The Day Trips from London
at-a-glance schedule for the next six months is now ready for your perusal. More
DOCTOR WHO WALK
coming up. A big birthday bash. Nov. 22 at 10.45 am from Westminster Tube, exit 4. More
Best Walks for Kids?
It's a good question. And it gets a considered answer in this updated page. More
New Video – Legal London
A preview of some of the best hidden bits – secret passageways, etc. – of the Inns of Court walk More
Leading Man, the dashing Liam
guiding the Old Palace Quarter walk. Watch the film (just released – it's our brandest newest video!). More
All the London Walks Videos
A Quick Guide More
Hampstead Walk Video
A click here wafts you through those magic casements More
Don's Ripper Walk schedule
Have just put up the Nov. - Dec. dates the world's leading expert on Jack the Ripper will be guiding the walk. More
Of Hampstead. My (David's) favourite walk of the 55 London Walks I've got in my personal repertory. More
The Anniversary's here. And the walk's here. Our 800th Anniversary Magna Carta Walk - guided by a lawyer - runs on selected Thursdays from Aug. 27 onward. Temple Tube, 10 am. More
Just out of the oven
A piping hot new photo essay for the Old Palace Quarter walk. More
The At-a-Glance Schedule
All of our Summer Day Trips in chronological order. More
Guide of the Year!
London Walks guide Fiona has just been crowned Guide of the Year! That award has pretty much become the private fiefdom of London Walks guides: Judy, Karen, Kim, Paula and now Fiona. Bravissimo! More
Guide Katy's voice
It's vintage, tawny port made audible – a joy to listen to. More
Makes It Clear
Just put up a photo of the spot where we meet for the Jack the Ripper walk More
THE NEW RIVER WALK
Here's the blurb More
Tottenham Court Road Tube
Exit 3 has, er, exited. It doesn't exist any more. So for the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour and the Rock 'n' Roll walks the meeting point is exit 1. It's the main exit, the only exit.
REALLY GOOD NEWS!
Donald Rumbelow, "internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper" is back and guiding. More
The Old Marylebone Walk
Here's a really detailed look at the walk. It's a review that's just appeared in the Marylebone Journal. More
Jingle Bells for Mr. Jingle
It's official. London Walks Dickens' London guide Richard III's just made a member of the City of London Pickwick Club. The "I dub thee Alfred Jingle"* ceremony took place on December 11. *Richard's Dickensian character alias
Three Cheers for Hilary
She's been awarded an OBE
The Mayfair Walk
It's eye candy AND mind candy. As this feast of a photo essay attests. More
HOT OFF THE PRESS
It's here – the latest installment of the London Walks podcast. More
It' colourful. And fun.
It's the film of the Past the Palace - Hidden Places & Hidden History walk. More
BANKSY & CO. JUST OUT...
Jon's little film of our Street Art Walk. More
The London Walks Podcast
Royal London's the theme for the new edition of The London Walks Podcast. Brought to you by Karen, author of Royal London; Andy, who played George VI; Shaughan, who can impersonate every royal under the sun; and Adam, the only person I know who talks like a really well written magazine article! More
We're there – Inside the Olympic Park!
Yes, the afterburner's been switched on for the Olympic London Walk. We're now able to take our groups into the Olympic Park and guide in there. It was worth the wait! More
Blimey! It's a mind-melt!
Just how beautiful – and unexpected – in and around Piccadilly can be. It's our latest video. The walk is A Village in Piccadilly. The guide is "juv lead" Katy. More
Harry Potter Walk
Here's a review of Sunday's Harry Potter Film Locations in the City walk... More
Saturday's Street Art Walk
Here's a photo-essay... More
Behold! A photo essay for the
Wednesday afternoon Chelsea walk More
Here are the dates... More
The Jack the Ripper Walk
Making a booking. You don't have to but you can. Here's how... More
Hire a Guide
If you're thinking about "going private" this is worth a read... More
All upside, no downside
Like a small lottery win... More
LONDON WALKS CALENDAR
It's intuitive. It's quick. Get in. Find what you want. Get out. More
The sobriquet for our day trips. A different destination every Saturday! Plus a few wild cards. See the little gem of a pdf due north of these words.
