Thursday's London Walks
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10 am on Thursdays Not Dec. 25 or Jan. 1
from Covent GardenTube

Let's hear it for privileged access! Was going to say Katy and Karen have emptied the pockets of four stunning London interiors and laid the contents out before us. Empty schmempty. It’s better than that. They take us into those pockets. Some of them are places* you wouldn’t be able to get into if you weren’t on this walk. Special places, privileged places. Here’s John Betjeman on one: “unique and irreplaceable and part of literary and theatrical London. It's historic – quite different from a museum because it's living and in use, not an exhibit.” And its setting, its street? “It’s unmitigated London – human in scale, irregular in height and width, the kind of street that's fast disappearing.” So: Downton Abbey film location, lost rivers, faded menus, whipping post, ballet students, private dining rooms, portable flogging and beheading kit, Pearly king, silver-domed trollies, night watchman’s tardis, famous actress's ashes in a tea caddy, horseshoes, personal letters and gifts, Grand Cigar Divan, cabinet particulaire where the prince and the actress dined privately, we come! Great walk. So come on in! *On 3 floors, all of which we visit! 
And to see more – more of a preview – here's a wee photo essay
The Inside Covent Garden walk takes place
every* Thursday at 10 am
*Except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1
Meet Katy or Karen just outside the exit of
Covent GardenTube

Covent GardenTube is on
the Piccadilly Line

Guided by Katy or Karen
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10.30 am on Thursdays  Not Dec. 25 or Jan. 1
from St. James's ParkTube Broadway/Westminster Abbey exit


Yes!  Eternal London. Landmark London. All the big ticket stuff. Palaces. The Changing of the Guard.* 10 Downing Street. The "Royal Peculiar.".Places where world history was made. All of it's must see London. What makes this one a game-changer is the way we see it. We nook and cranny it. Get around behind. Get inside. See things Londoners – let alone the tourist hordes – never get to see. It's that "specialilty" London Walks is famous for – "the degree of granularity that you get". Everything from the import of a black circle by the 2 on a certain clock to what the Horse Guards are actually guarding. Revealed by Kim, Rex or Anne-Marie. *The Changing of the Horse Guards ceremony takes place every day. It's up close, right there, intimate. We'll be there. The Buckingham Palace ceremony isn't held every day. On the Thursdays when it is on we'll of course see it. Now, want to read a bit more? Here's a related "take" on this walk.


The Royal London & The Changing of the Guard walk takes place
every* Thursday at 10.30 am
*Except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1
Meet  Kim, Rex or Anne-Marie just outside the Broadway/Westminster Abbey exit – meet on the corner, opposite 40 Broadway
of St. James's ParkTube.
St. James's ParkTube is on
theCircle & District Lines
Guided by Kim, Rex or Anne-Marie
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LONDON'S HIDDEN VILLAGE – Same City, Different London
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10.30 am on Thursdays Not Dec. 25
from Tower HillTub(meet by the "Tower Hill Tram" coffee stand)
Four words* that make my blood race. "Hasn't yet been discovered". And hand on heart, if you just want postcard London this one's probably not for you. But if the sightseeing equivalent of Granny Bonds isn't your thing, well, step this way. This way for old fat-lined bacon curing ovens and disused warehouses and converted factories. For the industrial corsetry of the London Bridge Quarter. For the wrong side of the tracks. But it's the right side of the tracks because something's happening here. This is a London neighbourhood coming out of its chrysalis. It's got a buzz. (And I don't mean the apiary.) In sum: 1) you won't have seen this part of London; 2) it's very central; 3) Kate Moss was here; 4) it's got a couple of cutting edge little galleries and museums; 5) it's only a seven-minute walk from Borough Market (and today's market day); 6) we start with a fab of riverscape (to say nothing of he most important mediaeval fortress in Europe and London's great iconic bridge); 7) we end with the only seven-star hotel this side of Dubai. Guided by Chris or Ann. *Right up there with hidden places, hidden history.
London's Hidden Village – Same City, Different London
takes place every* Thursday at 10.30 am
*Except Dec. 25
Meet Ann, Fiona or Isobel by the "Tower Hill Tram" coffee stand just outside the exit of
Tower HillTube
Tower HillTube is on the Circle & District Lines

