WALKING INTO SECRET LONDON
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Many visitors to London return home with a sense of anti-climax as images of London burnt into our consciousness from repeated exposure often fall short of our expectations. Especially if we take the predictable tourist route of whirlwind coach or taxi tours where we see little and learn even less. Going shopping on Oxford Street and visiting the typical tourist cliches of Trafalgar Square and Buckingham palace are not the only way to see London. There are others who take the less-trod route of walking tours and come away raving about a secret London – where you can enjoy the beauty of a city hidden behind the glittering sprawl at a leisurely pace, places where buses and cars cannot go, and where you are allowed to stand and stare and soak in the quirky British eccentricities of this damp and delightful metropolis. Many have seen London only through these walks and have returned again and again, because the variety offered is endless. To quote Dr Johnson, ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford’.
London is one of the greatest cities on earth. It stands on the Prime Meridian and sits at the centre of Time. The world sets its watch by London’s Big Ben or Greenwich Mean Time. It gave the world modern banking, the stock exchange and insurance through Lloyd’s of London and it remains the world’s largest financial hub. It is home to the Mother of Parliaments and has given sanctuary to ideas, freedom of speech and thought, to religions and refugees from across the globe. It has the best theatre, the greatest concentration of museums, opera and art and a musical and literary heritage second to none. It has the first underwater tunnels, the first and biggest underground transport system, the first international exchange, the highest Ferris wheel, the biggest dome an the loftiest church. London has over 2,000 years of history. It has survived pestilence, fire and war. It has Roman walls, Norman towers, Tudor palaces, Renaissance splendour, Georgian loveliness, Victorian grandeur, as well as breathtaking modern architectural wonders. But many of these treasures lie hidden behind the shining façade of glass and chrome that is modern London, and you need an expert to guide you to its secrets.
There are several walking tour firms but London Walks is the oldest and the best and has received many awards and glowing reviews from happy customers all over the world. Described by Time Out as ‘London’s best guided walks’, it offers over 500 different walks. Its trump cards are its brilliant and sometimes eccentric guides (many of them well-known actors, lecturers and writers), who are experts in their own field and the best in the business. If you want to learn some things about the world’s most cosmopolitan city that most people who spend their entire lives there never learn, the one to pick is London Walks, because of its charming, knowledgeable guides who will make your day.
On the unique London walks you can discover the Chelsea river views that inspired the painter Turner in his final years or find out where London’s first nude statue is. You can explore
London’s finest country house in Charlton and unearth the secrets of the Mother of Parliaments. Spy out the village that gave its name to a car and the Russian word for railway station. Learn which church steeple gave us the design of the traditional wedding cake, where the sandwich was invented and where in Bond Street you can see London’s oldest artefact. Visit the house where musicians Handel and Jimi Hendrix both lived. Climb the famous 311 spiral steps of the Monument, the tallest and finest isolated stone column in the world, go from East to West and back again at Greenwich observatory or fly on the world’s biggest big wheel. There is pomp and ceremony and spectacle, but your quirky guides will also take you to a London that is intimate, with quiet corners, crooked cobbled streets, winding alleyways and sunny squares, and show you the most liveable of all cities, with more green spaces than any other metropolis, and gardens everywhere.
David Tucker owns London Walks with his wife Mary. Mary, the boss, an actress in the West End, guided me years ago on the Thames and Chelsea Pub Walks and endeared herself with her charm and unpretentiousness. David, her husband, is a literary historian, university lecturer and journalist and on all his walks, he is a mine of information and willing to answer even the silliest questions.
On these walks you will meet many strangers and make new friends and realise London is its remarkable people and its odd characters, who meet here from every corner of the planet. ‘London specialises in hiding the best of itself ’, said Pierre Maillaud, and you will realise this when those zany, adventurous guides reveal a totally unknown, incredibly unexpected London.
This walk is the distillation of the brilliant guides of London Walks’ many years of experience in probing the forgotten nooks of the world’s most elusive city. Exploring parts of London that few people know exist – up creeping lanes, round out-of-the-way corners, past secret islands of green, where you discover the most curious, unpredictable, eccentric aspects of London. London’s secret alleyways and courtyards gradually reveal themselves, including a monastery, a stretch of an old Roman wall with its bastion, a fort making a defiant last stand. Concealed courts are keyholes into London’s past, harbouring everything from a forgotten Norman crypt to the musty smells of an ancient prison, to a beautiful but virtually hidden 300-year-old courtyard. Venerable livery halls of the city guilds, quaint old inns and galleons lying at anchor — attend to business as they’ve done for centuries. Round the corner an ancient church or two — flinty signposts to the eternal landscape of the past — somehow keep the 21st century at bay. Nearby, London’s eeriest and most hidden graveyard weathers the centuries. And everywhere, the rustle of the shades and the voices — of Dr Johnson and residents of his old neighbourhood, Shakespeare and town criers, Bunyan and Ballad singers, Dickens and chimney sweeps — come back to haunt you. Your guides conjure up out of the bend of a road, the shape of a doorway, an old badge on a wall, a place-name, a custom or ritual – a millennium and more of London’s history. You learn the origin of London’s newspapers in Fleet Street and the walk ends with Dr Johnson and his favourite cat.
“SOMEWHERE ELSE” LONDON
Elsewhere is always surprising. Especially when elsewhere is the dark side of the moon: the Victorian underside of 21st century London. A wonderful goulash of a walk, it gets you into streets that you’d never find off your own bat – streets that look like an old movie set and a neighbourhood precious few Londoners have dared investigate. Yellow brick, perfectly preserved, all unselfconscious self-respect, real Cockney – unaltered Dickensian London. The miracle is it’s still there, screwed into the underbelly of central, modern London. And getting there is a bit of all right too – because there’s a dramatic river crossing, a stroll along the Thames, a visit to the world’s foremost arts complex, London’s best loved old theatre, a real London street market (instead of a tourist trap), a stunning bird’s eye view of the capital (there’s a lift, so you won’t have to climb hundreds of stairs!), and many forgotten corners of “the real London” just over the river. They make for some thrilling – and chilling – “finds”. Everything from trace evidence – archaeological fragments – to the old, furtive, toil-worn, hard-scrabble, soon-to-be-passing, villainous past: a paupers’ burial ground, a ragged school, ancient “model dwellings”, a prison, Octavia Hill’s cottages, etc. You hear those people speak through the guides: Fagin’s beggars, the prostitutes, the soon-to-be-executed “Black Maria”, pickpockets, street sellers, the Body Snatching Borough Gang, etc. And at the end of the
walk you’ll be able to get into the Old Operating Theatre museum at half price! It’s well worth seeing as it’s the only operating theatre in the world from Georgian times.