Thames Mudlarking Schedule
Beachcombing with the world's leading expert on this stretch of the Thames foreshore. Can't be bad! A click takes you to the Summer 2013 schedule. More
on the London Walks Blog. "...want to thank you for all the daily tidbits about London which i absolutely adore, I also thank you for this cool game which I'm starting to enjoy a lot! :-) Cheers!" Two clicks and a scroll down takes you there. More
Old Mayfair – the Photo Essay
It's our sexiest photo essay. Take a look and you'll, er, see why. it's just gone up. More
Fitzrovia – The Photo Essay
Here it is... More
Guided by the Stars!
London Walks has better guides – including the distinguished crime historian who is "internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper"! Here are the dates Britain's foremost crime historian will be guiding the Ripper walk between now and the end of February. More
Don't Just Take It From Us
Just out. A fab review of Shaughan's Old Jewish Quarter Walk More
This little film is why you book a private ghost walk with London Walks. More
Proper Tea in London!
Want the real thing? Rather than a cup of hot water and a teabag. And most definitely rather than something that costs a king's ransom. Well, let London Walks beam you in. Get in touch and we'll tell you where. Local knowledge – you can't beat it!
Harry Potter Film Locations
We've made a delightful film of one of our Harry Potter Film Locations Walks... More
The San Francisco Chronicle
has just given London Walks a rave review – "the unfailingly fascinating London Walks", etc. etc. etc. Yet another one for the What They Say About LW trophy case. More
Her neighbourhood (photo essay and some accompanying historical remarks)... More
Don's Capitol Hill Address
Yes, the International Homicide Investigators Association wanted to hear from the world's leading expert on Jack the Ripper. And that's what we mean when we say "There's no comparison" between London Walks guides and the knock-offs. More
London Walks guides have four!
books in the pipeline. Aunties' Charley, Charles' autobiography, is published next month. To be followed by a London Stories companion volume – it takes as its subject our Day Trip, out-of-town destinations. And Rachel's book on Jewish London. And "The World's Greatest Guide" – Karen's – on Royal London.
The Knightsbridge Pub Walk
every Friday night. If you're tempted, go for it. It's a great walk. Here's a really detailed description – with photos. More
It's the Ultimate Accolade!
In the starting lineup of "The World's Greatest Guides". Yes, it's London Walks guide Karen. The august American travel publication Travel & Leisure has just crowned her in their "The World's Greatest Tour Guides" article. She's one of just 15 – and, yes, the only one from England. More
Tugs All Your Heart Strings!
It's about a little Londoner – a 3-year-old – and Moo Moo and the Northern Line and a couple of heroes... More
Legal & Illegal London
A private Legal London walk guided by a barrister – a member of one of the Inns of Court – is as good as it gets. More
If I have to have it More
Dreaming of the Cotswolds
Here's why... More
It's a Feast!
Foodies' London has now got is own website.
Compliments to the Chef!
10 out of 10
You want to read something that's both powerful – and magical – about our town and our times and past times (with a couple of stunning photos to accompany it) hit the link More
London Walks on BBC
"Helen Marks discovers a dramatic transformation to the waters of the River Thames" is how the BBC is trailing the Radio 4 programme on Thames Beachcombing. It's aired bright and early – 6.07-6.30 am – on New Year's Day. And then available on BBC Iplayer. And there'll be a rebroadcast.
London Ghost Walks
The new London Walks website – www.londonghostwalks.com – is up and running. It's Adam-written and designed, so it's witty and classy. More
The Man is back –
and guiding! Back from China, Donald Rumbelow, "internationally recogised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper", will be guiding the nightly – 7.30 pm from Tower Hill Tube – Jack the Ripper Walk on... More
Yes, London Walks operates year-round! More
Blog - Twitter
Free Walks... More
The 300+ "one-offs" and "occasionals" we're doing this summer are set out chronologically on the Special Walks page. More
Etc. Quite a lot of etc. More
Old Jewish Quarter
Check it out – the film of the walk. More
Here It Is!
The at-a-glance list of all of our out-of-town trips (to Stonehenge, Oxford, Winchester, Cambridge, Hampton Court, Bath, Rye, Constable Country, Lavenham, Avebury & Lacock, Glastonbury & Wells, Leeds Castle, St. Albans, The Cotswolds, etc.) this summer. All 128 of them! More
The London Walks Walkers Facebook Group
Nine compelling reasons why you should seriously think about signing up for it More
"Donald Rumbelow is internationally recognised as the
leading authority on Jack the Ripper". Don regularly guides our Ripper Walk. His schedule (April to mid-Sept.) is now up. More
is wonderful! Who writes it?" More
The Hampstead Film
is here More
The new film of our Bath trip More
on the way! More
Like Halley's Comet
It's just once or twice a century More
And Lookee There!