Guided by Fiona or Isobel or Ann
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BRUNEL'S LONDON Boat Trip, River Walk, Tunnel Descent
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10.45 am on Thursdays  Not Dec. 25 or Jan. 1
from EmbankmentTube

This isn't just Brunel. It's a voyage – and a walk – into the birthplace of modern London. So, yes, under three Brunel bridges and over two Brunels' tunnels to the best kept secret in London. And into the bargain, a sightseer's London checklist, from the Houses of Parliament to the Tower of London. Icons. And that secret. Several secrets, actually. A secret gateway for the Czar of Russia. Six dead men on a haunted ship. Broken bones by the silent Harpy. Broken slipways on the Isle of Dogs. Shattered columns, shattered dancers, magic at the Tunnel Club. Mind-melting magic. Outcroppings of the past that haven't been swallowed by the passage of time. That tell of the monster ship. And of the world's most important tunnel. That more than tell. That take us down into the darkness where men died and Brunel met with destiny. N.B. Oyster or 2-Zone Travel Card recommended for our short train journey. There's an extra charge for the boat ride but we get you a rate. And there's no queuing – our tickets are reserved.

The Brunel's London walk takes place
every* Thursday at 10.45 am

*Except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1

Meet Robert just outside the exit of

EmbankmentTube is on
the Circle, District, Bakerloo & Northern Lines

Guided by Robert

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THE FAMOUS SQUARE MILE – 2,000 Years of History
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11 am on Thursdays Not Dec. 25
from Monument Tube, Fish Street Hill exit

This is the great classic London Walk. It explores the very heart of the City - the most historic part of the capital. Threading their way through an intricate network of narrow alleys and cobble-stone lanes, Tom, Judy and Fiona chronicle the 2,000 years of London's rich and tumultuous history. And illustrate 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
Thursday at 11 am
and every Sunday at 10.30 am

*Except Dec. 25

Meet Tom, Judy, Fiona or Simon outside the main exit – the Fish Street Hill exit – of MonumentTube.

Monument Tube is on the Circle & District Lines

Guided on Thursdays by Tom, Judy or Fiona

Guided on Sundays by Simon

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OLD MAYFAIR - "the best address in London"
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11 am on Thursdays not Dec. 25
from Green ParkTube

Meet Richard III or Peter on the corner, just outside the north exit

Now here's a champagne cocktail of a walk. It's a marriage made in heaven: "the best address in London" and a top drawer guide – a chevalier and a place where Old Masters and old money, Rolls Royces and glamour, titles and butlers are par for the course. It's hob-nobbing with knobs on it – because Mayfair's been home to Clive of India, Disraeli, Handel, Florence Nightingale, Jimi Hendrix, Dodi Fayed, and the Earl Mountbatten, to name but a few. Last but certainly not least, it boasts London's best village within a village – Shepherd Market, a charming little nest of alleys that hasn't lost a jot of its 18th-century scale and village atmosphere, let alone its raffishness. Now, who's for a little photo-essay – indeed our sexiest photo-essay!

The Old Mayfair walk takes place
every* Thursday at 11 am

*Except Dec. 25

Meet Richard III or Peter on the corner
just outside the north exit of Green Park

Green ParkTube  is on the
, Piccadilly & Jubilee Lines
Guided by Richard III or Peter
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11 am on Thursdays  not Dec. 25
from Tottenham Court RoadTube
Meet Richard just outside exit 3, by the Dominion Theatre.

