Audio Tour, voiced by Ian McKellen
Play the starring role in a tour of London’s historic West End with the help of British acting icon Ian McKellen. Taking you from theatre to theatre on a route from Leicester Square through to Covent Garden, Embankment and The Strand, McKellen will divulge secrets of the stage and tell the story of some of the capital’s most fascinating buildings.
You’ll travel back in time to experience Theatreland as it was for actors and audiences 300 years ago, before electric lights and moving sets, when audiences showed their disapproval by throwing fruit at the stage. With McKellen as your guide, you’ll learn the stories of the actors, architects and managers who shaped this unique part of London, turning it from one of the city’s most disreputable slums to the glittering heart of British theatre.
As you wind your way through the backstreets and alleyways of the West End, McKellen will recount fascinating stories from his illustrious career on the stage; his favourite venues, his least favourite performances and where he made his professional acting debut. A must for thespians and history lovers alike, this tour recounts the captivating story of London theatre and reveals the secrets of one of city’s most iconic districts.
To get this FREE audio tour:
1. Install VoiceMap on your phone (click here to download).
2. Sign up with email or Facebook, tap for London tours, then look for “Theatreland Tour with Ian McKellen” in London.
3. Download the tour with WiFi.
4. Head to the TKTS ticket booth in Leicester Square, where the tour begins and ends.
Theatreland Walking Tours with Diane Burstein
The Theatreland Walking Tour returns for the summer. The first three dates will be:
Sunday 19 April, Sunday 17 May and Sunday 21 June at 2.30pm meeting at Covent Garden tube station. Booking is essential through this link.
This tour of Covent Garden and the surrounding area treats you to historical vignettes and anecdotes about the West End’s most illustrious personalities. See Central London’s oldest theatre and hear about its many ghosts, view the Royal Opera House and hear about the riots which took place there.
Visit a haunted stage door where an actor was brutally murdered. Discover the “Actors’ Church” and stand on the spot where Eliza Doolittle sold her flowers. See the home of a leading 18th century actor/manager who introduced many innovations to the stage.
Hear about the hotel which was built from the profits of a theatre , see the theatre where a famous literary character was “born” and discover how today’s fringe theatre scene developed from the theatre clubs of the early 20th century.
Your blue badge guide, Diane Burstein, has extensive knowledge of today’s theatre scene so you’ll find out all the latest production news in addition to discovering London’s theatrical past.