Day Trips from London - Here's England!
Introduction...

London is our main course but we also serve up wonderful side dishes in the shape of Great Escapes! – brilliant day trips to Stonehenge & Salisbury, Oxford, Bath, Cambridge, Hampton Court, The CotswoldsConstable Country, Royal Winchester, etc. etc. etc. And if you're undecided, well here's the clincher. And this is a Copernican moment of revelation as well.

And here's a video taster of one of our destinations and indeed of the experience itself. Speaks for itself, I think you'll agree.

And here's an accompanying piece. This one covers all the practical details – how it works, the timing, the logistics, the transportation arrangements, etc.

A London Walks Day Trip is an interesting, fun and inexpensive way to get the most out of your visit to these not-to-be-missed places. After all, if you've only got a few fleeting hours to take it all in, why squander a good part of your time wandering around trying to get your bearings? See below and each day's page for full details.

Our Day Trips from London consist of two completely different walks – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – with a lunch break in between. Afterwards there's some free time for shopping or a museum or gallery visit. We travel by comfortable, high speed trainit's fastly superior! 

Ok, the image is of course of an old fashioned railway carriage. But it gets the feel – the tone, the mood, the agreeableness – of rail travel right, even if in technical and mechanical terms it's from a bygone era! 

The ride through the lovely old English countryside takes an hour or so. We get back to London in time for you to go to a show or do an evening walk.

To go on one of our Day Trips from London simply meet your London Walks guide by the main ticket office of the designated London  railway station at the time stated. Your guide – Richard or Gillian or Chris or Hilary or Simon or Alison – will be holding up copies of the distinctive white London Walks leaflet.

The Guide's Fee for a Day Trip is  £16 for adults. Or  £14 for students and Super Adults [over 65s]. Or £12 for Loyalty Card holders. There is no guide's fee for children under 15 accompanied by their parent(s). They go free, though you will have to pay for their train ticket and any entrance fees. 

For the total cost for a Day Trip add the guide's fee to the Tariff  (your train fare and any entrance fees). We list the adult Tariff  at the end of the description for each excursion. And two related points to bear in mind here: 1) there's a lot of "added value" because time and again the Tariffs which are only available through the guide – are a big saving on the normal price; 2) it's the full adult Tariff  that we list – there are usually substantial further reductions for students, senior citizens and children. N.B. payment needs to be in cash.

British Rail Pass holders travel free.  

And bang goes the starting pistol. Read on...


AVEBURY & LACOCK
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This is some kind of wonderful. Lacock is the most exquisite village in England. No wonder Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice and Emma were filmed here. We're talking a living village: just four streets, houses of every century from the 13th onward, the river Avon and a swabbling brook, Snaylesmead Meadow and Lacock Abbey. And as for Avebury, it beggars all description
 
 
The largest stone circle complex on earth, it speaks to us across the ages, speaks of a secret geometry and lost science, of an ancient time more clairvoyant and star-born than ours. And that's not to mention the white horses cut into the hillside or Silbury Hill, the largest Neolithic monument in Europe. It's the same age as – indeed, it is England's Great Pyramid. And on that note, here's a little feast-your-eyes photo-essay on Avenbury & Lacock!
 
And if you want a lengthy – a really thorough, really detailed – description/account of the Avebury & Lacock outing, click here.

 In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme –
which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st –
we go to Avebury & Lacock on:
  
Saturday, August 9
 
Meet Richard at  9 am in front of the main ticket office
(it's near Platform One) of Paddington   Railway Station.
 
For a photograph of the meeting point – and even more precise directions – click here.

 Tariff £49
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Avebury & Lacock trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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BATH - "Bath is to England what Venice is to Europe"
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Maybe start with this little video. It's a pretty good taster of Bath as well as of our Bath Tour. But – fair warning! – it's inviting.
 
Okay, now as for the practicals...
 
In the Summer 2014  London Walks programme we go to Bath on:
  
Thursday, July 17
 
Thursday, July 24
 
Saturday, July 26
 
Thursday, July 31
 
Thursday, August 7
 
Thursday, August 14
 
Thursday, August 21
 
Thursday, August 28
 
Thursday, September 4
 
Thursday, September 11
 
Thursday, September 18
 
Thursday, September 25
 
Saturday, October 18
 
Meet Richard, Chris or Hilary at 9 am just outside the main ticket office of Paddington  Railway Station.
 
The main ticket office is very near Platform 1
  
Moving on...
 
Not going to hard sell. Just set out what we do, why we do it the way we do it, and how it's different. Boy is it different.
 
Set that out and...
 
Well, the rest is up to you. Your call as they say.
 
