Covent Garden underground station, London
Guided by Ian
|Day||Walk Type||Start Time||End Time|
|13 May 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|2 August 2023||Special||4.30 pm||6.30 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|4 August 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
N.B. Guide Ian donates all of his fee to the World Jewish Relief’s Ukraine Crisis Appeal!
N.B. the video that follows is from Ian’s virtual tour version of his Harlots – Covent Garden’s Sordid History excursion. This walk – on May 13th, August 2nd and August 4th – 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 May 13th 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”.
I’ve lived in London for over 30 years and have been to Covent Garden hundreds of times but never thought to wonder why it is so-named. Nor have I ever done any sort of tour in London before – but having been on Ian’s tour of Covent Garden I am resolved to sign up for more in order to discover more about the amazing City I live in.
Nick S –
The Covent Garden Harlots tour is a truly wonderful history tour. Ian tells you superb stories about the history of Covent Garden which brings the entire area to life. It is so much more than a story about harlots and is really a history of London and how it grew and changed from the 1550’s to the present day. You feel as though you are walking with kings, dukes, great architects , and all the street people who lived and passed through here. If you go on the tour ask about Harris’ List, a fascinating piece of social history. A truly worthwhile experience which I cannot recommend highly enough.
Ian is an engaging and knowledgeable guide and even though I like to think I know a fair bit about London, found that there was still plenty to discover and learn. David, another guide who joined the party, added to the experience with his own deep knowledge about sewage systems. Great fun, great cause, miserable weather (but apparently not Ian’s fault)
Shelley L –
Ian’s tours are perfect for those who want an introduction to British history as well as those who consider themselves serious history buffs. He possesses a wealth of knowledge and presents information with wit and humor. I participated in the Covent Garden, Revolting London, and Jewish History tours and all were superb.
Krissa Jacobson –
Traveling back in time with Ian to the wild “60’s” meaning the 1760’s of Covent Garden, was great fun and an education on its rather promiscuous past. Ian is a master storyteller and loves sharing his vast knowledge of London history with others. He does a great job bringing the stories to life while exploring this beautiful part of the city.
I would highly recommend the Harlot tour with Ian Fagelson. Your trip will be better for it!