West Hampstead Tube | Map
Guided by Alison
Short read: "An England in miniature, an essence of England..."
Long read: The most fascinating small city in this sceptred isle is just 20 minutes from London. You can stand on the bank of its little river, the Ver, and suddenly feel moved, 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 the country – 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. And that's not to mention CAMRA!
Not to put too fine a point on it, St. Albans is London's best-kept secret!
We go to St. Albans on Sxxxxxxxxx. Meet Alison at 10.45 am. Meet her just outside the exit of West HampsteadTube Stop.
On the Saturday, April 13 Easter Season trip you'll want to treat yourself to a St. Albans Bun – the original hot cross bun!
N.B. to put a figure on it, you'll be back in central London at 5 pm. But a slightly earlier return is possible – i.e., if you need to be back earlier 4.30 pm is do-able. And, very conveniently, the return terminus doesn't have to be West Hampstead Tube. If it's better for you, you can carry on from West Hampstead – you don't have to change trains or anything – to St. Pancras/King's Cross or Blackfriars or London Bridge (in that order). Last but not least, Alison's local. Local knowledge – you can't beat it!
"Best Tourism Experience in England" Gold Medal Winner, Visit England
"London Walks was acknowledged as the premier walking tour company in the entire world" American Tour Guides Convention
"St Albans Cathedral is the oldest place of continuous Christian worship in the UK – and has the longest nave of any Cathedral, including St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey. St Albans has the only medieval clock tower in the country. St Albans has the oldest public school in Britain where Pope Adrian IV, the only Englishman to occupy the papal chair, and scientist Stephen Hawking were educated. The Roman city of Verulamium (now the site of St Albans’ Verulamium park) was the second-largest town in Roman Britain after Londinium and was burned and destroyed by Queen Boudicca and her army (St Albans) in AD60. St Albans’ pub Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest pub in the country. St Albans Abbey (now Cathedral) was at one time the principal Abbey in England and was the location of the first meeting (in 1213) which ultimately led to the sealing of the Magna Carta (in 1215). World-famous heavy rock group Enter Shakari are from St Albans, and still play the odd gig in the city. St Albans has more pubs per square mile than any other town in the country. Legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick lived and worked in the area and produced The Shining in St. Albans."
St Albans has the only medieval clock tower in the country.
Drum roll! Wait for it... It's the Alban bun, the forerunner of the hot cross bun. Still made and served up at St Albans Abbey using the original 14th-century recipe. Go on, treat yourself.
If you can't make the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public St. Albans tours do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the St. Albans Tour – or any other London Walk or Excursion – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We'll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Noel on 020 7624 3978 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll set it up and make it happen for you.
A private London Walk makes a fabulous (and unusual) wedding present or birthday or anniversary or whatever-the-occasion gift. 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 Trafalgar Square. They're on the Information Table there, right at 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.