Sunday's London Walks
ALL ABOARD...
THE SUNDAY MORNING LONDON WALKS
THE SUNDAY AFTERNOON LONDON WALKS
THE SUNDAY EVENING LONDON WALKS
THE "SPECIALS" – LONDON WALKS ON SELECTED SUNDAYS

THE COTSWOLDS IN SUMMER
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9 am on selected* Sundays
from Paddington Railway Station
 
*Runs Aug. 10 & Aug. 24
Meet by the main ticket office in Paddington Railway Station – it's by Platform 1

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 honeysuckle. The Cotswolds are kissing-gates and stone bridges and old mills and millponds. The Cotswolds are storybook villages and matchless flower gardens. The Cotswolds are rural England at its best. Now who's for a photo-essay? Guided by Richard.

Here's another 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.).

*Bears repeating: in our Summer 2014 programme we go to The Cotswolds on the following Sundays: August 10 and August 24.

On Sunday, September 14 we'll be running our Day Trip to St. Albans. To go on the St. Albans Day Trip meet Alison at 10.45 am just outside the exit of West HampsteadTube.

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OLD HAMPSTEAD VILLAGE
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10 am on Sundays
from HampsteadTube

(Hampstead Tube is on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line)


This is a great walk. They just don't come any better than this. (Seeing is believing – here's a little Hampstead photo essay, a clutch of visuals that'll give you a pretty good idea of the kind of thing you'll see, though you'll have to make the necessary "seasonal adjustments.") So, yes, as per the photo essay, our setting is London's most picturesque neighbourhood – a perfectly preserved Georgian village crowning the top of a handsome hill and garnished with the capital's most elegant old world promenade, a medley of cobble-stone lanes, pretty cottages, surprising turnings, and unsurpassed views. As for our cast of characters...well it's every bit as beguiling as our setting, ranging from the highwayman Dick Turpin to the painter Constable to the poet Keats; from Freud and D.H. Lawrence to Sting and Boy George; from Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Dench and Emma Thompson to Rex Harrison, Peter O'Toole, Alan Bates, Liam Gallagher and Jeremy Irons. And for good measure, there's London's most villagey atmosphere, white swans on a lake, and magnificent Hampstead Heath. Herewith endeth our say.* Here's a deal of corroboration from The Times – in short, "don't just take it from us".  Is it any wonder the other Times – the New York Times – called this walk "'the jewel in the crown' of London Walks." And as for Apres Walk... *Unless you want what Amazon and Kindle call A Look Inside – a click here and you're there, in the Land of Look Inside.

 

More (in the words of the guide)...

   And if you're up for a listen, here's the opening of the Old Hampstead Village chapter in our book, London Walks London Stories. A chapter inspired, it should go without saying, by this walk. Here it is...

The Old Hampstead Village Walk takes place
every Sunday at 10 am
and every Wednesday at 2 pm.
And it also takes place every Saturday night at 7 pm as a pub walk.


Meet your guide just outside the exit of HampsteadTube.

The "Late-comers' Catch-Up Stop – for the Sunday morning Hampstead Walk – is "the viewing platform". From it we can see right across the Thames River Valley. London panoramas don't come any better – the whole city is spread out before us. To get to "the viewing platform" come out of the tube, cross Heath Street so you're standing directly underneath the clock tower, turn right and head up Heath Street. About 40 yards up Heath Street you'll come to some steps. They'll be on your left. The steps take you up to a narrow, twisty little lane. Follow that lane all the way up. At the top end of the lane there's another set of steps. Go up those steps and hey presto you've reached "the viewing platform". That's where we go to start the Sunday morning walk and we're there for a good few minutes. And from there we make our way along to the Holly Bush pub – it's at the opposite end of the little street from the "viewing platform".
 

HampsteadTube is on
theNorthern Line

Guided on Sunday by David
Guided on Wednesdays by Richard III or Peter G.
Guided on Saturday evenings by Richard III or Peter G.

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Tradition, discipline and rules must be the tools...


 
THE OLD JEWISH QUARTER
a shtetl called Whitechapel
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Splinter-sharp Guides & Gripping History

10.15 am on Sundays

from Tower HillTube

This walk traces the history of London's Jewish community in the East End. It's a story that embraces the poverty of the pogrom refugees and the glittering success of the Rothschilds; the eloquence of the 19th-century Prime Minister Disraeli and the spiel of the Petticoat Lane stallholder; the poetry of Isaac Rosenberg and the poetry-in-motion of Abe Saperstein's Harlem Globetrotters. Set amid the alleys and back streets of colourful Spitalfields and Whitechapel, it's a tale of synagogues (go on, click me) and sweatshops, Sephardim and soup kitchens. And on this day of all days the past isn't dead; it isn't even past...because the famous old Petticoat Lane street market will be going full tilt and we'll show you the best of it. After we've visted the historic Bevis Marks synagogue!* And on that note, it's time for a joke. And here's The Jewish Chronicle's recent review of the walk. Guided by Judy or Shaughan.

Update: we've made a nifty little film of the walk. A click here brings it to your screen!

The Old Jewish Quarter Walk takes place
every Sunday at 10.15 am
every Wednesday at 10.45 am
and every Friday at 10.45 am

Meet outside the exit of Tower HillTube.
 
Tower HillTube is on

theCircle & District Lines

N.B. Whenever possible we visit the wonderful old Bevis Marks Synagogue, for which there's a small entrance fee.