Vive la différence! Starting with how we how we travel. If you're looking for a coach tour to Bath you took a wrong turn somewhere. We go by train.* It's fastly superior! Much faster, much more comfortable. You can get up at a reasonable hour. Have a bracing English brekkie. Make your way over to Paddington to meet us. Go on, make those comparisons. Coach pick-up times, for example. (If they're doing pick-ups.) How early does that "run" start? How long does it go on for? All of that – allllll of that – before making a break – break? – for the motorway. And then there's the motorway. Tip: you're on the internet right now so why not bring up a new tab and Google National Rail Enquiries and National Express. For London to Bath. Compare durations.*
 
How long do you want to spend in Bath? In the coach?
 
Okay. That's the first thing. And critically important it is. It's what springs us. Gets us out of the coach, out of the motorway rut. In short, because we go by train we've got what's beyond price: a decent amount of time in Bath. Time to explore it properly. Time for a late morning walking tour. Time for a comfortable lunch. Time for a completely different walking tour in the afternoon. Time for walking tours that explore Bath's highlights – the Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent, the cathedral, etc. of course – but that also go off the beaten track. Time for some free time.
 
And when "That's a wrap" time comes we're not facing – oi vei – a several hours long coach ride back to London. We come back on our fast, comfortable train. Get back in time to catch a show. Get to see all of that of Bath – do all of that – and catch a show in London that same evening. Now that's my kind of a day.
 
My kind of a day. And, yes, sure, maybe it's not for you. Maybe you want to do it the way most everybody else does it. Has to do it because they haven't found us. But you have. You've at least – at last – got a choice. A no-brainer, I'd say. But that's me (David). Well, me and my hero Will "always-drink-upstream-from-the-herd" Rogers. And if you think about it, it's being a no-brainer is exactly why it's a real choice. So Vive London Walks and its Great Escapes!
 
*And not just durations. On trains you can get up and stretch a leg. Refreshments are available. You're not breathing canned air. There are decent-sized loos (plural). Etc.
 
Recap anyone? As I put it a couple of years ago: Bath walks. Bath tours. Bath excursions. Call it what you will, guided walking tours of Bath are streets ahead! The little video – hope you caught it – that shows our Bath tour in full flow underlines the point. You can't begin to see Bath in a one or two hour "stop over". Let alone get to know it. That's why, uniquely, our Bath Tour spends the whole day there.
 
So if you want a Bath Tour that's utterly different from the normal "package", if it's Bath walks – guided walking tours of Bath – you're looking for, well, you've just turned up trumps.
 
And if you want it lyrically, well, there's this:

Bath is like being in heaven without going to all the bother and expense of dying. A scoop of pure honey set in a green bowl, Bath is, quite simply, "the world's most perfect Georgian city". A graceful and airy miracle of Palladian grandeur, it's a world of arcades and crescents, of Assembly Rooms and Pump Rooms. (As this photo essay attests to.) In the 18th-century it was the focus of the Age of Elegance. Today it's our turn to savour the accreted delights of the slow centuries as we explore this exquisite place and its stunningly cosmopolitan Roman foundations, folded into a time-warp in the lovely Somerset hills. Bottom line: a trip to Bath is an event. European cities don't come any more provocative. Or profound. Or poetic. And if you'd like a sneak preview, a click here will take you to our wonderful little film of our Great Escape to Bath!

 And talk about travelling back in time to the ancient world...feels like we've waited 2,000 years for this!
 

Meet by the main ticket office – it's by Platform One of Paddington Railway   Station. 

 Tariff: c. £52 
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Bath trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here
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BLENHEIM PALACE & OXFORD
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Blenheim: three acres of palace; 600 rooms; 'the longest  corridor in Europe'; 2,500 acres of park; a 390-foot bridge over the vast lake; 180 servants; Winston Churchill's birthplace. King George III conceding, "we have nothing to equal this." Oxford: "towery city and branchy between towers; cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmed, lark-charmed, rook-racked, river-rounded"; town and gown and dreaming spires; poets and punting; kings, wits, celebrated eccentrics, Brideshead Revisited, Inspector Morse, and, yes, American presidents who didn't inhale: "there's no other place like it in the world, it is a despair to see such a place and ever to leave it". And the thing is, what I've written above is just the scorecard. The reality melts it. Enough said? Not enough? Okay, in that case, click here.
 
 
 In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme –
which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st –
we go to Blenheim Palace & Oxford on
:
 
Saturday, August 23
 
Meet Richard  at 9.30 am in front of the main ticket office –
it's near Platform One
of Paddington Railway   Station.
 
