London’s Theatreland: From the Globe to Covent Garden
London’s Theatreland Walking Tour: From the Globe to Covent Garden
Last year nearly 15 million tickets were sold for over 18,000 performances in London’s West End. Join us to explore the past, the present and the future of Theatreland, one of London’s foremost tourist attractions and, arguably, the most vibrant, exciting performing arts scene in the world. New Yorkers might disagree, but it’s always an interesting discussion!
This walk will take you back in time to the first theatre in London – imaginatively called The Theatre – built in 1576, moving to the famous Globe on the South Bank of the River Thames where many of Shakespeare’s plays received their first performances. Travel with us through the turbulent history of theatre throughout the centuries – hear about the years when Britain was a republic ruled by the Puritans and all theatre was banned; how women first appeared on stage during the Restoration; how London’s theatres developed to their current world beating level.
We’ll see some of the great playhouses dating back several centuries such as the Lyceum, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Coming up to date, we’ll visit the concrete 1970s National Theatre; unloved on the outside, it’s warm and welcoming on the inside and we will visit the High Level Walkway, where you can look down on the backstage production workshops for set construction, scenic painting and prop making.
We’ll encounter theatres housing some of the most iconic shows in the world including The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and the world’s longest running play Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap which has been performed over 26,000 times since 1952. Hear some of the juicy backstage gossip about London’s biggest shows!
And we’re not just covering the history of Theatreland. Whether you’re looking for the best seats in the house or the hard-to-find last minute bargains our guide Owen will bring his passion and insider knowledge to help you get the right ticket for the right show.
If you’re interested in London, if you’re interested in history, if you want to see a great show, then this is the walk for you!
What we include on the London’s Theatreland Walk:
- The Elizabethan playhouses: The Theatre, The Rose and The Globe
- The National Theatre, including the High Level Walkway
- The great traditional theatres: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, The Lyceum Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket
- Great iconic shows: Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera
- From the smallest studio theatres (such as the Donmar where Nicole Kidman appeared!) to the best international lyric theatre in Europe – the Royal Opera House
- Stories behind the great names of London Theatre including Oscar Wilde, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Advice and recommendations on shows to see and the best way to get the tickets you want
Reservations: Required. Click here to reserve. Walk-ups will be permitted, if space is available.
Where: The tour departs from St. Paul’s Underground Station – Leave by EXIT 2. (map)
HOW WILL I RECOGNISE MY GUIDE?: Meet your guide outside Cafe Nero to the left of EXIT 2. You will receive a photograph of your guide the evening before your tour.
Duration: Approximately 2 hours.
When: View our Calendar.
Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone’s budget.