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.

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