 Tariff c.  £45
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Blenheim Palace & Oxford trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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BRIGHTON - "London by the Sea"
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"Brighton is a quintessential English experience." Brighton is Brighthelmstone...the mediaeval fishing village, echoed to this day in the Old Town, the famous "Lanes" of narrow cobbled alleys and fishermen's cottages. Brighton is Regency elegance, the oldest and for 200 years Europe's most fashionable sea-side resort. Brighton is patrician and plebeian - the Royal Crescent and spacious sea-view garden squares and fish & chip shops and antiques and the largest marina in Europe. Brighton is hidden green corners and a heart-stopping view of the whole sweep of the coast and sugar-cake hotels and antique cars and Jane Austen dandies and promenading along the garish but magnificent Victorian Palace Pier. Last but certainly not least, Brighton is the Oriental splendour of the Royal Pavilion, the most exotic palace in Europe, the Taj Mahal of our hemisphere. Here's a photo-essay.
 


 In the London Walks Summer 2014 programme –
which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st –
we go to Brighton on:
 
Saturday, August 16
 
Meet Simon at  9.30 am by the ticket office of
Victoria Railway    Station.

 
 Tariff  £22
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Brighton trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here
 
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CAMBRIDGE - "can such places be?"
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"the most beautiful city in Europe" 

Cambridge. Miraculum orbis, wonder of the world; annexe to heaven. Mediaeval courts; emerald, velvet-soft lawns; the unearthly beauty of Kings*; Newton's room and garden where he experimented and, yes, that apple tree – think of him "forever voyaging through strange seas of thought"; the calm of the tree-fringed Backs; the willow-shrouded banks of the Cam; the Bridge of Sighs; the American cemetery; Darwin's college and specimens from his famous voyage; the pub where the structure of DNA was announced; punting on the Cam (we'll get a really generous discount if you want to take a turn – or, indeed, just go along for the ride). Let alone leafy streets and twisty alleys; and the whispering wind and yellow lantern; the shadowed passage and haunted bookstore; bicycling students; cheese and fish stalls in the market; people who talk like books... Here's a photo-essay.  And more video anyone? Here's a little how-it-works job – the logistics, the practical details, etc. And here's a hot-off-the-press Cambridge piece that was earmarked for The Daily Constitutional (the London Walks Blog) but found a home here instead. You'll learn something fairly tasty from it.
 

*And-a one and-a two...take it away, Simon. In short, here's some audio for you.
 
In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme we go to Cambridge on
 
Monday, July 21
 
Monday, August 4
 
Monday, August 18
 
Monday, September 1
 
Monday, September 15
 
Monday, September 29
 
Saturday, October 11
 
Meet Simon at 9 am by the main ticket office –
 near the Leon Cafe –
of King's Cross  Railway Station
 
c. Tariff £43
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Cambridge trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
 
Here's another video glimpse of the tour. This one's a peek beneath the bonnet – a look at the particulars, the practicals, the logistics (what happens/how it works).

Cambridge photos by David Tucker, Alex Alava, Rob Roy – www.roblog.com/gallery and others.

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CANTERBURY
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Across the Immense Span of Centuries

Like Chaucer's pilgrims to Caunterbury we wende. And what tales Canterbury has to tell. Tales writ in the ancient cathedral towering moodily over the nearby pubs and shops. Tales gleaned from half-timbered, white-washed little houses lining narrow streets. Tales borne by the river Stour swabbling past brilliant flowerbeds and under arching stone bridges. In Canterbury we enter another world...we step into mediaeval history.

 In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme we go to Canterbury on:

Saturday, August 2

Meet Simon outside the National Rail Ticket Office (opposite Starbucks) of
St. Pancras    Railway Station 
at 9 am.

N.B. And check this out. The getting there itself – faster than a speeding bullet! – couldn't be more special. We take the Javelin High Speed Train, the only super high speed train line in the country. It's whoosh! and we're there.

c. Tariff  £39

N.B. for the total cost for the Canterbury trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)

For further costings particulars click here.

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CHURCHILL, CHARTWELL & THE WEALD OF KENT
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"A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted."  Winston Churchill

We're rolling through stunningly beautiful countryside.

On our way to drop in on Winston Churchill at Chartwell.

No question about it, he's here – the dining room's set for afternoon tea, there are daily newspapers and fresh flowers and cigars at the ready. Here's his study. And his library. Outside there are black swans on the lake and panoramic views over the Weald of Kent and his favourite refuge – his garden studio. Ok, Churchill and Chartwell. That's half of a perfect day. The other half is the English Eden: the Weald of Kent. Yes, that's right, say hello to "the Garden of England." Yes, welcome to southern England's most beautiful countryside, its hamlets and villages.



In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme the Churchill, Chartwell & Weald of Kent tour takes place on

Saturday, September 6

Meet Chis at 8.45 am
by the ticket office of Charing Cross Railway  Station.

Tariff  £45
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Churchill, Chartwell & Weald of Ken trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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CONSTABLE COUNTRY & COLCHESTER
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"It's like spending the morning in a painting."

