To put your clocks back by an hour tonight. British Summer ends tonight when Saturday transitions into Sunday. An extra hour's sleep for one and all!
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
This Winter's Day Trips
The at-a-glance schedule - listing them in chronological order - is now ready for your perusal... 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
Sunday'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
Hire a London Walks Guide
|'He who travels without a guide needs 200 years for a 2 day journey'
It's very simple really – these people are the best there are at what they do.
First, the hard-nosed bit...
Which is by way of saying, yes, it's the Age of the Internet. So why not cut out the 'middleman'? Why not go directly to the guide?
Two very good reasons. 1) It's not any cheaper to do so
. It doesn't cost any more to do it through London Walks – and you get so much more!
2) The "fit" between the guide and the group is hugely important. You've got to get that "fit" right if you want satisfied, loyal customers. Bottom line – bottom line indeed – we're going to get you the best possible guide for your group because it's in our interest to do so!
The guides' interest is a different cup of tea. If they've hung out their shingle on the great Internet Highway it's in their interest to say "yes" to every single bit of work that comes their way. Even if they're not right in terms of the guide-group "fit"
. Or indeed in terms of the walk that you, the customer, want. If it's an area or a subject they're not particularly au fait
with they'll "swot it up".
And when either or both of those things happen – well, it's obvious, isn't it? Chances are what you'll get is going to be pretty mediocre. Instead of brilliant. And that's not to take anything at all away from either the group or the guide. It's just that the "fit" – the chemistry – isn't right
This stuff matters precisely because you're paying with your most most precious life-stuff: your time
. So, yes, let's elaborate.
It goes without saying that guides aren't robots. They have a huge range of abilities and interests and expertise and personality characteristics and voice strength and sense of humour, etc. etc. etc. Some guides are brilliant with kids; others are hopeless with kids. Some guides are serious and scholarly and earnest. Others have a lighter touch, are fun (and funny). Guides' energy levels vary. Their voice strength and power varies. As does the pleasingness of their voice and their ability to play it like a fine musical instrument.
And just as guides vary so do groups. Some groups want that much lighter touch, someone who's a lot of fun. Others want some seriously scholarly oomph. You book a walk for a group of students you want someone who's damn good with students. And so on.
And that's the hard-nosed reason – the intelligent, discerning, thought-through-it reason – why you come to London Walks rather than take your chances on the Lucky Dip of hiring a guide directly because of a "cosmetic'd up" website
We get the group-guide "fit" right. Get it right because it's in our interest to do so.
Second, the Holy Trinity...
The Guides. London. And You – Visitors.
Start with the guides. London Walks Guides – the best guides in London
, for example. Karen, who comes trailing clouds of glory. Including the ultimate accolade: The World's Greatest Guide
. Not exaggerating. Travel & Leisure
, the bible of this industry, did a big story earlier this year on The World's Greatest Guides
. Bears repeating: The World's Greatest Guides
. Talk about many are called, few are chosen territory!
Few indeed. There'll be a couple of million tour guides right around the world. Travel & Leisure
hand picked 15 of them. London Walks' Karen was one of the 15. The only one of the 15 who was from England.
. Awarded an MBE by Her Majesty for services to this industry
, he's a barrister, a former Chairman of the Guild of Guides, Chief Examiner for the prestigeous Blue Badge course, etc. etc. And, of course, a London Walks guide.
, this country's most distinguished crime historian
, the author of the definitive book on Jack the Ripper, the chief consultant for every major film and television treatment of the Ripper, "internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper", etc.
, the distinguished Intertidal Archaeologist and the world's foremost expert on the London Thames foreshore.
Or London Walks guides Judy
and others who have won the coveted Guide of the Year
and other top awards.
Or gifted – and successful – actors Nick
. (We're talking good parts on the big screen, in the West End, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the BBC, the National Theatre, etc.) And who betwixt and between are London Walks guides – not because they need to, but because they enjoy it.
Now as for London
... Well, it almost goes without saying, cities don't come any more complicated than this one. Or fascinating. Or deeply pleasurable once you get to the point where you can begin to "read" the place. London takes time. And savvy. Think of Chesterton's apothegm: "Paris is an explanation, London is a riddle."
Or Pierre Maillaud's: "London specialises in hiding the best of itself."
