This excursion will be back soon. In the meantime we’d be happy to organise a private tour for you. Please contact us on 020 7624 3978 | [email protected] to make a booking.

Mrs Dalloway’s London – the 100th Anniversary

(12 customer reviews)

Westminster Underground station, London (exit 4, opposite Big Ben)

Guided by David or Stephen

Meet the most recent group of Mrs Dalloway’s London walkers. That’s Andrea holding my copy of the novel. His review of the walk – you can read it down below – is a tour de force. And this setting for the photograph because… well, let’s remember how Virginia Woolf opens the novel. The first sentence reads: “Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”


Here’s what’s special about this walk

Ok, the 100th anniversary is now history. But what I say below about the walk on that June day is 99 percent applicable to every Mrs Dalloway’s London Walk we do. The only exception being that we’re not hearing that bell exactly – to the second – 100 years after Mrs Dalloway heard it on that June day in 1923. But unpacking that moment – especially with the 100-year-old materials I’ve unearthed – Exhibition A, Exhibition B, etc. – is a significant part of the fun and wonderment of the walk.

Podcast for the 100th Anniversary Walk

What larks.

What plunges.

What a walk.

What a moment: “a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause…before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air…what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.”

“This moment of June” – Clarissa Dalloway’s walk at exactly that moment 100 years on – was what we were after. Both those times are now past. But we can give pursuit. And, yes, still hear that plaintive anthem as it fades. And in any case, was it just for the sake of the nice round number of the centenary? No. That moment, that walk – at any time – is much more important than that. In literary terms Mrs. Dalloway’s walk is the pathfinder walk, the walk into modernity, the walk into depths of understanding of the human mind, of who we are – of what makes us tick – that hadn’t been previously plumbed. That morning in mid-June, 1923 Mrs. Dalloway crosses a bourne that hadn’t been crossed before.

What’s more, as adumbrated above, it’s delightfully convoluted. Unpacking all of that is part of the fun. Whatever the day, we get the hour right – we start the walk at 9.45 am so we can hear Big Ben when Mrs Dalloway heard* it, hear those leaden circles dissolve in the air.

But the date – well, it was either June 13th, 1923 or June 20th, 1923. The great Virginia Woolf scholar Elaine Showalter says June 13th. I – Guide David – favour June 20th (for reasons I’ll make clear on the walk). But in any case, in the centenary summer we covered both bases. We did the walk on both those dates. Well, those dates 100 years on. Though I’ll be able to get you back to 1923 in lots of ways. I’ll show you things – extraordinary things, things that have bearing on Virginia Woolf and the novel – that haven’t been seen, by anybody, in 100 years. Yes, I know, that’s an extraordinary claim but I’m able to make good on it. Hint: you’ll see some of the material the literary historian in me has unearthed.

*Can we be sure she heard it? It’s going to be fun to watch your reaction when I untie the string round my documents portfolio, take those 100-year-old documents out, and set them before your eyes.


Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway is a tour de force. It is essentially a prose poem – arguably the most beautifully written novel of the last 100 years. Literary modernism reaches its peak of perfection in Mrs Dalloway – on that walk through London on that day in 1923. We walk with Mrs Dalloway. Walk her London. See it with her eyes.

The walk is guided by David or Stephen. David is a literary historian. Stephen is a Royal Shakespeare Company actor.

In situ David* and Steve** read relevant passages to us. The words, the delivery, the setting – everything comes together. Special walk, special couple of hours. More than special – unforgettable.

*The distinguished scholar and critic John Sutherland described David as “one of the liveliest PhD students I ever supervised.” David (with a one word assist from a former Editor) describes David as:  “the Seigneur of this favoured realm, David broods over words, breeds enthusiasms and is “unmanageable.”* A balterer, literary historian, university lecturer, journalist, and lifelong thanatophobe, he’s also the London Walks ‘pen’ – he writes ‘the famous white leaflet’, let alone the document you’re reading (this website).”

**Fiercely intelligent, terrifyingly talented, distinguished actor. Royal Shakespeare Company, West End shows, lots of films, Sir Peter Hall’s Shakespeare productions, etc. Best ear ever. His impersonation of John Lennon is a resurrection. Doesn’t just guide Shakespeare, performs him. Brilliantly (on his Sunday afternoon Shakespeare’s & Dickens’ City walk – but see for yourself, here’s the video).


The meeting point for the Mrs Dalloway’s London walk is just outside exit 4 of Westminster Tube. 


If you can’t make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, Mrs Dalloway's London – the 100th Anniversary it can always be booked as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Mrs Dalloway's London – the 100th Anniversary walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at [email protected] 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 fab 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.


12 reviews for Mrs Dalloway’s London – the 100th Anniversary

  1. Susan

    David. I just have to say that you gave me the best tour of my life. I have said it over and over. I loved your enthusiasm, the large illustrations, that you moved right along, and of course the”surprise”!
    When we return in the future, I’ll certainly contact you again. Happy New Year to you and your lovely wife. Susan

  2. Paul E. Tierney Jr.

    We went with David and enjoyed every minute. Five of us ( three generations ) were all conversant with Virginia Woolf and Mrs Dalloway , but learned a great deal . David is well prepared and articulate, but he is also a kind, personable, friendly person to be with. Best guided walk I have had in a long time. Paul

  3. Lisbeth Boutang

    Best walk in my tour of walks. Compelling insights into both character and author. A lot of research and introspection went into David’s stellar tour. I had read the book at university 40 years ago. Still I dashed off and bought a hardbound addition to read with fresh relish. I appreciate his follow-up emails that add a friendly, permanent touch.