Guided on Sundays by Judy or Shaughan
Guided on Wednesdays by Steve
Guided on Fridays by Harry or Steve

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THIS IS LONDON – The Flash Bang Lightning Highlights Tour!
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10.30 am on Sundays
from WestminsterTube, exit 4
 
Whoa! Here it is. The all-in-one London Walk. It's the Grand Tour. The London equivalent of the Yellow Brick road. So it's hey ho and off we go – off to see all the classic sights in Westminster and the West End. Tick "em off: the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. James's Palace, the quintessential Royal Park, classy St. James's, the Mall, Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch, Birdcage Walk, Queen Anne's Gate, you name it. They're all here – all the London pearls. And here's the clincher – Tom and Andy R. have strung them together with quaint little back streets and passageways that give you the real essence of London. And, yes, the walk is timed so we take in the Changing of the Guard (when it's on).
 

This Is London – The Flash Bang Highlights Tour!
takes place every Sunday morning at 10.30 am

Meet Tom or Andy R. just outside
exit 4 of
  
WestminsterTube.

WestminsterTube is on
theCircle, District & Jubilee Lines  

Guided by  Tom or Andy R.

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SUBTERRANEAN LONDON
What You're Overlooking
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10.30 am on the first Sunday of every month
from EmbankmentTube, Villiers Street exit
 
The "Cobra Room", Secret Tunnels, Bomb Shelters,
Crypts, Lost Rivers & Trains & Drains
 
"nowhere else is the tangle of infrastructure – new and old –
with history and geology more intriguing or problematic"
Beneath the Metropolis The Secret Lives of Cities  Alex Marshall
 
The London we "know" is just the crust. There's another world down there. A fascinating, freakish, disturbing world. Everything from the squat, camouflaged, granite-hard redoubt where the last stand would be made against the Nazis to the ultra-secret "cobra room". Scope out that London under London with a guide who's like ground penetrating radar, who can show you the tell-tale ripples on the surface – vents, secret doorways, emergency exits, the "last stand" redoubt – and old familiar London will never look the same again.

N.B., for safety and security reasons we will not be crawling through tunnels and wading through sewers! The walk is a ground-level survey the topographical equivalent of a scan – of what's down there. More...
 
The Subterranean London walk only takes place
on the first Sunday of every month.
 
Meet Kim or Peter  outside the Villiers Street exit of EmbankmentTube at 10.30 am.

EmbankmentTube is on the CircleDistrict & Northern Lines.

Guided by Kim or Peter G.
 
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THE FAMOUS SQUARE MILE
2,000 Years of History
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10.30 am on Sundays
from MonumentTube

This is the great classic London Walk, the London Walk of London Walks! It explores the very heart of the City – the most historic part of the capital. Threading his way through an intricate network of narrow alleys and cobble-stone lanes, Simon chronicles the 2,000 years of London's rich and tumultuous history. And illustrates it by drawing upon everything from street names to ancient customs to the frozen music of London's great buildings, among which are the ruins of the Roman Temple of Mithras, the Bank of England, the Lord Mayor's Mansion House, and ancient Guildhall. (The walk includes, whenever possible, a visit inside Guildhall!)

The Famous Square Mile walk takes place

every Sunday at 10.30 am

and every Thursday at 11 am
 
Meet Simon just outside the main exit –
the Fish Street Hill exit – of MonumentTube.

MonumentTube is on
the Circle & District Lines

Guided on Sundays by Simon
Guided on Thursdays by Tom, Judy or Fiona

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GULLIVER'S TRAVELS TO BRUNEL'S THAMES TUNNEL
Mayflower, Riverside Village, Time Warp London
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10.45 am on Sundays
from BermondseyTube
 
Now the curtain rises upon a different scene. 1st Miracle: we're only an 8-minute tube ride away from the Houses of Parliament. 2nd Miracle: we're 500 years away; 3rd Miracle: this place still looks like – feels like – what it once was. 4th Miracle: the Mayflower – the Pilgrim Father's pub – is here (let alone a king's palace, a Dickensian mortuary, a villain's gibbet, a prince's tomb and a pirate's pub). 5th Miracle: the 8th Wonder of the World is here (yes, we're talking the underground cathedral – the Grand Entrance Hall to Brunel's tunnel under the Thames). 6th Miracle: we're going down into the 8th Wonder of the world, down into the underground cathedral – even though it's locked and closed to the public.* Coda anyone? River-lulled in ancient Rotherhithe we'll hear the cool lapse of hours pass, until the centuries blend and blur. In Rotherhithe, in Rotherhithe... Guided by Robert. *Explanation: Robert's the Curator of the Brunel Museum and he's got the key! And if you want more, well, here's a little video taster of the walk. And here's a pop-up that (partially) answers the What Will I See? question.
 
N.B. Access to the Grand Entrance Hall is severely restrictedwe stooop through a short tunnel to descend by temporary staircase into a huge chamber, half the size of Shakespeare’s Globe, but hidden underground. Visitors with any concerns should contact the Brunel Museum beforehand. An analogy? Well, that low tunnel is not unlike the entryway to a bomb shelter; indeed, it's about the same height as the tunnel into the Great Pyramid (though this tunnel takes you into a "Great Pyramid" – okay, an enormous silo – that opens downwards).
 
The Gulliver's Travels to Brunel's Thames Tunnel Walk takes place
every Sunday morning at 10.45 am
 
and every Wednesday evening at 5.15 pm
 
Meet Robert outside the exit of BermondseyTube
 
BermondseyTube is is on the Jubilee Line
 
Guided by Robert
 
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FROM THE REPERTORY The 10.45 am Sunday Tour du Jour!

10.45 am   The walk in this time slot changes weekly.
For the particulars of the 10.45 am Tour du Jour
on any given Sunday see the following table
.
 

