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Music Halls and Cabaret - from yesterday to today

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 22, 2020, In : Podcast 

Modern cabaret and burlesque shows can trace their roots back to the taverns and coffee houses of 18th century London. Hear how they grew in popularity and made history.

Variety shows in London still continue today, often with venues with a single doorway leading out into the street. Some are steeped in history and others are making history today.

Making history today is Ivy Paige, international showgirl, singer and burlesque queen. Check out our Episode 9 Podcast to hear Ivy's experiences back...


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The Monument to the Great Fire of London

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 15, 2020, In : Podcast 

The Great fire of London destroyed four fifths of the city. The monument on fifth street Hill is a memorial to the great fire, and those who rebuilt the city without rock and roll.


The monument is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. It took six years to build to the difficulty of getting a sufficient quantity of Portland stone or the required dimensions. This caused the King to issue a proclamation on the 4th of May, 1669 for bidding any person to transport stone from the Arla Port...


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The End of Londinium

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Roman London 

Dating the precise collapse of Roman rule in London is hard. However, a lack of archaeological finds for the fifth century suggests that the Roman city was largely empty by about 450. The Anglo-Saxons developed a new port in the late seventh century, but that was upstream from the old settlement at what is now Aldwych.


It used to be thought that an imperial rescript (a set of answers to queries) of the Emperor Honorius dated to 410 was a reply to an appeal from the Britons for help, in which h...


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Mithraeum

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Roman London 

In virus-free times you can visit three Roman sites within the City: the Amphitheatre underneath Guildhall Art Gallery, the baths on Lower Thames Street, and the Mithraeum in the Bloomberg Building. Each is definitely worth a visit, and the three are very different, not only in terms of the buildings’ original purpose, but also as visitor experiences.


The most high-tec is the Mithraeum. The construction of Bloomberg’s new European headquarters allowed for an extensive archaeological dig an...


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The Crutched Friars: London’s Least Known Religious Community

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Medieval 

Religious orders were divided into monks and nuns who followed a monastic life, and mendicants who followed a monastic rule but who went outside their house’s walls to preach, perform acts of charity and beg for alms. Complicating matters were canons regular, who were ordained priests (members of monastic and mendicant orders were not priests) who followed a monastic rule but who also went out into the community to preach.


The name ‘friar’ was commonly used to describe a member of a mend...


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Was Francis Tumblety Jack the Ripper?

Posted by Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 

 A man of dubious character to be sure, as at 15 he was selling pornographic books and papers on the canal packet boats. He apparently disappeared from the area, returning years later he advertised he was ‘a great physician’, but he was really a man who sold potions from the back of a wagon. One of these, for pimples, was very effective and made him a fortune.  A boastful flamboyant man, who held sumptuous dinner parties in his tastefully furnished apartment in Washington, intimate with m...


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We'll Meet Again for VE Day 75

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 8, 2020, In : Things to Do in London 
For the first time in our 150 year history, the Royal Albert Hall will play host to a unique concert.

Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE will perform in an empty Royal Albert Hall in a special free online half-hour concert.

Katherine will sing wartime favourites including The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again; the latter performed as a virtual duet with Dame Vera Lynn. The timeless song, featuring the lyrics, ‘I know we’ll meet again some sunny day’, epitomised the emotion...
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True London Spy Stories

Posted by Hazel Baker on Thursday, May 7, 2020, In : Podcast 

Have you ever wondered how much of the James Bond stories are true? We all know 007 is a fictional character but the inspiration for the stories has to come from somewhere.


During the Second World War, the James Bond author Ian Fleming was a Naval intelligence officer at the time involved in the Goldeneye operation. Goldeneye eh - seem familiar? Fleming oversaw two of the intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T- Force throughout the Goldeneye operations.


His wartime service experiences provid...


