Short read: Mind the Gap!
Long read: Down the Tubes. 150 Years of engineering and artistry from the inside. See things you’ve seen but not seen. Things you’ve not registered, not understood, not made sense of. We’re going places on this walk so get an Oyster Card or a Day Travel Card. Yes, some of the walk is outside but a lot of it’s down the Tube: inside stations, on platforms, in trains. Now a bit more background info. A couple of years ago the London Underground marked its 150th birthday. This tour explores that extraordinary “journey”, “trajectory”, “trip”, call it what you will. We explore several stations, inside and out. And bears repeating, this: you’ll see things that you won’t have seen before. Let alone things that you did see before but didn’t “see”, if you know what, I mean. I (David) went on this one with Fiona a year ago. It was a revelation. I’ve been taking the Tube for 40 years. She pointed out things that I’d never noticed – never noticed in stations that I’ve been in well over 10,000 times. Lots and lots of “well, I never” moments, jaw hanging open moments. The Tube. It’s a great London story. An integral part of the calculus of London life. So that in itself is a great foundation for a walk.
And to it you can add three great guides. Fiona, the Phi Beta Kappa of her Blue Badge graduating class (she won the Guide of the Year Award). has put this walk together brilliantly. And she delivers it with consummate artistry. As do the other two members of the trio: Steven and Anne-Marie. This is a special couple of hours. Strongly recommended.
THE LURE OF THE UNDERGROUND – THE PRACTICALS
The Lure of the Underground takes place every Tuesday at 10.45 am. The meeting point is just outside Baker StreetTube, the Baker Street North exit (by Boots).
LONDON WALKS SOUPÇON
“The Underground is still for me the most romantic and mysterious part of London” David Piper, museum director and author of The Companion Guide to London, the finest guidebook ever written on London
West Ashfield Station. Heard of it? It sits on the third floor of an office building in West Kensington. A mocked-up station, it’s used as a training facility for London Underground staff. It’s fully kitted out with all the signage you’d find in a modern Tube station: LED displays, platform markings and a small section of Tube train.No trains enter or leave West Ashfield but you can hear them and feel them, thanks to the rumbling sound effects and fans that simulate a train’s arrival.
“With 11 different lines serving 270 stations [271 if you count West Ashfield], over 249 miles (402 km) of track, on which up to 500 t4rains can be in operation during peak hours, it’s a complex network that requires thousands of pairs of skilled hands to keep it running.” Emily Kearns
A previously unknown breed of mosquito, adapted to life underground, was discovered living in the Tube network in 1998.
LONDON WALKS REVIEWS
“by far the most impressive series of walks that I have ever encountered are those offered by London Walks” Travel and Enjoy
“the unfailingly fascinating London Walks… If you can’t find one [of their tours] that captures your fancy, maybe you really are tired of life.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Even jaded Londoners find these London Walks a source of astonishing gems of information about the city in which they live.” Daily Mail, Top London Treats
LONDON WALKS PRIVATE WALKS
If you can’t make the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Lure of the Underground walk do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Lure of the Underground – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
MIND THE GAP
LONDON WALKS – STREETS AHEAD!
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE GUIDING
THE FAMOUS WHITE LONDON WALKS LEAFLET
“Nah, don’t need it, got it all here,” you say. Er, roaming charges? Er, dead battery? Er, reading your phone in the bathtub and you drop it? [Smelling salts interval: sick as a parrot. ashen-faced.] Er, read the famous white leaflet in the bathtub and you drop it what do you do? Er, you dry it out. Anyway, maybe worth making a mental note that you can always pick up the famous white London Walks leaflet at the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the old church in Trafalgar Square. They’re on the Information Table there, right by the box office. And indeed they also display them on the shop counter, right by the cash register. And it’s win-win because the Cafe in the Crypt is one of the town’s delights. Should be on everybody’s London itinerary.