DATE WALK TUBE STOP
Sept. 28 All Change at St. Pancras King's CrossTube King's Cross Square exit
Oct. 5 London & the First World War Let's not forget... St. James's ParkTube Broadway/ Westminster Abbey exit
Oct. 12 Bethnal Green The "Lost Village" in London's Backyard Bethnal GreenTube Museum of Childhood exit
Oct. 19 Chiswick House & Gardens Classical London's 'pure serene' Turnham GreenTube
Oct. 26 Sherlock Holmes Saves the Nation! The Great Detective's Westminster Green ParkTube north exit
Nov. 2 Hampstead Garden Suburb Arts & Crafts Utopia Golders GreenTube
Nov. 9 Scandalous St. John's Wood Mistresses & Mansions, Courtesans & Cricket, Villas & Villains St. John's WoodTube
Nov. 16 C the City  I Spy in the City: C is for cheese, cordwainer, cathedral... St. Paul'sTube exit 2
Nov. 23 The Shock of the Old  500 Years of West End Architecture Green ParkTube north exit, on the corner
Nov. 30 London's Literary Golden Mile ends with a tour of the new British Library Warren StreetTube
Dec. 7 Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol & Seasonal Traditions Tower HillTube
Dec. 14 Shardlake's City A Revelation! Dissolution & Dark Fire in C. J. Sansome's Sovereign London TempleTube
Dec. 21 Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol & Seasonal Traditions Tower HillTube
Dec. 28 Old Mayfair "the champagne & caviar of London Walks" Green ParkTube north exit, on the corner
Jan. 4 London's Hidden Village Tower HillTube
Jan. 11 Chelsea  London's Riverside Village Sloane SquareTube
Jan. 18 Tardis on Thames  Doctor Who by the River WestminsterTube exit 4
Jan. 25 Chaucer's & Shakespeare's Bankside MonumentTube Fish Street Hill exit
Feb. 1 Primrose Hill Village, Vistas & Celebrity Hotspot Chalk FarmTube
Feb. 8 Bethnal Green The "Lost Village" in London's Backyard Bethnal GreenTube Museum of Childhood exit
Feb. 15 Meet the Anglo-Saxons  The Sutton Hoo Gallery in the British Museum HolbornTube
Feb. 22 Elephant & Castle  The Regeneration Game Elephant & CastleTube London Road, South Bank University exit
Mar. 1 Roaming by the River  The Thames is liquid history... MonumentTube Fish Street Hill exit
Mar. 8 Fair Maids, Feminists & Philanthropists Southwark's Unsung, World Changing Women SouthwarkTube
Mar. 15 Scandalous St. John's Wood Mistresses & Mansions, Courtesans & Cricket, Villas & Villains  St. John's WoodTube 
Mar. 22 Eccentric London  London is Stranger than Fiction EmbankmentTube
Mar. 29 Sherlock Holmes Saves the Nation! The Great Detective's Westminster Green ParkTube north exit
April 5 The Boat Race Sneak Peek Blues Boys, Buoys, Boats, Bridges & Troubled Waters Ravenscourt ParkTube
April 12 Post War City Architecture Four Dates that Changed Design BarbicanTube
April 19 The Bells of Stepney  Reform, Ragged Schools & Dr. Barnado Mile EndTube
April 26 Blooming Regency  The Pleasures of the Park in Spring! Great Portland StreetTube
 
THE BEATLES MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
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11 am on Sundays
from Tottenham Court RoadTube

(Meet Richard P. just outside exit 3, by the Dominion Theatre)

Guided by "the pied piper of Beatlemania", this is a chance to Imagine Beatlemania and the Swinging 60s. It's a Magical Mystery Tour of the Beatles' London haunts: their Apple offices, where they played the famous rooftop session
Paul McCartney's headquarters; and the world famous Abbey Road Studios and the Abbey Road crosswalk. So let me introduce you to the one and only Richard P., who recaptures the era when London was the cultural capital of the world and the "Fab Four" were its rulers. Here's a "grab" from the walk. And if you want to know something about the area where you'll be meeting Richard, well, simply click on me!

And make no mistake, Abbey Road is very special – it's no surprise that it's Britain's most popular "unofficial" tourist destination.

The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour takes place
every Sunday at 11 am
every Wednesday at 2 pm
and every Thursday at 11 am

Meet Richard P. just outside exit 3 – the Dominion Theatre exit – of Tottenham Court RoadTube.

Tottenham Court RoadTube is on
theCentral & Northern Lines  

N.B. We make a short tube journey to Abbey Road, so getting "a ticket to ride" – i.e., a 2-Zone Travel Card is a good idea.

Guided by Richard P

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THE TOWER OF LONDON
"the most important mediaeval fortresss in Europe"
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11 am on Sundays
from Tower HillTube
 
 
In the beginning William – the bastard – created the Tower.  And, yes, the biblical echo is deliberate. That's how important the Tower is. Crown jewels, battlements, Traitor's Gate, the executioner's block, armour, centuries-old ceremonies, the stage on which so much of our history climaxed: the question isn't whether you'll go to the Tower – the question is whether you'll go First Class. And let's tell it like it is. First Class isn't tacky and touristy. It isn't wandering aimlessly. What it is is seeing the Tower with a great guide. Because that thrilling, chilling past is still there – sighs run in blood down Tower walls – but you have to know where to look. And how to look. Go First Class – go in there with London Walks and a world class guide* (and these three are) and you'll come out exclaiming, "that's the best upgrade on the planet!"
 
 
Here's a soundbite. It's Tom introducing the Bloody Tower. It's just a couple of minutes long but it's salient point after salient point. History, architecture, engineering, biography, military science, geography, etc. What's so exciting about it is the way he makes you see both the past – "Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard will have walked right here" – and the particulars, details that you wouldn't have seen on your own, let alone clock their significance. E.G., the width of the arch for its time, the iron boat hoop, the way the entryway narrows (in order to funnel attackers into a killing zone), the portcullis, etc.
 
Guided by Tom or Brian or Judy *An "upgrade" because if you go with London Walks you'll get a huge discount on the Tower admission price and we get you VIP admission. There's no shuffling along in a goes-on-forever ticket queue. Go Economy Class you pay more, you get less and you could queue for half an hour or more. Some Economy. And that's by way of saying, there is of course an admission charge to visit the Tower, but we get you a huge discount.
 
