The particulars for the two Christmas Day walks are as follows:
In the morning – at 11 am – we'll be doing the Christmas Morning 1660 – Samuel Pepys's London Walk.
And in the afternoon – at 2 pm – it'll be the Christmas Day Charles Dickens's London Walk.
The meeting point for both of the Christmas Day walks is by the big Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.
It's the only day of the year we've got the streets to ourselves. Workaday London, internal combustion engine London – they've been put in the box. And in consequence the place looks special. And feels special. And even sounds special. There's a hush in the air that's quite extraordinary. It's as close as any of us in the 21st century will ever get to Wordsworth's famous London epiphany:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
And the God rest ye merry gentlemen (and ladies) strand of the Christmas Day walks is pretty special as well. There's a great deal of bonhomie – of hail fellow well met good cheer – in the air. A visionary – like Blake – would be able to see it: traffic fumes magicked away and rainbows and balloons and soap bubbles disporting themselves in their place! Well, I suppose we can see it as well: friendly people and smiles and twinkling eyes.
Well, you get the idea.
And when we finish, well a handful of restaurants and cafes in the neighbourhood will be open...