Short read: Cheek-by-jowl, higgledy-piggledy, quintessential London.
Long read: Gnarled, brooding back-alleys, secluded courtyards and tortuous zigzag passages. Oh there are famous sights, but to get to them we have to walk crookedly, through a maze of curiosities. We set our course by the best old pubs in town – including the most famous London inn of all. Old pubs that are, as every English pub should be, a solace and a delight. And all the more special for being hidden away down this or that dark alley, like precious gems in rumpled velvet. Here, like no other place in town, we have 2,000 years of London and its inns in the palm of our hand. The echoes are of Roman tabernas and Shakespearean ale-houses and Dickensian coaching inns – of feasting and wine and song, of the souls of poets dead and gone. The very zeitgeist of London. And what better company to keep than the shades of Dr Johnson, Oscar Wilde, and Dickens himself. Guided by Andy and Steve.
“WHAT WILL I SEE?”
OK, LET’S POP A FEW CORKS, HERE’S A TASTER…
1. You’ll see the finest Elizabethan building in the City
2. You’ll see a spiky bronze dragon clutching his thing
3. You’ll be taken through a precinct of essentially monastic character
4. You’ll see a rare survivor of pre-Fire London
5. You’ll see the only privately owned retail bank in the country. And “see through” that secret doorway.
6. You’ll see a very early example of a purpose-built office, a pioneer of the Jacobean Revival
7. You’ll see the first major Gothic Revival public building after the new Palace of Westminster
8. You’ll see the smallest house in the City of London
9. You’ll see the only London Art Deco building worthy to be set beside the skyscraper lobbies of mid-town Manhattan
10. You’ll see Wren’s tallest spire (“soaring out of its hemmed-in site, it’s like a hollyhock that escapes from the pressure of undergrowth”)
11. You’ll see a herald blowing a trumpet
12. You’ll pay your respects at the memorial to the parrot Polly, who died in 1926 aged forty, famous for her perfect imitation of the pop of a champagne cork – a feat that she performed four hundred times on Armistice night.
And that’s just for starters…
HIDDEN PUBS OF OLD LONDON TOWN – THE PRACTICALS
Hidden Pubs of Old London Town takes place every* Tuesday evening at 7 pm. The meeting point is just outside the exit of TempleTube. *Except Dec. 24 and Dec. 31
LONDON WALKS REVIEWS
“The best walks are conducted by London Walks” Toronto Globe & Mail
“the best walking tour operator in London” London The AA Guide
LONDON WALKS PRIVATE WALKS
If you can’t make the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Hidden Pubs of Old London Town walk do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Hidden Pubs of Old London Town – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. And – always with private London Walks and tours – we go to great lengths to make sure the guide-walker(s) “fit” is well-nigh perfect. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at email@example.com and we’ll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they’re good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing.
GIVE THE GIFT OF LONDON WALKS
A private London Walk makes a very special (and unusual) gift – be it a birthday or anniversary or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that’s special. Memories make us rich.