The London of Oscar Wilde Tour

(16 customer reviews)

Green Park Tube, north exit

Guided by Fiona-Jane Weston or Peter G. or Simon W.

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
Saturday Weekly 11 am 1 pm Summer Reserve Online

GLAD TO HEAR IT

A walking tour through Oscar Wilde’s London. Discover the Victorian London familiar to the famous aesthete, Irish 19th-century playwright and pay a visit to his favourite hangouts.

Short read: the London of a life steeped in equal measures of pleasure, controversy and disdain…

Long read: 1890s London. Gaslit streets. The rattle of hansom cabs. The silvery laughter of stage-door Johnnies and chorus girls. The London of Whistler, Beardsley, Shaw, Lillie Langtry, and Gilbert & Sullivan. Above all, though, the London* of Oscar Wilde. Oscar – of all writers, the best company. Oscar – at the height of his fame as dramatist and wit, amusing and outraging Victorian society by turns. Oscar – refulgent, majestic, ready to fall. We follow in his footsteps, his story, his art. See London through Wilde’s eyes. Listen. Transfixed. Savouring every last syllable.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE GUIDING

The London of Oscar Wilde is guided by actors and Blue Badge guides Simon and Fiona-Jane and Peter. Who guides the walk, where it goes, what you see, that’s why it’s rainbow rainbow rainbow! – a gem of a walking tour.

Oscar Wilde statue

OSCAR WILDE WALKING TOUR – THE PRACTICALS

Meeting time: The London of Oscar Wilde walk takes place every* Saturday at 11:00 am

Meeting place: Green Park Tube, just outside the north exit, on the corner.

Price: £20 per person (full adult); £15 for full time students, Super Adults (over 65s) and people with the London Walks Loyalty Card; £10 for Concessions Loyalty Card holders (Super Adults and full-time students); £5 for children 8 – 15; tinies (under 8s accompanied by a parent or two) go free.

Duration: 2 hours

*In the London Walks Summer (May 1 – October 31) programme. In our Winter (Nov. 1 – April 30) programme the Saturday morning Oscar Wilde walk only takes place on  Saturday November 12th and then the first Saturday in every month. Make sure to read our other recommendations for activities in winter London.

ITINERARY

The Oscar Wilde walking tours include the very room where Wilde and his high-society friends, including his lover Lord Alfred Douglas AKA Bosie, used to gather in the evenings, to discuss the burning issues of the day or share their thoughts on more aesthetic subjects over champagne, wine and a thoughtful cigarette. Don’t miss the shelves dedicated to the Anglo-Irish playwright with a picture of him wearing his favourite coat (made of sealskin) purchased in Canada, a bottle of his favourite wine and some of his other possessions. See the site of the now-demolished St James Theatre, the place that premiered, Oscar Wildes’s superbly popular plays, The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere’s Fan. This guided walk ends in Piccadilly, very near Piccadilly Circus Tube Stop.

FAQs

Where did Oscar Wilde live in London?

Wilde lived in 34 Tite Street, Chelsea in a house that he shared with his wife Constance Mary Wilde (née Constance Lloyd). You can see a blue plaque at that address today. It was at this address that he authored The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Does the walk include Wilde’s house in Tite Street?

This walk does not stop by Wilde’s home in Tite Street – it’s in a different part of London. (The house figures in our Chelsea Walk.)

Are your guides certified?

All London Walks guides are walking tour specialists, experts in a particular area and topic.

Do you offer any discounts or special prices?

London Walks offers a Discount Walkabout Card for frequent walkers.

Why is Oscar Wilde the father of aesthetics?

Oscar Wilde is known as the father of the aesthetic movement because he was only interested in aesthetics and his literary studies of aesthetics. He was the first major writer to challenge the structure of classical literature and create controversy in the process.

What did Oscar Wilde get convicted for?

Oscar Wilde was convicted of gross indecency after a failed attempt at suing his lover Lord Alfred Douglas ‘s father, the Marquess of Queensberry for libel. He would spend his sentence in Wandsworth and then Reading gaol .