Ghost? caught on a photograph on our ghost walk? See the London Walks blog.
"If this was a golf
tournament every name on the Leader Board would be a London Walks guide" More
of our British Museum Tour premieres here! More
tongued with fire More
Who wants to see
the Queen? More
Our New Film is
a brilliant taster of the "Somewhere Else" London Walk... More
London Walks Films
Check 'em out. More
Walks & Kids
Here's a tip More
going on the Oxford & Cotswolds trip? Here's a review. More
Ghost Walk Film
It's here More
London Walks Walkers
This is for you, compliments of the sparkplug, the live wire... More
Our New Film
stars Greenwich and the Prince of Guides, Nick. Brilliant walk, brilliant guide. You can see it here. More
The Jack the Ripper Walk Film
and other matters (the book, the blog, etc.) More
And the Gold Medal
goes to... More
of our Cambridge trip! To see it click the link. More
Don't let them bait and switch you!
This'll take care of it... More
Here's what The Guardian says about it... More
Want to see the cover? Just scroll down.
Something you might want to know More
Jack the Ripper's Knife
Don's got it... More
London Walks has a new award-winning Blue Badge Guide! And the "back story" is a bit of all right as well. More
St. Pancras Walks
Guided by an architectural historian! More
from Lance's Poetry in Performance walk More
Are these the five best paragraphs ever written about London? More
Our book... More
Now Hear This!
Sound, glorious sound - we've got sound! More
Go on one of Adam's walks... More
What The Papers Say...
"the best insight into Jack the Ripper..."
The Star on The Star! More
Distinctions matter. More
in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the old church in Trafalgar Square, has re-opened! More
And the Chinese Ambassador... More
"We'll give you access to places the public don't normally get to see." More
The Whale in the Bathtub
Yes, this one's worth following up! More
Get an Oyster Card... More
It only happens once a century!! More
London Walks ®
Yes, you guessed right. That little symbol means exactly what you think it means. London Walks ® - our name - is now a registered trademark! Our registered trademark!! More
A Big House in a Big Woods on a Big Lake in Northern Wisconsin
That's where your London Walks leaflet comes from in North American. But it gets even quirkier. I mean, how charming is this? More
Website Contributions Invited...
Yes, let's get some of your fingerprints all over this website! More
Visit London - Best London Tour Award
And the winner is... More
A website about London and London Walks is necessarily a "work in progress". So here's a quick pointer to the latest additions to the site More
Ghosts Guaranteed! More
Donald's new Ripper book
It's called Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard investigates... More
The two London Walks programmes - Winter & Summer
In case you're wondering... More
London Walks Leaflets
Here are some places where you can always pick up a London Walks leaflet... More
Q and A
Is London Safe?
Is London Expensive? More
Don't miss Adam's verray parfait piece about the weather on the Daily Constitutional (the London Walks Blog).
Design by mediasterling
Frequently Asked Questions
Q) Who was the first American to visit London?
"So, this was well ask’d..." William Shakespeare
Q) "Where can I pick up a London Walks leaflet?"
A) Well, first of all of course, let me stress that we'll be more than happy to get one to you before you set out for London! If you email email@example.com – or telephone 020 7624 3978 – or even write to us by snail-mail (if you want to be delightfullly "retro") – we'll pop one in the post to you.
And indeed, the same goes for getting a leaflet to your hotel or wherever you'll be staying in London. If that's what you'd prefer. Just give us the details and we'll get one off to you there – have it waiting there for you when you arrive!
And then moving on from those possibilities...
Well, for starters, the guides always have a goodly stock of London Walks leaflets with them. So if you turn up on a walk "leafletless" – and would like to remedy that deficiency – well, just ask the guide to stand and deliver!
Yes, but where can I pick up a copy of the London Walks leaflet?
Good question. Not least because leaflets – like cello tape dispensers, pencil sharpeners, keys, corkscrews, etc. – have a habit of going walkabout. They get left in desk drawers or books or coat pockets, etc. etc. So if you've pitched up in London and lo and behold your London Walks leaflet* – which you thought you'd carefully packed with the maps and the tube guide, etc. etc. – is nowhere to be found.... well, all is not lost. Though you will have to have read this "pop up" and made a mental note.
