Theatrical walking tours about famous writers in Bloomsbury and St James's


Come on one of our tours of literary sites and delight in tales about some of London's most illustrious writers - like Virginia Woolf, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene and Noel Coward - brought to life in their own words, and with performances of excerpts from their novels, plays and poems.




Our Tours

Key features of our tours:
• Limited to small groups
• Two guides, Mike and Cindy, working as a double act
• Performed extracts from novels, plays and poems
• Writers ‘brought to life’ with quotations from their letters and diaries
• Researched and created by guides 


THE BLOOMSBURY BLAST
Starring Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot and friends


Available Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons


3 hours


Characterised by grand garden squares and streets lined with bookshops, cafes and pubs, Bloomsbury is an area synonymous with  writers, commemorated in numerous plaques on the walls of their former residences.

On our Bloomsbury Blast you'll meet dazzling literary stars like Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, D H  Lawrence and E M Forster, and unique, experimental women like Charlotte Mew, Dorothy Richardson and Hilda Doolittle. Joined by a giant of world literature in Rabindranath Tagore, and movers and shakers like Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis we'll reveal a Bloomsbury buzzing with radical ideas, progressive movements and literary pioneers.

  • The price is £25 per person and pre-booking is essential. Click on 'Book Tour' to see available dates.
  • Private tours - on day and time of your choosing - available by appointment.
  • Discounts for student groups. 
  • Can be purchased as a gift - see below. 

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Book Tour
The Bloomsbury Blast
St James's Jaunt

THE ST JAMES'S JAUNT
Where Mrs Dalloway meets James Bond


Available Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons


3 hours


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 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.

  • The price is £25 per person and pre-booking is essential. Click on 'Book Tour' to see available dates.
  • Private tours - on day and time of your choosing - available by appointment.
  • Discounts for student groups. 
  • Can be purchased as a gift - see below. 

TripSavvy Recommends

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Book Tour

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.

Róisín McGrogan

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...

Gunna Finnsdottir

AND FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO LOVES BOOKS...


Would you like to surprise that person you always buy book tokens for?  Then look no further.

Simply click on either the gold 'Book Tour' button at the top of this page, or the floating 'Book Now' button at the bottom and you'll have the option to purchase a gift card.

The recipient(s) can then get in touch with us to come on a tour of their choice, on a date that works for them.


WHY NOT MAKE A GIFT OF ONE OF OUR TOURS?


Purchase a gift card

Soho Strut


WELCOME



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 peppered with extracts from diaries, letters and reviews, 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!