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Explore London's History Through a Modern Mosaic

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Monday, May 4, 2020, In : City of London 
Over the last 20 years the riverfront in central London has been transformed. In many places it used to be dominated by derelict warehouses and seedy streets – not the sort of place for a pleasant stroll. How things have changed! In particular, on both the north and south banks of the Thames between Waterloo Bridge and Tower Bridge the pleasant river paths now make the regenerated river frontage accessible in most areas.

Whilst the path on the south has much of cultural interest (galleries,...
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The Roman London Wall: Why it Was Built

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London tour guide on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, In : Roman London 

The wall is the most imposing survivor from Roman London. It can be seen to good effect at Tower Green, Cooper’s Row, and inside a car park on London Wall. At Tower Green it stands 20 feet tall, with an extra 10 feet added in the medieval period. On top of the Roman wall there was probably a walkway which would have had a crenellated breastwork and been punctuated by turrets. The wall was two miles long, making it by far the longest city wall in the province of Britannia, and it would have ...


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Taking the Plunge in Greenwich Park

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, April 23, 2020, In : Georgian 
The remains of the house of Queen Caroline lie in the south-west corner of Greenwich Park. Easily missed, they require a degree of imagination to reconstruct what this area adjacent to what is now the wall might have looked like.

Caroline famously did not get on with her husband, George Prince of Wales who succeeded to the throne as George IV in 1820. They married in 1795 and had decided by 1796 to live apart as much as possible. 

She lived in Montague House on the site from 1798 to 1813, ta...

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John Pizer a Possible Jack the Ripper Suspect?

Posted by Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Thursday, April 23, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 
After Polly Nichols was murdered by Jack the Ripper on 31 August 1888, followed by Annie Chapman a few days later on 8 September, the police questioned many members of the local community asking if they knew anybody locally who showed a hatred for prostitutes, someone who might attack them, rob them or rape them.

Many people were eager to help the police catch this terrible killer and came forward with a possible suspect - John Pizer, a Polish Jew working at a boot- finisher. Being in that t...

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Earth Day 2020

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, In : Events 

Wednesday 22 April marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.


It’s a time when millions across the globe partake in positive action in order to raise awareness and save the planet.


This year will be different. Earth day 2020 will be the first ever digital Earth Day. Participants are encouraged to use hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE to safely raise awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic.


It’s clear to see benefits of reduced air traffic from the wonderfully bright blue skies across London...


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Virtual Events for Your Enjoyment

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Theatre 
MUSIC/OPERA


  • British Music Embassy Sessions - PRS for Music has gathered UK artists unable to play the cancelled SXSW festival for the British Music Embassy sessions. Here’s the link to their live sessions on Youtube.

  • English National Ballet Philharmonic - The musicians that make the ENB Philharmonic play the Swan Lake Overture from their homes. Available on Youtube.

  • Support independent musicians performing at home - Isolate Live is a Facebook page that is organising online streamed concerts fr...


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Connecting the World from South-East London

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Local History 
In the latter part of the nineteenth century the new industries of chemicals, electrical engineering and pharmaceuticals increasingly took the place that cotton and railways had occupied as the leading sectors in an earlier phase of industrialization. Increasingly too, it was the fast-growing economies of Germany and the US that blazed the path for the new technologies.

One of the new industries, electrical machinery under the influence of German know-how put down roots in Charlton in south-...

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Looking for Old London Bridge

Posted by Rob Smith, Clerkenwell and Islington Tour Guide on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Great Fire of London 
London Bridge is Falling Down. Anyone know a song about that? London Bridge certainly has a record of having been built and replaced many times. The first Roman bridge was built around 43AD but was replaced by a more permanent structure in 55AD (there is a great model of this bridge in the Museum of London). When the Roman’s rule ended their bridge fell into disrepair and London was left bridgeless until 878 when a Saxon bridge crossed the Thames slightly downstream from the Roman one. Acc...

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The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, In : Podcast 

The Crown Jewels reside under armed guard in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. 