Here are two absolutely brilliant places in central London where you can always pick up a London Walks leaflet!
Primus inter pares
is the wonderful Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields
, the old church in Trafalgar Square. Their information tables are always well stocked with London Walks leaflets. There are two information tables right there, right next to the Box Office, at the bottom of the steps. They also have them on the counter (right by the cash register) in their little shop.
And look, just to drive the point home: you should be going to the Cafe in the Crypt for a whole lot of other reasons in addition to its "carrying" London Walks leaflets. Reasons that are best summed up in its having been awarded the Palm d'Or in its "sector". Yup, the Cafe in the Crypt, winner of Les Routiers London Cafe of the Year Award. And, hey, it's not as though going to Trafalgar Square is in the least inconvenient, a detour. T-Square is, after all, the great crossroads of London, the very centre of the jampot!
And if you're on the other side of the river, well make a beeline to the best outdoor book market in London. The one on the riverside, right by the National Theatre. You can't miss it. Tables of books – heaven! – spread out directly underneath Waterloo Bridge (so it's an outdoor market that's weather proof!) on the southbank. Ask for Richard, London's friendliest second hand book dealer. He'll rustle up a leaflet for you. And pass the time of day with you very agreeably – talk books and prints and London generally.
Trafalgar Square and beside the Thames at the Southbank Arts Complex: London "points" don't come any more nodal than those two. So how convenient is that? There's even a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone factor to all of this, which if you think about it means that either of those pick-up points will even save you the half hour or so that you would have "spent" if you hied off to an Information Centre to get the leaflet. And since nothing's more precious than time... yaddah yaddah yaddah.
Closing argument: why the leaflet? Why not murmur that little eight-letter word – Internet
– and leave it at that? Well, lots of reasons. Everything from roving charges to sites being down to the battery dying a death to the plain fact of the matter that a leaflet is easier on the eyes than a screen. And indeed easier to navigate.
And that's not to take anything at all away from this medium. At a very high risk of belabouring the obvious, all the information in the leaflet is of course readily to hand right here on this website. There's the London Walks Timetable – Week at a Glance page. And, if anything even more convenient, the London Walks Calendar
, which sets it out day by day, date by date. I said "all the information" but actually of course there's vastly more information available on www.walks.com
(And, for the record, if you're printing from home, the pdf form condenses matters to something like 11 or 12 pages. In the old days people just try to print the whole website out and it would come to dozens of pages. No worries on that count any more. Indeed, the "itinerary planner" effectively reduces the print out to just a couple of pages. Pretty handy, pretty efficient,)
*Yes, that leaflet – the distinctive white one that's become one of the iconic London brands! Here's what it looks like
, Gino [and anybody else who would like a peek]!
Q) Is there a discount for going on several walks?
A) Indeed there is a London Walks "Season Ticket". It's what we call the Discount Walkabout Card. The way the Discount Walkabout Card works is you have to pay the full amount on the first walk. I.E., £10 for adults. The Card itself costs an additional £2. Then once you've got the Card you can go on unlimited London Walks for the special Discount Walkabout Card rate of £8 (or £14 for the out-of-town tours to Cambridge, Bath, Oxford, Stonehenge, The Cotswolds, etc. – the Day Trips from London as we call them).
The Discount Walkabout Card is valid for one month for visitors and three months for UK residents. The guides have Walkabout Cards with them.
When you pay the guide for your very first walk tell him or her you'd like a Discount Walkabout Card. The guide will produce the card (and sign it and date it, which "activates" it) – you produce your £2 and hey presto you're a Discount Walkabout Card holder. I.E., show your card to the guide on the next walk and the next and the next and so on and you'll save yourself quite a bit of dosh – 20 percent off the full price. Can't be bad.
Q) Is it necessary to make reservations to go on a London Walk?
A) No advance booking is necessary. In fact, we don't even operate a booking scheme. There's no red tape with London Walks! The walks always take place - however many or however few people turn up. And everybody who turns up gets to go. You simply meet the guide on the pavement just outside the designated London Tube Stop (Underground Station) at the time stated.
The guide will be holding up copies of the distinctive white London Walks leaflet. Simply introduce yourself to the guide, settle up with him or her, join the group, and hey presto you're on a London Walk. It couldn't be simpler.