Live Abroad? Can’t make the Saturday morning 11 am tour?

No worries, try our Virtual Tour.

It’s guided by Simon. You can meet him here – it’s his little podcast about his Oscar Wilde Virtual Tour.

WHAT THE GUIDE SAYS

Author J.D.Ellevsen’s version

“Put a well-stocked silver cigarette case in your pocket, but be sure to carry engraved spares. Bring plenty of cash, but keep it close to your heart; we’ll be dining with epicures and bluebloods but sleeping with blackmailers and thieves. Don a green carnation and grab a glass of absinthe. Light up a gold-tipped cigarette. We’re going to trawl the gutters and boutiques of London with Oscar Wilde.”

It’s the opening of J.D. Ellevsen’s fine, in-depth article – A Walk on the Wilde Side – about the walk. Ellevsen’s given the guide a fictional name to protect the guilty. In the interest of setting the record straight, the guide was Alan, who created the Oscar Wilde walk many years ago. Alan is now keeping Oscar company. Where? You can rest assured it won’t be heaven. Oscar was adamant he wasn’t going there – “none of my friends are there.” But by way of remembering Alan, picture him taking a light from Oscar’s gold-tipped cigarette prior to raising his glass of absinthe to the master. And nodding in amused agreement at that last witticism. Something about both of them dying beyond their means.

LONDON WALKS REVIEWS

“The London of Oscar Wilde, an intriguing walk conducted by London Walks, was as exciting as it was informative. Not only did the passionate and extremely knowledgeable guide, entertain with his Wilde-like wit, but he also opened up a whole new Victorian world in the heart of modern-day London….If you’re an Oscar Wilde fan, then this walk is a must-do. Even if you’re not, do it for the simple pleasure of experiencing the bylanes and side streets of Central London, which you otherwise would not.” Condé Nast Traveller magazine

“London Walks offer the very best walking tours of the capital”  The Travel Channel

“You can’t do better than London Walks” London Day by Day

“I was delighted to have the opportunity of going on another London Walk during my weekend stay in the city. It really is a ‘must-do’. Richard was brilliant and has such a good voice. Many of the guides are retired actors and it shows in their strong vocal cords. We started off at Green Park station and headed off towards Mayfair. The route we took was similar, in parts, to the Mayfair walk, but the stories were all different, concentrating on the life and works of Oscar Wilde. Plenty of upper-class gossip and the spotting of locations of some of his fictitious characters, as well as the real-life settings of his unique life. I can’t recommend these walks highly enough and if you are interested in the life of Oscar Wilde, then this is a real treat.” Crinkleyrose Cardiff, United Kingdom

LONDON WALKS SOUPÇON

“This shop was ‘Goodyear the Florist’, where Wilde purchased the characteristic green carnations that he regularly pinned onto his suits. (Some believe it was a secret symbol for gay men to identify one another in those times, a trend the playwright is believed to have brought to London from Paris.)”

“Known to sell some of the world’s best cigars, it was from here that Wilde purchased his cigarettes—he smoked close to 100 cigarettes a day, stating with his trademark wit that ‘A man should always have an occupation of some kind. There are far too many idle men in London as it is.’ However, his weren’t ordinary cigarettes—after all, how could the man that wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray succumb to the ordinary? Made from special Turkish tobacco, these cigarettes had a pure gold leaf tip with his name embossed on them in red!”

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde

LONDON WALKS PRIVATE WALKS

If you can’t make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public London of Oscar Wilde walks do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have any London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. And – always with private London Walks and tours – we go to great lengths to make sure the guide-walker(s) “fit” is well-nigh perfect.

How to book?

Contact Fiona or Niamh or Peter or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at [email protected]. We’ll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they’re good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing.

GIVE THE GIFT OF LONDON WALKS

A private London Walk makes a very special, indeed a unique gift – be it a birthday or anniversary or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that’s special. Memories make us rich.

