The premier travel partner for arts organisations planning tours to the UK and Europe for their patrons and members.

For over twenty years, London Arts Discovery has provided the highest quality theatre, festival and music tours to major cities in the UK and across Europe. Offering in-depth cultural experiences and unrivalled access to the artists that shape each city, London Arts Discovery provides unparalleled opportunities for you to cultivate key supporters as part of your development programme and raise funds for your organisation.

Private lunch at Kirby House, home of the Astors

Bespoke Tours

London Arts Discovery devises bespoke cultural itineraries, combining performances and exclusive events with superb hotels, gourmet meals and unique sightseeing opportunities. What truly sets our tours apart, however, is the ‘behind-the-scenes’ access that we provide – exclusive talks, private discussions and intimate meet-and-greets with leading members of the arts industry. Guests include directors, actors, musicians, producers, playwrights, designers, critics and many more.

Exclusive Guests

Arts industry guests for each tour depend on the plays, concerts, exhibitions and events selected. Perhaps a West End leading lady, an Oscar-winning director, or the curator of a prominent new exhibition. Previous guests include Alan Ayckbourn, Samantha Bond, Simon Callow, Bryan Cranston, Sinead Cusack, Howard Davies, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Richard Griffiths, Sheila Hancock, Nicholas Hytner, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, James Earl Jones, Trevor Nunn, Vanessa Redgrave, Simon Russell Beale, Mark Rylance, Kevin Spacey, Imelda Staunton, Toby Stephens, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, Dame Harriet Walter, Zoe Wanamaker and many more.

Phill Ward interviews Patrick Stewart
Giles Ramsay interviews Zoë Wanamaker

Expert Guides

Accompanied throughout by one of our tour-directors, all of whom have substantial professional backgrounds in the arts, your tour participants will gain a real ‘behind-the-scenes’ insight into the arts culture of your chosen destination, as well as its social and historical context. Each event is introduced by our guides, who are always on hand to provide additional information or explanation if required.

Sample Itineraries

Manhattan Theatre Club

Weston Playhouse

Town Hall Theatre

Virtual Tours

Not ready to travel in person yet? Visit London’s West End from the comfort of your own home with our brand-new virtual theatre tours.

See shows, meet VIP guests and participate in engaging and entertaining discussions with fellow virtual theatre-goers. London Arts Discovery now offers remote tours of London for Theatre Groups, Alumni Associations and other institutions. A perfect way to maintain contact with your community whilst they are unable to travel.

  • Enjoy recordings of three stimulating productions that can be viewed at your leisure during this four day course.
  • Discuss productions with your fellow participants and one of London’s leading theatre critics, as well as learn about the state of the arts today and visions for the future.
  • Engage in a discussion on current affairs with one of the UK’s leading political journalists, where you’ll examine today’s headlines on issues ranging from Brexit to the Monarchy.
  • Meet with special guests associated with some of the shows we have watched together.

All itineraries can be tailor-made to fit in with the particular requirements of your organisation. It is recommended that each client add a tax-deductible contribution to their institution.

Click here to view a sample Virtual Theatre Tour itinerary.

Simon Callow entertains a virtual group

“The Virtual London Tour this year attracted the same interest and received the same praise as the usual live trip. We were able to view and discuss recent London hits, and the speakers and discussions had an intimacy, not to mention convenience, that made the experience possible even for friends who could not have made the physical journey to London.

An enjoyable, stimulating, and fun time for all involved.”

Susanna Gellert - Artistic Director, Weston Playhouse, Vermont

The Team

Phill Ward has spent two decades in management, programming and administration roles in the performing arts. Equally at home working in theatre and music, in positions for large institutions – Royal Festival Hall, Theatre Museum and at the other end of the scale, running London’s oldest pub theatre The King’s Head.

When in charge of cultural affairs for the English Speaking Union, Phill ran a programme of scholarships, international cultural seminars and fundraising events, including interviews with celebrity actors, writers, musicians and politicians.