"Painting with me is another word for feeling, and I associate my careless boyhood with all that lies on the banks of the Stour; those scenes made me a painter," said Constable. Many of "those scenes" have survived. His friend Willy Lott's cottage is still there; his father's Flatford Mill is still there; the village of East Bergholt is as charming as the artist's studies of it in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Locks and staunches along the river are as creaking and slimy as when he spoke rapturously of their dripping greenness and tried to capture them on canvas. One can still reach the vantage point above Stratford St Mary from which he painted his 1805 and 1828 studies of Dedham Vale and see the church and its setting not too hideously distorted by the the ravages of time. So, yes, welcome into the frame of the Hay Wain, welcome to Constable Country , welcome to the archetypical English landscape. And for a chaser – and they don't come any better – we'll explore the oldest town in Britain. Its Roman wall and gateway, its Norman castle (and the finest keep in England!)...

its Dutch quarter, its Victorian park, its ancient street market. In short, if you haven't  been there, go. These are special places; this is one special day out.

 In the Sumer 2014 London Walks programme –
which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st –
we go to Constable Country & Colchester on

Saturday, October 4th

Meet Hilary at 9.15 am by the main ticket office of

Liverpool Street  Railway  Station.

  c. £46

N.B. for the total cost for the Constable Country & Colchester trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.

"The sound of water escaping from mill-dams, etc., willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things. Shakespeare could make everything poetical; he tells us of poor Tom's haunts among "sheep cotes and mills". As long as I do paint, I shall never cease to paint such places...Those scenes made me a painter and I am grateful."
John Constable, letter to the Rev. John Fisher, 1821.
 
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THE COTSWOLDS TOUR
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The Cotswolds are achingly beautiful.

The Cotswolds are the fresh green lap of this fair isle.

The Cotswolds are thatched roofs and honey-coloured stone and cottages wreathed in wisteria and honeysuckle. The Cotswolds are stone bridges and old mills and millponds. The Cotswolds are storybook villages and matchless flower gardens. The Cotswolds are rural England at its best. 

And here's where we come in. A Tour of the Cotswolds. Cotswolds Village Tours. Cotswolds Countryside Tours. Call it what you will, guided walking tours of The Cotswolds – well, okay, four Cotswolds villages and a really good taste of the Cotswolds countryside – are streets ahead. Oh, okay, Cotswolds village lanes and Cotswolds countryside byways ahead!
 
Now as to the practicals – here's how the London Walks Cotswolds Tour works. Meet the famous Richard – he of the honeyed voice just-stepped-out-of-the-pages-of-Gentleman's-Quarterly mien (as always, he'll be topped to the north with that distinctive red cap) – by the ticket office of Paddington Railway Station at the time stated. (Scroll down for the date/time particulars of our Cotswolds Tours.) 
 
We travel to The Cotswolds by comfortable, high speed train. (Rather than, ugh, the coach, the motorway, the crawl.) Our way of doing it is fastly superior. Quicker and far more comfortable. Coach-time for us is just a tiny part of the day – as opposed to most of the day. Coach-time for us is just a couple of intervals when we're up in The Cotswolds. Which is by way of saying, Richard charters a local coach to get us over the ground between some of the villages that we tour. (A couple of them are close enough to each other – it's the merest gentle stroll – that we walk it. Though if anybody doesn't want to, the "wheels option" is there. It's the best of both worlds!)

And that's what we call getting the balance right. It's very little coach time indded, but it's there for us when we need it. We're not on a long-distance, cross-country Cotswolds walk, we're on a tour of The Cotswolds, and in particular four of the most exquisite villages in the whole of the Cotswolds. The coach takes care of those intervening miles. Though even those are something to be relished. Rather than endured. For the very good reason that because we've got the timing right – we've not eaten up three to four hours crawling through London traffic and motorway madness just to get up there – Richard can pick and choose his route through the Cotswolds, his route connecting the Cotswolds villages that we tour, very carefully indeed. 

The which he's done. It's a gorgeous, back country roads route – a best of the Cotswolds countryside route. In short, the coach time isn't down time, isn't to-be-endured, grin-and-bear-it time – it's also part and parcel of our Cotswolds tour. It's a plus not a negative. 

And when we're in the villages, well, it's out and about, out and stretching a leg. More than stretching a leg. A lot more. They're proper guided walking tours of four of the very best – four of the most exquisite – Cotswolds villages. And – you gotta love this – two of them are sufficiently close together that we can – and do – walk from the one to the other. Cross the short Cotswolds countryside fields and lanes and stiles and paths that connect them. Can you guess which Cotswolds villages they are?

Bottom line. If it's an all-day Cotswolds tour – a guided walking tour of Cotswolds villages and Cotswolds countryside – you're looking for, well, you've just turned up trumps. Our Cotswolds Tour are full of win! And – this bears repeating – it's not just us saying that. Three top awards in four years – including two Golds (for the Best Tourism Experience in England and for the Best Tourism Experience in London) – well, you can take that to the bank! 