The Tower of London Tour takes place
every Sunday at 11 am
and every Wednesday at 11 am
 
Meet Brian, Tom or Judy just outside the exit
 
of Tower HillTube
 
Tower HillTube is on
the Circle & District Lines
 
Guided by Brian or Tom or Judy
 
 
 
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OLD HIGHGATE VILLAGE - "a place apart"
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1.45 pm on Sundays
from HighgateTube  Meet in the booking hall

(Highgate Tube is on the branch of the Northern Line that goes toward High Barnet/Mill Hill East)

What kind of sorcery is this? We're just a few stops up the Northern Line, but we're in a country village nestling round what was once an old pond. Yes, we've taken a brief tube journey into timeless England. Here are lanes and cottages and Georgian houses and spectacular views across London. Here are Coleridge, Dickens, Betjeman, Cromwell, Nell Gwyn, Dick Whittington, Yehudi Menuhin, George Michael, Annie Lennox, and Sting. And after the walk, there's Highgate Cemetery ("one of the most astonishing places in London...architecture's answer to Hieronymus Bosch") or, on its wooded slope on the Heath, Kenwood House. In short, this is the perfect London Walk for a fine Sunday afternoon. But keep it under your hat, because if the word got out Highgate would be a major tourist attraction! And so we come to the not inconsiderable matter of Après-walk!


 
The Old Highgate Village Walk takes place
every Sunday at 1.45 pm from HighgateTube.

HighgateTube is on
theNorthern Line


Meet Brian or Tom in the station booking hall.

Guided by Tom or  Brian or Richard III
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"Oh the after tram-ride quiet,
When we heard a mile beyond,

Silver music from the bandstand,

Barking dogs by Highgate pond."
Sir John Betjeman

"'London!' It has the sound of distant thunder."
James Bone, The London Perambulator, 1925

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SHAKESPEARE'S & DICKENS' LONDON
The Old City
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2 pm on Sundays
from St. Paul'sTube exit 2

London was to Shakespeare and Dickens what Paris was to Balzac. It held them in its thrall, was both their canvas and their inspiration, their workshop and their raw material. They in turn made it their own, imaginatively colonising it. And, like "special correspondents for posterity", bequeathed it to us. Today, despite the ravages of time, riot, bombing, and especially fire, traces of their London – shipwrecks from the past – still abound in the City. Everything from superb half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings to the magnificent early 16th-century gatehouse where Shakespeare went with his plays to the offices of the Elizabethan Master of the Revels. (Intermezzo called for here.) And from London's grandest Tudor manor house to crooked little alleys which fed the fires of Dickens' "hallucinating genius".

And if you'd like to read a bit more about this one – here's some press coverage of this walk. First, a recent piece in The Guardian by the distinguished critic and scholar, John Sutherland. Here's what he says (and to accompany it, there's some further "particulars" about the walk – and some very fine old imagery!). Or there's this from the Observer. Taking the Observer guy's "vote of confidence" as a jumping off point, here's the start of a little "photo essay" for this walk. Update: this one just keeps attracting a lot of press attention. Here's a recent piece from the Times.

Shakespeare's and Dickens' London – the Old City
takes place every Sunday afternoon at 2 pm
and every Wednesday morning at 11 am

Guided on Sundays by David  ("none better" The Observer)
Guided on Wednesdays by Andy or Corinna

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LITTLE VENICE
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2 pm on Sundays from
Warwick AvenueTube

If you fancy something completely different, this is the walk for you. Little Venice is the prettiest and most romantic spot in town. A unique combination of white stucco, greenery, and water, it boasts the finest early Victorian domestic architecture in London; a Who's Who of famous residents (Robert Browning, Edward Fox, Joan Collins, Annie Lennox, and Sigmund Freud to name but a few); and a jewel of a "village" street. And that's not to mention its canals. One of them - Regent's Canal - is known as the "loveliest inland waterway in England". Part of the walk is along the canal towpath - which to this day is studded with fragments of evidence that bring the Age of Canals to life. And afterwards you can have tea - or a bite to eat - at a stylish canal-side café. And why not lend an ear? Which is by way of saying, here's a bit of audio from this walk. It's Shaughan in all his full-throated - let alone multi-charactered - glory!

Cue Shaughan, who guides the walk: "Walking this one is always a revelation - behind the elegant facade is the other story; the maids, butlers, cooks & grooms - the downstairs-backstairs people who made it work. I talk about the rise, decline and resurgence of wealth in the area - these days there are quite enough "Celebs" to turn Maida Vale into "Media Vale". I drop more mames on this one than you can fit in your basket.  And running through this stucco wedding cake - the artery that supplied goods from the Heart of England to its Brain - The Grand Union Canal. Look at London from both sides for an afternoon, and finish with chocolate cake and a boat ride."

The Little Venice Walk takes place
 every Sunday at 2 pm
every Wednesday at 11 am
and every Saturday at 2 pm

Meet Shaughan just outside the exit of Warwick AvenueTube.

Little VeniceTube is on
theBakerloo Line  

Guided on Sundays by Shaughan
Guided on Wednesdays by Peter or Richard III
Guided on Saturdays by Shaughan

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THE STREET ART WALK
Bombing with Banksy & Co.
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1.45 pm every Sunday
from Liverpool StreetTube, Bishopsgate exit 
 
"People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish... but that's only if it's done properly" – Banksy. There's no other London Walk like this one. It's intense on the senses. It's a corkscrew of a route that pops cork after cork of east London's vibrant, heady, dynamic street art scene. It gets up close and personal with Banksy and Ben Eine and Shepherd Fairey and Invader and Co. It decodes them. Like a great jazz musician it improvs (because this outdoor gallery – aka Shoreditch and Spitalfields – gets "rehung"* every few months). It's guided by a street art collector. A savvy local, Pepe's got great connections – knows the scene as well as the artists themselves. It ends at a street artist's studio and gallery. *Six months is the average life span of street art in east London. So the walk – true to the scene – changes all the time. Makes for a unique buzz. As this little photo essay sassily attests. Ditto the little film Jon's made of the walk. It's here. Enjoy! Okay, Banksy, here we come. 
 