Over 30 million people have seen them in their present setting at the Tower. They are possibly the most visited objects in Britain, perhaps the world.


It’s such a unique working collection of royal regalia with some still being used by The Queen for important national ceremonies, such as the State Opening of Parliament. Others are only used at a monarch’s coronation. 


Since 1066, coronation ceremonies have ...


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Woolwich Arsenal: Classical Splendour Meets Storage Space

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, In : 20th century 

The Grand Store at the Woolwich Arsenal was built between 1806 and 1813, by James and Lewis Wyatt, and as the name implies was used to house items for the Arsenal itself, and for bits of kit for the army and navy. The picture shows Building 46, which was the western wing. It is built in brick, with Purbeck limestone dressings. In the middle is a triangular pediment supported on four giant pilasters. The windows are recessed and those on the ground floor are arched. The building was not made c...


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Childhood Food Memories

Posted by Hazel Baker, London Tour Guide on Saturday, April 11, 2020, In : Eating 

I recently saw a conversation on twitter about people's childhood foods. Some of the contributors shared their memories of sugar sandwiches and tomato ketchup sandwiches and it got me thinking.

Food helps shape the identity of people's whole life experiences.It's a bonding ritual between friends, families and communities. Can you remember a children's birthday party when you went to as a child which didn't have food? No? Me neither. Being a child from the 980s many of my memories are of psyche...
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Merchant Seamen’s Memorial, Trinity Square

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, April 9, 2020, In : Local History 

Just north of the Tower and in front of Trinity House stands the Mercantile Marine Memorial, which was built to commemorate the merchant seamen killed in the Great War.


It is a vaulted passage way with three bays, and with Doric columns.The dead are listed under the names of their ships on bronze plaques on the walls. It was designed by Edwin Lutyens, with the sculpture by William Reid Dick. Reid Dick’s other work includes the boy and goose on Lutyens’ headquarters for the Midland Bank, no...


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Your Theatre Fix (digitally)

Posted by Hazel Baker on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, In : Theatre 
I don't know about you but I cannot live without the arts in my life. 

This lockdown has enabled several artists, art organisations and exhibitions to open up their digital archives. 
I have broken them into genres: Musicals
The Wind in the Willows - One for families, this long-running West End show is up here for free. Just register and consider donating to their suggested theatre charities before watching.  Read our review here.

The Other Palace - Off-West End theatre The Other Palace is st...

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Visit Egypt (Virtually)

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, In : Travel 

This is for lovers of Ancient Egypt

If you missed visiting the TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibit at Saatchi Gallery then fret not. 

I have been lucky enough to have visited Egypt twice, once for my 21st birthday and the millenium and the other on my honeymoon. Ancient Egypt has called to me for as long as I can remember. 

Who was Tutankhamun?
Egypt's most famous pharaoh is Tutankhamun. The 'bog king's' intact tomb was discovered in 1922 by British explorer Howard Carter and his...


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End of the Line for London’s Effluent

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Saturday, April 4, 2020, In : Victorian 

Situated 11 miles down river along the Thames Path from London Bridge is a Victorian building 

containing the world’s largest rotative steam engines. Crossness Pumping Station, built between 1859 and 1865,  is the end point on the south bank of the river of Joseph Bazalgette’s sewer system.


There were four engines built by James Watt & Co. named Albert Edward, Alexandra, Prince Consort and Victoria, named after the leading members of the royal family, which lifted the raw, untreated waste a...


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London's First Hero?

Posted by London Tour Guide Rob Smith on Sunday, March 22, 2020, In : Roman London 
Londinium – the city built by the Roman’s we now call London started some time around 43AD. You can see lots of physical evidence of Londinium – parts of the City wall, tiled floors in church crypts, even the amphitheatre where gladiators fought. And there are plentiful objects from Londinium in the Museum of London. However, the names of the people who lived in Londinium are harder to find. One of the few we know the name of is someone who had an important role in building the city - G...
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London Markets: Ancient and Modern

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Guide on Sunday, March 15, 2020, In : Local History 
What are these? They are known as the London Fields Flower Sellers. You will find them and also sculptures of sheep in London Fields park in Hackney, east London. They were created in the 1980’s by local artists Freeform Arts Trust and local schoolchildren to remind us of the area’s history.