These are the best Cotswolds Tours going. They're not just different in degree, they're different in kind. 

Oh, and do enjoy the little video of our Cotswolds Tour. Hardly needs saying, that – because we're ragingly confident that you will. Who wouldn't?

Here it is – the taster - it's a lovingly shot little film of day, destination, and guide (ah, Richard! cynosure of guides, golden of voice, red of cap, pink of courtesy! Not to mention platinum of well connected, etc. etc.). And here's another (it's a little photo-essay).

 In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme –
which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st –
The Cotswolds Tour takes place
on

Sunday, July 27 (meeting time is 9 am)
 
Sunday, August 10 (meeting time is 9 am)
 
Saturday, August 30  (meeting time is 9.45 am)
 
Saturday, September 27  (meeting time is 9.45 am)
 
Saturday, October 25  (meeting time is 9.45 am; and, yes, this one's The Cotswolds in Autumn!)
 
Meet Richard at 9.45 am in front of the main ticket office (it's near Platform 1)
of Paddington Railway  Station.
 
For a photograph of the meeting point – and even more precise directions – click here.

 Tariff:  c. £44

N.B. for the total cost for the Cotswolds trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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THE COTSWOLDS & OXFORD
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If you're thinking about going on this one you're on the edge of perfection. Don't turn your back on it. Which is by way of saying, Oxford makes words sing. Towery city and branchy between towers; cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmed, lark-charmed, rook-racked, river-rounded."

Yes, yes, yes, welcome to the city of dreaming spires! "There's no other place like it in the world, it is a despair to see such a place and ever to leave it." Our setting: Oxford's mediaeval colleges and walls; its bridges, libraries and gardens; its cloisters and quads, its towers and dreaming spires, gnawed by time and echoing with centuries of youthful exuberance.

Our themes: town and gown; the life and times of generations of dons and undergraduates; kings and punting and Alice in Wonderland; scholars, wits and celebrated eccentrics; poets and Inspector Morse, Brideshead Revisited and Shadowlands and, yes, American Presidents who didn't inhale. Want to see more? Click here for a very special photo-essay. And here's one [it's a work in progress at the moment] of The Cotswolds leg of the tour.

And that's just the half of it! In the Cotswolds we'll explore a world of chuckling streams, stone bridges, and thatched cottages; of ancient churches and manor houses; of old mills and millponds; of vast panoramas, rolling hills, and deep green valleys; of villages out of a storybook. Explore, in short, what is quite possibly the most beautiful countryside in the world.

Here's a taster – it's a lovingly shot little film of day, destination and guide (ah, Richard! cynosure of guides, golden of voice, red of cap, pink of courtesy! Not to mention platinum of well-connected, etc. etc.). 

In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme
we go to Oxford & the Cotswolds 
 
every Wednesday from April 23 through October 15
 
Meet Richard, Hilary or Chris at 9.15 am
by the main ticket office* of Paddington  Railway Station.
 
*Meet in front of the main ticket office of 
Paddington  Railway Station
(the main ticket office is near Platform One)
 
For a photograph of the meeting point – and even more precise directions – click here.

Tariff  c. £39
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Oxford & Cotswolds trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
 
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FAVERSHAM & CANTERBURY TOUR
Faversham's a blast. It's gunpowder and breweries. It's timber-framed – and Georgian – houses. It's olde England. It's a market town. Pretty special, Faversham. It's butch and pretty. And as for Canterbury, well, let's just encore what we've said elsewhere. Like Chaucer's pilgrim to Caunterbury we wende. And what tales Canterbury has to tell. Tales writ in the ancient cathedral towering moodily over the nearby pubs and shops. Tales gleaned from half-timbered, white-washed little houses lining narrow streets. Tales borne by the river Stour swabbling past brilliant flowerbeds and under arching stone bridges. In Canterbury we enter another world... We step into mediaeval history. 

 In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme we go to Faversham & Canterbury on:

Saturday, September 13

Meet Chris outside the National Rail Ticket Office (opposite Starbucks) of
St. Pancras    Railway Station 
at 8.45 am

N.B. And check this out. The getting there itself – faster than a speeding bullet! – couldn't be more special. We take the Javelin High Speed Train, the only super high speed train line in the country. It's whoosh! and we're there.

c. Tariff  £41


LAVENHAM, SUFFOLK VILLAGES & GARDENS
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"Q. Are we in England? Q. If so, what century is this? A. Yes. A. the 16th century. Q. Huh? Come on, Where
are we? A. Pretty close to heaven. Because half-timbered, once-upon-a-time, film-set Lavenham is almost waaaaaaay too perfect. This England. This scrap of England. Ooooooh to be here in these mid-year moments of birdsong and streamsong and distant bells and vivid, singing skies and lanes and cottages and flower blazes and classic patchworks of valleys, woods and fields. To say nothing of what Suffolk's laureate describes as "remote settlements in a remote land… unconventional beauty, inward warmth distilled by the years.” Places like Long Melford (can you hear it? mill ford), all stately homes and antique shops and a cathedral of a parish church and 2,000 years of history. Or Chelsworth with its 1,000 years of history and the Brett Valley and cottages and (the day we go there) villagers inviting us into their private gardens. And the guiding? Richard’s local – his country house is here. No surprise then that he's a library of unexpected juxtapositions and gloriously out-of-the-way yet telling facts: “a typical 15th century Suffolk farm house – figure about 330 oak trees to make it.”
 
