Shakespeare's London Walking Tour, London

All across the globe William Shakespeare is referred to as the preeminent writer in the English language and the leading dramatist. His London was a very small world, and the theatrical world within that was even smaller. This 3-hours walk will take you to the significant Shakespeare places in London.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Shakespeare's London Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Shakespeare's London Walking Tour
Guide Location: England » London (See other walking tours in London)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Author: clare
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Middle Temple Hall

1) Middle Temple Hall

Middle Temple Hall is to be found in the Middle Temple, one of the four Inns of Court near the Royal Courts of Justice. The other Inns of Court are Inner Temple, Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn.

From the 13th century until 1852 the Inns of Court were hostels and schools for students studying Law. Middle Temple formed the Western part of the headquarters of the Knights Templar. Middle and Inner Temple are built around a series of cobbled stoned courtyards and alleys. They are lit at night by original gas lamps.

Middle Temple Hall, in the heart of the Inn was built in 1562 and it survived the Great Fire in 1666 and bombings in both World Wars. Student members of Middle Temple are required to attend at least 12 qualifying sessions in the Hall. These sessions usually take place during meal times, but in spite of the relaxed atmosphere, they are serious affairs.

The Hall is a popular place for banquets, wedding receptions and parties. It is 101 ft long and 41 ft wide and has an incredibly beautiful high double hammer beam ceiling. The stained glass windows are memorials to notable people associated with the Inn. Behind the High Table are huge paintings of Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Anne, Kings Charles I and II, King James II, King William III and George I. All around the Hall, on the walls are the shields of the Readers from 1597 onwards.

The lovely High Table was given to the Hall by Queen Elizabeth I, who often dined there. The table is made of three 29 ft planks of oak taken from one tree and floated down the Thames before being installed in the Hall.
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Blackfriars Theater

2) Blackfriars Theater

If you want to take in a play while you are in London, you couldn’t do better than to book your seats at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Next to the theatre you will find the shell of a reconstruction of Blackfriars Theatre, which will become a theatre in its own right in late 2012.

When King Henry VIII enforced his Dissolution of Monasteries Act in 1538, the Blackfriars Priory was closed and taken over by the Crown. In 1576 Richard Farrant, Master of Windsor rented the priory’s former buttery and created the Blackfriars Theatre.

The theatre was very small and was supposed to be used as a practice hall for the children of the Queen’s Chapel Choir, but Farrant, who was also a playwright used the theatre to stage plays for a small crowd of well-to-do gentry and nobles. After Farrant’s death the lease was passed around between his widow and various partners. This eventually caused legal problems over the ownership of the lease and the theatre was closed down in 1585.

In 1596 James Burbage bought the former priory’s frater (dining hall) and turned it into a new theatre, also called Blackfriars. This theatre was larger than the first and could house an audience of up to 700. Burbage’s son Richard formed a company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men – which became the King’s Men in 1603. There were six others in the company – including William Shakespeare.

Plays were staged during the seven autumn/winter months at the Blackfriars and for the five spring/summer months at the nearby Globe Theatre. The Blackfriars Theatre was closed at the beginning of the English Civil War and demolished in 1655.
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St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe

3) St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe

A church called St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe arouses everyone’s curiosity, and you shouldn’t miss visiting this lovely 17th century church, which is to be found on St Andrew’s Hill.

The original church was founded in the late 12th century and was once part of Baynard’s Castle, a royal residence for many centuries. The church came by the Wardrobe part of its name in 1361 when King Edward III moved his Royal Wardrobe from the Tower of London to a storeroom to the North of the church.

The Royal Wardrobe isn’t a cupboard for hanging clothes, but rather a largish building where arms, clothing and other paraphernalia belonging to the Crown were stored. During the Commonwealth of England, the Wardrobe was emptied by Cromwell and used as an orphanage.

Both the Wardrobe and the church were destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666 and the new church was one of over 50 designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1695. Only the tower and walls remained after the Blitz of 1941 and today’s building was re-consecrated in 1961.

The interior of the church has arcaded bays supported by piers instead of columns. On the North side of the Sanctuary you can see a figure of St Andrew that dates back to 1600. Another figure, of St Ann holding the Virgin, who in her turn is holding the baby Jesus, comes from Italy and was executed in the early 16th century.
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Shakespeare Globe Theatre

4) Shakespeare Globe Theatre (must see)

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, which officially opened in 1997, is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse in the London Borough of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames. It is approximately 230 metres from the site of the original theatre. Jack Shepherd's 'Prologue Production' of The Two Gentlemen of Verona starring Mark Rylance as Proteus, opened the Globe to the theatregoing public in August 1996, a year before the formal opening Gala. The original Globe Theatre was built in 1599 by the playing company, Lord Chamberlain's Men, to which Shakespeare belonged, and was destroyed by fire on June 29, 1613. The fire was caused by an accident with a cannon during a production of Henry VIII. The theatre was rebuilt by June 1614 (the exact opening date is not known), but was officially closed by pressure of Puritan opinion in 1642 and demolished in 1644. Replicas and free interpretations of the Globe have been built around the world and in the virtual world.

Why You Should Visit:
A brilliant location in which to see Shakespeare's plays, complete with a usually high standard of production.

Tip:
Gets rather cold during the evening (due to the theatre being only semi-covered) so bring a blanket.
Taking a hat or sunglasses for the sun moving across the sky should also help.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
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Southwark Cathedral

5) Southwark Cathedral

On the South Bank of the Thames, not far from London Bridge, you will find the Southwark Cathedral, which is the Mother Church of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark and well worth a visit. Although the church has only been a cathedral since 1905, it was mentioned in the Domesday Book Survey of 1086. It is certainly possible that the building was erected on the site of an even older place of worship as in 1977 a 4th century Roman well with a pagan statue was discovered beneath the choir. The present building is the first Gothic church to be constructed in England and was dedicated to St Mary Overie (a corruption of Over the River). Of the Norman church only the wooden door remains, as the church was damaged by fire in 1212, 1390 and 1420. Inside the Cathedral there is a stained glass window dedicated to William Shakespeare showing scenes from his plays, and below this is a statue of the Bard. Another interesting memorial is the multi-chrome panelled tomb of John Gower, a 15th Court Poet and friend of Chaucer. Joined to the cathedral by Lancelot’s Link, an ancient alley now a glazed street, you will find the refectory, where you can enjoy a meal and a cup of tea and the cathedral shop, selling postcards, books and locally made gift items.
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George Inn

6) George Inn

If you want to have a drink or a meal in surroundings that make you feel that you have been transported back in time to 17th century England – but with all the comforts of the 21st century, you should try the George Inn, which is situated in a cobbled-stone courtyard not far from Southwark Cathedral.

The building is the last galleried coaching inn in England, owned today by the National Trust and rented out as a pub/restaurant. It was built in 1676 and was the terminus for coaches coming to London from the South of England.

It is a three storey building with a crooked gallery on the first floor, which once were bedrooms for travellers and is now the restaurant overlooking the courtyard. The pub on the ground floor is made up of several inter-connecting rooms, all with oak-beamed ceilings, white-washed walls, latticed windows and comfortable settles.

The Old Bar was once the waiting-room; the Middle Bar was a coffee room, frequented by Charles Dickens, who mentions the inn in his book “Little Dorrit”. In the winter the pub serves mulled wine and the open-fireplaces (now housing energy-saving wood-stoves) give off a welcome warmth. In the summer you can sit at one of the long wooden tables in the courtyard and admire the crooked galleries above you with their flower baskets full of brightly coloured plants to offset the white railings and walls of this historical building.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
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Travel Distance: 5.2 km
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Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km

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