 
The Street Art Walk takes place
every Sunday at 1.45 pm
 
Meet Pepe just outside the Bishopsgate exit of
Liverpool StreetTube.
 
Liverpool StreetTube is on the
Circle,  Central & Metropolitan Lines
 
Guided by Pepe
 
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ANCIENT LONDON
Knights, Nuns & Notoriety
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2 pm on Sundays
from Tower HillTube

This is a jolt of the pure stuff – the best sort of London Walks alchemy. The alchemy that results when you mix alleyways that tourists never find with London history that would do the Sorcerer's Apprentice proud. Here we're in an urban enchanted forest, a place where 13 knights performed three deeds of bravery – one above ground, one below ground, and one in the water. 

A place where there's a centuries-old peep hole – still there – to keep nuns safe from prying eyes. A place of a Maypole and 11,000 beheaded virgins and the most spectacular statue in London and a show-stopping garden with a fountain whose waters mimic the tail feathers of an ostrich. Let alone Bedlam, an outrageous prioress, Bluebell Girls, black magic, Geoffrey Chaucer and traitors' heads.  Go on, have a listen. Here's a "soundbite" from this walk. A piece of the "notoriety" in the subtitle! And look, if you've come this far, well, step this way: have a look.

The Ancient London Walk takes place
every Sunday at 2 pm

Meet Sue just outside the exit of
Tower HillTube

Tower HillTube is on
theCircle & District Lines 

Guided by Sue

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WESTMINSTER AT WAR
"Hitler will have to break us in this island or lose the war"*
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2 pm on Sundays
from EmbankmentTube
 
 
Let's start with a few salient facts. 1) Where we meet – if you know how and where to look – you can see the dagger that was plunged into the heart of Nazi Germany. 2) Until the middle of 1944 there were more British civilian deaths than military. 3) Europe, like a prison door, had clanged shut – this country stood alone and at bay in guarding the future of the civilised world. And Westminster? The nerve-centre of the entire war, it was a city transformed: sandbagged tombs in the Abbey (ditto Eros in Piccadilly Circus); a pillbox and barbed wire in Parliament Square; a machine-gun nest on the Members' Terrace; bombers caught in the scissors of searchlights; barrage balloons and air-raid shelters; nights out of the Revelation of St. John – fires that turned the moon blood red and canopied the Thames with smoke. Any of that left? Well, more than you'd think. And in some cases it's not just "trace evidence". That history is writ here in stone. We end at the Cabinet War Rooms, the fortified bunker that housed Winston Churchill's centre of operations during the war. *It was of course Winston Churchill who uttered those ringing words
 
The Westminster at War walk takes place
every Sunday at 2 pm
 
Meet Tom or Andy R. just outside the exit of
EmbankmentTube.
 
EmbankmentTube is on the
Circle & District & Northern & Bakerloo Lines
 
Guided by Tom or Andy R.
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THE UNKNOWN EAST END
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2 pm on Sundays
from WhitechapelTube
 
Pretty special this one. In its day this was frontline London – the one and only neighbourhood the government feared. It was down and out London – the worst slum in Europe. And here's the paradox: it was also London at its richest! Richest in terms of its artistic expression and social ferment and human mix. It's the London of revolution (we'll see the building where Lenin, Trotsky, Gorky and Stalin touched down; of sieges and battles; of Isaac Rosenberg and Mark Gertler; of the greatest Indian poet of them all; of the Liberty Bell (and Bi-Centenary Bell) foundry; of the Krays and the Elephant Man; of the best ethnic restaurants in London; of the 13th-century White Chapel and synagogues and mosques. And astonishingly – despite the attentions of the Luftwaffe – much of the "fabric" is still there. Best of all, it's "real people's London" – and they're still there, too.  Guided by Harry.

The Unknown East End Walk takes place
every Sunday afternoon at 2 pm.

Meet Harry just outside WhitechapelTube.

WhitechapelTube is on
theDistrict Line

Guided by Harry

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HARRY POTTER FILM LOCATIONS IN THE CITY
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2 pm on Sundays
from BankTube, exit 3 
 
Harry Potter: "Can we find all this in London?"
Hagrid: "If yeh know where to go"

Where to go on this wicked walking tour that burns with a hard, gem-like flame. Burns with an h., g.-like flame because it's HP. And because it's the mysterious old City of London on a Sunday afternoon (when we've got it all to ourselves).  And because betwixt and between the film locations we hit the sweet spots – the very best of quirky, peculiar, curious, lost old London. It's all very Harry Potter and Co.
 
For a detailed description of the walk, see below. For a little taster film of the walk, click here.
 
But first a word about the guide. Because with this one you've got to get the guide right. You've got to have a guide who's part Lumos, part Mirror of Eristed. Who's got his O.W.L.s and then some. Cornish Pixies* won't do.      *Let alone pizza delivery boys, parking lot attendants and security guards.
 
And that's by way of saying, it takes a very special guide to get this one right. It's a question of range. A gifted actor – like Richard – has got that range. He's instantly likable. But he can also do high-beam intensity.  He's got the goblet of fire voice. Got the dynamic personality. Got the past: Himalayas and a raft on the Pacific (London Walks' Action Man, he's earned his nickname – "Kontiki"). He's got those actor "gifts" that can't be taught, let alone faked. He's pitch perfect. He's got timing. He's got presence. He's just got it. All of it. (Another way of putting this: it's what used to be called talent and ability and it goes to the heart of the matter. Some people were made to do what they do, be they guides or ballet dancers or eye surgeons. They're geniuses. It's their skill. We go after – and get – guides of that calibre. Richard's one of them.)
 