In the Summer 2015 London Walks programme –
which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st –
we go to Laveneham & Chelsworth Gardens on
 
tbc
 
Meet Richard at 9 am by the main ticket office – it's opposite Platform 10
of Liverpool Street Railway Station.
 
£47

N.B. for the total cost for the Lavenham & Chelsworth Gardens trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
 
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LEEDS CASTLE & ROCHESTER
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As good as it gets! The rolling perfection of the Kentish countryside. Leeds Castle ("standing on its twin islands in the river Len, [it] rises romantically above the reed-fringed waters of its moat-lake." Given it's a fairy-tale setting it's no wonder it's "the loveliest castle in the world". And Rochester: castra, Cantiaci, cathedral, castle, close, cloisters, keep, cockpit (of English history). Let alone ancient England on the Medway. And Charles Dickens' old home town. And special goings on. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge. Which is by way of saying, timing is everything, so we go there on Festival Days: the Chimney Sweeps Festival in May and the Mediaeval Festival in August. 
 
In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme
we go to Leeds Castle & Rochester on
 
Monday, August 25
 
Meet Simon at 8.30 am by the ticket office of Victoria Railway Station.
 
c. £47
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Leeds Castle & Rochester trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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ROYAL RICHMOND & HAMPTON COURT
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In Hampton Court "dead kings and queens
walk again and dead lips ask,
"what of the isles of England and her sea?
"till whispers fill the tower of memory"


There are any number of ways to "do" Hampton Court, but this is the best. In the same way that tailored is superior to off-the-peg. Because with Hampton Court "content" – Great Hall, Haunted Gallery, State Rooms, Private Apartments, Maze – takes care of itself. What doesn't take care of itself is "presentation". And presentation makes all the difference – the difference between something that seamless and timeless and unforgettable as opposed to theme-parky. And that's why we go by boat from Richmond. Just as Henry VIII did. It's a living act of "restoration" – because Hampton Court is a riverside palace and was meant to be approached by water. It makes for a golden day – stimulating and peaceful, beautiful and companionable.

We begin at Richmond, the prettiest Thameside village of them all. The picturesque old streets and buildings here are the very stuff of history: Maids of Honour Row, Old Palace Yard, Trumpeters Court, the old Tudor Gatehouse. Then it's on to Hampton Court Palace. Like Henry VIII, we travel by boat. (We'll get a sandwich from the best sandwich shop in Richmond and picnic on board!) Upstream, a final loop of the Thames brings us along the watermeadows of our best loved national monument.

"It typifies the grand alliance of history and architecture more than any building in England." And so the stage is set for our afternoon walk, a tour of the palace and its precincts, everything from Henry VIII's Real Tennis Court and the Maze and the Haunted Gallery to the State Rooms and Great Hall and Private Apartments. (N.B., you'll save yourself a lot of money if you start your journey by getting a 6-Zone Travel Card: it'll cover your fares to Richmond and back from Hampton Court...and of course it'll also be good for any other travel you undertake in the London area for the rest of the day.)

 In the Spring-Summer 2014 London Walks programme
we go to Royal Richmond & Hampton Court on

Monday, July 28

Monday, August 11

Monday, September 8

To go on the Richmond & Hampton Court trip meet the guide – Chris or Hilary – at 9.30 am by the main ticket office (it's opposite Platform 16) of Waterloo Railway  Station. 

6-Zone Travel Card recommended.

c. £26

 
N.B. for the total cost for the Royal Richmond & Hampton Court trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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ROYAL WINCHESTER
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In Winchester the whole tapestry of English history unfurls before us. It's the city of King Alfred the Great, quondam capital of England, perhaps even the Camelot of Arthur. It's Winchester College, founded in 1382 and the very pattern of the English public school. It's the Great Hall of the Norman castle. It's the mediaeval Westgate. It's – glory of glories – the Cathedral. (Words can't begin to do justice to the astonishing vista of its seemingly endless interior – it's the longest cathedral in Europe.)

It's the Round Table of King Arthur. It's Jane Austen country and the muted voices of grazing sheep and the merry click of bat upon ball and the lush green fields of England. Cue the little photo-essay.

