The Lost Palace of Downing Street

(39 customer reviews)

Embankment underground station, London (river exit)

Guided by Dan Parry

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
7 October 2023 Tour du Jour 2.30 pm 4.30 pm Summer

Take a walk through the ‘Forbidden City’

With a superstar guide

The exclusive seat of power through the centuries, this is the most magical corner of the kingdom. 

Stand at the spot where King Charles I was beheaded, dare to enter Henry VIII’s jousting yard, stroll through once forbidden royal gardens, and take a glimpse through the gates of Downing Street. Laced with pomp and pageants, love, scandal and intrigue, this is a journey into a time of knights and tournaments, rebellion and sieges, Henry’s six wives, and Shakespeare’s first performances – all taking place behind the walls of Britain’s principal bastion of power. 

This is the story of the legendary Palace of Whitehall, once the home of royalty and courtiers, and forbidden to everyone else. Destroyed in a single night, from its smoking ruins grew an exclusive district that came to rule an empire and which still remains the centre of British political power today.

The Downing Street area was once dominated by the largest palace in Europe, a fabulous love nest designed by Henry and Anne Boleyn. The sprawling Palace of Whitehall contained a vast sports complex and extensive gardens, protected behind high walls that kept out the riff-raff. Royalty and their courtiers didn’t even have to cross the public road that ran through the middle, ornate bridges connected the buildings on either side.

Here Henry secretly married Anne, and here, too, he later married Jane Seymour. Elizabeth I played games with her suitors and James I watched Shakespeare appear in The Tempest. Oliver Cromwell died here, less than 10 years after the execution of his adversary Charles I, who walked to his death from the Banqueting House, the palace’s last surviving building.   

Today, most of the palace is long gone but the ghosts of the past live on. The public road, now known simply as Whitehall, is still home to the most important government departments. Here too is Downing Street, home of Britain’s prime minister, set amid buildings that are the legacy of a majestic and often bloody past, at the heart of which once lay a palace full of secrets, waiting to be rediscovered.

Walking along streets originally laid out in and around the palace, discover historic buildings, from the Houses of Parliament to the Old Admiralty to Churchill’s secret WWII bunker.  

Guided by Dan Parry

39 reviews for The Lost Palace of Downing Street

  1. Anne Collier

    We did this walk back on 7th Oct and had a fascinating afternoon. Dan shared so much historical info and interesting facts about this part of London, delivering it all in a friendly and engaging manner. He really helped to bring the past to life and we learnt so much. Highly recommended.

  2. Dale Hayden

    What an amazing walk. Dan is highly knowledgeable and ensures you are both informed and entertained simultaneously. This was the most effective and concise I have ever had this period explained. Take this walk and you will not be disappointed.

  3. Colin Smith

    Very interesting tour conducted by Dan, full of interesting facts and anecdotes. Highly recommended.

  4. Les

    Fantastic and interesting walk today. Dan gave an informative session with an amusing, but reverant, approach. I’d have no hesitation in recommending this walk or an other of Dan’s walks.

  5. Rita Lane

    A fascinating walk with Dan this afternoon.
    He taught me so much about an area that I thought I knew! Dan is an excellent guide with a great sense of humour, interesting and informative.
    I’ve done all three of Dan’s walks now and I would have no hesitation in recommending him.

  6. Lynda Allen

    Palace Walk was really interesting and informative but fun too. Always learn new facts on every one of his walks. Dan is a great guide and welcoming too. HIghly recommended.

  7. jacqueline hollidge

    Another interesting walk by Dan – I have been on the 3 walks he leads and would highly recommend ALL 3.

    This walk took us back to the Tudor period around Whitehall, and brought alive this era in our imagination! A thoroughly informative, and fun afternoon.

  8. Ruth

    Dan led an interesting and amusing tour. He answered all questions put it him by the group. Altogether a very worthwhile afternoon in the heart of London.

  9. Justin Whitmarsh

    The quality one expects from a London Walk.


    Excellent walk through a specific part of the central London with a fascinating history behind the lost Whitehall palace , with a vivid explanation and story by Dan , whose way of clarifying the past was very intense and lively. A highly recommended guided tour.

  11. Peter

    This walk is short in distance, but long on history. It was the first I’ve done with London Walks, and I’ll be doing others next time I’m here as a tourist.

  12. M.Sharma

    Excellent walk, thoroughly recommended.

  13. Mark and Penny

    Dan was a great guide. He entertained and educated us and the two hours flew by.
    Would definitely recommend this walk.

  14. William

    Another excellent walk from Dan – I have now done all three and recommend them all without hesitation.
    This walk really puts the Whitehall area into context – and Dan makes it a fascinating and very enjoyable subject.

  15. Jean Shepherd

    A great walk and very interesting. Dan was an excellent tour guide, very knowledgeable, personable and good fun. It was very hot yesterday but Dan stopped in the shade where possible to talk to us. The naked cyclists did give us a chuckle and Dan coped very well with the interruption.
    My sister and I had a great afternoon.

  16. Wendy Barish

    Very accommodating and he had a great sense of humor. Tied a lesser known piece of history all together with a very neat bow.