Guided by "the pied piper of Beatlemania" ("so let me introduce you to the one and only Richard P.), 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. Richard P, 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'd like to know more about the area where you'll be meeting Richard, well simply click me!

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

*Except Dec. 25  **Except in Dec. and Jan.

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

Tottenham Court RoadTube is on the
Central & Northern Lines 

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

Guided by Richard P

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OLD WESTMINSTER - 1,000 Years of History
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2 pm on Thursdays  not Dec. 25
from WestminsterTube, exit 4

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 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! We end at the Cabinet War Rooms, the fortified bunker that housed Winston Churchill's centre of operations during the war. You'll get a brilliant discount on the price of admission if you want to visit the War Rooms

And fancy a listen? Try this. It's the opening of the Secret Westminster chapter in our book, London Walks London Stories. A chapter that was inspired by – and draws on – this walk.

The Old Westminster Walk takes place
every* Thursday afternoon at 2 pm
every Saturday morning at 11 am
every** Sunday afternoon at 2.30 pm
and every Tuesday afternoon at 2 pm

*Except Dec. 25   **Except April 26

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

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OLD KENSINGTON – London’s Royal Village
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2 pm on Thursdays  not Dec. 25
from High Street KensingtonTube
Meet by the 3 Phone shop – next to the pavement ("sidewalk") just inside the arcade

This one's special. It's rarely the first – or even the second or third – walk people go on, but when they do get round to taking it, they often say it's the one they liked the most. And no wonder, because Royal Kensington is London at its best – picturesque, stimulating, and full of character. Its parts are as delightful as London can provide: everything from warmly handsome old Kensington Palace, home to the Cambridges (and the late Diana, Princess of Wales) to Kensington Gardens (all meadows, shaded walks, bowers, and flower gardens, it might be the grounds of a stately home in some rural shire) to cobbled little soigne lanes and mews, girt with pretty cottages and charming old shops; and from millionaires' row and regal avenues to beautifully kept squares and a clutch of the world's greatest museums; let alone the garden in the sky (the largest and most breathtaking roof garden in Europe)*; the secluded town house of the greatest Londoner of the 20th-century, an American president's flat, the most astonishing small literary house in the world, acres of gentility, a secret trap-door into a hidden world, and more history and colourful characters than you can shake a stick at. Guided by Adam or David.  *You want breathtaking – here's a nonpareil pen portrait of the Roof Garden. Goes without saying that we visit the Roof Garden whenever it's possible to do so. That said, they do have private functions up there from time to time and we of course don't have access to it on those occasions. 

And afterward you can visit the State Apartments or take tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace! Now who's for another visual or two? Or if  you'd like a further word or two, click here. Or here. And finally, how about some audio?  There's a chapter on Kensington in our book, London Walks London Stories. It's one of the five chapters that fell to me, David, to write. Anyway, here's a tri-partite taster – of Kensington, of the walk and of the book. In short, here's how the chapter opens.

The Old Kensington – London's Royal Village Walk
takes place every* Thursday at 2 pm
and every Saturday at 2 pm

*except Dec. 25 

Meet David or Angela or Adam at High Street KensingtonTube. The rendezvous point is by the 3 Phone shop – next to the pavement ("sidewalk"), just inside the arcade.

High Street Kensington Tube  is on the Circle & District Lines 

Guided on Thursdays by David or Adam
Guided on Saturdays by David or Angela

"Kensington, especially in a summer afternoon, has seemed to me as delightful as any place can or ought to be, in a world which, sometime or other, we must quit." Nathaniel Hawthorne, Our Old Home, 1863