The London we know is just the crust: there’s a whole other world down below. Everything from the squat, camouflaged, granite-hard redoubt where the last stand was made against the Nazis, to the ultra-secret Cobra Room, to the labyrinth of sewers that keep this huge city clean. Your guide will show you the telltale ripples on the surface: vents, secret doorways, emergency exits. The Cobra Room, hidden Tunnels, Bomb Shelters, Crypts, Lost Rivers, trains and drains – are all so unreal, the old familiar London will never look the same again. The tangle of infrastructure, new and old, combining history and geology, is intriguing enough to make you explore further on your own.
TIME WARP LONDON
It’s a boat ride – and a walk – into the birthplace of modern London, under three Brunel bridges and over two Brunels’ tunnels to the best-kept secret in London. (And into the bargain a sightseer’s London checklist, from the Houses of Parliament to the Tower of London.) There are icons, and several secrets. A secret gateway for the Russian Czar. Six dead men on a haunted ship. Broken bones by the silent Harpy. Broken slipways on the Isle of Dogs. Shattered columns, shattered dancers, magic at the Tunnel Club. A monster ship. And the world’s most important tunnel.
The 8th Wonder of the World is the underground cathedral and the Grand Entrance Hall to Brunel’s tunnel under the Thames. In Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, you’re only a 7-minute tube ride away from the Houses of Parliament, yet 500 years away in time. This place still looks and feels like what it once was. The Mayflower – the Pilgrim Father’s pub – is here (not to mention a king’s palace, a Dickensian mortuary, a villain’s gibbet, a prince’s tomb and a pirate’s pub). The Thames foot tunnel built by the Brunels to Wapping was the first underwater tunnel in the world. You can sneak right down into the underground cathedral – even though it’s locked and closed to the public – because your guide is the Curator of the Brunel Museum and he’s got the key! Be warned, access to the Grand Entrance Hall is severely restricted – you stoop down through the short tunnel to descend by temporary staircase into a huge chamber, half the size of Shakespeare’s Globe, but hidden underground. That low tunnel is not unlike the entryway to a bomb shelter; and it’s about the same height as the tunnel into Egypt’s Great Pyramid (this tunnel also takes you into a kind of “Great Pyramid” – oh okay, an enormous silo – that opens downwards). Visitors with claustrophobia or any concerns can contact the Brunel Museum beforehand. The Brunel Museum waives its £6 admission charge for us. But asks for a £3 donation to help the museum charity look after the underground cathedral.
You emerge in Rotherhithe, which has a long history as a port, with many shipyards from Elizabethan times until the early 20th century, and working docks until the 1970s. In the 1980s, the warehouses along the river were redeveloped as upmarket housing. After the walk, go off to explore on your own or sit down with a pint at the old riverside village to rest your feet. Riverlulled in ancient Rotherhithe, you hear the cool lapse of hours pass, until the centuries blend and blur.
It’s olde, vintage London. There are turnoffs - secret passageways - that take you into the 16th century. And the 18th century is also par for the course. It’s the pull of hidden courtyards, secret passageways & antique arcades. This one isn’t a view from the royal balcony – it’s through the keyhole – into royal hideaways and nooks and crannies and boltholes. It’s where the wild goings on went down, and kings who were queens. It’s tales
of 16 coffin bearers, beheaded lovers and a questionable birthright. It’s a square coffin, a fake lesbian wedding and “a bat instead of a woman”. It’s curses and betrayals, heartaches and hearth-aches and unhealthy habits. It’s ugly sisters and poisonous makeup, and war and head lice. It’s between the kings’ sheets and a cabinet particulaire and a royal brothel. It’s £40 million of debt, swinging parties, debauchery and it’s a royally good walk, full of character, full of characters, and marinated in scandalous history.
Westminster waits for you, a perfect blend of modernity and tradition. It is the seminal London Walk. The past here is cast in stone. Miss it and you’ve missed London at its grandest. Here is where Kings and Queens are crowned, where they live, and often are buried. The Mecca of politicians, where once beat the heart of the Empire. The forge of the national destiny, it includes Ancient Westminster Hall, the Houses of Parliament, the Crown Jewels and the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, picturesque 18th century backstreets and the Cabinet War Rooms, and the fortified bunker from where Churchill commanded operations during the war.
The Westminster nobody knows is another walk or kettle of fish entirely — narrow streets, secret courtyards, superb, oldfashioned shops all hidden away behind the tinsel and glitter of the West End. The ingredients speak for themselves — ‘the Embassy of the Republic of Texas,’ a hideaway where the last known duel in London was fought, Henry VIII’S cowshed, Princess Diana’s ancestral home, Wren’s only West End church, London’s finest Georgian shopping arcade, the Queen Mother’s official residence, the extremely posh gentleman’s club where Prince Charles made merry on his stag night, a splendid old stable and vaults, the Queen’s own grocers, four of the most interesting shops in London, the square that launched the West End, the club that boasts the best American association in London, the city’s most intimate little palace and a guide who peppers the whole walk with titbits of scandal about royalty past and present!
Later, if you want to explore Westminster by gaslight, you get to see the private, wealthy face of Westminster – the hidden and ever so picturesque Georgian back streets where all the political salons are, the house where the anti-appeasement got started, a house where Marilyn Monroe spent the night and those discreet neighbourhoods that London excels in. There’s no better time to discover “Old Westminster” because the swarms of tourists have gone .... you have the area to yourself and can see it up close. Nip over the bridge to take in the most famous night-time view in Europe: the view across the river to the Houses of Parliament lit up against the night sky. All towers and spikes and serried windows bathed in golden light. Big Ben standing like a sentinel, booming out the hour, with garlands of Victorian lamps lining the Embankment. With dark patches that suggest the old and mighty consequence of the place. Peep into some more fascinating nooks and crannies, a secret mediaeval palace and a couple of quick pit stops at traditional old pubs frequented by Members of Parliament and you have got your money’s worth many times over. And how’s this for a bonus: when Parliament is in session, late night sittings are the norm on Monday nights – so, after the walk, you’ll be able to go inside Parliament and watch the House of Commons (or if you prefer, the House of Lords) in action from the visitors’ gallery. And what’s more, you won’t have to queue to get in!