 
The Harry Potter Film Locations in the City walk takes place every Sunday afternoon. Here's guide Richard taking you through the menu for this one: "This walk 'Potters' through the old City of London. You’ll see most of the great buildings of the ancient City: the Bank of England, Mansion House, the wonderful Leadenhall Market, a close up view of the ‘Gherkin’, magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, etc. You’ll cross the river by way of London Bridge – natch! You’ll see film locations where Hagrid and Harry make their way to Diagon Alley in the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You’ll see where Harry, Mad-Eye Moody, Nymphadora Tonks and their friends fly in The Order of the Phoenix. And you’ll see the locations used for the Leaky Cauldron and the Third Hand Book Emporium in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And lots more. What's not to like about a London Walk packed with history and Harry Potter. So come on muggles, it's time to enter the maze. Yes, that time – Portkey time, warp-across-London time! 
 

 
"Nothing like a... stroll to give you ideas"

The Harry Potter Film Locations in the City tour takes place
every Sunday afternoon at 2 pm from BankTube,
exit 3
  
N.B. There's a 3 galleon* charge for kids as this one's for all ages! Super Kids – i.e., adults – get their usual "best bargain in London" deal: £9 (£7 for concs.).

Guided by Richard
 
*Oh, okay – if you must put it that way – £3. But not for tinies – under 8s – they go free.
 
DISCLAIMER: The Harry Potter Film Locations Tour is not an official 'Harry Potter' event. (For the record, London Walks doesn't do "official" – we value our independence waaaaaaaaay too much for that.) Nor is it endorsed, sanctioned or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly by Warner Bros Entertainment Inc, the Harry Potter book publishers or J.K.Rowling and her representatives. All rights to the series of “Harry Potter” books are the property of J.K. Rowling and her publishers including Scholastic Press, et al. Film rights and image trademarks are the property of Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.
 

 
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Find one photograph to introduce - and sum up - the literally hundreds of London Walks From the Repertory Walks. An image that crystallises the Tour du Jour cornucopia. Surely an impossible task. Or so I thought. But London's an "inventory of the possible". And because it is London Walks has had the great good fortune to cross paths with Jon Block, who's taking photographs that are sui generis. And just so wonderful. This is one of them. And it does what I thought was impossible - until I kept the "inventory of the possible" faith, that is. It introduces - and crystallises - the hundreds of Tour du Jour London Walks. A Special Photograph for Special Walks. It's called The Meeting Place, St. Pancras. And, yes, we do a From the Rep walk there.
 

FROM THE REPERTORY The 2.30 pm Sunday Tour du Jour[/]!
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2.30  pm       The Walk in this time slot changes weekly!

For the particulars of the 2.30 pm Tour du Jour
on any given Sunday see the following table.

DATE WALK STATION
Sept. 28 Doctors' London Pox & Plague, Leeches & Quacks Guided by a Physician BlackfriarsTube
Sept. 28 Shakespeare to Wordsworth Poetry in Performance Perambulation Guided by Lance – The Voice! EmbankmentTube
Oct. 5 The Regent's Canal King's Cross – Granary Square – Hitchcock's Hackney King's CrossTube meet by the taxi rank
Oct. 12 Samuel Pepys' London City Perilous, City Peerless
Tower HillTube
Oct. 19 The Regent's Canal Little Venice to Camden Warwick AvenueTube
Oct. 26 What Ho, Jeeves! The London of P.G. Wodehouse, Wooster & Jeeves Marble ArchTube exit 2 (the Park Lane exit) 
Nov. 2 The Regent's Canal Mile End to Limehouse Mile EndTube
Nov. 2 Gunpowder, Treason & Plot On the Trail of Guy Fawkes WestminsterTube exit 4
Nov. 9 A River of Memory A Special Walk for Remembrance Sunday EmbankmentTube
Nov. 16 The Regent's Canal Islington to Hoxton AngelTube
Nov. 23 Musical London Baroque to Rock, Handel to Hendrix Leicester SquareTube exit 1
Nov. 30 Charming Chiswick  Olde Worlde Riverside Village Ravenscourt ParkTube
Dec. 7 The Olympics, Three Mills & Bow Back Rivers Bromley-by-BowTube
Dec. 14 Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol & Seasonal Traditions Tower HillTube
Dec. 21 Alternative Comedy The Silly Walk (guided by a stand-up comic!) Leicester SquareTube exit 1
Dec. 28 Christmas in the Trenches London & The First World War
St. James's ParkTube Broadway/ Westminster Abbey exit
Jan. 4 The Regent's Canal Little Venice to Camden Warwick AvenueTube
Jan. 11 The Monopoly Walk  Advance to Mayfair EmbankmentTube
Jan. 18 The Regent's Canal Islington to Hoxton AngelTube
Jan. 25  George Orwell's London Tottenham Court RoadTube exit 3
Feb. 1 The Regent's Canal Mile End to Limehouse Mile EndTube
Feb. 8 Samuel Pepys' London City Perilous, City Peerless Tower HillTube
Feb. 15 The Olympics, Three Mills & Bow Back Rivers Bromley-by-BowTube
Feb. 22 Frozen Music The City of London Architecture Walk Tower HillTube
Mar. 1 The Regent's Canal Regent's Park & River Tyburn to Little Venice Baker StreetTube Baker Street North exit
Mar. 1 The London Wall Walk Londinium to Lundenwic to Londonburgh Tower HillTube
Mar. 8 Aunties' London Roundabout the BBC Oxford CircusTube exit 8
Mar. 15 Limehouse – Thames – Docklands The Land of the Gathering Waters Westferry DLR
Mar. 22 Classic London Mews & Hidden Passageways Earl's CourtTube Earl's Court Road exit 
Mar. 29 What Ho, Jeeves! The London of P.G. Wodehouse, Wooster & Jeeves Marble ArchTube exit 2 (the Park Lane exit)
Apr. 5 The Regent's Canal King's Cross to Hitchcock's Hackney King's CrossTube meet by taxi rank
Apr. 12 West Hampstead Village  The Other Hampstead West HampsteadTube
Apr. 19 The Regent's Canal King's Cross – Granary Square – Camden King's CrossTube meet by the taxi rank
Apr. 19 Wapping Tales Ships, Pirates & Murders Tower HillTube
Apr. 26  The Olympics, Three Mills & Bow Back Rivers Bromley-by-BowTube
May 3 The Regent's Canal Regent's Park & River Tyburn to Little Venice Baker StreetTube Baker Street North exit