Q) How will I recognise the guide?
A) The guide will be standing on the pavement ("sidewalk" in American parlance) immediately outside the exit of the designated TubeStop (or Underground Station if you prefer – the terms are interchangeable). So the important thing is that you have to emerge out of the station...the guide's not going to be inside the station down on the platform meeting the tube train as it pulls into the station. You have to emerge from the station. But just as soon as you set foot out of the station you'll spot the guide. He or she will be holding up the distinctive white London Walks leaflet. And chances are they'll be sporting the very stylish little London Walks badge. And of course once the group starts to form up, it's dead easy to spot the guide - he or she is the person in the middle of the group handing out London Walks leaflets and making change.
Some of London's tubestops have more than one exit. And in those cases we specify on the leaflet (or indeed on our web site) which exit is the meeting point. So, for example, the Along the Thames Pub Walk - which goes every Wednesday and Friday night at 7 pm – meets outside exit 1 of Mansion House tube stop. The Ghosts of the Old City Walk – which goes every Tuesday and Saturday night at 7.30 pm – meets outside exit 2 – the cathedral exit – of St. Paul'stube stop.
The only significant exception is EmbankmentTube Stop - and indeed several of our walks – e.g., The National Gallery walk, the Alleyways, Apparitions & Ale walk, the London by Gaslight walk, Eccentric London, etc. – go from Embankment Tube Stop. And, yes, there are two exits from EmbankmentTube Stop. But the fact of the matter is we don't specify an exit there because if the winos are having a convention outside the Embankment exit the guide will pitch camp outside the Villiers Street exit. Or vice versa. And the thing is, the two exits out of that station are so close together – they're barely a sluggish grasshopper's bound apart from each other – that it's not really necessary to lock ourselves into either patch. If you go through the ticket barrier ("subway turnstile" in North American parlance) and turn left you will come out into Villiers Street. If you go through the ticket barrier and turn right you will come out onto the road called the Embankment (i.e., the road that runs along the north bank of the river Thames. But – as per what I've said above – the two exits are only 10 yards apart from each other – you can stand outside the Villiers Street exit and look directly through the concourse and see the Embankment exit. And vice versa. Anyway, to cut a long story short if the guide's not outside the Villiers Street exit just be a little bit pro-active, i.e., simply toddle through the concourse to the Embankment exit. Or indeed, ask the newspaper vendor where the London Walks group is. They keep pretty good tabs on us!
Q) How long does a London Walk last?
A) Most of the walks take about two hours. There are a handful - e.g., the Beatles Walks, the Old Kensington Village Walk (when we've got access to the Roof Garden!), the Sunday afternoon Shakespeare and Dickens's London - the Old City Walk - that take about two hours and ten minutes. The pub walks take two hours and a half. (Or two hours and 40 minutes if I'm your guide...yeah, it's me, David.) They take that bit longer because they include two brief "pub stops" (15 - 20 minutes or so in each) enroute).
The Explorer Days - they're the all-day excursions to places like Bath, Oxford & The Cotswolds, Cambridge, Canterbury, The Cotswolds, Stonehenge and Salisbury, Royal Richmond & Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle and Eton, Warwick Castle, etc. - take longer. The walks themselves aren't longer, but the whole outing is longer. It's a whole day.
The way an Explorer Day works is you meet the guide by the ticket office of the designated London railway station. So there's a difference straight off, i.e., our walks in London meet just outside the exit of the designated Londontube stop, but our Explorer Days meet by the ticket office of the designated London railway station. Anyway, you meet the guide, settle up with him or her, and join the group. Then you all go on the train to Bath or Brighton or Canterbury or whatever that day's destination is. They do a walk as soon as they get there. Then they break for lunch. Then they do a completely different walk in the afternoon. Then there's some free time to browse or visit a museum or gallery or do some shopping or whatever. Then they meet up again and hop on the train and return to London. They're timed so you're back in London in time to go to the theatre (or do a London Walk!) that evening. So, e.g., the Oxford & The Cotswolds Explorer Day gets you back in central London at 6.15 pm. The Stonehenge & Salisbury Explorer Day gets you back in central London at 6.45 pm. The Royal Richmond & Hampton Court Palace Explorer Day gets you back in central London at 5.45 pm. And so on.
