London audio tour: The South Bank: 400 Years of Entertainment from London Bridge to the Tate Modern

The South Bank: 400 Years of Entertainment from London Bridge to the Tate Modern

Walking Tour

45 mins

About the Tour

Follow in the footsteps of Chaucer and Shakespeare on this walking tour from London Bridge to the Tate Modern. You’ll find out why Southwark’s position outside the City of London, on the south bank of the Thames, gave it a murky reputation. This was where city-dwellers came for the types of entertainment that were illegal just across the river.

Along the way, Blue Badge Guide Brian Cookson will point out sites like:

• ‘Nancy’s Steps’, the place Dickens imagines Nancy from ‘Oliver Twist’ having her ill-fated conversation with Mr Brownlow
• The beautiful architecture of Southwark Cathedral, with its commemorations to Shakespeare and his most famous plays
• The oldest operating theatre in Britain, now a museum where you can watch a surgeon at work
• Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, built mainly from the same materials as the original Globe – with the addition of toilets!

By the end of the tour, you’ll have seen ancient inns, churches, hospitals, markets and prisons that span nearly 2,000 years of London’s busy history.

Excerpt from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, read by Rebecca Dittman, is courtesy of Librivox.

Tour Producer


Brian Cookson

After qualifying as a Russian Interpreter during National Service, I obtained a BA in Russian and German at Oxford University. I spent most of my working life as a computer consultant, mainly working for IBM. When I retired, I qualified as a London Blue Badge Guide. I lead guided walking tours all over London and have written two books - 'London Waterside Walks' and 'Crossing the River', published by Mainstream.

Information on my tours and lectures can be found at

Major Landmarks

  • Monument to the Great Fire of London

  • St Magnus-the-Martyr

  • London's Tower Bridge

  • Southwark Cathedral

  • The London George Inn

  • The Shard

  • Golden Hind

  • Clink Prison Museum

  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

  • Tate Modern

Directions to Starting Point

The walk starts just outside Monument Undedrground Station which is on the Circle and District Line. Take the Monument exit from the station.

Show Directions
Buying for somebody else?
If you’d like to give VoiceMap tours as a gift, you have two options: choose the tours yourself, or buy a voucher redeemable against any of VoiceMap’s tours in 167 cities worldwide.
Buy a gift voucher
VoiceMap tours for large groups
If you’d like to provide groups of guests with access to a VoiceMap tour, you can buy a specific number of copies for a particular event or obtain a license for more regular use.
Find out more


Places to stop along the way

Food and drink are available at the Mudlark pub, the George Inn, the Anchor Inn, and the Globe Theatre restaurant as well as numerous bars and cafes along the South Bank.
Any of the major landmarks mentioned can be visited, but check opening times.

Best time of day

This walk is enjoyable any time of day, including evenings. However if you want to go inside any of the attractions, you should check their opening times.


Be careful about pickpockets anywhere in London.


Great tour - even as a resident of Southwark, I learnt plenty of new (and very interesting) information

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 3 years ago


Posted by Brian , over 3 years ago

It was an interesting walk, although I had to take out my phone a couple of times because the directions were unclear/weren't told until I was part the point of referenced..

Posted by Sietske van Vugt , about 5 years ago

Thanks for your comment, Sietske, and I am glad you found it interesting. Sorry about the directions. I have had difficulty with GPS in Southwark especially as the route goes back on itself. I will retest it and see if directions can be clearer.

Posted by Brian , about 5 years ago

Great history of London south bank

Posted by Kent , over 5 years ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
The South Bank: 400 Years of Entertainment from London Bridge to the Tate Modern