That's what Jason Cochran,* one of America's most distinguished travel journalists, said about our Thames archaeology outings.
The Frommers.com Editor-in-Chief certainly wasn't rationing the superlatives. He titled his article: "Mudlarking** in the Thames Might Be The Best Thing I've Done in London." For good measure, he described London Walks as "the city's most respected walking tour group."
Pretty much says it all.
Well, not quite all. There's this important update. And here's the schedule.
Intertidal archaeologist Fiona, the world's foremost expert on this stretch of the River Thames, will be guiding her Secret Thames – Archaeology Tours on the dates listed below. The meeting point for all of them is Mansion House Tube, exit 1.
Saturday, February 3 at 10 am Saturday, March 3 at 9.30 am Saturday, April 21 at 11.30 am
Saturday, May 5 at 10 am Saturday, June 2 at 10 am Saturday, August 18 at 10 am
Saturday, October 20 at 10 am Saturday, November 17 at 10 am
*Jason Cochran is an award-winning travel journalist, pop historian, and consumer reporter. He was the first person in a quarter century to win Guidebook of the Year twice in the Lowell Thomas Awards by the Society of American Travel Writers. The Editor-in-Chief of Frommers.com, he has written extensively for the New York Post, Budget Travel (as senior editor); Entertainment Weekly; the New York Times and New York Daily News; USA Today; Travel + Leisure and T+L Family; Travel + Leisure.com; BBC Travel; Concierge.com; Newsweek; City; Frommers.com; the South Florida Sun-Sentinel; Arena (U.K.); Who (Australia); Scanorama and Seasons (Sweden). He was Executive Editor at AOL Travel and filed popular AOL video segments as Editor-at-Large for WalletPop.com. He was a featured columnist for Kurt Andersen’s pioneer Web magazine Inside.com and Microsoft’s milestone Sidewalk.com and he devised questions for the first American prime-time season of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (ABC). He originated, produced, and hosted AfterShark, the post-show for Mark Burnett’s Shark Tank (ABC) and has been seen as a regular contributor in consumer and travel issues to CBS This Morning and The Early Show and on his weekly consumer reporting segment on Fox Philly. As a commentator, he has been on outlets including BBC World, CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News, the CBC, Good Morning America, CNNfn, Australia.com, WOR, Outdoor Life Network, MSNBC.com, and national radio shows including those of Arthur Frommer and Doug Stephan. He writes the Frommer’s guides to London and Orlando. He was also awarded Guide Book of the Year by the North American Travel Journalists Association for his book on London, and his other guides include San Francisco. His writing has been awarded the Golden Pen by the Croatian government and was selected to appear in a permanent exhibit in the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. He is an alumnus of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and New York University’s Graduate Music Theatre Writing Program.
**Jason Cochran – or perhaps a sub-editor – got the title wrong. It wasn't Mudlarking, it was Beachcombing. We've never done Mudlarking, which is digging down, often after a metal detector has pinpointed something under the surface. You've always (well, at least in the modern era) had to have a license to go "mudlarking" on the Thames foreshore. Fiona's finds – our finds – were always on the surface. That's not mudlarking, that's beachcombing. The new PLA regulations – see this update – stipulate that you now have to have a license to beachcomb. And we have to buy a prohibitively expensive license from them if we're going to to take a group right down onto the foreshore. Which is why we have completely revamped (and retitled) the tour. As a group, we do not go down onto the foreshore. Fiona guides it from up above, on the Thames Path. You'll see everything you would have seen before. More actually, because she's now free to range further afield – and can do both banks of the river. And if anything you'll have even more – much more – "tactility." Because Fiona will now bring along a much larger sampling from her collection. You'll get to see – and hold, be photographed with, etc. – plenty of her finds. And afterwards, if you want, you can, of course, go down on to the foreshore off your own bat. Providing they abide by the rules individuals do not need to buy a license to go down onto the foreshore.
A further option: book Fiona for a private Secret Thames Archaeology Tour. Or, if you're an individual, book her for a Secret Thames and/or Thames Beachcombing Tour. There are a range of Beachcombing licenses available. We'll help you get one if you need one – and make sure you get the one that represents the best value for you. Needless to say, Fiona holds the master license – an annual license. She's got carte blanche to go down there and beachcomb. To go down there with her – ride shotgun with her on one of her beachcombing outings – well, in Jason Cochran's words, that "might be the best thing you'll ever do in London." So, bears repeating, "the further option" – it's, as the saying goes, awesome – is: book Fiona to take you Secret Thames-ing and/or Beachcombing with her. Book a private tour.