London’s Theatreland: From Shakespeare’s Bankside to Today’s West End

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!

The only pay-what-you-wish Theatreland Tour has arrived! This walk will start by taking you back in time to Shakespeare’s London, where, within the walls of the city, Money was King, God was great and Plague* was an ever present threat!

*(due to Health and Safety concerns we are no longer able to offer actual Time Travel)

You will journey across the Millennium Bridge, over golden waters of the Thames to the fourteen sided Globe Theatre – an exact replica of the original that you need to see to believe – before a stroll along the Southbank to soak up the history of the National Theatre, and walk in the footsteps of the world’s most famous thespians such as Laurence Olivier.

Delve into Covent Garden and be transported to a time when Christmas was cancelled and the theatres were closed…and then celebrate the King that brought them back! We’ll take you right up to the modern day with an overview of the people and plays that have helped shape London’s theatrical history.

Learn which shows broke box-office records, and which went bust, which current productions are getting rave reviews and which ones you should avoid…From big-name venues to theatres you may have never heard of, from cobbled streets to the grand avenues of the West End, this is a walk for both those who have loved the theatre for years, or for those just getting started!


Get answers to your questions like…

  • Why does Bono get a contract at the Lyceum?
  • Did Patrick Stewart REALLY see a ghost at the Theatre Royal?
  • Who was Grimaldi the Clown at the Royal Opera House?
  • Did the hippodrome really contain a hippo?
  • Why have Les been Miserables for so long?
  • What’s the best way to get tickets to a show?

All this and more on a tour that truly uncovers centuries of London’s theatrical secrets and stories!


Tour information

Reservations: Required. Click here to reserve. Walk-ups will be permitted, if space is available.

Where: Tour begins from underneath the south side of the Millennium Bridge, near the Tate Modern (map of bridge & meeting point).

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 2.5 hours.

When: Most Wednesdays and Sundays 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.