London Fields used to be on the edge of London and what is now the park was grazing area. Drovers, who had brought their animals from miles away, would stop to give their animals a rest and a chance t...

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Bishopsgate Before the Great Fire of London

Posted by Ian McD, City of London guide on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, In : Great Fire of London 

Suspended high on a wall in the Victoria and Albert Museum is the facade of a London house from before the Great Fire of 1666.


It is a complex succession of curves and angles forming two windows which give rise to a semi-circular column in the centre. The wooden panels are  decorated with scrolls, masks, cartouches and strapwork.


The house belonged to Sir Paul Pindar, the English consul in Aleppo and subsequently  ambassador to the Ottoman court. Pindar traded in alum and tobacco and helped adm...


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Was Martha Tabram a Ripper Victim?

Posted by Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 
For many years it was not acknowledged that Martha Tabram (Turner) was a victim of Jack.

However, in a recent documentary Jack the Ripper Case Reopened, presented by Emilia Fox, star of Silent Witness with help from Professor David Wilson, a expert criminologist, they uncover many fact that point to the fact that Martha could have been Jack’s first victim not Mary Ann Nichols or Polly as she is better known. Calling this the ultimate cold case he carefully looks at the murders with cold case...


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Wanders in London with a camera phone

Posted by Alastair, London photography guide on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, In : Photo Walks 

The days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter as we reach the end of winter. Nighttime can be such a great time for photos. Don't put your camera away just because the sun has gone down. 

When it's dark, there's a whole other city out there waiting to be captured. This photo was from my walk through Hyde Park in February. Do you know the building? When I posted this on my social media, so many people couldn't figure out what this building was. Even though they've visited it. W...


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A Team of London History Experts

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Friday, February 28, 2020, In : Guided Walks 
London Guided Walks is growing from strength to strength



As a solopreneur moving into a leadership role I wanted to get all our tour guides together and work on our core principles and our identity as London Guided Walks. 

Wanting to set the right tone, instead of meeting in a pub (the usual hang out for London tour guides) we met at our office's meeting room (bribed by sandwiches, coffee and cake). 

In this session, complete with a colourful presentation and a whiteboard, we delved into the det...


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A fabulous start to 2020

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Friday, February 28, 2020, In : Guided Walks 
We have had our busiest January and February to date.

Over the last two months we have delivered 22 guided walks and private tours to a total of 539 people, covering a mere 54.2 miles.

Ian's Roman London walk has been very popular:

"5 stars. This was my perfect walking tour. The group was the right size, I could hear everything the guide had to say. There was some walking (much preferable to ambling very short distances). The content was excellent: a mix of history, art and civilisation. I learn...
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Growing from strength to strength

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Thursday, February 27, 2020, In : Guided Walks 
Becoming a London tour guide wasn't originally on my career ladder. For a couple of years I had been writing a London history blog and by default had ended up on the most specialist London tours going. "You should really move your blog onto the streets" I was told. And so that's what I did. I went back to university to become a qualified London tour guide. 

For four years I have worked on my own, always with the vision of creating a space where other professional guides would be able to share...

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Literary London Tube Map

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Friday, February 21, 2020, In : Literary London 

How well do you know literary London via its tube stations?

In The Book's literary-themed map replaces stations with famous novels based on the area they were set in London, a nice way of sharing some my favourite books (which are also some of our most popular tours). How many do you know?

Oliver Twist is set around Islington. Clerkenwell Green (Farringdon being the closest station) is where poor Oliver Twist is wrongly accused of trying to pick the pocket of Mr Brownlow. Oliver Twist Tour st...