With the Arts Council, England, as opera and music–theatre funding specialist, there was a chance to regularly assess the work of all the UK’s opera companies. Outside London, Phill worked on the bid for Liverpool’s successful European Capital of Culture 2008. As an opera critic, Phill contributes to various music publications and writes occasional travel features on festivals and cultural hotspots throughout Europe and America.

Giles Ramsay

Giles Ramsay is an independent theatre producer, director and lecturer who specializes in creating new work with artists in developing countries. He is the Founding Director of the charity Developing Artists, a former Fellow of St. Chad’s College, Durham University and Course Leader in Theatre at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Giles was educated at the universities of Cambridge, London and Durham (where he was President of the Union). He also spent a year at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts as part of his MA in drama. After leaving university Giles led The British National Debate Team on its annual tour of America.

Giles has previously produced international work at venues ranging from The Riverside Studios, The British Museum, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, The Young Vic and The National Theatre in London as well as at The Pleasance, The Assembly Rooms and The King’s and Traverse Theatres in Edinburgh. He has also run theatre projects in Botswana, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Kosovo, Palestine, Mexico, Thailand and Zimbabwe as well as regularly lecturing on the history and practice of theatre on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 as she sails from New York to the UK.

FAQs

Since everything LAD does is bespoke this will depend on the organisation in question and we encourage you to contact us to discuss specifics. However many of our clients add a tax-deductible contribution to their institution within the price they charge for the tour as a simple and direct way of raising funds.

Further, the intangible benefits of strengthening bonds with your patrons or members, and the value of shared experiences that shed light on your own artistic process or philosophy, cannot be overstated. Many of our clients have been running annual tours with us for over twenty-five years  and use our tours as a recruitment incentive for new donors or board members. Other institutions take the opportunity to forge links with international venues or artists. Overall our groups return year after year simply because their members see it as a delightful, educational and engaging opportunity to spend time with the directors or senior management who run their organisation.

Over the years we’ve hosted tours for groups of eight to forty-eight and are happy to accommodate parties anywhere in this range. Whilst the majority of our clients are from the performing arts organisations, mainly theatres, we also happily operate tours for groups of friends and extended family groups with shared cultural interests. 

We work closely with each individual organisation devising a tour to ensure the itinerary matches your institutions interests and requirements. The tour dates will dictate which shows or events are available, and our expert tour-directors will advise which venues, artists and guests will provide the most engaging overall experience. Most importantly the choice of performances and events included in the final itinerary is always discussed in detail with you.

Absolutely. Every itinerary contains carefully planned ‘time off’ for participants to do their own thing. In a city like London, you may have friends to meet, old haunts to visit, experiences to enjoy that aren’t suitable for the whole group, and we are delighted to accommodate any participants who wish to do so. The ‘Welcome Pack’ that every participant receives also contains a curated list of recommended restaurants, plays, exhibitions and events perfect for these moments.

Of course – everything from hotel and room/bathroom selection to venue and restaurant choices are all made with any specific mobility requirements in mind. Hotel and venue staff will be briefed in advance if necessary. Our regular transport partner can provide fully accessible vehicles.

LAD has run many twin-destination tours to cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh. The latter two are particularly popular when they are hosting their festivals. We have extensive experience of European cities as add-ons: usually performances chosen are opera, ballet and concerts.

As many as you wish! Most groups opt for a welcome and farewell dinner with perhaps a more informal lunch or dinner at the mid-point of the tour. Establishments for these events can range from Michelin starred restaurants to charming London and country pubs to private events at some of Britain’s most attractive country houses hosted by members of the resident family.

Groups can be met at the airport – especially if arriving on a group-flight – and all trips to the theatre include coaching to and from the hotel. There is no need for anyone to ever have to worry about transport matters – we will take care of it.

Contact Us

To find out more about our tours or to arrange a phonecall with a member of the team, please send us a message with this contact form.