THE WEST END GHOST WALK
Gas-lit alleyways. Film set-perfect Georgian streets that nobody goes to. A gloomy old palace in the gloaming. A plague-pit with lit (to this day) corpse candles above it. Spectral walls and towers and domes across a fen. Faded grandeur. Old, haunted buildings frozen in time...it is London’s parallel universe. There have been some really eerie goings-on here. The walk starts off as jolly and fun and eccentric but as the shadows lengthen – as you get into the deepest recesses of a ghostly house – it really does get quite creepy. The folklore seems to come to life with the fine actor guide who fronts the ghost walk – his gravelly voice makes you feel “they” can touch you but you can’t touch them, as something swiftly brushes past. You discover the “signs” of a haunting as well as the ‘just-in-case something appears’ exorcism paraphernalia that the guide always carries with him, and gaze at the world’s most haunted theatre. The Man in Grey, the headless woman in moonlit St James Park, the most haunted statue in London, are enough to give you a bad case of the jitters. But take heart, afterwards, you can renew your courage in a superb Georgian pub.
GHOSTS OF LONDON
If the present is too humdrum and the future too way out then dive into a London that is the most haunted city on earth: unutterably old, built over a fen of undisclosed horrors, believed to contain occult lines of geometry. A city where a sudden mist descends like a sigh from a graveyard. At night, the ancient City is deserted... and eerie. Exploring its shadowy back streets and dimly lit alleys you feel you might be in a medieval citadel, surrounded
by overpowering stone. The very street names – Aldersgate, Cloth Fair, Charterhouse, Threadneedle – give you goosebumps. For this is the hour when the She Wolf of France glides through the churchyard, the hour when the Black Nun keeps her lonely vigil, and something inexpressibly evil lurks behind a tiny window, the hour when the dark figure in the notorious Newgate prison, built on the old Roman wall, rattles his chains. From St Paul’s Cathedral, head under the arch towards Warwick Lane and at the site of the old Newgate Prison, on whose site the Old Bailey now stands, legend claims that as far back as the 1500s, a ferocious black dog used to haunt the prison, and its shadowy form is sometimes seen sliding over the old wall. You may be hot on the trail of London’s famous spectral spirits, but are they actually shadowing you?
If your appetite is whetted then there is another ghostly trail to follow. For this supernatural safari through the concrete jungle, where you’ll encounter Monsters, ghostly bears and phantom hellhounds, you begin at Holborn Viaduct where you’ll see a huge winged lion and several dragons. Dragon-like monsters have been reported over London since 1222. In 1797, a ‘flying serpent’ was observed over Hammersmith, and in 1984, a creature which became known as the Brentford Griffin was seen in west London. There are many legends of ‘big cats’ haunting London as well, from the glowing lion, the Surrey puma, the beast of Sydenham and the tiger of Edgware. From the Viaduct, you go down the stairs to Farringdon. Bear Alley is on your left and, many years ago, harboured a bear-baiting ring. Ghostly bears have been seen here and throughout London, in areas where there used to be bear-baiting. Cross the road in to Poppins Court. The Fleet River used to run behind this: seals have been caught in the Fleet and, during the 1700s, wild pigs were heard grunting in the drains. There is also the legend of a giant, supernatural rat said to inhabit the sewers and a race of cannibalistic subterranean dwellers. In Dorset Rise there’s a statue of a horseman. There are many tales of ghostly highwaymen across London, particularly in Hampstead. The ghost of a glowing blue donkey has been recorded near Hendon. In Victoria Embankment note the creatures on the lampposts – an alligator, a shark, a whale and a turtle, as well as ‘serpents,’ which have all been reported as having been seen in the Thames at one time or another. Even a figure resembling ‘an angel’ has been spotted. Here also is a column with a statue of a man fighting a snake: the early 1900s saw a spate of giant-snake sightings on Gower Street. A piranha was once caught in the section of the Thames on the path to the Millennium Bridge, and seahorses and a vampire fish (aka the blood-sucking lamprey) have also been found.
FAMOUS SQUARE MILE
The Famous Square Mile is the classic London walk where, along with your guide, you chronicle 2000 years of London’s history in the heart of the city. From St Paul’s Cathedral broadly covering the Jubilee Walkway, the walk explores many rarely visited parts of the City of London including gardens, churches, hidden courtyards, and cutting-edge modern architecture, set against a splendid Medieval backdrop. Threading your way through an intricate network of narrow alleys and cobblestone lanes, you visit the ruins of the Roman temple of Mithras, the Bank of England, the Lord Mayor’s mansion house and ancient Guildhall. Your guide’s enthrals by blending historical commentary with bizarre anecdotes and wild, mildly scurrilous gossip about past and present celebrities and defunct royals. An area of extraordinary richness and density, the “one square mile” is the oldest part of the capital, with continuous development since the founding of the Roman town in the first century AD, reflecting the vibrancy of a mercantile centre whose architecture contains examples of remarkable survival. The medieval St Paul’s Cathedral (Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece) and 87 of the 107
City churches were destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666; 51 were rebuilt under the direction of Sir Christopher Wren. Excavations for the Bucklersbury House office building which started a new architectural style of slabs and towers arranged with picturesque asymmetry around gardens and courts in the 50s, revealed the second-century AD Roman Temple of Mithras, now resited to the west and set on a terrace above-ground. The central Mithraic belief concerns the god’s slaying of a bull in a cave – the triumph of light and life over darkness, which is experienced by going down into a subterranean cavern. Classical sculpture from the site is displayed in the Museum of London.
LONDON PUB WALKS
If you only have time for one walking tour, the one to go on is the Thames Pub Walk. You visit London’s last remaining galleried coaching inn, its best riverside walkway, its oldest market, the finest art nouveau pub in England, the recently discovered remains of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and its sister playhouse, The Rose, (to say nothing of the thrilling and faithful modern reproduction of The Globe, rising phoenixlike from the ashes, just a stone’s throw away), the church where Harvard University’s founder was baptised, the last three-masted schooner to ply the high seas, and an 18th century pub that brews its own beer, plus lashings of Shakespeare, a shot of Dickens, barrels of pub lore and London’s best skyline and riverside views, on the Thames towpath.