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Guided Theatre: March 2020

Posted by Sarah at ThriftyTheatre on Thursday, February 20, 2020, In : Guided Theatre 

February is over already? That went by quickly. Hello and welcome to your March addition of GUIDED THEATRE, the hub for all thing’s theatre, including news, the hottest shows and where to get your tickets.

It’s time to set those clocks forward and enjoy an extra hour of light. March also means we are one month closer to summer (woohoo). SO, what do we have to look forward to this month:


City of Angels

Originally premiering at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014, City of Angels was a huge success! S...


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The Oldest Trick in The Book

Posted by Rob Smith, Tour Guide at London Guided Walks on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, In : Museums 

I am always amazed when I cross Westminster Bridge to see the Three Card Trick in operation. In case you don’t know it, this is where three criminals con people out of their money in a rigged card game, also known as Find The Lady. One person has three cards set up on a table or box and they invite you to guess which one is the Queen of Hearts – the lady. One of the accomplices poses as a punter, who is doing well at the game and winning lots of money. The third person then befriends peop...


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An evening tour of Moorgate

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Monday, February 17, 2020, In : Corporate Tour 

Last week Cubitts Opticians celebrated the opening of their new City of London store with a private tour of the local area for their staff. 

Private tours in the evening add a wonderful sense of drama to the events. Part of the Roman London wall route originally taken by the northern wall is commemorated, although now only loosely followed, by the road also named London Wall. With the store having a London Wall address I would have been remiss to not have mentioned it. 

This alignment, however,...


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Best way to get around London

Posted by Hazel, Director of London Guided Walks on Monday, February 17, 2020, In : Travel 

Navigating London

London is a fabulous city in which to live and to visit. Saying that though, the most hardcore of Londoners can use a little help at time. And that help comes in the form of a mobile app.



It is easy to get lulled into a false sense of security on regular London journeys, we know the optimal route on autopilot, even the specific carriage to get for a speedy exit from the station. But as soon as an unfamiliar journey is required a little more thought and preparation needs to ...


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Rare objects paint a new picture of Bronze Age London

Posted by Hazel Baker on Monday, February 10, 2020, In : Things to Do in London 

A total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 have been discovered in Havering, Greater London. They were uncovered by archaeologists from Archaeological Solutions, as part of a planned excavation.

A pair of terret rings will be on display at the Museum of Docklands’ new exhibition: Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery. 

What are terret rings?

Terret rings are believed to have been used to prevent the reins of a horse from tangling on carts. 

These are the first Bronze Age ex...


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Why we provide Jack the Ripper tours

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Monday, February 10, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 

In today’s Guardian author and social historian Hallie Rubenhold has announced her plans to commemorate the lives of the women murdered by Jack the Ripper with a new mural in Whitechapel.  She claims Ripper tours are ‘atrocious’. 

One of the most popular questions we get asked by people is if we provide a Jack the Ripper tour. Yes we do. If we didn’t, they would just go with someone else. Is it not better to provide a Ripper tour which truly reflects the Whitechapel of 1888, the murky...


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Aaron Kosminski - Jack the Ripper Suspect

Posted by Jenny Phillips - Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Thursday, February 6, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 
Arron Kosminski, the suspect hinted as being Jack the Ripper, by Sir Melvlle MacNaughton as being the most likely suspect. Also, the subject chosen by Author Russell Edwards, who bought the shawl in 2007 Results from a forensic examination of this stained silk shawl that investigators claim was found next to the mutilated body of Catherine Eddowes, the killer’s fourth victim, in 1888. The shawl is speckled with what is claimed to be blood and semen, the latter believed to be from the killer...
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Medieval London: Holy Trinity Priory

Posted by Ian, City of London Tour Guide on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, In : Medieval 

If you peer in the window of a modern office building at the end of Leadenhall Street, where it meets Fenchurch Street, you can see what is left of Holy Trinity Priory. All that remains is an arch which once led from the choir to a side chapel. There is little to indicate the priory’s former grandeur.

