T. S. Eliot – The Waste Land Tour

(28 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

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

20-03-2024 03-04-2024 16-10-2024

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.

WHAT WILL I SEE?

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).

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Caroline Kerr

    This was a fabulous walk. Rick was an enthusiastic and inclusive guide and brought London to life through his deep knowledge both of T S Eliot and the history of the city. His integration of apposite lines of T S Eliot’s poetry into key locations was very skilful and inspiring. Many thanks.

  4. Rosemary and Owen

    We greatly enjoyed the walk. Rick gave us many new insights into this wonderful poem and his knowledge combined with his interesting narrative made this a very special occasion. This was made the more special in visiting places which T S Eliot refers to in The Wasteland. He talked about their significance in the poem which makes the poem that much more immediate. Highly recommended.

  5. KT from SanFran

    London walks guide Rick was extremely entertaining and recited verses from each of the 5 sections of TS Eliot’s masterpiece poem, The Wasteland, as he guides along the streets, London bridges, the Thames river, gardens, churches, monuments of London where this landmark poem takes place.
    I will never think of Blackfriars train/tube station the same way or of the Thames river or even of the nursery song phrase London Bridge is falling down in 3 different languages.
    He explains the importance of the Fire sermon inside the magnificent St.Magnus Church which was a favorite of Eliot.
    On this tour some Londoners from SE London were amazed as they had never visited or walked the streets, gardens that guide Rick showed us.
    Despite the name, London is anything but a Wasteland but rather the name refers to the internal emotional desert and ruins from a bad marriage to a woman Vivian Haywood that Eliot had long ago stopped loving.

    This walk is not just for literary tourists but even for the ignoramus that I am because I never studied TA Eliot’s poems and knew nothing about him despite having majored in English and Philosophy at UC Berkeley !

    The Wasteland is a long poem by T.S Eliot, written it in 1922. It’s divided into five sections, each of which represents a different stage of the speaker’s journey through life.
    Thank you Rick!

  6. Ben Solnit

    Rick is a national treasure. An amazing experience all around.

  7. Michael Redemer

    Mr. Jones does a superb job of making Eliot’s The Waste Land accessible by using his skills in recitation, vocalization and sharing the geography inhabited by Eliot. I highly recommend this tour.

  8. Lauren Russell

    This was a wonderful tour. Though I loved The Waste Land before, I love it even more after this tour, and with more context. Rick’s recitations from the poem are marvelous, and his knowledge of Eliot’s life is impressive. Most of all, I appreciate how Rick’s tour conveys a sort of palimpsest of place–how we, Eliot, Shakespeare, and Richard III can all somehow occupy the same space–which is not unlike my experience of The Waste Land.

  9. Gary Johnstone

    Rick’s TS Eliot The Wasteland tour is excellent both in literary terms. (Rick has a vast knowledge of the poem) and the historic and other references in the poem which are brought to life through Rick’s passionate and engaging delivery. Thoroughly recommend this tour to anyone interested in TS Eliot and in the history of aspects of London

  10. Sylvia Wier

    In many decades now of taking London Walks, this is the only one in which I have taken notes, to add to my already marked-up copy of “The Waste Land.” What a tour. Rich with details and insights. Rick does a wonderful job of helping demystify a notoriously difficult poem. It is still a daunting piece of writing, but a little bit less now to me. If you know the poem, take the tour. If you don’t, read it and take the tour. It’s well worth your time.

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