Great WRITERS' stories brought to
life where they happened
With its clubs, shops and galleries, and a library at its heart, swanky St James's has been a magnet for writers over centuries. Scenes have been set here, plays performed here and masterpieces penned here.
Our first tour, the St James’s Jaunt, ranges from World War 1 to the Cold War, from the poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon to the spy novels of Graham Greene and Ian Fleming. We celebrate brave, experimental women like Virginia Woolf, Nancy Cunard and Edith Sitwell, and we relish the biting wit of Noel Coward and Evelyn Waugh. The wry prognostications of Aldous Huxley and Rose Macaulay complete a picture of a St James’s bristling with intellect and intensity.
Meet them all, and more besides, as we take you around the streets, squares and alleys and the hidden corners of St James's.
Public tours take place on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Private tours are available by appointment.
This tour is seamlessly crafted by the guides themselves who are passionate aficionados of the interwar literary landscape. Not only do they recite and perform excerpts that transport you to the London of that era, in so doing Mike and Cindy offer insight into the socio-political climate of the time. The warmth and charisma with which Mike and Cindy welcome us into this world nurtures a sense of connection and belonging irrespective of biblio-credentials, and when the tour concluded it felt like bidding adieu to family.
Never has learning been more fun! Cindy and Mike were amazing guides, their knowledge is extraordinary and the passion they have for their subject is infectious. Not only did they bring these incredible characters to life in the places they lived and worked, but they showed how their lives were interwoven and regaled us with scandalous stories of what they all got up to! They gave me enough of a taste of the writers' work, at times moving and at others hilarious, to make me want to go out and read, read, read...
AND FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO LOVES BOOKS...
Simply click any of the gold buttons to book a tour and you'll have the option to purchase a gift card.
The recipient can arrange to join us on a tour any time they like.
London Literary Tours exists to spread passion for brilliant writing on the streets of the city that we love and call home.
We follow in the footsteps of some of our greatest literary figures, tell scintillating stories about them, and perform extracts of their writing in places where they lived, loved, worked and unwound.
Regardless of what you've read or not read, there will be plenty for you to discover about both popular and lesser-known writers. Expect to be wowed and have a good laugh along the way!
“So many books, so little time."Frank Zappa
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”Jane Austen
“Literature sets up a vision which guides people to a better understanding of themselves and their world.”Aldous Huxley
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”Jorge Luis Borges
“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.”Lady Mary Wortley Montague
“A book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us.”Franz Kafka
“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”Jane Smiley
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”Cicero
“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”Virginia Woolf
“Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way round.”David Lodge
“A book is like a garden in the pocket.”Chinese Proverb
"BEING LOCKED IN A BOOKSHOP IS A SORT OF FANTASY OF MINE. A NIGHT OF QUIET SURROUNDED BY WORDS."Stig Abell
"A GOOD BOOKSHOP IS JUST A GENTEEL BLACK HOLE THAT KNOWS HOW TO READ."Terry Pratchett
"BOOKSTORES ARE LONELY FORTS, SPILLING LIGHT ONTO THE SIDEWALK."John Updike