Harlots – Covent Garden’s sordid history (N.B. adults only)

Covent Garden underground station, London

Guided by Ian

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
12 February 2023 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Winter Reserve Online
31 March 2023 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Winter Reserve Online

Guided by Ian

N.B. the video that follows is from Ian’s virtual tour version of his Harlots – Covent Garden’s Sordid History excursion. Today’s walkFebruary 12th – is NOT a virtual tour, it’s Ian’s live, outdoor tour. But there are of course lots of similarities between the virtual tour and the outdoor tour. The video is a chance to meet Ian, watch a bit of his guiding, and get a taster for what’s on the February 12th outdoor tour.

And another taster – an audio clip from Harlots that we’ve put up as a podcast.

In the early 1600s, the Earl of Bedford developed Covent Garden as upscale housing for wealthy Londoners. But after the Drury Lane theatre opened in 1663, it degenerated into a “red light” district.

By the 18th Century, Covent Garden offered a heady mix of taverns, brothels, playhouses and eateries where literary giants rubbed shoulders (and other parts) with the notorious “Covent Garden ladies.”

From the elegant Piazza to tiny gas-lit alleyways, unknown even to many Londoners, we will visit sites associated with some of the area’s most fascinating characters.

We will discuss poets and princes, courtesans and kings, skullduggery and espionage. Along the way we will meet the literary figure whose raucous night out in 1763 can truly be described as one of “wine, women and song”.


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