Things to know
Duration:2 hrs 30 mins
Suitable for:Culture Vulture, Family, Friends, History Buffs
Private Tour:You and our own professional guide. 100% exclusive
Transport Mode:Walking tour: no transportation is included
No tickets are required
Gratuities are optional but not included
Food and drink are not included
Meeting points: The Cockpit Pub, 7 St Andrew’s Hill, Blackfriars, EC4V 5BY
What makes this tour special
Journey back in time to the 16th Century and wander through the streets of Shakespeare’s London. See where he lived and worked, as your guide brings to life the myths and legends about the most famous playwright of all time and the exciting hubbub that was Elizabethan London. On your private tour you will:
- Enjoy the personal attention of your private guide.
- See the places where Shakespeare lodged as a young playwright and actor.
- Learn about life in Elizabethan London, the merchants, the beggars, the nobles, the actors.
- Begin at the Cockpit Pub, which is the former site of the Old Priory Gatehouse, which Shakespeare bought for £140 in 1613. The only property he owned in London.
- Walk around the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral – where you’ll spy a plaque commemorating the now destroyed house where Shakespeare first boarded in London.
- Hear fascinating stories about his life, loves, failures and successes as you explore his former homes, theatres, pubs and other places of significance to ‘the Bard’.
- Learn about the many London settings that appear in his plays, including the Tower of London, where Richard III imprisoned and murdered his nephews, ‘the princes in the tower’; Blackfriars, where Katharine of Aragon was put on trial; and stop in at the Boar’s Head Inn, Eastcheap – where lived Falstaff in the Henry plays.
- Learn about life, business, religion, politics and pestilence in late 16th century London as you cross London Bridge, from the ostentatious Elizabethan fashions of the nobility to the poverty of the vagabonds, the hustle and bustle of the many European tradesmen and guilds, and the ever-lurking dread of the Plague.
- Visit beautiful Southwark Cathedral, where Shakespeare worshipped and where his brother Edmund is buried. You’ll see a bust of Shakespeare inside, as well as contemporary 16th-century paintings of London, the most reliable images of The Globe and its neighbouring theatres we have, giving us a tantalizing glimpse into the past.
- Enjoy a scenic stroll through leafy churchyards, ruins and hidden cobbled alleys that have relevance to Shakespeare’s life in London.
- Walk around the neighbourhood we know Shakespeare lived near the infamous Clink Prison.
- End at the iconic Globe Theatre, and hear about Shakespeare’s involvement as a business owner, writer and actor.
- Your guide will finish your tour nearby the 16th Century pub, where you can pop in for a well-deserved, refreshing drink!
Shakespeare is the world’s best-known playwright, but little is truly known about his life. This tour will weave together what we know of his childhood and family life in Stratford-on-Avon, where lived his wife, Anne and three children Suzanne, Hamnet, and Judith – and the places we know he lived, loved, worked, ate, drank, acted, wrote, schmoozed with the nobles, and got into various rowdy pub brawls, in London.
Little remains of Elizabethan London, thanks to the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the Blitz of World War 2. However, there are traces and glimpses all over London that offer the life of Shakespeare up to our imaginations – and it is down these memory lanes you’ll wander with your expert guide.
London in Shakespeare’s day was home to about 100,000 people – including a huge cross-section of society: royalty and nobility, merchants – both English and European, drawn by the booming economy – and skilled artisans, labourers, servants, actors, beggars, thieves, publicans, dressmakers and spies. It was an international melting pot, welcoming many merchants and refugees who had escaped religious persecution on the continent.
It was in this heady atmosphere that Shakespeare lived from about 1590 until just before his death in 1613. He wrote nearly 40 plays and 154 sonnets in London, where he performed at Blackfriars, the Rose, and of course the Globe theatres. Not only was he an actor and writer, but he became a businessman too as part-owner of a troupe of actors, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, and part-owner of the now-iconic Globe, where your tour of Shakespeare’s London will end, after exploring the lanes and streets and locations where he himself walked 500 years ago. Despite the many changes London has gone through, his spirit lives on in these streets... after all, he was not for an age, but for all time.