? Someone who doesn't live here, a visitor? Ok if I proffer up a piece of advice? Don't Go Cheap On Yourself
. If you want to get the most out of your visit – make the best possible use of your time – get a London Walks guide – a world class guide – to show you around. "London Walks makes the new familiar and the familiar new."
That showing you around – that guiding – comes in several sizes and shapes.
2) There are Private Walks – we do them all the time for office and school and student groups. (And indeed for individuals and couples and small groups of friends.)
And 3) there's the third approach – the approach that doesn't start with a given walking tour – public or private – in mind. It starts with a much broader canvas, a much more open remit: you and London and a star guide
The "third approach" is tailored. And because it's tailored there are any number of possibilities. Everything from starting the day with a sit down with your guide at the little Italian place near Leicester Square that does the best coffee in London and while you're rocket fuelling having him (or her) talk you through, give you a crash course in, what it is about this place that sets it apart, how to get a handle on it, etc. etc. I – David
– often actually diagramme it on a napkin: "you want to understand London, its history, how it got to where and what it is today a pretty good way to start is to think of a squiggle, four dots and a circle"
. And then I proceed to put those six marks on that napkin – and make sense of them.
And after that sit down – it could be in the lobby of your hotel, it could be in the best pub in your neighbourhood, wherever – well, out in to London we go. And the possibilities – given the astonishing richness of London and the resources and expertise and contacts and connections the 75 or so London Walks guides represent – are almost infinite. Everything from a really detailed look at narrowed-right-down subject or field or neighburhood to a kind of Tapas London experience (a bit of this a bit of that in order to scoop up as wide a series of impressions and glimpses and tastes as can be done in the time available).
London Walks does it better.
A Final, Personal Illustration...
Different city, same incontrovertible principle.
Venice. Last summer. There for a week. On Day 5 we hired a local guide. She was so good – we got so much out of it – we booked "a return engagement" for the next day, Day 6. Different part of Venice of course – different museums, etc. – but otherwise the same modus operandi
Only regret is that we didn't get hooked up with her earlier on our visit.
She took us to parts of Venice that we never would have found off our own bat. Showed us things that we never would have seen – let alone understood – without her incomparable knowledge of her city. And her unerring feel for the place.
She made absolutely invaluable recommendations. "You want to go out from the centre, the best island to visit is... it's not well known, it's unspoiled, it's Venetians' Venice."
Or: "no, not that restaurant [one near our hotel] – it's a tourist trap, etc. etc. Try [here she named a little trattoria] – it's only a couple of back alleyways and a canal from your hotel and it's better in every way – prices, service, what they serve – it's for locals, it's not a tourist trap". She even recommended a dish!
She just knew.
Where to go. What to look for. What was going on on any given day.
If I were going to put it in one word that word would be flavour
s. She just brought them out. Bright bursts of flavour. History as flavour. Local customs as flavour. The way Venetians live as flavour. The most wonderful tiny little details. Everything from the old wells in the street to how you tell that they've got a new baby girl (or boy) in a Venetian house.
Bottom line: food and shelter come first of course. But of all the other things we did that week in Venice – of all the other "spend" items – the only one that was inispensable was that Venetian guide. In terms of what we got from it it was far and away the best of the many "spends" we made. And in fact, bearing in mind the money we saved by acting on her recommendations – and incidentally, the next time we're back in Venice we'll be acting on the hotel recommendation she made "for when you return, which of course you will" – it was a sensational bargain.
And just to refine that "only regret" – that we didn't get hooked up with her earlier on our visit – I think, for us at any rate, Day 2 would have been ideal. Let's rephrase that: will be ideal (thinking ahead here). Day 2 because Day 1 we want to just have a newbie's wander, just try to get a bit of a feel for where we are – a feel for the place that's unmediated. A bit of acclimatisation, a bit of testing ourselves, of sussing out – all by my (or our) lonesome. Yeah, okay, so what if we're seeing it with our Londoners' eyes. Let's just get them that little bit acclimatised. And then Day 2 – a couple of adjustments having been made – Bring. On. That. Local. Guide. Because we're ready to go!
Give us a call. 020 7624 3978. Or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
*But if any of you are going to Venice and want to engage the services of that brilliant local guide, well, get in touch and we'll put you in touch.