On the historic pub walk, you will discover the hidden pubs of Old London and enter London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods, where you relive the era of London by gaslight. “The history of London is the history of its taverns; to know one is to know the other.” Welcome to cheek-by-jowl, back-of-the-hand, under-thecounter, higgledy-piggledy, quintessential London. To gnarled, brooding back-alleys, secluded courtyards and tortuous zigzag passages. To get to them you have to walk crookedly, through a maze of curiosities. It’s a heady mixture of pavement cafes, street performers, boutiques and craftsmen’s stalls; of gaslit courts and secret alleys — often no more than footways — that thread off the main piazza; of actors, arias and an Aladdin’s cave of superb pubs. Not to mention the sonorous, clear echoes of a wondrous past — of gallants, wits, clubs, coffee-houses, of Dr. Johnson, Eliza Doolittle and My Fair Lady, of Edward VII and Lily Langtree, of the young Dickens gazing at pineapples, of Oscar Wilde and his ribald gang and London’s most glamorous highwayman.
We set our course by the best old pubs in town - including the most famous London inn of all, the Cheshire Cheese — old pubs that are, as every English pub should be, a solace, like a lighthouse shining its beacon for the weary traveller and all the more special for being hidden away down this or that dark alley. Here you have 2,000 years of London and its inns in the palm of your hand with echoes of Roman tavernas, Shakespearean ale-houses and Dickensian coaching inns...of feasting and wine and song...of the souls of poets dead and gone...but their spirit still alive in the smoky, dimly lit pubs of old Lander. Three hundred years ago the place was called Alsatia and it was the most notorious district in old London. The place where no law had power, the sump to which the lowest elements of society sank, a region of foot-pads and murderers, brigand highwaymen, debtors and prostitutes.
If you still thirst for more then go on the Soho pub walk. Colourful and cosmopolitan Soho is the free port that every city must have. It’s London’s hottest and coolest social melting pot. A place of bewitching contrasts — homely village and red light district: workplace and playground: quaint Chinatown and dazzling Theatreland. It’s a paradise for gourmands and the haunt of artists, conartists, artistes and artisans. Today, it is a byword for style: in the Sixties it was the cradle of British pop music: a century ago the worst slum in town and earlier still, the hub of aristocratic life. There’s no other place like it in all of London.
THE LITERARY LONDON WALKS
This is the write stuff, the tour-de-force of London walks, especially for bookworms. For many Indians, fed on a diet of English classics since childhood, it is London’s literary claim to fame which holds the most attraction. Follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Watson and visit the scenes of their exploits — Baker Street; bustling Charing Cross; the Strand’s gas-lit alleys; Covent Garden with its Opera House and colourful market stalls, ending at the superb re-creation of Sherlock Holmes’
study. Housed in the building immortalised in The Hound Of The Baskervilles and featuring many artefacts donated by the Conan Doyle family, it’s a place where fiction turns into fact.
On another evening literary soiree, you can enjoy company beyond compare -- shades of Oscar Wilde and G. B. Shaw; Dickens and Thackeray; Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Circle (who lived in Squares and loved in triangles); George Orwell, W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot. The venue’s a moveable feast: a procession of handsome Georgian squares; the humming little warren of streets in the Museum quarter; and a couple of the best old pubs in London. The guide’s a born raconteur. He’ll tell you a thing or two about the aforementioned – how they were flesh and blood men and women, who lived, loved, laughed, caroused, quarrelled and spun “words so nimble, so full of subtle flame...” This walk also explores “the undiscovered Bloomsbury” – the Bloomsbury the tourists don’t get to see. As Virginia Woolf said, “We take chairs and sit on our balcony after dinner... Really, Gordon Square, with the lamps lit and the light on the green is a romantic place.” But besides that famous quarter, you’ll also see London’s tiniest street, as well as its most literary street, a Sylvia Plath-ted Hughes house, the “nodal point” where the most important moment in the 20th century occurred, London’s most beautiful square, and much more.
SHAKESPEARE’S & DICKENS’ LONDON - THE OLDE CITY
London was to Shakespeare and Dickens what Paris was to Balzac. It held them in its thrall, was both their canvas and their inspiration. Today, despite the ravages of time, riots, bombings, and especially the great fire, traces of that London – shipwrecks from the past – still abound in the City. Everything, from superb half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings to the magnificent early 16th-century gatehouse where Shakespeare went with his plays, to the offices of the Elizabethan Master of the Revels, becomes a part of this journey into the past. From London’s grandest Tudor manor house to crooked little alleys which fed the fires of Dickens’s “hallucinating genius”. Cobbled, echoing Clink street threads between brick cliffs of warehouses where bars of sun-light highlight the shadows – the neighbourhood of Dickens’ troubled boyhood – the London that formed him and with which he was obsessed to his dying day. It is also the bankside district, home to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre (old and new), and other Elizabethan theatres (and its ‘stews’, and bear baiting dens). Stroll along to an ancient, sway-backed coaching inn, the only surviving galleried coaching inn, in whose courtyard Shakespeare’s plays are still performed, and on to Southwark Cathedral. You also get to see a centuries-old dock, and St Saviour’s, the church where Shakespeare’s brother Edmund is buried and which Shakespeare himself attended, and the well of the Marshalsea prison, where Dickens father was locked away for debt, with the profoundest consequences for his son and for English Literature!
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL LONDON
If you’re tired of history and the ancient then there’s rock n’ roll London. It’s all aboard the night train for Rock ‘n’ Roll & a bit of Booze. Head to the rockstars’ haunts and hangouts where they riffed and let rip, displaying their wealth and their wild antics. The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, David Bowie, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Blur, Oasis...the Who’s Who of the music world strung along a London trail where each act has a naughty London tale to tell. Very often a tale so decadent – so down and dirty – that the present day musicians couldn’t hold a candle to them.
Another popular tour is the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, showing you where they lived, loved and played, down to their Apple offices and their last impromptu concert together on a rooftop, to the Abbey studios where they composed their greatest hits. Walk down memory lane with the Fab Four on the zebra pedestrian crossing featured as the iconic LP cover for Abbey Road. The walk gives you a great appetite so you can enjoy a traditional, English Pub style, Ploughman’s lunch at a charming little inn in a winding lane behind the Abbey Road Studios.
JACK THE RIPPER LONDON
He came silently out of the midnight shadows in 1888, striking terror in the hearts — and throats — of drink-sodden East End prostitutes and leaving a trail of blood that led .... nowhere. Little
did Jack the Ripper know then that once hunted as London’s most sadistic murderer, he would one day become such a big industry, based on his short but infamous reign of terror. In keeping with this morbid fascination, the Jack the Ripper walk has become one of the most popular of the London walks. If you want the colourful and the bizarre, the strange and the unusual, this place of menacing shadows and gory sites of his murders still echoes that era of gaslight and fog, the stealthy footsteps and the dimly lit alleyways he lurked in. You can later steady your nerves in the Ten Bells, the very pub where his prospective victims, probably under the steely gaze of the Ripper himself, tried to drown their sorrows.
