T. S. Eliot – The Waste Land Tour

(36 customer reviews)

Blackfriars underground station, London

Guided by Rick Jones

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
Wednesday Weekly 11.30 am 1.30 pm Winter Summer Reserve Online
4 July 2024 Special 2.30 pm 4.30 pm Summer

N.B. this walk will not take place on the following dates:

18-09-2024 16-10-2024 25-12-2024

By walk’s end you’ll get it about this portrait, understand why it’s so “right.” Just as you’ll understand the poem and the times.

“Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold…”

And a world-class guide to boot.

T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The most influential poetic work of the 20th century. Because its centenary was just now “on the clock”

Rick Jones, a poet and musician* himself, has put together this tour of locations in the poem. Up Queen Victoria Street to where St Mary Woolnoth kept the hours, down King William Street to St Magnus the Martyr. And of course London Bridge and “a public bar in Lower Thames Street.”

“This walk has everything I want in a walking tour: a brilliant guide, an inspired route, lots of alleyways and hidden passageways, a secret garden, no end of surprises, fantastic A-List attractions, three stunning interiors, a pub, three rivers (two of them visible),

a heady mix of past and present London, London life surging and eddying all around us, gobsmacking “well I never” tiny details, and brilliant delivery of wondrous content (Rick doesn’t read those great lines, he’s memorised the whole poem – all of it anchored in the places he takes us to and what he shows us.) The walk’s a joy. And a revelation. I’ve come to the walk late – it’s been going six months now – so all I’m doing here is seconding what everybody who goes on it says. See the deluge of rave reviews it’s generated.” David Tucker

*”a poet and musician” hardly goes far enough. Rick guides his virtual tours in blank verse, he was the chief music critic for the Evening Standard for a decade, and he’s a top-flight Blue Badge guide.

The pic was taken at the Athenaeum Club. It hangs outside the gentlemen’s lavatory.


Rick Jones’s T. S. Eliot The Waste Land walk has wonderful visuals.

A Selection from The Waste Land Portfolio

Here’s the grand finale (bears repeating, this one) – the view we get at walk’s end.
And here we are mid-walk. One of three superb interiors.
No words needed.
Single file into a secret garden.
Down the Thames at walk’s end, across the Thames at walk’s beginning
Not forgetting London Bridge Gatehouse.
Hurry up, please, it’s time…
“This way for The Waste Land walk, folks” (it’s London, stuff happens).

36 reviews for T. S. Eliot – The Waste Land Tour

  1. Kathryn Pullen

    I have done many of your walks all good this was exceptional. Erudite and accessible – not the easiest of combinations Rick guided us through Eliot’s poetry, life and London -fascinating. So professional and on a blazing morning we were able to sit in shade while he talked.
    If Rick gave classes I would sign up so many interesting points to pursue .
    Thank you

  2. Susan

    What an exceptional experience. It is not often one is treated to a superb recitation and analysis of a great poem on the sites that (at least in part) inspired it. Rick’s knowledge of Eliot’s life and work gave us new insight into this complex and in places, abstruse, poem, and revealed the city itself through Eliot’s eyes. We felt immersed in the mood and atmosphere of the poem’s creation. Thank you for a memorable walk!

  3. Tim Gifford

    Rick is a great guide with a fascinating presentation of Eliot and The Waste Land which brings everything to life and provides an easily-digestible understanding of what is, at first read, an intimidating poem. By the end of the walk I was very much in tune with the poet’s objectives and the humour, colours and social situations included in the work. Most enjoyable and educational. Highly recommended.

  4. Sue

    Confession…….I had not even heard of Wasteland, when my friend suggested that we did the walk. This did not have any detrimental impact on me enjoying and learning from the experience.
    Rick was a most interesting and passionate leader, so much so that I will now hunt out a copy of the script and peruse at my leisure. If you are not sure if this walk is for you, just book it!!

  5. Jenny B

    I thoroughly enjoyed T. S. Eliot – The Waste Land Tour with Rick Jones yesterday. Rick is a superb guide who obviously has an in depth knowledge of the subject but is able to convey the feeling and meaning of the poem to a novice like me in an understandable and accessible way. I loved hearing him read extracts of the poem alongside the places mentioned. This was a special tour led by an excellent guide. Thank you.

  6. matthew

    Two extraordinary hours of invigorating guidance from the Mr Rick Jones, whose delight in, and delivery of the some of the greatest compositions of the English lexicon swirled in the gusts of ‘the cruellest month’. French and German, beautiful snatches of song, both contributing to opportunity to experience a stretch of the Thames and in a profoundly enriching and moving manner. Absolutely no dilly -dallying, I would have followed him all day.

  7. Dr. Thomas A. Underwood

    After missing the T.S. Eliot in London walking tour last November due to a Tube delay, I finally made it today to Rick Jones’s incredible Eliot and “The Waste Land” tour. Jones, a gifted “Blue Badge Guide,” was, before retiring from his print journalism career, the Chief Music Critic for the London Evening Standard for years. What made the walking tour so superb was his deep knowledge of Eliot’s poem and its thematic relationship to London. What a joy to walk with a guide who knew how to “inhabit” poetry! He seemed to have much the poem committed to memory and recited many of its most powerful passages. Stops included The Parish Church of St. Mary Woolnoth, which Eliot mentioned in the famous passage,
    “Unreal City,
    Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
    A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought death had undone so many. Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
    And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
    Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
    To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
    With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.”
    Another stop was the Parish Church of St. Magnus the Martyr church across the street from the old Billingsgate Fish Market (where Michael Caine said he learned how to swear!) and, in Eliot’s words, “Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls
    Of Magnus Martyr hold Inexplicable splendor of Ionian white and gold.” What a fantastic tour!

  8. Christoph Karner

    Just putting this tour together was a great idea.
    I have to say that I knew little about TS Eliot and even less about this great poem.
    So it was an important expansion of knowledge for me.
    Rick even sang something from Tristan and Isolde, and very well. (Westwärts schweift der Wind….)

    The tour can be warmly recommended.

  9. Philip Loveday

    This is a brilliant walk which is up there with Richard IV’s Sherlock Holmes walks. Rick has a huge depth of knowledge that puts a very complex poem in context and he also took us to some really interesting places. He even sang to us in German. All that over 2 hours for £15. What more could anyone want.

  10. Jacquelyn and Chris

    Rick is a superb guide, full of knowledge and fascinating insights about TS Eliot. Yes, we learned a great deal about Eliot, the man and the writer. Rick’s walk was also crammed with interesting and little-known facts about London. We enjoyed this guided walk enormously and would throughly recommend the learned and hugely entertaining Rick as a first-rate tour guide. He sang, quoted huge chunks of literature and held us spellbound throughout. A super blend of theatre, drama and education – simply brilliant. Thank you! 😊 Jacquelyn and Chris

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