Harlots & Strumpets & Tarts, Oh My! – The Dark History of London 18th Century Sex Trade

London offers lots of guided walking tours to discover the capital’s rich and amazing history. A history that’s still there in the shadowy corners and small alleyways all around in London…waiting to be discovered.  You just need to know where to find them.

Herstorical Tours guide you through some of those historical places, but with a fascinating twist!


Herstorical Tours are Created by Women for Women


Strumpets and Harlots Walking Tour by Herstorical Tours

Photo: Urban Adventurer


As the founder of Herstorical Tours, Maria says in the introduction, “Women’s voices have routinely and systematically been silenced; and their stories erased, – throughout history.” If women did have courage to tell their stories, they were often labelled as hysterical or mad and, thus got punished.

Herstorical Tours tell stories of women in history from the perspective of women.  Unusual, fascinating, and lesser-known stories that need to be told; focusing on the dark and curious and explore the hidden nooks and crannies behind the shadowy corners of London.

To bring those stories to life and make them more immersive, they use acting and comedy.


Harlots & Strumpets & Tarts, Oh My!


Harlots & Strumpets & Tarts, Oh My! - The Dark History of London 18th Century Sex Trade

Photo: Urban Adventurer


Let yourself transported back in time and guided through London’s dim and steamy underworld of sex workers of the 18th century.

Your guide will be Baroness QuickBlow and her servant, Polly, to lead you through the gin-addled streets and tell the stories of high-class courtesans, corrupted country girls, Madams, and women who ended up in gutter.

How was it really like to serve men in the 18th century and what these girls had to go through while being part of the brutal sex industry? Did we learn anything from the past?


Hertorical Tours is seeking the answers to these questions while sharing saucy and harrowing stories of women during their ‘Harlots & Strumpets & Tarts, Oh My!’ ** walking tour.


[**TRIGGER WARNING: the tour contains themes of rape, sexual exploitations and violence that may be triggering to some**]


Herstorical Tours London

Photo: Urban Adventurer


Did you know that between the 16th and 18th centuries, Covent Garden was the centre of sex trade? Covent Garden at that time was known as “the great square of Venus” and it certainly earned that name.

During the tour you’ll hear stories on how girls became prostitutes, how their lives looked like in Covent Garden and how little money they earned for their services.


Herstorical Tours - Tours about Women for Women

Photo: Urban Adventurer


It is a mind-blowing fact that there was even a book, called ‘Harris’s List of Covent-Garden’ published yearly with the list of prostitutes available to hire.

You’ll hear stories about a harlot with such a clever mind and amazing marketing skills that she ended up become famous, married to a rich man, and continued living her life as an honest woman.

You’ll also meet prostitutes, celebrated by men but ended up in prison and died at a young age.


Harlots & Strumpets & Tarts, Oh My! Walking Tour

Photo: Urban Adventurer


Tour leader Maria (she plays ‘The Baroness’) and her faithful servant, Polly, give you an amazing immersive theatrical experience that will make you laugh and sometimes leave you in shock. They encourage their audience to actively take part in the experience. If you’re a bit of shy person or more like an observer (like me), however, don’t worry! No force.

The tour is very entertaining and extremely informative, and you can ask as many questions as you want. Here’s your chance to ask about anything you always wanted to know but was afraid to ask (wink).


Practical Info


A Small Alleyway - Herstorical Tours

Photo: Urban Adventurer


The tour allows only small groups to maximise the theatrical experience.

The tour takes about 1.5 hour and finishes at a notorious local tavern where you can have a beer or two before heading home.



Q: Herstorical Tours offer tours about women for women. Can men join to the tour at all?

A: All gentlemen are most welcome to join the tour! Don’t be shy! Quite a lot of men were with us on the day I went.


Book your tour on Herstorical Tours’ website.


NOTE: Filming is NOT allowed during the tour, but you are most welcome to take as many photos as you like.





Ready for your next adventure? Naked Soho is London’s first erotic-themed restaurant. Why not visit them for some cheeky cocktails or a…khm…themed waffle?