Tudor Whitehall – The Forbidden City

Embankment underground station, London (Villiers Street exit)

Guided by Fiona

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
4 March 2023 Tour du Jour 2.30 pm 4.30 pm Winter
23 March 2024 Tour du Jour 10.45 am 12.45 pm Winter

Precis: The centrepiece of the walk is, as per the title, Tudor Whitehall – The Forbidden City. But the drilling down – and through and out the far side – is no less riveting. Perhaps summed up in Colin Brown’s chapter titles: The Seabird Shore, The Cardinal’s Court, Henry VIII’s Palace of White Hall, Queen Elizabeth I’s Whitehall, Blood at the Banqueting House, Pepys’s Whitehall, Downing Street, Nelson and the Admiralty, Dover House – the Most Notorious Address in London, Wellington and Horse Guards, Pam’s Palace – the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The War Office – from Haig to Hoon, The Cabinet Office and the Treasury, Scotland Yard, Winston and Whitehall.

The ghost in the machine. The perfect metaphor for this walk. The machine is of course today’s Whitehall. Which is a satisfying, exciting discovery* in its own right. Whitehall is, after all, the most important street in this country. It’s government street – decisions taken there affect the lives of every man, woman and child in the United Kingdom. And indeed of quite a few m, w and c elsewhere in the world, as events frequently demonstrate. So much for the machine. The ghost in the machine is what was here. The forbidden city, the Tudor palace, Tudor Whitehall. And the fab thing is quite a lot of trace evidence has survived. I mean, for heaven’s sakes, Henry VIII’s wine cellar is still in use! But you have to know where to look. And how to look. But the import of all that trace evidence means we’re not just seeing with the mind’s eye.

Another way of putting it, the walk’s a three-dimensional version of one of those superimpositions. A transparency – that would be what’s there today – superimposed on an artist’s highly accurate reconstruction of what was there. Fascinating.

Only thing to add is that the walk is guided by London’s most decorated guide: Fiona. She’s won every award going. Most recently Visit London’s big one: Guide of the Year.

*Discovery is the mot juste. Fiona dis-covers – uncovers – what’s there. And what was there.


The Tudor Whitehall walk takes place at  2:30pm on Saturday March 4th. The meeting point is just outside the Villiers Street exit of EmbankmentTube.


If you can’t make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, Tudor Whitehall – The Forbidden City it can always be booked as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Tudor Whitehall – The Forbidden 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.


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.


Don’t just take it from us.