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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT – The City of the Gallows*
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2 pm on Thursdays  not Dec. 25
from St. Paul'sTube exit 2
And the city of beheadings, whippings and brandings. Of hanging, drawing and quartering. Of bodies of the executed delivered to Surgeons Hall for dissection (or else hung in chains). Of hundreds of capital offences. Of pillories, pressing with heavy weights, suffocating dungeons and jail fever that killed countless prisoners (and four out of six judges on the bench). Of prisoners awaiting trial with no legal claim to food. Of Londoners going on with their daily life not a stone's throw away from shocking scenes of slaughter. Three further points: 1) There are, to this day, visible traces – horrifying traces – of that London. 2) It all comes down to the guiding, so this one's guided by specialists. Tom's a barrister. Brian has a legal background (and a Law degree). Richard III has an illegal background (a charge sheet as long as your arm, a charge sheet to be proud of). 3) At the end of the walk there's a chance to visit a very nasty prison cell. *You couldn't enter London without passing the bodies of the hanged – or heads on stakes.
Crime and Punishment – The City of the Gallows Walk
takes place every* Thursday at 2 pm

*Except Dec. 25
Meet Tom or Brian or Richard III just outside exit 2
of St. Paul'sTube
St. Paul'sTube is on the Central Line

Guided by Tom or Brian or Richard III
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THE BLITZ – London at War
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"send every bloody pump you've got,
the whole bloody world's on fire" 

London Fireman during a Luftwaffe raid 8 September 1940

2.30 pm Thursdays  not Dec. 25
from St. Paul'sTube exit 2
N.B. from Nov. 6 onward this walk will start at 2.30 pm
The dome of St. Paul's seemed to ride the sea of fire like a great ship. Ludgate Hill was carpeted in hosepipes. Two hundred people died that night. On the north side of the cathedral 63 acres became a waste of smoking ash and rubble. Another 100 acres were completely devastated in other raids that autumn. At the finish, out of the City's tight-packed 461 acres, 164 were reduced to ruin. And this was just 1940. And now, over to Kim, who's going to take us through a great city in its finest and most desperate hour. Some of what you see and hear may be disturbing.

And just to get you primed, here are the three best paragraphs ever written on London and The Blitz. Nobody told it like it was like V.S. Pritchett and in this passage he's crystallised it: this is what London was like, this is what it felt like to live through that terrible time.

And then there's this. Warning: it hardly bears thinking about.
The Blitz – London at War takes place
every* Thursday
at 2.30 pm from just outside exit 2 of St. Paul'sTube
*Except Dec. 25
St. Paul'sTube is on the Central Line

Guided by Kim or Andy R. or Brian

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Take Another Look!
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6.30 pm on Thursdays  not Dec. 25 or Jan. 1
from BankTube (meet Peter by the Wellington statue outside exit 3)

If I were going to take Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Dante, Elizabeth I, Adam Smith, George Washington and Claude Monet on a London Walk this is the one I'd plump for. Because of where it goes and what we see. Historically this is the oldest part of London; but it's also the most aggressively modern part. And after hours – which is when we're heading in there – it's transfigured: crystalline, transparent as a dragonfly, submerged in its past. We can peer into its depths. And then rub our eyes and wonder at a church that "transcends originality", at the only private house in the country with its own court and cells, at a lost river, at a jewel box of a market (going there is a little touch of Harry Potter in the night), at Dirty Dick's, at the architectural equivalent of a butterfly collection. And to see it at night – washed in blue and green light – it's like moving, stunned, through the crevasses of a mountain glacier!. And that's just first impressions, a quick scratch at the surface. The behind-the-scenes stuff – hidden courtyards, dimly lit alleyways and wonderful old pubs* – will take us right down into the depths of London's ancient past. Guided by Peter G.
*Yes, pubs are included on this walk; a post-walk curry is an optional extra (which is by way of saying, the walk ends near that little parade of the best – and best value – curry houses in London!) 
The Ancient City at Night – Take Another Look! walk takes place
every* Thursday evening at 6.30 pm from BankTube, exit 3
*Except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1
Guided by Peter

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"Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night."   Rupert Brooke

"this part of London is like a haunted house"
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7.30 pm on Thursdays  not Dec. 25
from EmbankmentTube, river exit

