PIC­TURE THIS AS A HIS­TORY LES­SON

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - ASK THE TOUR GUIDE - CELESTE MITCHELL

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.

PIC­TURE: ALAMY

Get a view of Bri­tish his­tory and the faces of those who made it fa­mous at the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery.

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