You will be guided by Donald Rumbelow, who spent 25 years with the London Police and is former Curator of the City of London Police Crime Museum and a two-time Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association. He is Britain’s most distinguished crime historian, and internationally acclaimed as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper and author of the best-selling book, The Complete Jack the Ripper. But a word of warning: never part with your money or set off with anyone until you’re absolutely certain you’re with Donald, who starts his walk at 7-30 pm, as there are many rip-off artists around.
If you want to discover the unknown East End, you can also go for a walk with David Tucker. It was once down and out London, the worst slum in Europe. Paradoxically it was also London at its richest! Richest in terms of its artistic expression and social ferment and human mix. The London of revolution (you’ll see the building where Lenin, Trotsky, Gorky and Stalin touched down); of sieges and battles; of Isaac Rosenberg and Mark Gertler; of the greatest Indian poet of them all, Tagore; of the Liberty Bell (and Bi-centenary Bell) foundry; and today the best ethnic restaurants in London run by Bangladeshis; of the 13th-century Whitechapel and synagogues and mosques. It’s darkest Victorian London – Jack the Ripper, gin palaces and Elephant Man freak shows. But the East End also means street markets, boxing and old style gangsters. It’s eighteenth century coach inns, Dick Turpin and bare knuckle fighters. It’s both Fort Vallance — home of the infamous twins, gangster Ronnie and Reggie Kray as well as the roots of the Salvation Army. It’s a place where a Bishop shooed the devil, a Duke lost his head and became a mummy, a hanged man rode to London in a dung cart and where a man cut off the head of a king and stole an orange from him. It was home to the monkey parade, mad Russian revolutionaries and the unemployed tailor’s presser who shot three London policemen to become a national hero.
THE OLD JEWISH QUARTER
This walk traces the history of London’s Jewish community in the East End, “a shtetl called Whitechapel”. It’s a story that embraces the poverty of the pogrom refugees and the glittering success of the Rothschilds; the eloquence of the 19th-century Prime Minister Disraeli and the spiel of the Petticoat Lane stallholder; the poetry of Isaac Rosenberg and the poetry-inmotion of Abe Saperstein’s Harlem Globetrotters. Set amid the alleys and back streets of colourful Spitalfields and Whitechapel, it’s a tale of synagogues and sweatshops, Sephardim and soup kitchens. Time was when the ships used to dock by Tower Bridge, and the Jewish immigrants into England could disappear without further ado into the streets and courts of the East End, to begin life afresh. The place they came to live in the 1860s was the East End of small shopkeepers, kosher chickens on a slab, salt beef sandwiches from Blooms Restaurant, little synagogues in small streets like Princelet Street – and lively street markets with witty stall holders shouting their wares with flair and cunning. The dirty blocks of apartment buildings, all stairs and washing lines, Brick Lane, Leman Street, Black Lion Yard – these are the streets of the gritty, warm-hearted Jewish Quarter.
The old riverside walk begins from Lambeth North Underground. Lambeth is London’s best kept secret. It’s Londoner’s London, the home of cockneys, Charlie Chaplin and Pearly Kings and Queens. It’s studded with special places — London’s only
medieval palace, the Imperial war museum, the Museum of Garden History (where you break for a cup of tea). Lambeth is also the vantage point for the most heart-stopping tableau in London — the riverfront view of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and the entire Westminster skyline. In short, if you haven’t been to Lambeth, haven’t trod the Queen’s Walk, you haven’t really seen Westminster and the West End. That view was our backdrop as we followed the river downstream. History parades before you — the palaces that fringed the north bank, Cleopatra’s needle, Scotland Yard, and then, as St Paul’s comes into view, you reach your destination — the great South Bank Arts Centre. My guide was Stephanie, an ex-elephant-keeper!
Weary of walking and need to give your tired feet a rest? If you opt for the London Panorama, you can take a boat ride in between snatches of walking and see London at its most memorable. You begin as London began — with the Thames. Silvery lifeline, main highway, chief processional route, the Thames is, quite simply, London’s Grand Canal. You embark on the boat at Tower bridge and go ashore at Westminster Bridge, the two bridges which bracket London. To set sail on this stretch of water is to glissade down the centuries. Here kings and queens were borne in painted and gilt state barges — on the one shore, Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral engraves the sublime against the London sky; on the other, Shakespeare wrought his magic at the Globe theatre, “not for an age, but for all time!” The Thames knew great men and women in death too — these waters bore Elizabeth I’s funeral as well as Nelson’s and Churchill’s. And hand in glove with the history, it is also the most famous of all London views, as throat-catching today as it was to Wordsworth 200 years ago — “Earth has not anything to show more fair...” Ashore, you take in St James palace, the Mall and Trafalgar Square, where your guide weaves in idiosyncratic detail to add depth to the powerful spectacle before you.
If you fancy something completely different, this is the walk for you. Little Venice is the one of the quaintest and most romantic spots in town. Set amid the winding waterways of the numerous canals snaking through London, it is an oasis of peace and stillness amid London’s hustle and bustle. A unique combination of white stucco, greenery, and water, it boasts the finest early Victorian domestic architecture in London; a Who’s Who of famous residents (Robert Browning, Edward Fox, Joan Collins, Annie Lennox, and Sigmund Freud to name but a few); and a jewel of a “village” street. And that’s not to mention its canals. One of them – Regent’s Canal – is known as the “loveliest inland waterway in England”. Part of the walk is along the canal towpath – which to this day is studded with fragments of evidence that bring the Age of Canals to life. And afterwards you can have tea – or a bite to eat – at a stylish canal-side café, and then take a ride in a traditional narrow boat to London Zoo or Camden Lock. On the way, besides the magical effect of moving through dark tunnels and moss-green waters, with deliciouslooking buildings on either side, you also get to see the life of a strange new community, the boat people, who live all year round in ramshackle (and also some very glamorous) boats, in which they can take off for a ride whenever they want to!