Gas-lit alleyways. Film set-perfect Georgian streets that nobody goes to. Crepuscular, crooked little byways. A gloomy old palace in the gloaming. A plague-pit with lit (to this day) corpse candles above it. Spectral walls and towers and domes across a fen. Faded grandeur. Old buildings frozen in another time... This is London's parallel universe. And yes, there have been some really eerie goings-on here. The haunted house analogy is spot on. The walk starts off as jolly and fun and eccentric but as the shadows lengthen – as we get into the deepest recesses of the haunted house – it really does get quite creepy. And as for the lore – "they" can touch you but you can't touch them – and the trace evidence (the "signs" of a haunting) and the just-in-case exorcism paraphernalia that guides always carry with them and the world's most haunted theatre and the creepiest statue in London...  And, yes, sometimes some pretty weird stuff happens on this walk. As this creepy photograph, sent in by a walker, bears witness to.

Last, but certainly not least, the walk's got superb guides named Andy and Katy and Oliver.
Update: we're often asked: "what will we see on this – or that – walk?" By way of a fun, partial answer – here's a peek.

Now who's for some audio? Here's Adam, pinch hitting on December 16, 1897. Funny thing that. Because when we turned into this alley it was June 26, 2008. Was. That's creepy old London for you. You're not careful where you're going – you turn certain corners – and time bends. What's this? It's a gas lamp. Here's Adam. And there's the famous actor, William Terriss. William Terriss, who's just been murdered tonight, right here, December 16, 1897.

The West End Ghost Walk takes place
every* Thursday evening at 7.30 pm from EmbankmentTube

*Except Dec. 25

Guided by Andy or Oliver or Katy

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7.30 pm nightly (except Dec. 24 & Dec. 25)
from Tower HillTube (meet by the "Tower Hill Tram" coffee stand)
N.B. for the rest of 2012 the Thursday night Jack the Ripper Walk is "bookable" through The London Bookstore Shop. You don't have to book it, but the option is there. Well, here – here's the link. We're taking this step for three reasons. 1) It should give us a feel for what the uptake will be for the walk on any given Thursday night. That's extremely valuable information. Seeing the road ahead makes "guide allocation" eezy peezy (as my ankle biters were wont to pipe up) – turns it from an art into an exact science. 2) It'll sort out – at a stroke – the caveat emptor problem that's just taken a very serious turn for the worse there at Tower Hill at 7.30 pm. Which is by way of saying, only the bona fide London Walks guide – Shaughan or Adam – will have your name. It stops in its tracks any hanky panky. 3) It gives us, what various concerns – and indeed some individuals – have long sought: an arrangement whereby pre-payment for a public Jack the Ripper walk is possible. If, for the time being, only on the Thursday night walk.

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 you can steady your 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. Guided by Shaughan and Adam. And for a pictorial or two, click here. Anything else? Well, yes, indeed. How does a very fine little video trailer of the walk grab you? To see it, CLICK HERE.

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.

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

N.B. on Saturday afternoons there's also a Ripper "matinee".
I.E. we also do the Ripper walk every* Saturday afternoon at 3 pm.

Meet the guides – on Thursday evenings it's Adam and Shaughan
by the "Tower Hill Tram" coffee stand just outside the exit of Tower HillTube

Tower Hill Tube is on the Circle & District Lines

*except December 24th & December 25th

Guided by Molly on Mondays
Guided by Molly on Tuesdays
Guided by Steve on Wednesdays
Guided by Shaughan and Adam on Thursdays
Guided by Donald or Shaughan on Fridays
Guided by Fiona or Peter G. on Saturday afternoons
Guided by Steve on Saturday evenings
Guided by Donald on Sundays

N.B., Let's call a spade a spade. Going on Donald Rumbelow's Jack the Ripper Tour 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 – 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 Tour before 7:30 pm. In short, don't let anyone pull a fast one on you.

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