  4. Suzan Rogers

    Having gone on a number of these walks, the most memorable guided by David, I have found them all enjoyable, this one is a gem however and could too easily be dismissed as only of interest to literature fans. Rather this pulls together a wealth of British history, the impact of the First World War with its legacy not only of death but the trauma of loss, the significance of the British monarchy, the social milieu of the upper classes and cleverly, and through David’s extensive and unique research which he so graciously shares, links them all with the immersive prose of the novel Mrs Dalloway and the tortured life of its author Virginia Woolfe. The sounds and sights of London in the early 1920s are all here, from the booming of Big Ben in its majestic architectural setting to the peace of Dean’s Yard, to the jaw dropping moment in St James Park when we encounter Woolfe herself. This is the 100th anniversary of Mrs Dalloway’s party, you’re invited, don’t miss the fun, as Clarissa Dalloway would say’What a lark! What a plunge!

  5. Ann Kirkland

    My friends and I have taken nearly a dozen London Walks and recommend them highly to everyone we know who is visiting the city. While all have been *****, I wish to make special mention of David’s Mrs Dalloway walk. David brought Virginia Woolf’s masterful novel to life with his depth of knowledge and his engaging delivery. He has done a tremendous amount of personal research. His enthusiasm for the book is contagious. Whether you know the book well or have not yet read it, you will lose yourself in Mrs Dalloway’s morning walk. David also sent us a variety of terrific links.

  6. Jane Heitz

    I loved visiting the quiet streets and elegant buildings that I had thus far only known through the literature of the time. And there they were, right in front of us…with Mrs. Dalloway surely within.

  7. Krzysztof

    The walk was a marvellous experience. David prepared every detail for us to enjoy, from Big Ben striking the passage of time like in the novel, to scholarly opinions about the exact date that Woolf set the story in. David did a tremendous job of recreating London from a century ago, providing us with articles, photos and other sources. The historical context, which is so crucial for further understanding and appreciation of the novel, was something that I probably wouldn’t have learnt about hadn’t I taken the tour. The stops alongside the walk, reading extracts from the novel and hearing about the reality of the 20s transposed me to what felt like a different city. It might have been the first time I felt peaceful around Westminster, disregarding the hoards of tourists and imagining what it looked like when Mrs Dalloway was traversing London. I took a friend with me who hadn’t read the novel but still enjoyed the walk thoroughly, which speaks for itself.

  8. Andrea

    I took the walk with David on a gorgeous August day. There couldn’t be any better way to celebrate the centenary of the novel, which Virginia Woolf set on a June day in 1923. David showed us a wealth of primary documents to transport us back to the London of the early 1920s: newspapers of the time, photos of building that have long disappeared and historical figures that populated Mrs. Dalloway’s world (and indeed, Virginia Woolf’s). Besides, we got a chance to listen to the only recording of Woolf’s voice discussing the beauty of the English language, as well as passages from the novel read by David at crossroads and other meaningful spots. We met at the foot of Big Ben – which marks the passing of time throughout Woolf’s narrative – and stopped at several places in the Westminster area that are mentioned in Woolf’s account of a day in the lives of her characters: Whitehall, the grave of the Unknown Warrior, Clarissa Dalloway’s presumed house on Barton Street, Dean’s Yard, St James’s Park – just to name a few. The walk ended on Piccadilly near Hatchard’s, one of the few shops mentioned in Woolf’s masterpiece that are still around. If you’re familiar with “Mrs. Dalloway”, you’ll definitely love this, but you don’t have to be a scholar of modernist literature to enjoy the walk. David shared many stories about London and British interwar society that set the context for the novel, and constantly directed our attention to details that often go unnoticed even by born-and-bred Londoners: gas lamps, statues, bridges, etc. Whether you’ve read the novel or not, I highly recommend it!

  9. Liliana

    Truly a magical experience. Thank you so much, David! For the wonderful walk and all-important follow-up materials. Like you, clearly, I love this city and the book and the writer. I will treasure the memories and the information and the sense of your resounding voice – so clear the delivery :)) You made it fascinating, intriguing, inspiring – God bless! Liliana

  10. Katherine Pieri

    Our guide, David, was a tour de force. As we walked in Mrs Dalloway’s footsteps from her home in Westminster across St. James’s and Green Park to Bond Street in her quest for flowers for her party that evening, she was brought to life with his passion and detailed research on the subject. I felt I was walking beside her. Using clues gleaned from the book, put into historic context with copies of The Times of the time, he argued persuasively that June 20 was the correct 100th Anniversary date. You could be forgiven for thinking that Mrs Dalloway isn’t a great work of fiction but a real person who lived and breathed in her London. Thank you David!

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