T. S. Eliot – The Waste Land Tour

(31 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:

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).

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Patrick Dolan

    It was a privilege to join this superbly crafted tour. A masterful presentation and Rick has a special skill of coming alongside each participant, engaging with them and being open to discussion. I’m so pleased to have been involved.

  5. Justin

    Rick was a fantastic guide––extremely knowledgeable and personable. He has a great voice, and it was a pleasure hearing him recite parts of the poem and explain their origin. I highly recommend the tour to all lovers of English literature.

  6. Judith Kellermann

    What’s not to love? Rick Jones -raconteur par excellence, based on an eclectic knowledge of history, music , litertature and architecture all combined to make a moving and relevant discourse imparted with such genorosity. The only problem was that the tour finished! Very many thanks Rick

  7. Neil Horsman

    Absolutely brilliant. I learned so much..Rick made the tour extremely interesting. I would recommend it to anybody.

  8. Ron Bonekamp

    We did at least 50 London Walks through the years, but this is one of the best. An erudite guide with a good sense of humor and a good voice; a walk te o remember. Rick makes you go back to the poem.

  9. Ravibala Shenoy

    When I studied the Waste Land in India, most of the references went over my head, it was only after this tour with Rick that I had a fuller appreciation of the poem. Rick is a marvelous tour guide skipping like a goat through every nook, up and down stairs quoting poetry, providing nuggets of information from art, history. He sings, he dances and holds you spellbound. This is truly an amazing tour!

  10. Lizzy

    This is a brilliant walk and Rick, our guide, was fascinating. Listening to his recitation of lines of poetry and his articulation of connections between the poems and sights along the way was really special. Thank you for a really interesting and stimulating experience!

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