Thursday 15 September 2022

An exploration of some key sites on London’s South Bank which illustrate its long history as an arts and entertainment district.

During the Middle Ages, the South Bank of the Thames developed as a place of entertainment outside the formal regulation of the City of London on the north bank – including theatres, prostitution and bearbaiting.  Over the centuries, well-known names in the history of English poetry and drama have worked there, not least William Shakespeare himself, and today’s South Bank remains a significant arts and entertainment district.

Our day exploring this fascinating history begins at the Globe Theatre, where we will be given a guided tour of the auditorium, hearing stories of the 1599 Globe playhouse, and how today’s reconstruction works as a performance space.

After a break for lunch, we will then join a guided tour of the streets of Southwark surrounding the Globe, to learn more about the history of the area.  Among other landmarks, this will identify the site of The Rose, Bankside’s first theatre built in 1587, although current building work makes it unlikely we will be able to view the archaeological remains discovered in 1989.

Finally, we are welcomed at Southwark Cathedral, where a specialist tour ‘Bards, Poets and Playwrights’ highlights the many literary figures associated with the church over the centuries, including Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens.

Inevitably, this day will involve quite a bit of walking and standing, albeit with some places to sit along the way.  There are also a number of stairs to navigate at the Globe. 

We will be travelling by public transport, and meeting at the Globe at 10.30am.  The day’s activities are expected to finish at about 3.30pm.

Tickets for this programme of tours cost £42 and our group number is limited to 30.  Please buy your tickets before 9.00am on Thursday August 18 2022.

If you have any queries, please contact [email protected]