LEGAL & ILLEGAL LONDON - THE INNS OF COURT
The Inns of Court – habitat of the wigged and gowned English barrister – could pass for a collection of Oxford and Cambridge colleges right in the heart of London. They’re a warren of cloisters, courtyards, and passageways set amongst some of the best gardens in London, witness to ancient rites and customs, high drama, colourful characters, and matters of life and death amid delightful surroundings. It’s a rich confection, making this the prettiest and most historical of the central London walks. You discover quiet gardens, a truly eclectic architectural rattlebag, and a glorious roll-call of British eccentrics. The Wits, the
Windbags and Wayward Wigs – The cream of English Intellect milking the nation as it battles over Wives, Writs, Wills, Widows and Wrecks. You find out what happened when Tony Blair met Cherie and walk in the footsteps of that famous character, the untidy London Barrister, Horace Rumpole, who defended criminals at the Old Bailey! And as these are private grounds it is a real privilege to be shown around. Hear the case being argued in the High Court and then give your verdict at the end.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
This walk cracks open some doors and drops you into places of long ago – places you probably couldn’t get into on your own steam. Into the the Floral Hall for a view that will spike your Wow factor graph. Into the Royal College of Surgeons to see an astonishing – and unique – collection bequeathed by the greatest surgeon of them all. Into the venerable – and passing strange – RAF church. To crown it all you go into the Royal Courts of Justice to watch a trial (when the Royal Courts are in session). The ace in the hole are the guides. One is a barrister. The other has a legal background and read Law at university. And at walk’s end you can grab a spot of lunch at The Bank of England (another grand interior where you’ll gasp with wonder) or an ancient haunted pub. And then nip off to St. Petersburg-on-thames or the Courtauld!
LONDON’S ANCIENT VILLAGES
Chelsea — the village of palaces — is Chelsea Reach, “Hyde Park on the Thames.” It’s trendy Sloane Rangers, artists’ studios, Hooray Henries, and scarlet-coated Chelsea Pensioners, clad in the garb of the old soldiers or Redcoats. It’s cannons from the Battle of Waterloo and Chinese lanterns from the Flower Show, Thomas More’s church and ancient Crosby Hall where Richard III stayed. It is the setting of Oscar Wilde’s Tower of Ivory, Laurence Olivier’s house and James Bond’s pad. The ancient and the modern blend harmoniously — Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital and Paul Getty’s stately mansion — Mick Jagger’s house and an ancient apothecary garden that changed the course of American history. Your walk through this ancient riverside village is punctuated by visits to three delightful pubs, including the most traditional hostelry in London, a centuries-old riverside inn as well as a pub that surprises with its extraordinary character.
The walk through old Hampstead village is set in London’s most picturesque neighbourhood...a perfectly preserved Georgian village crowning the top of a handsome hill and garnished with the capital’s most elegant old world promenade, a medley of cobble-stone lanes, pretty cottages, surprising turnings, and unsurpassed views. As for the cast of characters... it’s every bit as beguiling as the setting, ranging from the highwayman Dick Turpin to the painter Constable to the poet Keats; from Freud and D.H. Lawrence to Sting and Boy George; from Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Dench and Emma Thompson to Rex Harrison, Peter O’toole and Jeremy Irons, as well as Alan Bates and Liam Gallagher to our very own poet, Rabindranath Tagore. And the icing on the cake of London’s most villagey setting is white swans on a lake and the magnificent Hampstead Heath, the capital’s best-loved park. Edward Petherbridge, your guide, is a famous actor, and winner of many Tony nominations and an Olivier award.
It’s easy to forget just how green London is — and a walk in Richmond park offers a chance to savour some of the capital’s most glorious scenery. A perfect autumn walk, where you can expect to see rutting deer and piratical parrots. It’s where the other half lives, who like to see but not be seen. At almost 2,500 acres, it’s three times the size of New York’s Central Park. Near the highest points of Richmond Hill, the expensive houses give way to spectacular views across London – parkland sloping away to the west, trees beginning their autumnal transition to rich brown and red, and beyond them the glistening curve of the Thames. Not far from Richmond Gate (S), is Pembroke Lodge – a Georgian mansion with a café attached, surrounded by landscaped gardens – a pleasant place to stop for a coffee and a sandwich. You can also wander up to King Henry VIII’S Mound, with its famous sightline straight across to St Paul’s. Even the place-names within the park sound like destinations for Robert Louis Stevenson protagonists – Bone Copse, Two Storms Wood – and the sight of a bellowing
stag in the sunlit fog will thrill even the most jaded city dweller. Skirting along the top of the Isabella Plantation – the ornamental woodland garden – you wander past ponds and woods. Then take a boat from Richmond to explore the glorious Hampton Court, the grandest of England’s royal houses, a riverside Tudor palace. There is nothing more restful than to walk by the river after exploring the great park to the east.
Then there is Greenwich, another village to which you can travel by boat. The Tower, Tower Bridge, Docklands, and the stateliest buildings in England glide past you, and if you are lucky, you may be in time to see the Tower Bridge opening up. Royal Greenwich, maritime Greenwich and zero degrees longitude, you see it all. Feasts on its secrets – tiny particulars you would otherwise miss. A horse’s tail, a hidden hand, a tell-tale furrow in the terrain, a crushed king, the world’s most expensive apology, Saint Preposterous, clocks that saved thousands of lives, a save-you-a-tenner secret place to bestride both hemispheres, a flutter of fans, the ‘X’ factor which graces works of genius. The Greenwich of crooked lanes, bric-a-brac shops and bustling antique and flea markets. A riverside pub lunch drinking the beer Nelson’s old salts drank. His Trafalgar uniform, with the bullet hole. Cream tea and the Cutty Sark, a hauntingly beautiful old tea clipper, dignified even in her last days. From the ‘green’ village to the Queen’s House, to the Old Royal Observatory, to the Gypsy Moth, the Royal Naval Collage and the world’s largest nautical museum, you feel the pages of history turning. It’s the unique trifecta: down Greenwich way people walk under the Thames, sail across it, or fly over it, as you can too, in the Greenwich Emirates Cable Car, a beautiful gondola slung across the sky.
The ancient, hidden village of Clerkenwell clings to a hillside barely a stone’s throw away from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Its very name – the clerks’ or students’ spring – is redolent of antiquity; and indeed this tiny hamlet serves up brimming draughts from the deep well of its history. Mystery plays and plague pits; riots and rookeries; bodysnatching and bombing; jousting and jesters; bloodshed and burnings; monks, murder, and medicine: Clerkenwell has a tale or two to tell. Tracing its narrow alleyways and ancient squares, you take in a Norman church here; a magnificent Tudor gateway there; and round that corner, venerable Charterhouse, London’s only surviving mediaeval monastic complex; as well as Hercule Poirot’s London flat and the trendiest house in town.
