As Southwark was London's 1st borough, it supplied the City of London with all its needs. For centuries it became the entertainment centre for the City's young men looking for a bit of fun - from inns and brothels to theatres and bear baiting, from beer to food, Southwark had it all. But Southwark was not just about supplying its wealthy neighbour: living side by side with Southwark's poor were the Bishops of Winchester living in their grand palace and supporting the magnificent St Saviour's church, as Southwark Cathedral was then known. Nowadays, there is so much to see: the soaring arches and dramatic ceilings of the cathedral; the ruins of the once lavish Winchester Palace, the glorious Globe theatre and the life sized replica of the Golden Hinde, the boat that circumnavigated the globe in the 1570s. Add to that the fascinating tales of Southwark's history, intriguing explanations of phrases like Winchester geese and the truly spectacular views across London, you have a great tour!
per adult from
150 to 180 minutes
What's included :
- A fun, experienced professional, local guide, accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding
What's excluded :
- Food and drink - we can enjoy a break together but your food and drink purchases are at your expense
- Gratuities - optional
- Transportation to/from the start and end points of the walk
- This is a typical itinerary for this product
Pass By: The Monument to the Great Fire of London, Monument St., London EC3R 8AH England
Our experience begins beside the Monument which commemorates one of the greatest fires London has ever seen. we will not climb the Monument but if we were to turn it on its side, its tip would rest at the spot that the fire began over 350 years ago. We'll spend about 10 minutes here as I tell yu how the fire started and some key information about it.
Pass By: London Bridge, London SE1 9DD England
Without this bridge, Southwark would not exist! Find out how it used to be laden with shops and houses, how everything burnt to the ground just 3 years after being built, how daredevils risked their lives 'shooting the bridge' and how traitors' heads were for centuries displayed on spikes on its southern end. We will stop several times for about 10 minutes per stop as we cross the bridge so I can tell you some of the fascinating facts which make up this bridge's history.
Stop At: Southwark Cathedral, 1 London Bridge Montague Close, London SE1 9DA England
This is one of the oldest churches in London which somehow survived the purge on churches by that most notorious of kings, Henry VIII. Designated a cathedral since 1905, nothing prepares you for the sheer beauty of the interior: soaring arches and a dramatic ceiling give the feeling of space and wonder. There is much to experience here: a stained glass window dedicated to the playwright Shakespeare who lived and worked in the Borough; a Diamond Jubilee window to celebrate her Majesty's 60 years on the throne; Harvard Chapel commissioned by alumni of Harvard University to honour its founder John Harvard who was baptized in St Saviour's church as it was then and the most recent memorial to the 51 people who died in the Marchioness tragedy, a pleasure cruiser which sank on the Thames close to the Cathedral in 1991. We will go inside the Cathedral for about 20 minutes and although entry is free, there is a small charge for photography which is payable on entry.
Duration: 20 minutes
Pass By: Golden Hinde, St. Mary Overies Dock Cathedral Street Cathedral St., London SE1 9DE England
A replica of the ship which circumnavigated the globe in the 1570s stands majestically beside the River Thames. Once you have come to terms with the fact that a ship this size could possibly complete such a touch and challenging journey, it is interesting to catch up with a few fun facts about the voyage: what was the famous ship called originally, who was on board and how many of the original fleet made it back to England? We will stop for about 5 minutes so that I can answer these questions plus pass on a few other interesting facts!!
Pass By: Winchester Palace, Clink Street, London SE1 9DG England
You will gaze on the ruins of what used to be the large and luxurious home of the Bishops of Winchester. In an area full of sleaze and narrow, run down alleys and yards, once stood this beautiful palace proof that the privileged lived right next door to the poor. You will learn about the power of the Bishops, what buildings were within the palace's extensive grounds and the meaning of the term Winchester geese - you might be a little surprised by what went on inside the boundaries of the Bishop's lands! It will take me about 10 minutes to update you on the interesting history of the palace.