  17. Robert Oakley

    I’ve now done all three walks led by Dan and can’t recommend them highly enough. The pacing of the walks, as in the distance between stops and the amount of time talking at each stop is excellent, the history is brought to life by Dan’s presentation and he copes with anything unexpected with aplomb and a touch of fun – today we had the misfortune (?) of being on the route of a naked bike ride which brought a comment of “That’s unusual, they’re normally here on Wednesday” Go on any one of his walks and you’ll want to do the others too. A great time and a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

  18. Frances

    One of the best London Walks I’ve been on and I’ve been on quite a few. Dan was a very knowledgeable and informative guide.
    There was added interest as we joined the walk on 5th May, which was the day before the Coronation of King Charles. This meant some of the usual routes were closed but there were plenty of alternatives, and there were added benefits from Dan’s knowledge and insight into the extra the Coronation-related activities that day.
    I loved realising that I had previously ‘seen’ the now infamous garden of 10 Downing Street without knowing it where, of course, there were no parties during the Covid lockdown!!!

  19. Lou and Herta

    Have been on many London Walks and this one (May 1) was definitely one of the better ones – particularly in view of the upcoming coronation. Always great to listen to someone who truly knows history. Dan does and he shared it very well. Highly recommend any time of the year!

  20. Fiona

    Excellent walk. Our guide was very knowledgeable and also entertaining. Would definitely recommend this walk.

  21. Olga Shportun

    Dan’s tour was amazing, full of great stories, funny details and nice surprises. We definitely recommend doing it for everybody, interested in the history of London

  22. Jane

    Dan was absolutely wonderful. My brother, sister, their spouses, and I all agreed that Dan was a terrific tour guide; extremely knowledgeable, informative, great information, and excellent speaker. We learned so much and it was a perfect way to start our vacation in London. The five of us would highly recommend this tour and Dan!

  23. Chris

    A great tour in the most important and famous part of the city. Despite having lived in London previously, I had no idea about the story of the lost Palace of Whitehall. Dan really brings it all back to life and gives great perspective and humor to leave you seeing Westminster in a completely different way. Highly recommend!

  24. Nicky

    Dan was very knowledgeable and made the Lost Palace come alive! Filled the walk with lots of entertaining stories, and happily answered our questions. Highly recommend this walk.

  25. Jouko Riihonen

    Entertaining & informative. Brilliantly presented by Dan.

  26. Mira Tugnait

    We have done many London Walks over the years so it was really refreshing to come across this new walk developed by Dan. Interesting facts and anecdotes about Whitehall, Downing St and the area delivered in an entertaining way. I didn’t know Dan was a BBC journalist who has written several books so that was an added bonus. Top marks for tour and guide.

  27. Biny Mathew

    Very informative and enlightening guided tour of the sites of the old palace of Whitehall. History was brought alive in an engrossing and accessible way.

  28. Hannah

    Dan was an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable guide. He has clearly done a great deal of research into the subject. I learnt a lot about this area of London from the walk, and Dan also provided some very useful maps to look at whilst we went along. I would definitely recommend it.

  29. Kathleen Jeffreys

    Lovely walk very informative Dan is an excellent guide very knowledgeable

  30. Els Launspach

    Dan Parry has a magical voice and pays attention to every participant, so you do feel at home. He builds his tour carefully, starting with the mysteries you always wanted to solve. Only now I do know where the word Embankment comes from, and why the Strand is not lining the Thames. Only now I understand where exactly Whitehall Palace was located, and who developed its grounds. On and on we walked, listening to amazing stories, getting peculiar details finally in the right place, and at the same time enjoying the city. Thank you, Dan!

  31. Fleur

    This was a brilliant tour. The guide Dan is an amazing storyteller who has a very clear and entertaining way to explain a lot of about British history.
    I brought my parents along (who are not native English speakers, but were able to understand all of it) and they loved it too. I highly recommend this walk!

  32. Lee Stock

    An excellent tour and walk from Dan. I would highly recommend this. They ought to send schoolchildren in these walks. They would learn so much. Most entertaining. Thank you Dan!

  33. Sarah Barry

    We really enjoyed the walk Dan. We have done many London Walks over the years but as guides you always come up with something new and interesting. Very interesting walk, with you bringing a unique perspective to the history of the area.

  34. Sue

    This was an excellent walk, Dan was very knowledgeable and interesting and showed us areas we would never have seen. Would recommend to anyone.

  35. Angela Morris

    Really fabulous walk with Dan. Hus historical knowledge is truly vast and I discovered an area of London I knew very little about. Excellent value for money and easy to join.

  36. Jackie

    Very enjoyable walk with Dan. Another beautiful area in London to discover. Interesting and entertaining. Loved it and Dan is a brilliant guide.
    Highly recommended.

  37. Catherine ward

    Brilliant walk by guide Dan.His passion knowledge and eloquence was infectious and entertaining ,Learnt more in one afternoon than all my school history lessons.Thank you Dan

  38. Catherine ward

    Brilliant tour by guide Dan.His passion and eloquence was so infectious and enjoyable.Learnt more in one afternoon than all my school history lessons.Best London Walk l have been on

  39. Terri Platt

    Entertaining and Educational. Dan was very knowledgeable and tied it all together in a fun way. Highly recommend.

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