Lonely Planet Writer

London Tube riders can now read a bit of Shakespeare on their daily commute

Tube riders in London will be treated to a little Shakespeare with their commute as carriages on the Underground have been adorned with lines from the Bard’s writings to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.

Transport for London has added lines from the British writer to Tube carriages as part of Poems on the Underground, a project that has been around since 1986 with the intent of bringing poetry to a large audience by showcasing writings from classical and contemporary poets on the Tube.

London Tube.
London Tube. Image by urbancow/Getty Images

For 12 weeks, three different works from Shakespeare will be featured on trains, including Sonnet 116, Ariel’s merry song from the Tempest and lines from King Lear. There will also be poems from Romantic poet P.B. Shelley and contemporary poets Michael Longley of Belfast and the UK’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, all which were written in response to Shakespeare. 

Transport for London has celebrating the Bard in a variety of ways, including creating a special map of the Underground with the station names replaced by the names of characters and plays. Celebrations have also been happening since the beginning of the year, with performances and exhibitions in cities across the globe.