PICTURE THIS AS A HISTORY LESSON
What happens when you slow down the pace of a supersonic city like London and try to spot the smaller details? That’s what London Walks tour guide Adam Scott-Goulding asks his guests to do each week on his Hidden London walk. An “economic migrant” from Scotland, and journalist by trade, Adam has lived in the city for 26 years, and says that despite its rush, it’s a misconception that Londoners are rude.
“I don’t think we are, I just think we move too fast,” he says. “We rush around and we appear to be rude, but if you stop us, we’re quite friendly really. We just look mad flying around at 100 miles an hour.”
Next time you’re in London, use Adam’s tips for uncovering its lesser-known secrets.
TAKE IT SLOWLY
The speed of London is astonishing – we’re in a bit of a rush here. People are busy, they run around, and they miss the details that are hidden in plain sight. What we do is slow them down. We’ve got a lot of Sir Christopher Wren churches in the city and each of his designs is different from the last, so we point out details that are sitting there but people are moving too quickly to see. Personally, I love StMagnus-the-Martyr but, most of all, St Michael Paternoster Royal, a lovely church with marvellous stained glass. The church was bombed in the war so the stained glass dates from the 1950s and it depicts the story of DOicnk
ALL OF LONDON IN ONE DAY
If you only have a day to spare, I’d go to the National Portrait Gallery. It’s the biography of British history, it’s the obituary of an empire, and you can get a real flavour for the history of the place and the faces of the people who made it famous.
It’s right in the middle of town, in Trafalgar Square, so it’s obvious but not obvious. And it’s free.
Then you have to come along on my Rock ’n’ Roll Pub Walk on a Wednesday night. It’s the history of music – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Clash, Bob Marley, you name it. We stop at a lot of pubs along the way and at one of the stops we have some live music and I provide the live music.
FRIED MARS BAR WITH THAT?
People always ask about fish and chips and until recently we were sending them to the four corners of the earth to get it, but what I’m loving right now is Poppie’s Fish and Chip shop in Old Compton St. Poppies has been making fish and chips for as long as Queen Elizabeth II has been the queen and I know that sounds a bit obvious but they were hidden away in East London. Now they’ve branched out and opened in Soho. We’re spoiled with every cuisine under the sun in Soho but it’s great to see traditional fish and chips back again.
ROOM WITH A BREW
If you’re wondering where to stay, I’d recommend Clerkenwell, between the city and the City of Westminster – a historic place and a little bit off the beaten track but still very central. Here you’ll find the finest pub on god’s green earth – not just in London but in the whole world – The Three Kings of Clerkenwell. It’s quite a traditional old pub but the three kings on their pub sign are King Kong, Elvis, and King Henry VIII. It’s become eccentric throughout the years.
Get a view of British history and the faces of those who made it famous at the National Portrait Gallery.