 

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OLD WESTMINSTER
1,000 Years of History
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2.30 pm on Sundays
from WestminsterTube, exit 4

                                                           photo by Jon Block

This is the cornerstone, the great seminal London Walk. Miss it and you've missed London. For Old Westminster is London at its grandest: the place where kings and queens are crowned, where they lived, and often were buried. It's the forge of the national destiny, the place where the heart of the Empire beat, the Mecca of politicians throughout the ages. The past here is cast in stone and we take it all in: ancient Westminster Hall, the Houses of Parliament, the Jewel Tower, and Westminster Abbey. And to see it with a great guide is to have that past suddenly rise to the surface...like seeing a photographic print come up in a darkroom. It doesn't get any better than this. And embarras de richesse, we'll also explore the private face of Westminster - the London equivalent of Georgetown! Unlike the tourist hordes, we'll get to see the hidden and ever so picturesque Georgian back streets where all the political salons are! And fancy a listen? Click here. It's the opening of the Secret Westminster chapter in our forthcoming book, London Walks London Stories. A chapter that was inspired by - and draws on - this walk.

The Old Westminster Walk takes place: 

every Sunday at 2.30 pm

WestminsterTube is on the
Circle
, District & Jubilee Lines

Guided on Sundays by Simon
Guided on Tuesdays by Judy
Guided on Thursdays by Shaughan or David
Guided on Saturdays by Karen


 

Here's the kind of catch-in-the-throat, "writing on the wall" history that you get on the Old Westminster walk. This old sign is fading, almost ghost-like...and all the more moving for being so. It's an old World War II bomb shelter sign that we see in one of those "picturesque Georgian backstreets" on this walk. A stark reminder that this neighbourhood was right on the Luftwaffe's flight path. And into the bargain, if you're looking at the sign from this angle you're standing right in front of the house where the Anti-Appeasement movement got started! Welcome to 1940 ladies and gentlemen. This isn't "textbook" history. It's in-your-face history. Standing here looking at this sign you're going to hear the sirens in your mind's ear. And smell the cordite. And shudder. And thank Winston Churchill. And his generation.

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"Man hath no better thing under the sun
than to eat and to drink and to be merry."
 
The Bible


SOHO UNZIPPED
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7 pm on Sundays
from Leicester SquareTube
(meet just outside exit 1, by Wyndham's Theatre) 

Okay, it's not as risque as it sounds. Though there's eertainly some very tasty historical naughtiness: Casanova cruised these parts, for example. And, yes, it is London's, er, hoary old red light district. What's really to the point is that colourful and cosmopolitan Soho is London's hottest - and coolest - social melting pot. It's a place of bewitching contrasts. Homely village and red-light district; workplace and playground; Chinatown and Theatreland; a paradise for gourmands and the haunt of artists, con-artists, artistes and artisans. Today it's a by-word for style; in the 60s it was the cradle of British pop music; a century ago it was the worst slum in town; earlier still, the hub of aristocratic life. There's no place like it. Anything else? Yes, this is a pub walk and food is available.

  Now for a scene setter, why not hear from a Soho guide himself. Here's Richard III on Soho. He sounds good. And it sounds interesting, fun, stimulating, convivial, tasty, and, well, if truth be told, a little bit saucy! 

                                                                     Photo by Jon Block

The Old Soho Pub Walk takes place
every Sunday evening at 7 pm.

Meet Richard III or Peter G. by Wyndham's Theatre, 
just outside Leicester SquareTube.

Leicester SquareTube is on
the Piccadilly & Northern Lines

Guided by Richard III or Peter G

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HAUNTED LONDON
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7.30 pm on Sundays
from MonumentTube
(meet outside the main exit, in Fish Street Hill)

It's blue dusk. Feeding time. Time to pierce the veil which hides the future after death. The time when rooftop cats look down – their eyes green as ringstones – and see things that maybe we shouldn't see. Down here in the creepiest part of London – in alleyways so narrow you can't open an umbrella in them. And so old they're cobwebbed with time. And cobwebbed with something else too. Cobwebbed with events that occurred long ago – events that under certain conditions can again "become dynamic". So when you see the unholy Trinity – and you will see it – and when silver dragons leer at you – and they will – and if you hear footsteps up a deserted alleyway – or voices of persuasion that whisper in the darkness – or catch a glimpse of a hooded, staring transparent figure – congratulations – you've just fed a haunting. It'll be back. And one day...so will you. Now who's for a really cozy pub?

The Haunted London Walk takes place
every Sunday at 7.30 pm
and every Friday at 7.30 pm.


Meet your guide just outside the main exit –
the Fish Street Hill exit – of MonumentTube.

