The Heart of the City

(28 customer reviews)

Tower Hill underground station, London (meet by the Tower Hill Tram coffee stand)

Guided by Ann or Chris or Judy or Richard III

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
Saturday Weekly 2 pm 4 pm Winter Summer Reserve Online

Nitty gritty first, mood music second…  Iconic City buildings – the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater, Lloyds. London a world centre for business, finance, insurance, shipping – now, and across the centuries. Where to insure your voice, your hands, your next Space Mission. The secrets of the nation’s gold – and perhaps yours too? Churches where Londoners have worshipped for centuries. A1 walk. (Yes, we’ll explain what that means. Lots of takeaway nuggets on this walk, one of which is getting you au fait with City of London lingo.)

Meet your guide. Click here for Ann’s podcast. (Think of the walk as the Command Module; Ann’s podcast is the Lunar Module.)

Ok, mood music time: London. 2,000 years old. Higgledy-piggledy. History haunted. Secretive in the extreme. A labyrinth where the past lurks in the present. Aggressively modern when you look up. A tear in space-time when you peer round this corner or go down that alley. A city that preserves features – like so many geological strata – of its earlier selves. A city that’s not easy to figure out – you don’t reap London in one traverse. Why bother? you ask. Here’s why: 1) London’s of world-historical importance and 2) depths, intricacies and secrets are always interesting. Bottom line: this is a great walk. It’s the London labyrinth and London highlights and the shaping past. You’ll see both the hoary old City and today’s London. Best of all, you’ll see into them. N.B. the walk ends in Guildhall Yard, a very short walk from St. Paul’s Tube Stop.

LONDON WALKS PRACTICALS

The Heart of the City walk takes place every Saturday at 2 pm. The meeting point is just outside the exit of Tower Hill Tube (meet by the “Tower Hill Tram” coffee stall).

“WHAT WILL I SEE?” “WHAT WILL BE PARADED BEFORE US?”

Here’s a baker’s dozen, a sampling. Important thing to remember is it’s just a sneak peek. There’s lots more than this.

1. a dense network of small streets and alleys weaving between the main thoroughfares

2. Victorian palazzi, a streetscape “as peaceful as an Italian town at siesta time”

3. an unfurling panorama that demonstrates perfectly why, in the words of one historian of city planning, “the compactness of a 2000-year-old urban core is fortuitously well suited to the operation of a globalised financial service centre.”

4. one of the few City churches to survive the Great Fire

5. a hilltop in whose “stony soil lie some of the oldest bits of London”

6. the oldest arch in the City of London

7. the building that changed public perception of tall buildings in London

8. the first of the City’s railway termini (and its “air-rights” development)

9. London’s boldest piece of architectural art (properly integrated into the project rather than a pointless add-on)

10. “a welcome restatement of the City tradition of lanes and alleys

11. a cesspit “impregnated with putrid animal and excrementitious matter”

12. there’s seeing these buildings and “seeing” them. You “see” them when you understand the relationship they achieve with their neighbours. That’s another takeaway this walk serves up

13. this place: “even today one can sense the impact this structure must have had when new, towering over the mean timber houses of the city”

And that’s just for starters, a taster…

It’s the Sky Garden. Perfect “fit” with this walk. Apres walk. Free to go up. But you have to book.

LONDON WALKS PRIVATE WALKS

If you can’t make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, The Heart of the City it can always be booked as a private tour. If you go private you can have the The Heart of the City walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at [email protected] 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 fab 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.

LONDON WALKS – STREETS AHEAD!

Don’t just take it from us.

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28 reviews for The Heart of the City

  1. Kate

    We really enjoyed the Heart of the City tour led by Ann – a great mix of history with something to interest everyone. Ann is a hugely knowledgeable guide, as well as being a lovely person to spend a couple of hours with! We’ll certainly be booking another of her tours in future – thank you!

  2. Sarah

    We really enjoyed our walk with Ann on Saturday – interesting and informative, and we very much enjoyed her company.

  3. Sarah

    Another brilliant London walk on Saturday with Ann – she was very knowledgeable and brought to life the City of London. She was also able to answer all the questions we had with her incredible wealth of knowledge and all the research she has done! We have always chosen the London walks and they never disappoint!

  4. Shankar

    Great walk with Ann. Went to places and learnt about things I wouldn’t have myself. Highly recommend

  5. Angela

    Chris was an amazing tour guide! If there were 6 stars available, we would have tagged them! A great variety of old and new buildings, architecture, sculptures, features and history packed into 2 hours with such enthusiasm! You won’t be disappointed if you want to learn more about the square mile!

  6. Marion Bennett

    Ann was an excellent guide – hugely knowledgeable about all sorts of topics with a sparky dry sense of humour.

  7. Tom Siler

    Delightful afternoon with Richard III in the City. He provided some vistas of the architecture of the city that I had not seen before. The information on the more than 2000 years of history of the city was very interesting. I’ve been doing London Walks for over 10 years and this is one of the best I’ve been on.

  8. Robert

    Anne was a lovely tour guide who was incredibly informed on the past and present of the OG City of London. Highly recommend!

  9. Rebecca Solheim

    We undertook the Heart of the City tour with Ann on the hottest afternoon of the year in September 2023. Ann was a charming, humorous and knowledgeable guide, who led us through 2,000 years of City of London history from the Romans’ arrival in AD 43 to today’s skyscrapers, via London’s maritime history, plague, the Great Fire, Guilds, Pepys, Wren, the Blitz, Lloyds (Registry and insurance), and Richard Rogers’ several landmarks, with a touch of Shakespeare, and much more, thrown in. She showed us back alleys, modern plazas, ancient churches and recent skyscrapers, and left us with a taste of galleries and rooftop gardens to visit later. I highly recommend this tour of London’s Square Mile in a nutshell as a worthwhile way to spend any Saturday afternoon… Thank you, Ann.

  10. Rachel Thompson

    We did The Heart of the City walk with Richard (the Third) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The time flew, we learned so many interesting and entertaining facts, and we visited places we’d never have discovered ourselves.

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