In the Summer 2014 London Walks programme – which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st – we go to Royal Winchester on:

Monday, September 22

Meet Hilary at 9.30 am by the main ticket office
(it's opposite Platform 16)
of Waterloo Railway Station

c. £37
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Winchester trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
 
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RYE, BATTLE & 1066 COUNTRY
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                                                            Photo by Michael Gray

True story. Two of our guides honeymooned in Rye. They chose it because they wanted "the most ancient, picturesque, romantic, and interesting village in southern England"...and everybody they asked said, "ok, then you have to go to Rye". And in case you're wondering, it was the Mermaid Inn, which dates back to 1156 and was rebuilt in 1420. We can have cream tea there. After we've visited the most important battlefield in the world. Where everything changed, changed utterly, in that "year of four kings and Halley's comet". 

 In the Summer 2015 London Walks programme

we go to Rye, Battle & 1066 Country on

tbc 

 



Meet Chris by the ticket office of 
Charing Cross Railway    Station at 8.45 am.

c. Tariff £49

N.B. for the total cost for the Rye, Battle & 1066 trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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SISSINGHURST
And Tonbridge, Tenterden, Tudely, Twittens & Tapestries of Kentish Countryside
 
"If you have a garden and a library
you have everything you need"  Cicero
 
Some places are so special they become part of you - rendered in needlepoint there above the hearth of memory. Such is Sissinghurst. It is, quite simply, the world's most celebrated garden. It's a place where literature and nature fuse. It's an Elizabethan tower and cottages and Virginia Woolf; it's a walk of pleached limes and T.S. Eliot; it's roses clambering over the warm brickwork of the gateway and a mediaeval profusion of herbs; it's E.M. Forster and Robert Graves. It is, in short, a lost world. An Eden tucked away in a Kentish countryside of orchards and oast houses, of Tudely and tableaux.
 
 In the London Walks Summer 2015 programme –
which kicks in on May 1st and runs through October 31st –
we go to Sissinghurst on
 
tbc
 
Meet Chris at 9.15 am by the ticket office of 
Charing Cross  Railway Station.

c. £47

ST. ALBANS
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The most fascinating small city in England is just 20 minutes from London. St. Albans is an essence of England. You can stand on the bank of its little river, the Ver, and suddenly feel yourself touched, saddened by the great passage of time  – Romans, and Saxons, and Normans, and Lancastrians rode across this stream, galloped up that hill, and disappeared into the centuries. And the same goes for the little town itself (little town, hell, long, long ago this was the most important city in Roman Britain!) – here you see it all – from the Legions of Julius Caesar to the dynasty of the Churchills. These streets are corridors in the vale of time. Here's the only Roman theatre in Britain; here's the oldest street market in this sceptered isle – it dates back to the Saxons; round this corner there's a 600-year-old Moot hall; round that one a clutch of mediaeval and Tudor coaching inns; hard by, a rare curfew clock tower; up these lanes a sprinkling of half-timbered Elizabethan houses; over there, streets and buildings that are essays in Georgian England; here, a Victorian prison. Let alone all sorts of hidden, curious places and things – and a skein of enthralling history. Not to put too fine a point on it, St. Albans is England in miniature and London's best kept secret!  Okay, here's the photo-essay.

 Okay, who's for a "grab", a "soundbite"...here's Alison before that rare clock tower...

Want to  read more? Click here...

  In the Winter-Spring-Summer 2014 London Walks programme
we go to St. Albans on:
 
Sunday, September 14
 
Meet Alison or Hilary  at 10.45 am just outside the exit of West HampsteadTube.

 Tariff: c. £11

N.B. for the total cost for the St. Albans trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.

*Timing is everything. So the Decameron of Delights that is our Christmas Season trips to St. Albans catch England's oldest, biggest, bestest, traditionalest Christmas street market. And embarrassment of riches, there's also a traditional German-themed Christmas market with exclusive hand-made goods, gluvine, etc. No question about it, it's Ding Dong Merrily on High time!

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STONEHENGE & SALISBURY
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"You'll never see anything like it again" Behold!
8.45 am from Waterloo  Railway Station
(meet your guide by the main ticket office, which is opposite Platform 16)

In the Summer 2014 season we'll go to Stonehenge & Salisbury on:

Tuesday, July 15
 
Tuesday, July 22
 
Tuesday, July 29
 
Tuesday, August 5
 
Tuesday, August 12
 
Tuesday, August 19
 
Tuesday, August 26
 
Tuesday, September 2
 
Tuesday, September 9
 
Tuesday, September 16
 
Saturday, September 20
 
Tuesday, September 23
 
Tuesday, September 30
 
Tuesday, October 7
 
Tuesday, October 14

Behold. And then look at each other with a wild surmise. Because here, on Salisbury plain, under a sky like moving marble, you're going to be face to face with primeval Britain... 