A) On average the walks cover about a mile. Maybe a mile and a half on some of the longer ones. I.E., about 2 kilometres if you're thinking metrically. It's not hard walking. We go at a very gentle pace. To put it into perspective for you, up until 2004 our hilliest walk - Old Hampstead Village - on Sunday mornings was guided by our oldest guide, "Super Senior" - and Octagenarian - Charles Chilton. None of the walks is a forced march; none of them is a yomp. And on some of them - the Old Kensington Village Walk, e.g., there's usually even a chance to sit down.
Q) When does Donald Rumbelow guide the Jack the Ripper Walk?
A) Donald guides nearly one in three of our Ripper Walks. He guides it five times a fortnight: every Sunday night, alternate Monday nights, alternate Tuesday nights, and alternate Friday nights. The only exception to the above is when he's on holiday - or, God forbid, ill.
Now if you're reading this and wondering, "Who's Donald Rumbelow?"...well, he is, as The Jack the Ripper A to Z puts it, "internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper". He's written the definitive book on the subject: The Complete Jack the Ripper. He's Britain's most distinguished crime historian, he's the former Chairman of the Crime Writers Association; he's the former Curator of the London Police Crime Museum. And he's not some dry-as-dust academic. He's a former City of London Police Sergeant who pursued a dual career as a crime historian. Which means you're taken over some of the most famous crime scenes in the world by a law enforcement professional. Can't be bad! Oh, I almost forgot...in addition to everything else, he's also a top flight professionally qualified London Blue Badge guide.
And if you'd like to see Don in action, you're right where you should be, because we've made a very special little video trailer of the walk - click here and you're there!
Just one tip...please make absolutely certain that it's Donald - or if it's another night, one of his London Walks colleagues - that you get hooked up with. Never set out with anyone - or part with your money - until you're certain it is the bona fide London Walks guide you're with. I stress that because occasionally there's some sharp practice going on there. Sometimes there's a character there shortly before our walk who says he's giving "the Jack the Ripper walk". He's very cagey. People have asked him, "Is this the 7.30 pm Jack the Ripper walk?" and he's replied, "Yes, this is the Jack the Ripper Walk, we're just leaving a little bit early tonight". Anyway, the way to make sure you're with the bona fide London Walks guide is that they will be holding up the distinctive white London Walks leaflet. The scammer has not gone that far...yet. (Oh, and the meeting point for the walk is just outside the exit of Tower HillTube.)
And there are other ways of sorting the sheep from the goats. For one thing, Donald and the other London Walks guides never ever start the Jack the Ripper Walk before 7.30 pm If anyone tries to get you to go before 7.30 pm and tells you that "this is the London Walks Jack the Ripper Walk"...well, someone's trying to pull a fast one on you. Donald also often holds up a copy of his book. And indeed he wears his Blue Badge...the copycat has no professional qualifications whatsoever, so he won't be sporting a Blue Badge.... And finally Donald bears a striking resemblance to the late American actor, Robert Mitchum. Sorry to belabour this, but we've had real problems with this on occasion...people turning up hoping to go on the Jack the Ripper walk with the world's leading expert on the subject and discovering later - to their bitter disappointment - that they've had the wool pulled over their eyes.
Q) How early do I need to arrive for a walk?
A) You don't need to get there wildly early. The guides never start the walk on the dot of the listed starting time. They will always allow at least a five minute "period of grace"...and sometimes it's more like 8-10 minutes.
Q) Is it just tourists who go on London Walks?
A) Far from it. We think it's probably about 40 percent Brits going on the walks these days! Quite a few of whom are Londoners!! They wouldn't dream of going on a bus tour - but boy have they ever been on a learning curve - the mot juste! - about us these past few years. They've taken to London Walks like a d. to w. As one of them once said to me, "why should tourists have all the fun?"
And of course the great thing about that is it's a chance for visitors to meet the natives! There really aren't that many Brits working in London hotels these days - certainly not at "point of contact" positions. Ditto restaurant staff, etc. In the normal run of things it's almost easier these days in London to find out what's going at "home" in Poland - from your hotel receptionist - or Estonia - from the gal behind the counter at the local coffee bar - than it is to have a "so what's Cheltenham - or Rickmansworth or Sunderland or Sidcup or Easling - like?" conversation with a Brit.
A London Walk, though, is a different cup of tea. There are lots of Brits going on them. And, hey - they're friendly! And chatty! And helpful! The whole nine yards - though they might not put it that way.