MonumentTube is on
theCircle & District Lines  

Guided – on Sundays – by Andy or Shaughan, as the San Francisco Chronicle put it, he's "deliciously spooky". You won't have any problems spotting him: he's the man in black with a smile like the silver plate on a coffin!
Guided – on Fridays – by Steve or Corinna

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JACK THE RIPPER HAUNTS
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7.30 pm every* night
from Tower HillTube

Please tread carefully and keep away from the shadows -
you are about to enter the abyss...

He came silently out of the midnight shadows of August 31, 1888. Watching. Stalking. Butchering raddled, drink-sodden East End prostitutes. Leaving a trail of blood that led...nowhere. Yes, something wicked this way walked, for this is the Ripper's slashing grounds. We evoke that autumn of gaslight and fog, of menacing shadows and stealthy footsteps as we inspect the murder sites, sift through the evidence - in all its gory detail - and get to grips, so to speak, with the main suspects. Afterward we can steady our nerves in "The Ten Bells", the pub where the victims - perhaps under the steely gaze of the Ripper himself - tried to forget the waking nightmare. More... And if you'd like a bang-up-to-date independent assessment of our Ripper walk - "an eerie experience" - here are some choice words from the Toronto Star.   Now, anyone for some audio? Want to hear the man who is "internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper" in action? I thought so. Click here. And here.  And for some stills of the walk and the neighbourhood, click here (Don's the chap wearing the fedora and red scarf and holding the clutch of London Walks leaflets).

And this is pretty neat: Adam's made a handy little video to help out anybody who's arrived late for the walk. It's called The Jack the Ripper Catch Up Film. If you arrive late and the walk's moved off, well, just get your cell phone out, bring up this page and click here and hey presto you'll be able to catch us up.

Last but not least, don't miss the WARNING! right at the end of this entry. It's important – so be sure to scroll down and get across it.

The Jack the Ripper Haunts Walk takes place
every single night* at 7.30 pm.


Meet the guide just outside the exit of
Tower HillTube.

N.B., there's also a Ripper walk every* Saturday afternoon at 3 pm
(in addition to the nightly 7.30 pm walk). 

Tower HillTube is on
the Circle & District Lines

*except December 24th & December 25th

Guided by Steve (on Saturdays)
Guided by Donald (on Sundays) Summer 2014 update – N.B. Don's off for a few weeks this summer with a minor medical thing
Guided by Molly (on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Guided by Steve (on Wednesdays)
Guided by Adam and Shaughan (on Thursdays)
Guided by Donald or Shaughan (on Fridays) Summer 2014 update – N.B. Don's off for a few weeks this summer with a minor medical thing

  

Faces in the crowd. Faces that say it all. They're rapt. Only word for it. Now click here to see the full image. Yes, it's Don in action, as caught by a David Cook photo earlier this year.

N.B., Let's call a spade a spade. Going on Donald Rumbelow's walk is as close as you're going to get to nailing the Ripper. Donald is the author of the best-selling The Complete Jack the Ripper, the definitive book on the subject. He's been the chief consultant for every major television and film treatment of the Ripper for the last 20 years. In the words of The Jack to Ripper A to Z (the bible of Ripperology studies): "Donald Rumbelow is internationally recognised as the leading authority on the subject". The former Curator of the City of London Police Crime Museum and a two-time Chairman of the Crime Writers" Association, Donald is Britain's most distinguished crime historian. And I hasten add, he's not some dry-as-dust academic. He spent 25 years on the City of London Police Force - which in effect means you'll be taken over some of the most famous crime scenes in the world by a law enforcement professional...who just happens to be the world's leading expert on those particular crime scenes! Oh and I almost forgot – he's also a top-flight professionally qualified Blue Badge Guide!

But a word of warning: never part with your money or set off with anyone until you're absolutely certain you're with Donald or – if it's another night – one of his London Walks colleagues. Donald (and co.) will be holding up copies of the distinctive white London Walks leaflet. And remember, Donald and his colleagues never ever start the Jack the Ripper walk before 7.30pm. In short, don't let anyone pull a fast one on you. In the words of the Toronto Star: "rip-off tours...capitalize on his [Rumbelow's] popularity and try to confuse people who show up knowing that this is the place for Ripper Tours, but haven't got the details straight."

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"THE SPECIALS" – LONDON WALKS ON SELECTED SUNDAYS
 
DATE TOUR TIME STATION
Sept. 28 Thames Beachcombing 10.30 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Oct. 5 The City of Money & The Crash How, Where & Why It Happened 4.30 pm St. Paul'sTube exit 2
Oct. 12 Thames Beachcombing 10.45 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Oct. 26 Thames Beachcombing 9 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Nov. 16 St. Albans Day Trip"an England in miniature" 10.45 am West HampsteadTube
Dec. 14 St. Albans Day Trip"an England in miniature" 10.45 am West HampsteadTube
Dec. 14 Thames Beachcombing 11.30 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Dec. 21 St. Albans Day Trip"an England in miniature" 10.45 am West HampsteadTube
Dec. 28 Thames Beachcombing 11.45 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Dec. 28 The City of Money & The Crash How, Where & Why It Happened 4.30 pm St. Paul'sTube exit 2
Jan. 11 Thames Beachcombing 10.30 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Jan. 25 Thames Beachcombing 11 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Feb. 8 Thames Beachcombing 9.45 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Feb. 22 Thames Beachcombing 10 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Mar. 1 The City of Money & The Crash How, Where & Why It Happened 4.30 pm St. Paul'sTube exit 2
Mar. 8 Thames Beachcombing 9 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Mar. 8 St. Albans Day Trip"an England in miniature" 10.45 am West HampsteadTube
Mar. 22 Thames Beachcombing 9 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1
Apr. 5 The City of Money & The Crash How, Where & Why It Happened 4.30 pm St. Paul'sTube exit 2
Apr. 19 Thames Beachcombing 9 am Mansion HouseTube exit 1