Join award winning London Blue Badge guide (and Oscar Wilde devotee) Simon Whitehouse, as he takes us on a stroll through the historic streets of Mayfair and St James visiting many sites that Wilde knew well and many of which he would still recognise today.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854. We remember him today as an Irish poet and playwright, a witty social analyst, gay icon and the first modern celebrity whose extraordinary life has been described as ‘a black comedy in four acts.’
On our walking tour we’ll visit many of Wilde’s old haunts that inspired his life and work. Highlights include the stunning Royal Arcade where he purchased his famous ‘green’ carnations, a Georgian emporium where he racked up outstanding bills and the site of the fabled St James Theatre where we re-live the opening night of his most enduring play, ’The Importance of Being Earnest’.
As we wander through the atmospheric streets of Mayfair and St James’, Wilde is brought to life with sparkling quotes that remind us of the writer’s brilliant wit and wisdom. We hear the story of his extraordinary life and times, from his links to the Aesthetic Movement to his infatuation with Lord Alfred Douglas and the gay Victorian underworld that ultimately led to his sensational criminal trial, imprisonment and untimely death in Paris in November 1900.
SUE’S TIP: We finish the tour outside the Café Royal on Piccadilly where they do a special Afternoon Tea that includes a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne and live piano music, named ‘Best Traditional Afternoon Tea in the UK at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2017/18’.
(If you want to book yourself in for Afternoon Tea may I suggest you book for 4.30pm in case we are slightly delayed on the walk – price for Afternoon Tea with glass of champagne is £65) https://www.hotelcaferoyal.com/afternoontea
Image credit: Oscar Wilde Lounge at Hotel Café Royal, London
Need to know
Meeting point: At the Diana Fountain (goddess not princess) in Green Park, Piccadilly (south side).
Nearest tube station: Exit into Green Park from the tube station and the fountain is just there.
Walk ends near: Outside the Café Royal on Regent Street, near Piccadilly Circus.