Short read: Ancient riverside village…
Long read: 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 cannons 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 SquareTube.
CHELSEA WALK PRACTICALS
The Chelsea Walk takes place every* Wednesday at 1.45 pm. The meeting point is just outside the exit of Sloane SquareTube Stop. *Except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1
LONDON WALKS REVIEWS
“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.