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Roger Steele
Roger Steele
2022-09-01
This is a marvellous experience. From New Zealand, I've been to London many times and as a publisher I usually seek out a literary site or two, but this is another level altogether. Sparkling and entrancing hours of fine writing brought to life amid tantalising glimpses into the authors' lives, stuff you might find by months of searching among the biographies ... if you were lucky. Pathos, scandals, funny stories, feuds, poignant moments all presented by two warm and versatile personalities whose acting skills make it so lively. I cannot recommend Mike & Cindy's tours highly enough. They even got us to act out a few exchanges from iconic works – gold! And there's more than literature: historic sites and delights such as London's best shops for wine, cheese, hats & cigars, and of course books all have walk-by parts in the tour.
Andreas Galanos
Andreas Galanos
2022-07-10
This is by far the most interesting, interactive and fun tour I have ever had abroad.Mike and Cindy are wonderful, knowledgeable, talented and very generous. They make you feel comfortable and they make sure you enjoy the tour all the way. They provide you with loads of in-depth information about writers, books, buildings and many more... They have made a thorough research and you can surely tell. As if that was not enough, they set up a show with excerpts from novels, poems, letters and other references they have come across during their research. And on top of this, they are very very talented in acting (and singing)! They made us participate actively as well (but I won't give more information on that so as not to spoil the surprise)! And finally, they care for your well-being and your needs throughout the tour. I consider them to be more that tour operators. They are brilliant, talented and very interesting people one wants to hang around with! Don't miss the chance to experience this tour! I hope they launch new tours like this soon! A reason to keep coming back to London! Trust me your don't want to miss this tour!
Adora Svitak
Adora Svitak
2022-07-06
I went on the London Literary Tour’s St. James Jaunt with a friend and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. Mike and Cindy provided a tour that was fast-paced, highly comprehensive, enthusiastic, and interactive; they thoughtfully provided a handout with a syllabus of sorts outlining all the authors and works mentioned, engaged us with some opportunities to release our inner thespian, and showed us tucked-away corners of London as we traipsed through alleyways and past grand buildings. Highly enriching - can’t recommend enough!
Claire Boyington
Claire Boyington
2022-06-29
What a superb way to spend a few hours in London! Cindy and Mike are friendly, fun and impressively knowledgeable. The tour is entertaining and informative throughout; the stories behind the writers are poignant one moment and scandalously cheeky the next. My daughters, who are studying literature at school [A-Level and GCSE], were inspired and intrigued by both the stories of the writers and the performances from our lively, lovely guides. Would totally recommend.
paula mcgrogan
paula mcgrogan
2022-04-18
Delightful and enlightening morning...bringing to life the characters of yesteryear in all their glory and eccentricity.
Tullia Mantella
Tullia Mantella
2022-01-27
I had the pleasure to meet Cindy and Mike during the St. James tour. The experience is so well built and full of interesting details, literary intrigues and love affairs. The way they told us these great stories really brought them to life! A truly outstanding experience!
Kit Harding
Kit Harding
2022-01-25
A very creative and entertaining tour! Cindy and Mike take you around the locations in St James that were frequented by some of the poets and writers during the First and Second World Wars. Each setting is associated with a specific and compelling story about the artist, framed within the historical and political context of the time. The author's poems, letters, excerpts from plays and novels are presented and acted out with passion and precision, which gives the sense of being transported back to St James in the early 20th Century. The stories and excerpts were humorous and, at times, sparked with a degree of sadness when they described difficult moments in the artist’s lives. Strongly recommend this tour, especially for Londoners who are not all familiar with some of the history and geography in the very heart of London!
Judy judy
Judy judy
2021-11-09
This is a totally absorbing tour, like nothing I've experienced before - not just history and facts, but dramatised excerpts from novels and poems, juicy gossip, and funny and heartbreaking stories. Cindy and Mike know St James's and their subjects inside out, and you'll be thinking about this tour for a long time afterwards. A wonderful way to spend time in the capital, and incredible value. Recommended for readers, writers, students, history buffs, and anyone who wants to know more about this fascinating part of London.
Mark Woodward
Mark Woodward
2021-09-20
Simply outstanding! This is not your standard walking tour but rather a moving show worthy of the West End. Couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning in London than with Mike and Cindy bringing the authors of interwar literature to life in St James. Their knowledge and enthusiasm was both towering and infectious as they led us from the horrors of the Great War to the ostentatious frivolity of 20s London and into the clandestine world of WW2 secret service. An intriguing look into the lives, loves and works of Edith Sitwell, Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfrid Owen, Robert Graves, Rose Macaulay, Evelyn Waugh, Noel Coward, Aldous Huxley, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Ezra Pound and Nancy Cunard - among others!
NIC FRYER
NIC FRYER
2021-08-21
I did the St James' tour - and what a great morning I had! This was packed full of interesting information, with books I'd read and books I hadn't both coming alive on the tour... made all the more interesting because of the locations that were so central to the books being utilised so well. Mike and Cindy really know so much and want to share it with you - but this is far from a dry lesson. It takes you on a metaphorical and a literal journey as you find out about some painful forgotten stories as well as hearing some hilarious anecdotes! I have come away inspired to read some old favourites again, as well as feeling that I will now see the London that I thought I knew in new ways. Highly recommended.


Blogs and Social

  • “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