A walk through the village of Piccadilly is a dream of a walk, where beautiful places, beautiful things, flow past like blossoms on slow water. It’s the realm of riches, rank and those who rule. Of extreme elegance and splendour. Of exclusivity and eccentricity. Of ancient lineage and effortless superiority. Welcome to Old Money London with elegant arcades, secret doorways and peekaboo views; Gentlemen’s clubs; Burlington House and the Albany; London’s best shopping street; tea and royal chocolates, the queen’s favourite treat (we sample them, gratis); Nelson’s perfumier who creates scents tailor-made for celebrities (more gratis sampling); the world’s smallest – and toniest – privately funded police force; mad, bad and dangerous to know Byron; Brummel to Brando; Jermyn to Marilyn – exclusive, eccentric, best-dressed, best-looking, the privileges of those who possess. A magnet for artists, writers, royals, scientists, dreamers and dandies; Darwin to James Bond; the Prince Regent to Prince Harry; venerable to voopular; and the greatest act of literary vandalism ever. It’s Georgian. It’s Regency. It’s Victorian. It’s Edwardian. It’s Parisian. It’s parfait. It’s part Wonderland, part Arabian Nights.
Royal Kensington is the crown jewel of the capital’s villages — picturesque, stimulating and full of character. Its parts are as delightful as London can provide: everything from warmly handsome old Kensington Palace (home to the late Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales, and now to her sons Prince William and Harry and their wives Kate and Meghan), to Kensington Gardens (which, with its meadows, shaded walks, bowers, and flower gardens, might seem like the grounds of a stately home in some rural shire) to cobbled little soigné lanes and mews, girt with pretty cottages and charming old shops; to regal avenues, and a clutch of the world’s greatest museums; let alone a garden in the sky (the largest and most astonishing roof garden in Europe); to the secluded town house of the greatest Londoner of the 20th-century, an American president’s flat, the most remarkable small literary house in the world, acres of gentility, a secret trap-door into a hidden world, and more
history and colourful characters than you can shake a stick at. You visit the marvellous Victoria and Albert Museum, known as the national attic because of its priceless odds and ends, and millionaire’s row, in a secluded cul-de-sac, which today has more Arab, Russian, Chinese and Indian residents than Brits, and the town houses of the grandest Londoners of the 20th century, in beautifully kept squares.
We have all heard of Mayfair but how many have visited it. It is not just another village, it is the best address in London, the playground of the rich and famous. A patrician promenade through the parallelogram of purses. Pip pipping where Old Masters and old money, Rollers and Rolexes are par for the course. Where diamonds and furs, champagne and caviar are the norm. A boulevardier and a bailiwick of butlers, titles and glamour. What an extraordinary cocktail of residents it has been home to. Admiral Nelson as well as his mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton, India’s very own Clive, as well as Disraeli, Handel, Florence Nightingale, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Sellers, Dodi Fayed and the Earl of Mountbatten, to name but a few. And that’s before you move on to the big artillery – the cartwheeling knickerless American actress and the $10,000,000 casket, for example. Last but certainly not least, Mayfair boasts London’s best village within a village – Shepherd Market, a charming little nest of lanes and alleyways that hasn’t lost a jot of its 18th-century scale and village atmosphere, let alone its raffishness.
If aristocratic London is your thing, you must visit Belgravia, a movie set corner of the city, the grandest London drawing room of them all. It looks different. Feels different. Sounds different. All pearly stucco and cut glass accents and blue blood – the place simply breathes money. The people who live here are people who could live anywhere. Which is why they live here. It has been home to the very rich, the very powerful, the very secure – Baroness Margaret Thatcher, David Niven, Vivien Leigh, Mad Lord Lucan, Mozart, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Omar Shariff, “the Special One”, “the assassinated one”, the one who mistook Hitler for a butler and handed him his coat, the list goes on and on. It’s upstairs-downstairs land, profoundly English but also exotic. You will see it through the peep-hole – threading your way through its cobbled little lanes and mews as well as grand squares and avenues – past secret escapes and hideaways and vistas of sudden surprise, as you gain entry into a couple of pubs that are little enclaves of exclusivity, the haunts of those in the know.
Now you’ve seen the past, interested in glimpsing London’s future? The Docklands today is all shining chrome and glass skyscrapers, chock-a-block with superb, futuristic buildings, built as a testament to the revival of London’s fortunes during the Thatcherite years. It’s Cobblestones, Quaysides & Cloud-capped Towers. Down here the Thames is broad-shouldered, easy and big. There’s a salt tang in the air. And gulls. And cat-o’-nine-tails winds. Haunted winds that whisper of tall ships and swollen sails and spices and silks and rum. They Zephyr us round corners into a pungent past of centuries-old sugar warehouses and ships’ workshops and the Dockmaster’s House. Like the river, time bends here. And flows backward. And then, round other corners, ricochets into the fireworks of a futuristic London. Because this is Wall Street on Water – a place where cutting-edge, 21stcentury power and energy are made visible and tangible. A place where this time-honoured city is re-inventing itself. Spectacularly. Once a desolate wasteland with grim warehouses sprawled across the riverbanks, today it is buzzing with activity. Press barons seemed to have more faith in the whole idea of its metamorphosis initially than business tycoons and shifted their offices here, lock, stock and barrel from Fleet Street. They came to the spectacular Canary Wharf, the second tallest building in London, after the Shard. You end at the new, not-to-be-missed River Thames & Docklands Museum.
The Docklands walk delivers London’s maritime history, and nowhere is it more eloquent than in Wapping. Old warehouses, quays and tobacco docks speak of an age when London was the warehouse of the world, where cruisers and yachts echo the days when tea clippers and schooners from the ends of the earth turned the Thames into a forest of masts. Menacingly high dock walls, old stairs that cut down to the river and creakingly ancient riverside taverns whisper of stevedores, lightermen and
jolly jack tars, as well as mudlarks, scuffle hunters, smugglers and all manner of dark deeds and devilry. In Wapping Lane lies the beautiful St Peter’s London Docks (from the 1850s) and Tobacco Dock, complete with two replica pirate ships. But if it’s real pirates you’re after, carry on up Wapping Wall to the Captain Kidd pub, a former boat repair yard but more or less on the site of the infamous Execution Dock, where pirates like Captain Kidd met their fate as a cheering crowd of London ghouls looked on. Gun Powder Dock is from where the East India Company dispatched its army to police the subcontinent. From here you can get a spectacular view of the Canary Wharf towers, aglow in the sunset.