 

Stonehenge! That place of ancient ghosts. Stonehenge..."those storm-sculptured stones...that outlast the skies of huistory hurrying overhead." Stonehenge...observatory? altar? temple? tomb? ...to serve strange gods or watch familiar stars. And before that, there's Salisbury. Salisbury...even the name is mellifluous. Salisbury is the most spectacularly beautiful cathedral in Britain. Salisbury is the river Avon and mediaeval streets lined by half-timbered houses with high oversailing upper floors and tall gables and rejoicing in names like Ox Row and Silver Street and Fish Row. Salisbury is Thomas Hardy's Melchester and Anthony Trollope's Barchester - and views over the meadows that Constable painted. And betwixt and between...there are picturesque country roads that take us past the ancient site of Old Sarum and through a lush valley, past old churches and thatched cottages and country mansions. And if you'd like some more views – more imagery – click here! And if you'd like to read some more – well, pop-ups don't come any better than this! 

To go on the Stonehenge & Salisbury Day Trip meet
by the main ticket office – it's opposite Platform 16 – of Waterloo Railway Station. 

 Tariff: c. £55

N.B. for the total cost for the Stonehenge & Salisbury trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
 
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STRATFORD-UPON-AVON & SHAKESPEARE COUNTRY
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Stratford! Heart of England, olde worlde, swabbling river, 16th-century stone bridge, orchard-dappled, ancient church – it's wag-a-tale wonderful. Add Shakespeare to it and the ampage goes way into off-the-chart, not-to-be-missed territory. Not miss is the mot juste. We see it all: the birthplace, Holy Trinity (where he's buried), Hall's Croft, the old town, etc. Anything else? Yes,  Richard guides it. So you can add can't-go-wrong to not-to-be-missed.
 
 
 
Three blurbs for the price of one for this one. Here's last summer's (if you're interested). To cross the ancient stone bridge he crossed; to visit the half-timbered birthplace; to walk through the grove of trees to Holy Trinity in its bend on the Avon; to stand before that mysterious tombstone (the quiet there is preternatural – you really do sense a presence far more deeply interefused). All this is to get things into true. Because Stratford bred Shakespeare. Because its imprint is all over  him. Because he's the measure and template of our humanity. Because he's so fundamental to our language and culture – to the way we think and feel. Welcome home, everybody.
 
And finally, let's draft in the wonderful Carol Rutter, who knows the man and his work and his Stratford and his Warwickshire better than anyone. "His imagination – its reach and resources – is cathedral-sized. Yet its particularity, the metaphors it utters itself in, are as familiar, as human-sized as the parish church still standing in a Warwickshire that is still recognizable from the writing, where the lark still sings at "heaven gate"; where...rain still runs down 'eaves of reeds; and the daffodils 'come before the swallow dares'; where latter-day greasy Joans still 'keel the pot' and slug-a-bed schoolboys still 'creep like snail' unwillingly to class, stepping over drunkards who've been thrown out of public houses and will wake up in the gutter."
 
And for a final bow, here's a little photo essay.

 In the Sumer 2014 London Walks programme
we go to Stratford-upon-Avon & Shakespeare Country on
 
Saturday, July 19
  
To go on the Stratford & Shakespeare Country Day Trip
meet Richard at 8.45 am by the ticket office of
Marylebone Railway Station
 
c. £43
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Stratford & Shakespeare Country trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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WINDSOR CASTLE & ETON
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"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas any more".

Windsor is Camelot on the silvery Thames. Windsor is a 1000-year-old castle commanding the Great Park and brooding over a mediaeval town. Windsor is the most famous royal residence in the world. Windsor is "the architectural epitome of the English nation...its fabric provides an insight into the evolving ideas about kingship and related rituals, about techniques of military defense, and about developing expectations of domestic comfort and convenience. But despite its familiar appearance, nothing at Windsor is quite what it seems...for behind its imposing walls and gates lie centuries of secrecy, intrique and forgotten visions of grandeur." And – embarras de richesses – just over the 18th-century footbridge there's Eton, ancient Thameside town and legendary school. And here the superlatives peal like bells...because Eton College, founded 50 years before Columbus discovered America, is the most famous school in the world. It's the nursery of kings – Prince William was educated here – and the crucible of a defining moment in history: for "the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. 

 In the Winter-Spring 2014-2015 London Walks programme –
which kicks in on November 1st and runs through April 30th –
we go to Windsor Castle & Eton on:
 
tbc
 
Meet your guide – Hilary
at 9.30 am by the main ticket office (opposite Platform 16) of
Waterloo  Railway Station
 
 Tariff  c. £29
 
N.B. for the total cost for the Royal Windsor & Eton trip simply add the Guide's Fee to the Tariff.  (The Guide's Fee is £16 for adults, £14 for over 65s and students, and £12 for Loyalty Card holders.)
 
For further costings particulars click here.
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