the BS&WR and CCE&HR. Both lines were owned by the UERL which operated two separate and unconnected stations at the northern end of main line station - Trafalgar Square on the BS&WR and Charing Cross on the CCE&HR (both now part of a combined Charing Cross station).
The station has two entrances, one on Victoria Embankment and the other on Villiers Street. The station is adjacent to Victoria Embankment Gardens and is close to Charing Cross station, Embankment Pier, Hungerford Bridge, Cleopatra's Needle, the Royal Air Force Memorial, the Savoy Chapel and Savoy Hotel and the Playhouse and New Players Theatres. The station is in two parts: sub-surface platforms opened in 1870 by the District Railway (DR) as part of the company's extension of the Inner Circle eastwards from Westminster to Blackfriars and deep-level platforms opened in 1906 by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR) and 1914 by the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR).