West End and South Bank Theatre Walking Tour in London
5.0
25 Ratings
Greater London
Embark on a captivating walking tour of London's West End and South Bank, delving into 400 years of theatrical history. Explore iconic theatres, uncovering the biggest names, greatest successes, and infamous disasters. Don't miss this immersive journey through the world's theatre capital!
Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Cancellation: 1 day learn more
Highlights
  • London Coliseum - Learn the history of the Coliseum. The largest theatre in the West End!
  • Duke of York’s Theatre - Discover the many stars who made their debuts on this West End stage. Including Peter Pan!
  • Noel Coward Theatre - Hear of the great productions of the past. The only theatre where two significant theatre giants ever shared a stage.
  • Wyndham’s Theatre - Learn of the history of this beautiful theatre. See the bust of Shakespeare on the front - the only one in the West End!
  • Leicester Square - Discount ticket booth - how to get great West End seats at low prices! Old music hall spots - historic theatres such as The Alhambra & The Empire.
  • Haymarket Theatre Royal - A theatre favoured by both Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench. There’s also rumour of a haunting…
  • His Majesty’s Theatre London - The second oldest active theatre site in London. Also home to the second-longest running musical - The Phantom of the Opera!
  • Harold Pinter Theatre - Opening in 1881, the Harold Pinter Theatre is one of the oldest playhouses in the West End. Hear of the stars that have caused a great sensation here - including Marilyn Monroe!
  • Prince of Wales Theatre - Now home to The Book of Mormon, the Prince of Wales has had a rich history of comedy & musical spectacles. Famous names who’ve appeared here include The Beatles, Peter Sellers and Barbara Streisand!
  • Shaftesbury Avenue - The road with more theatres than any other! Hear about the history of Shaftesbury Avenue and theatres including The Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud, Sondheim & The Palace.
  • Lyric Theatre - The oldest surviving theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue! Also the place where a British comedy icon tragically died…
  • Apollo Theatre - The first Edwardian Theatre, opening in 1901. Also once home to a truly legendary production of our time!
  • Gielgud Theatre - Now named after the great Sir John, the Gielgud has seen a few famous faces give their West End debuts. Including Harry Potter himself!
  • Sondheim Theatre - Learn the history of Les Miserables, the world’s longest-running musical. Also - a few famous faces who debuted here in the 80s!
  • Palace Theatre - Once a famous music hall venue, now home to Harry Potter & the Cursed Child. Discover the origin of the phrase ‘bring the house down’.
  • Ambassadors Theatre - Although unremarkable on the outside, the Ambassadors has had a rich theatre history. Legendary theatre stars who debuted here include Vivien Leigh & Paul Robeson.
  • St. Martins Theatre - Home of The Mousetrap - the world’s longest-running play! Discover the history of this unlikely theatrical hit.
  • The Arts Theatre - The West End’s smallest theatre. Also once home to the most controversial play of all time!
  • Covent Garden - See the legendary Covent Garden Market! Also, London’s official Actors Church, street theatre spots and two of the oldest theatre sites in London.
  • Royal Opera House - One of the oldest theatre spots in London - est 1732. Now home to the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet.
  • Fortune Theatre - Home to The Woman in Black - the longest-running horror play ever. Hear of the spooky stories that have occurred during the play’s 30+ year history…
  • Theatre Royal Drury Lane - The oldest active theatre spot in the West End. Discover the legends of the past who made their names on its legendary stage.
  • Lyceum Theatre - Now home to The Lion King, going since 1999 and still a hot ticket! Hear of the leading actors of the Victorian era who once dominated the Lyceum’s stage - Sir Henry Irving & Dame Ellen Terry - and also the genesis of a famous gothic horror creation.
  • National Theatre - Hear about the history of our National Theatre. Also, the founder of the National, Laurence Olivier, stated the opposite.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre - Discover the history of Bankside - where Shakespeare made his name. See the famous reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe and a final top-secret theatre location!
What's Included
  • Access to historic programmes
  • Viewing of theatre artefacts
Additional Information

Embark on a journey spanning four centuries of theatrical history in the world’s theatre hub! Explore the West End and the South Bank, getting acquainted with the biggest stars, biggest hits, and unforgettable missteps.

The theatres featured in this tour are: The Coliseum, Duke of York’s, Noel Coward, Wyndham’s, Her Majesty’s, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Harold Pinter, Prince of Wales, Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud, Sondheim, Palace, Ambassadors, St Martins, The Arts, ROH, Fortune, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Lyceum, The National, Shakespeare’s Globe…plus a mysterious final stop kept under wraps!

Location
Oscar Wilde Statue
Adelaide Street
Across the street from Charing Cross Station.
Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

Customer Ratings
5.0
(25 Ratings)
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Lori_m
Jan 18, 2024
We enjoyed this walking... - We enjoyed this walking tour seeing the beautiful theatres and hearing all the old stories about the stage actors and actresses.
Review provided by Viator
Lauravv822ik
Sep 25, 2023
Perfect Way To See The West End - This was my first time visiting London, and this tour has been one of the highlights of my trip! It was fantastic to see so many of the theatres, and learn some really interesting facts about their history. Charlie is a fantastic guide - he is extremely knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
P2754cbkatier
Sep 9, 2023
The Highlight of our Honeymoon! - My husband and I spent 12 days in London for our honeymoon and this was by far our favorite part of the entire trip! We both work in theatre professionally and know a lot about the art form -- however, we were blown away by the knowledge and passion that emanated from our tour guide Charlie. We live in the states, and have gone out of our way to tell our friends about how fantastic this tour is! 10 stars out of 10! We cannot recommend this enough!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Hmm98ng
Jun 15, 2023
Highly Recommend! - Had a really great tour with Charlie! He's extremely knowledgeable & personable - would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in getting to know more about the history of the theatre in the West End!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Lauren
Jun 13, 2023
Really great tour - Very nice guide. Lots of fun and interesting information. Lots of great photos. Very pleasant way to spend a few hours exploring the theatre area.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Zhanna_v
May 22, 2023
Excellent - Charlie was so knowledgeable, so professional. It was an amazing tour! I am very picky person, but I would recommend this tour without any reservations!!!
Review provided by Viator
Joseph_h
May 16, 2023
Phenomenal theatre history tour - Phenomenal tour packed with lots of history and theatre. The guide was super knowledgeable of all things Theatre and created a great experience. It’s a long tour but well worth it for anybody who wants to learn more about the history of theatre. Highly recommended!
Review provided by Viator
Nicklausl2023
May 4, 2023
Great tour! - Charlie did a wonderful job on this tour, and by the end of the 3+ hours, I felt as though I had gained a good understanding of the West End, its history, and the many famous names that have acted there. In regards to said famous names, as a New Yorker who signed up for this tour as a fan of Broadway musicals, I was pleasantly surprised by how familiar I was with the actors and actresses discussed: of course, there were new names as well, and by no means were the stories Charlie told old hat (to the contrary, they were extremely interesting and often quite fun), but given how many famous names cropped up along the tour, I’m certain even non-theater fans could enjoy this experience. Great tour!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Lizzydrippingtayl0r
Apr 19, 2023
Fantastic historical and cultural way to spend a day! - Charlie was an excellent host on this packed itinerary filled with the history of London theatre. His knowledge knows no bounds! We were in a small group on this particular day so had the opportunity to chat and share (and friendly debate!) about our own theatre experiences. As members of our group left the tour prematurely due to other engagements (dashing off to matinées of course!) Charlie could have easily wound the tour up early but ever the professional we continued to our final port of call at the original site of Shakespeare’s theatre. The tour was full of tips, insider info and I particularly enjoyed discovering some of the different features/symbols of the actual architecture of the theatres and their historical/cultural significance. If you have any interest in history, theatre or literature then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend joining this tour.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
320jblgb
Sep 19, 2022
Excellent! Book it! - Charlie is so personable and well-informed that his tour is a total delight. Even though we shared a theater background, I learned so much and I heartily recommend spending your time learning and laughing on this great tour. And honestly, the time flew by. While I am considerably older than Charlie, the walking was not an issue. Thanks Charlie!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
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1 Adult
April 2024
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