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Disastrous London

Barbican Underground station, London

Guided by Andrew or Simon B

Walk Times

DayWalk TypeStart TimeEnd Time
Saturday Weekly1.45 pm3.45 pm Winter Summer
Thursday Weekly7.30 pm9.30 pm Winter Summer
31 December 2019 Special7.30 pm9.30 pm Winter

Short read: Fire, Plague, Bombing, Rebellion, Executions. Plus a pub.

Shorter read: Down, Dirty, Disastrous London

Short listen: Here’s Guide Citlali talking about the walk.

Long read: Bloody, Flaming, Poxy London. Plague, Fire & Revolution. The Black Death. Churchyards brimming with bodies. The harvest of Death. The zombie apocalypse – but for real. What changes? Everything. We start at an ancient Carthusian priory built next to a plague pit so the brothers could pray for the tormented souls of the dead. We visit an execution spot. But not just any execution spot – THE execution spot – Protestants (yep, the big reboot) and Mel Gibson (ahem). We visit the site of revolt – in effect tour a battlefield – a poll tax – not Maggie – this is 1381, a Lord Mayor, a king, a revolutionary. Spoiler alert. It ends badly. Fast forward to 1666 and the Great Fire (we’ll see several pre-fire structures), the Duke of York and 100 men, poised, a last stand – Cock Lane (yep, it’s exactly what it says on the tin) and then a peek at London’s great phoenix, St. Paul’s, raised from the ashes in all its glory. You’re going to need to quench your thirst so how about a pint at Shakespeare’s gaff? Yes, he finally bought a place, in Ireland Yard, the Blackfriars gatehouse. Shakespeare’s cellar is still there. It’s our pub cellar, our pints will come up from Shakespeare’s cellar.

CODA: So it’s pubs, stunning vistas, historical alleyways, centuries-old architecture and, yes, ahem, filthy street names. What more from a walk? Violence, mayhem, fire, sedition, sex and booze. The London Walk that just keeps on giving. Guided by Andy or Simon B.


Disastrous London takes place at 1.45 pm every Saturday afternoon year-round.

Disastrous London also takes place at 7.30 pm every Thursday evening (except in January and February).

The meeting point is just outside the exit of Barbican Tube.


“the best London has to offer” Culture Trip

“London’s best city tours” The Telegraph

“London Walks has many copycats, but it’s the best” Frommer’s London by Night

“Simon, a true professional, extremely well read and dramatic, but understated leads a fascinating tour. THIS WALK HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: HUMOR, GORE, CINEMA, WAR, ARTS, COLORS, PLATES, Gates DETECTIVES AND EVEN THE CUMBERBATCH! This is truly a must see!!” T. Hobbes


If you can’t make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Disastrous London walks do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Disastrous London 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 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.


A private London Walk makes a very special, indeed, unique gift – be it a birthday or anniversary or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that’s special. Memories make us rich.


Don’t just take it from us or The New York Times


“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 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.