Two other points worth mentioning here. The walks are wonderfully cosmopolitan these days. There's always at least six or seven nationalities represented on a London Walk. And sometimes a good few more than that. Everybody loves that about them. You meet the most interesting people - people from all over the world. And, the other thing is - it's a completely natural "social situation". It's not like going into - shudder - a singles bar.
Ask, and it shall be given you...
"I passed someone in a yellow safety hat the other day - she said she was
excavating for the Museum of London. I said Where are you?
She said About 1450." Shaughan
Q) How long does it take to get from A to B on the tube?
A) You can calculate how long a tube journey in central London is going to take by using what Londoners call "the three minute rule". I.E., simply allow an average of three minutes between stations. So if, e.g., you're travelling to Tower HillTube Stop from, say, Gloucester RoadTube Stop...well, Gloucester Road is 12 stops away from Tower Hill...so 3 x 12 = 36. That journey is going to take 36 minutes give or take a minute or so. So anyone setting out from Gloucester Road to get to the 7:30 pm Jack the Ripper Walk would need to get going at about five to seven. Eeezy peezy as my ankle biters used to say!
Q) Do we stop in any pubs on a pub walk?
A) Mais Oui! Do we ever! It'd be an abomination - an unnatural act - to go on a pub walk and not stop in any pubs. We normally stop in two pubs enroute and end at a third pub. Which is by way of saying, a pub walk is not a pub crawl...we're not going to 8, 10, 12 pubs or anything like that. It's a proper guided, literary-historical walk that's punctuated by brief stops - 15 minutes or so - at two interesting old pubs enroute, and then ends at a third pub. And incidentally you don't have to spend any money in the pubs. You don't have to drink. Or for that matter, if you want to have some refreshments, but don't want to drink beer or wine...well, all pubs have fruit juice and coca cola and perrier water and so on. And also you can normally get food at at least one of the pubs. Update: we've made a little video trailer of our Along the Thames Pub Walk; so if you want to see what a pub walk "looks like", well, sit back, put your feet up, grab for the popcorn with one hand, and click here with the other.
Q) Can I take my children on a pub walk?
A) The best pub walk for kids is the Along the Thames Pub Walk. For several reasons. First of all, because there are things on that walk that are going to interest kids - e.g., the wonderful replica of Sir Francis Drake's 16th-century ship, The Golden Hinde; or the replica of the Globe Theatre; or the horribly shrivelled corpse in the rusting old gibbet (needless to say it's not real - the corpse I mean). But secondly because the pubs on that walk have great outdoor "spaces" - the first one has a handsome riverside terrace, the second one is also car-free because it's on the edge of an old market, and the final pub is that wonderful old 17th-century coaching inn with its own inn yard - so if the weather's good you don't have to take your child in the pub at all really!
Q) Is it possible to book a guide for a private walk?
A) Yes, sure, we do that all the time. Just ring up – or e-mail or send us a letter – and tell us which walk you want and when and we'll set it up for you. For a group of, say, 15-20 people a private walk is fantastic value. Never truer words were cybered – because a private costs even less than what you'd have to pay to go on one of the public walks. And you have the convenience of having whichever walk whenever you want it. I.E., you can suit your convenience – you don't have to cleave to our public walks schedule. And most important of all, I'd say, we move heaven and earth to get a great "fit" between the guide and the group. And we can "tailor" the walks to your requirements – if you want, say, more pubs or fewer pubs on a pub walk – or if you want a walk that's a "hybrid" of two walks – or indeed if you want some recommendations about great places to get some nosh after the walk, etc. – well that's all there for the asking. Just give us a bell! You can reach us on 020 - 7624 3978. We're pretty much at the end of that line – unless we're out – 18 hours a day, seven days a week. You'll be talking to a fellow human being – a real person – instead of having to waste your time listening to some canned claptrap, "you're call is important to us blah blah blah..." – yeah, but not important enough that you'll get a real person instead of a machine.
Q) How old do you have to be to qualify for the Senior Citizens' Discount?
A) The milestone is 65 for both milords and miladies! It's a win-win. Younger than 65 you're not old. 65 and over you're still not old, but you get the honorific "Super Adult" and you save yourself some money!
Q) How do you qualify for the student discount?
A) You have to be in a full-time course. Be sure to have your student card with you...the guides might well ask to see it.
Q) How many horse-drawn cabs were there in London in 1904?