Pass By: Clink Prison Museum Soho Wharf 1 Clink Street Clink Prison Museum Soho Wharf, London SE1 9DG England
The Museum stands on the site of the original Clink prison which was inside the lands of the Bishops of Winchester and next door to their luxurious palace. There could not be a greater contrast between the two. The Clink went from being a prison to house those within the Bishops' territories who had done wrong to harbouring heretics for daring to espouse views contrary to the Bishops' own. In our 5 minute stop outside, I'll tell you about the prison's conditions, how you could buy your way to a more comfortable stay inside and how this most gruesome of places was finally put to rest.
Pass By: Globe Theatre, London England
You get two Globe theatres for the price of one on this tour! We pass by the location of the original Globe built towards the end of the 1500s and within half a mile, get to admire the magnificent modern Globe which exists because of the perseverance of an American actor called Sam Wanamaker. Having seen the outside, you will want to book to see a performance on the inside too! We will spend about 5 minutes here.
Pass By: Menier Chocolate Factory 51 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU England
A much loved theatre today, this historic building used to be home to a chocolate factory run by Meniers who, in the latter half of the 1800s, was the largest chocolate manufacturer in the France. Sadly, as World War I raged in Europe, the neutral Switzerland gained the advantage formulating new recipes for chocolate with delicious fillings, an advance which Meniers could not complete with. The building became derelict but was designated a grade II listed building in the 1990s meaning that it could not be demolished. It then began its new life as a successful, off-West End theatre and we'll spend about 5 minutes here so that I can tell you Menier's history.
Pass By: Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL England
This centuries old market used to be a raucous market place for the wholesale trading of cattle, fish and grain. Merchant wholesalers sold to the greengrocers who in turn supplied local shops in inner and outer London; individual farmers set up stalls on the periphery of the market to sell their wares. But all this changed in the 1970s when the arrival of the new Covent Garden market upstream and the emergence of supermarkets which killed off the individual greengrocers. From then emerged a new style of market with artisan food businesses moving in to the abandoned warehouses. It now enjoys its reputation as a food extravaganza of international repute. We will wander through the market and if you want to stop to buy food to sample after the tour, that's fine with me! Or we can walk through just enjoying the atmosphere - we'll take as long as you like.
Stop At: George, 75 Borough High St, London SE1 1NH, UK
Where else to finish our tour of Southwark then in its oldest pub! The buildings of the George date back to 1676 although it was originally built about 100 years before that. With its ancient charm, it is an ideal place to down a pint or have a bite to eat! We enter the George after the tour has finished and so, whilst I'll leave after 15 minutes, you can stay as long as you like!!
Duration: 15 minutes
Departure Point :The Monument, 18 Fish St Hill, Candlewick, London EC3R 6DB, UK
Departure Time :10:00 AM
Return Detail :George, 75 Borough High St, London SE1 1NH, UK
Hotel Pickup :
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Not wheelchair accessible
- Service animals allowed
- Near public transportation
- Not recommended for travelers with back problems
- No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
- When your booking is confirmed, you will receive contact details for Sandy who will be your guide on this tour. Her aim is to give you, the customer, the best experience you could possibly have so if you have any special requests, be sure to let her know what they are!
- Sandy has your comfort as a priority - if you need to stop for a coffee or a comfort break, just let her know.
- The tour will last between 2.5 - 3 hours depending on the walking pace of the group and the number of questions asked.
- The tour will cover a distance of about 2 - 3 miles in total.
- The tour will go ahead come rain or shine so please don't be put off by the weather. Do wear comfortable shoes and clothing. If needs be, bring waterproofs and an umbrella!
- Most travelers can participate
- The tour is an outside walking tour but does include one internal stop to see the inside of Southwark Cathedral.
- This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
- Face masks required for travelers in public areas
- Face masks required for guides in public areas
- Social distancing enforced throughout experience
- Guides required to regularly wash hands
- I am guiding family units only for the foreseeable future and I will social distance from the group. I will bring my own hand sanitizer and request that group members do the same; they should also bring paper towel to dry hands after a toilet stop. Sadly, there will be no welcoming hand shakes!
- You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.
- For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.