Sloane Square Tube | Map
Short version: Chelsea – Ancient riverside village
Long verion: Starts with one of the great set-pieces of London architecture (and history). To set foot in there is to cross a threshold into another era. Because the "pensioners" – old soldiers – are Redcoats! They're resplendent in the 300-year-old scarlet uniform that was the garb of British soldiers in the 17th-century. As old as the cannon that guard the place. That's just the overture. Because Chelsea is also Whistler's Thames – best seen in the afternoon with the sun like a blob of melted butter burnishing the luminous water. And it's Sir Laurence Olivier's house (and Oscar Wilde's "Tower of Ivory" and Mick Jagger's house and Thomas Carlyle's). Yes, these gnarled old village lanes and byways are as clamorous with great names as rooks in a wood. The pageantry of the place continues to unfurl – because Chelsea is also artists' studios and the old Apothecary Garden that changed the course of American history (on Wednesday afternoons it's normally open to the public!) and Sir Thomas More's church and Crosby Hall (historical frissons don't come any more intense – because Crosby Hall was built nearly 20 years before Columbus discovered the new world – and Richard III was staying in it when he heard the "sad" news about the little Princes in the Tower). Great walk. Guided by Stephanie and Brian, winner of the Guide of the Year Award. N.B. the Chelsea Walk ends in Cheyne Walk, a 15-minute walk (or 5-minute bus ride) to Sloane Square Tube.
The Chelsea Walk takes place every* Wednesday at 1.45 pm. The meeting point is just outside the exit of Sloane Square Tube Stop. *Except Dec. 27
"London Walks offer the very best walking tours of the capital" The Travel Channel
"My daughter and I went on the Wednesday afternoon Chelsea walk with the London Walks company last week. We've tried a number of this company's walks and always found them interesting, but in the hands of our guide, Stephanie, this was an exceptional experience. She gave us just the right mix of mind-boggling fact and quirky anecdote, without wasting a single word. The best guide we've ever had!" Peter W.
If you can't make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Chelsea walks do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Chelsea Walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We'll tailor it to your requirements. And – always with private London Walks and tours – we go to great lengths to make sure the guide-walker(s) "fit" is well nigh perfect. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at email@example.com and we'll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they're good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing. Or indeed a fab present – be it a birthday or anniversary or get-to-know-your-new neighbourhood gift or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that's special. Memories make us rich.
"Nah, don't need it, got it all here," you say. Er, roaming charges? Er, dead battery? Er, reading your phone in the bathtub and you drop it? [Smelling salts interval: sick as a parrot. ashen-faced.] Er, read the famous white leaflet in the bathtub and you drop it what do you do? Er, you dry it out. Anyway, maybe worth making a mental note that you can always pick up the famous white London Walks leaflet at the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the old church in Trafalgfar Square. They're on the Information Table there, right by the box office. And indeed they also display them on the shop counter, right by the cash register. And it's win-win because the Cafe in the Crypt is one of the town's delights. Should be on everybody's London itinerary.