MIND THE GAP

It’s not even close

16 reviews for The London of Oscar Wilde Tour

  1. Dominik Imseng

    I wish I could give you 6 stars, Fiona. Thanks again for these absolutely wonderful two hours. With your tour, you achieved what Oscar aspired to do with his life — you turned it into art.

  2. Frank K

    Even if you only have a passing interest in Oscar Wilde, Simon’s walking tour will have you enthralled with this most interesting and eccentric Victorian writer, dramatist and socialite.

    First of all, Simon is a consummate professional. At the meeting meet, he got to know everyone, where we were from and what motivated our interest in Wilde. Then, as we walked around Mayfair, he deftly linked his narrative with our own backgrounds and motivations for the tour. For example, there were three US guests on the tour so Simon spent some time talking about Wilde’s fascinating and lucrative lecture tour in the US.

    As a (former?) actor, Simon thrilled us at times with his animation and enthusiasm for Wilde. Needless to say, the tour was peppered with many of Wilde’s quotations.

    The tour was also special in that we were taken inside places that only an expert guide like Simon would be aware of and have “connections” to get us inside. No spoiler alert is needed here as that would only detract from your own enjoyment of the tour.

    In summary, we all left feeling we almost knew Wilde so compelling was Simon’s narrative.

    Highly recommended!

  3. Tara-Jane

    Our tour with Peter was absolutely fascinating, he’s very witty and had a great knowledge, he was well able to make the tour fun and entertaining and I would highly recommend for both people with an interest in Oscar Wilde and those who don’t know a lot as he was very informative and made the whole thing interesting and a great day out. Great treat/gift for someone who loves Oscar Wilde’s story as much as Peter loved telling it!

  4. Sabina

    Simon is an amazing guide! Knowledgeable, charming and witty. This tour is a must for any Oscar Wilde fans, very enjoyable and recommended! My best friend and I agree that this was our favorite tour during our visit to London this year. I hope I can take my uncle (a big Oscar fan) for this marvelous experience in the future!

  5. Kevin McGreal

    Simon was engaging, informative and wonderful. Lovely to walk Oscar’s Victorian Mayfair and St James.

  6. Nick Hart

    Fantastic tour with Simon, the ‘recovering actor’. My wife loves OW, I just went along for the ride but enjoyed every minute. Simon is a very skilled and engaging guide and paints a vivid picture of life in late C19 London and OW’s story (a few tears at the end). We even sampled chocolates from Oscar’s chocolatier and visited a mini museum at his tobacconist. I highly recommend the tour, even if you’re not particularly interested in OW. We’ll be looking out for other walking tours run by Simon.

  7. Katherine

    Fiona-Jane’s Oscar Wilde tour was just delightful. The details and nuances of Oscar’s journey are brought vividly to life, with touching discussion, lively recitations and a charm that really does reward. You won’t regret your two hours listening to this writer’s fascinating life and trotting around historic Piccadilly and St James’s with your learned guide. “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” We’re still talking Oscar…Don’t think about it, just go!

  8. Roseanna Brady

    Simon led this walk with charm, wit, and erudition. A lovely stroll through Mayfair and St James’ with lots of information about Wilde’s life in London and abroad.

  9. Theresa

    Outstanding walk with Fiona-Jane! I was generally familiar with Oscar Wilde’s story, and my husband knew next to nothing, but we both thoroughly enjoyed this walk. Fiona-Jane is an outstanding guide. She knows how to tell a story in an extremely engaging way, but she was also able to convey the complexities of Oscar Wilde’s story and draw connections to today. Highly recommended!

  10. Sumin

    Simon was great. I am from South Korea and didn’t have much information about walking tours, but I really enjoyed it.
    I am a big fan of Oscar Wilde, so I even visited Oscar Wilde lounge(hotel cafe royal), pere-lachaise in Paris, and Oscar Wilde statue near Charing cross station, but I wouldn’t have been able to visit unknown places and hear much stories of him if it were not been for this tour.
    It is one of my best experiences in london.

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