Shakespeare Full-Day Private Tour of London

William Shakespeare is considered the most important writer in England. Although he was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, for most of his life he called London home. Therefore, we will follow the footsteps of William Shakespeare in London. Although the town has changed considerably since the sixteenth century, we can still find the inspiration for his characters and plays here.

The City of London’s Guildhall, the Guildhall Library, the sites of the Blackfriars Playhouse, St Helen’s Bishopsgate Church, Southwark Cathedral, the original site of Globe Theatre and finally the new Globe theatre will be the main attractions for this tour. As the tour ends, you may want to extend your day by attending one of Shakespeare’s plays in this shrine.

From £1,092 per group

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Locations (8)

1. Guildhall

Guildhall, London
Guildhall, London

Our Shakespeare tour of London starts with The City of London’s Guildhall, the administrative centre of the city. Within its halls are the offices and meeting rooms of the Corporation of London and its Court of Common Council, which is the body responsible for governing the City and for defending its interests throughout the London metropolitan area.

In 1613 William Shakespeare purchased a property in Blackfriars, a location convenient for both the Globe and Blackfriars theatres. The deed which records the sale is one of only six documents in the world which bears his signature and is cared for by London Metropolitan Archives.

2. Guildhall Library

Guildhall Library, London
Guildhall Library, London

A copy of the First Folio, a collection of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, is carefully stored and protected in the City of London’s Guildhall Library. The Guildhall Library is a public reference library specialising in the history of London.

The printed books collection comprises over 200,000 titles dating from the 15th to the 21st centuries and includes books, pamphlets, periodicals, trade directories and poll books. This collection covers all aspects of life in London, past and present, its trade, people and buildings. In addition, the library holds extensive collections covering maritime history and business history.

3. Blackfriars

The Blackfriars Playhouse is the only property in London known to be owned by William Shakespeare. Actually there were two Blackfriars indoor playhouses, both housed at the old Blackfriars monastery site.

The first, smaller theatre, staged plays by boy actors in an upper room of the building from 1576 until 1584. In the Jacobean and Caroline periods the venue became the most important indoor theatre in London and was the premiere theatrical venue of the age.

From 1599 a new Blackfriars theatre staged plays by boy actors and from 1609 to 1642 it was the only indoor theatre of the King’s Men or the Shakespeare company.

4. Museum of the Order of Saint John

In the 1140s the Priory in Clerkenwell was set up as the English headquarters of the Order. When King Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church and established a new Anglican Church, the Order in England was dissolved and all its lands and wealth were seized by the Crown.

The Order was restored briefly by Henry’s Catholic daughter, Queen Mary, who granted it a Royal Charter. However, on the accession of her Protestant sister, Queen Elizabeth I, the Order in England was dissolved for good.

The buildings in Clerkenwell were put to different uses in the years that followed. During the sixteenth century, they were used as the offices of the Master of the Revels. Thirty of Shakespeare’s plays were licensed here in this place.

5. St Helen's Church, Bishopsgate

St Helen’s Bishopsgate is a large conservative evangelical Anglican church in London and is located in Great St Helen’s, off Bishopsgate. It is the largest surviving parish church in the City of London and it contains more monuments than any other church in Greater London except Westminster Abbey. We know that William Shakespeare visited this Church and this is where he worshipped.

6. Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral is probably one of the most important places on our journey today. William Shakespeare is the most famous resident of the parish of St Saviour’s which is now Southwark Cathedral.

His brother Edmund who also lived in the parish died in 1607 at the age of 27. A payment of 20 shillings was paid for his burial (possibly by William) at St Saviour’s “with a forenoon knell of the great bell”. His ledger stone is situated in the Cathedral Choir.

The life of William Shakespeare is celebrated each year at the Cathedral on his birthday and visitors travel from far and wide to see the Shakespeare memorial and stained-glass window.

7. Original Globe Theatre Site

Shakespeare's Old Globe
Shakespeare's Old Globe

Before we visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, we will visit the previous foundation of the theatre. This is the original site of the Globe Theatre in London that was built in 1599 on the Southbank of the River Thames in Southwark in close proximity to the Bear Garden.

8. Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

William Shakespeare is arguably the most famous British writer of all time. He wrote about life, love, death, revenge, grief, jealousy, murder, magic and mystery. His plays were the blockbuster entertainment of his day – some of his most famous are Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet.

You will understand how Shakespeare’s plays had a changing impact on the world by visiting the reconstructed theatre where there will be live commentary of the productions in Elizabethan times showing the power of performance, cultivating intellectual curiosity and making Shakespeare accessible for all.

The Shakespeare’s Globe can give you an opportunity to learn more about this unique building and its most famous playwright. Hidden under the Globe Theatre, the fascinating Exhibition delves into the life of Shakespeare, how London was at the time he lived there, and the theatre for which he wrote. You will be able to imagine the Globe as it would have been, nestled in the notorious entertainment district, surrounded by raucous taverns and bawdy houses.

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