Literary Southwark Walk


The Past Brought to Life

Southwark has a unique historic and literary heritage and an authentic historic ambiance, with beautiful views of the Thames and the City of London.

The tour gives an introduction to the historic development and literary heritage of Southwark – concentrating on the figures of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens. Southwark's location at the south end of London Bridge made it a key strategic and commercial site. This was where the great Medieval Inns were located, and from where Chaucer's pilgrimage set off for Canterbury. Its independence from the City made it a haven for 'undesirable' elements and it became the home of the Medieval Stews (Brothels), and also the home of the Shakespearean Stage. On the walk we explore the sites of the Globe, the Rose, the Swan and the Bull and Bear Baiting Pits and Shakespeare's role in the area. By the Victorian period its nature had changed completely into an industrial centre, home of notorious slums, of debtors prisons, and of charitable hospitals. It became one of the main inspirations for Dickens London fiction whose father was imprisoned here for debt when Dickens was a young boy. It was at the White Hart that Dickens introduced Sam Weller into the flagging story of the Pickwick Sporting Club – the character who saved Dickens literary career.


  • Old St. Thomas' Hospital & Guys Hospital
  • The White Hart which appears in Dickens' Pickwick Papers & Shakespeare's Henry VI
  • The George Inn   London's only surviving galleried inn
  • The site of the Tabard, starting point of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
  • Marshelsea Prison – where Dickens father was imprisoned for debt.
  • Hop Exchange and Borough Market
  • Nancy Steps - London Bridge
  • Southwark Cathedral
  • Winchester Palace medieval remains and site of Clink Prison
  • The Anchor   medieval brothel, then a brewery owned by Dr. Johnson's friends
  • Rose Alley, Rose Theatre, Bear, Gardens and Hope Theatre
  • Globe Theatre

OPTIONS: Groups visiting the Old Operating Theatre Museum will be given a talk by Curatorial staff. The tour can be tailored to individual requirements, it can be taken in either direction and can be complemented with visits to the Globe Theatre, Rose Theatre, Tate Modern, St Pauls Cathedral or the Clink Prison displays. Adult groups might like to include a stop in a historic pub of which the most famous are the George and the Anchor. A day’s visit might include a visit to the Globe, Walk, Lunch in the Anchor, Walk, end with visit to the Old Operating Theatre Museum.

BOOKING DETAILS: The walk lasts 2 hours. Allow an extra hour for any visits taken. Walk £5 per person. Entrance to the Museum is £4 per person. Walk and visit £8.50. Evening visit to Museum £8 (includes glass of wine), Evening visit and walk £12. Minimum booking of £80. Ring Kevin Flude 020 8806 3742. Or email to discuss details.

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Post: CHR, 249 Evering Road. London. E5 8AL.

Phone: 020 8806 3742Fax: 020 8806 4325

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Next Guided Walks:

Sat 2.30 18th Nov 2017 The Archaeology & History of Chelsea  - From King Offa to the Swinging 60s - Sloane Square Tube 

Sat 2.30 2 Dec 2017 Myths, Legends and the Origins of London - Tower Hill Tube

Sat 10.45 16 Dec 2017 Exploring Roman London - a Literary & Archaeology Guide Tower Hill Tube 

Sat 10.45 30 Dec 2017 Medieval & Reformation London  - Smithfield to the Guildhall  - Barbican Underground 

Sat 10.45 13 Jan 2018  Cromwell and More's Tudor London - St Pauls Tube Exit 2 


Sat 2.30 27 Jan 2018 William Shakespeare and Tudor & Stuart London -  Tower Hill Tube  

Sat 2.30 10 Feb 2018 The Archaeology & History of Southwark - From London Bridge to Bermondsey Abbey - London Bridge - Tooley Street exit

Sat 2.30 24 Feb 2018 The Archaeology & History of Rotherhithe - Rotherhithe Tube


Sat 2.30 10 March 2018 Cornhill - City of London Ward Walk -  Bank Tube Station Exit 3


Four Humours of Shakespeare

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The Four Humours of Shakespeare by Kevin Flude





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