The yuppie riverside homes in Limehouse are hard to ignore, but throughout the nineteenth century millions of destitute hopefuls left from here, bound for the US, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand – part of one of the biggest mass migrations in history. Limehouse today is part gentrified, but a part remains solidly working-class. The north-western gateway to the Isle of Dogs, it takes its name from the limekilns that operated from the mid-14th century, converting Kentish chalk into quicklime for the capital’s building industry. From the 16th century ships were built at Limehouse and traders supplied provisions for voyages. Wealthy merchants erected fine houses on Narrow Street, especially in the early 18th century. The church here is one of Hawksmoor’s greatest achievements. You discover London’s oldest canal and London’s first Chinatown – it gained a reputation for gambling and opiumsmoking. (Limehouse was the backdrop for the Dr Fu Manchu films.) And this walk will make you appreciate River Thames anew, and understand the deep connections between the city and river.
If you head into the financial heart of the capital on a weekend, you’ll find a deserted world where fascinating historical architecture nudges up against the modern metal and glass. There are ancient churches and synagogues, hidden parks, remnants of the old London Wall and the imposing stone architecture of old financial institutions like Lloyd’s of London that have probably seen happier economic times.
SOUTH LONDON COMMONS
On a baking hot day, you can enjoy a stroll between Wandsworth and Clapham Commons, one of London’s largest open green spaces – taking in the ponds (Long, Eagle, Mount and Cock), Battersea Woods, the bandstand and probably an alfresco pint outside the packed and cavernous Windmill pub.
JURASSIC PARK TO CRYSTAL PALACE
It’s a green and pleasant walk that will take you time travelling from the Mesozoic to the Victorian age. At Crystal Palace you find the spectacular terraces that mark the footprint of Joseph Paxton’s giant 1851 Great Exhibition – the ruins of the original Crystal Palace itself (moved here from Hyde Park in 1854, before burning down in 1936), now housing the world’s original and best dinosaur theme park. Installed in 1854 by fossil expert Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and founder of the Natural History Museum (and coiner of the term ‘dinosaur’), Richard Owen, the 33 prehistoric plaster monsters here were restored to their original glory in 2003 at this Victorian pre-historic theme park. Children will enjoy a visit to ‘the monsters’ – five dinosaur sculptures that lurk among the trees around the lake. They will also find the zigzagging warrens of London’s largest maze further on quite intriguing. There is a natural, bowled amphitheatre that had previously played host to Bob Marley and The Who, and the old part of the train station here is a marvel. A small zoo/ farm, an abandoned railway tunnel and the superb vista of leafy suburbia stretching for miles towards Beckenham as you exit the park through the twin sphinxes (copied from examples in the Louvre).
Stop for liquid refreshment at the Dulwich Woodhouse, now a rambling pub (built by Palace architect Paxton as his home), then cross the main road to Sydenham Hill. From here you get the flipside of the palace view: northwards to the Gherkin, the London Eye and a distant central-london skyline, completing your journey from ancient to modern.
These are only a few of the walks on offer which help you unearth the hidden gems of legends, firsts, inventions, adventures and birthplaces that has shaped the London’s compelling, and at times, turbulent past. You may well come away feeling like Thomas Moore, “Go where we may, rest where we will, eternal London haunts us still.” London cannot ever be fully understood or known. All you can do is revel in its richness and enjoy a slice of the adventure. And there is another unexpected bonus you may not have anticipated. With all the famous stories about British reserve and insularity, visitors to London automatically assume they will be in for a rude rebuff if they make friendly overtures. These walks may prove you completely wrong. The Brits may be shy and buttoned-up but on a walk, in the safe anonymity of a crowd, many of them relax and let down their guard. Yes, many Londoners come on these walks too and often open up and behave in a way they would never have dreamed of if alone, especially after you sit down with them at a pub and down a pint or two. You can make friends for life on these walks, not only of the native variety, but also among the thousands of visitors from all parts of the world. You often end up by trooping to the nearest pub after the walk with a bunch of perfect strangers, where you all make plans to meet again for another walk that has caught your interest.
The London walks website is www.walks.com, gives you all the information you need. There is no need to book ahead, just meet your guide, who holds up copies of the distinctive white London Walks leaflet, five minutes ahead of time, at the tube station stated on the website, pay your way and you are good to go. Whether rain or shine the walks will take place and last two hours (a pub walk lasts half an hour more) and end near a tube station, so wear a comfortable pair of shoes and come armed with an umbrella or mac.
A London Walk costs £10. Or £8 for Super Adults (over 65s), students and people with the London Walks Loyalty Card. Kids under 15 accompanied by a parent go free.
They also offer great all day escapes to Cambridge, Bath, Stonehenge, Oxford, the Cotswolds, Winchester, and other destinations outside London. They cost £18 plus journey fares and any entrance fees. You meet by the ticket office of the designated London Railway Station at the time stated. These walks last 8-10 hours so you must be fit, and you’ll be back in London by early evening, in time to catch a show.
Large groups or individuals can also book a private walk. For more information you can contact Mary or David Tucker, Telephone-020-76243978; PO Box 1708, London NW6 4LW; or email them at email@example.com.
One walking tour which is absolutely free is funded by Transport for London (TFL). Called Walk London, it has worked with local authorities to develop an impressive network of quality walking routes – so whether you are looking for a place to feed the ducks, a short stroll in your lunch hour, or an energetic walk to make you feel more alive, you have all the options. Call 0870 2406094 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For even more walking routes around London, go to www.timeout.com/walks.
Ghost walk Jack the Ripper’s London
Westminster by gaslight
Little Venice boat ride
London walk from Tower Hill to Blackfriars
View from Hampstead Heath
Jurassic Park to Crystal Palace
Autumn in Kensington Palace Square
Duck island and lake at St James’s Park, with Buckingham Palace behind it
British Museum Soho pub walk
Inns of court
London Eye in the distance
London rooftop panorama
London’s hidden villages
Royal London walk
Remnants of ancient London
London riverside entertainment
Sunset on Tower Hill
Surviving section of the city of London Roman wall near Tower Hill Tube station Mist descending on London walk
Walk in Hyde park
London in springtime