Holy Trinity was one of England’s wealthiest religious houses, and after the crown it was the largest landowner in the capital. We have a papal taxatio - a valuation - from 1291 whic...


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Who was Jack the Ripper?

Posted by Jenny, Jack the Ripper Guide on Saturday, February 1, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 
Who Was Jack?

This is the most common question that I an asked by people attending the tour. His Identity is a never-ending source of mystery and interest to most people.

To answer this question, I have studied many books, films and police reports from the time and I have a unique answer which explains why, after Mary Kelly he never struck again and disappeared just as mysteriously as he had started these horrific murders. I love the mystery of this case and take great delight with sharing my...
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Kult Pizza in Farringdon

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, In : Eating 

If you are planning on attending Bleeding Hearts & Body Parts or Heretics and Horrors walk during the week then you may enjoy Kult pizza. It's a small pizzeria on Cowcross Street, perfectly placed a couple of minutes walk away from where these two walks end. 
Finding somewhere that serves quick tasty food during the evenings in the week around Smithfield can be tricky.

The pizzeria is small and funky, clean and bright. They have two choices of pizza sizes, 6" and 10".  I chose the 6” pancett...


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Guided Theatre: February 2020

Posted by Sarah at ThriftyTheatre on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, In : Guided Theatre 

Hello and welcome to your February addition of GUIDED THEATRE, the hub for all thing’s theatre, including news, the hottest shows and where to get your tickets.

February, the month of love, pancakes and millions of school kids enjoying their half term holidays. So, what should you look out for this month: 


Waitress:

Jenna, a pie-making expert working as a waitress in a small diner in America. With her friends Dawn and Becky, she dreams of happiness and escaping her marriage but after...


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Have you been upstaged by a squirrel?

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, In : Georgian 
Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. 

The squirrels you see in London are grey squirrels. They were introduced into the UK in the 1800s which is quite apt since this cheeky fella upstaged me on my Georgian London tour. As cute as these squirrels are, they can be damaging to woodlands and has contributed to the decline of the stunning red squirrel.

Did you know?

Grey squirrels are renowned for their agility, adept climbing and cunning - they can crack open bird feeders and run along tight-rope wa...


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The Best Places To Eat Cheese in London

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Sunday, January 19, 2020, In : Eating 

It's cheese lover's day!

To celebrate, I’ve rounded up my favourite cheesemongers, street food stalls and cheese boards. 


My Best Cheese Shops in London

Paxton & Whitfield

Having started as a cheese stall in London's Aldwych market in 1742, the now partnership of Paxton & Whitfield is my go-to place for cheese. Jermyn Street’s branch of Paxton & Whitfield is one of London’s most iconic shops. 

It’s beloved of both the royal family and well-heeled Londoners. As well as the usua...


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Smartphone Photo Walks

Posted by Alastair Hilton on Sunday, January 19, 2020, In : Smartphone Photo Walks 

Happy New Year to you all!

Christmas seems a lifetime ago, doesn't it? How are your new year resolutions coming along? Have you been to the gym? Have you refrained from the alcohol? Don't worry, I don't tell anyone if you haven't!

Whatever resolutions you break, the one to keep, is getting out in London with your phone, having a wander and taking some great photos. Luckily, we've got just the walks for you!

From our first Southbank photowalk that we introduced last year, we've now add...


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1930s novelty soap

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, In : 20th century 

Today is National Bubble Bath Day. Yes, it’s a thing!

Would you like having a bath only once a week, in your kitchen, using only carbolic soap, in a hip tin bath like this? No? We don’t blame you, but this is what many Victorian families. Brrrrr. Washing body parts separately, such as arms, hands and faces were executed regularly but full-body baths were a different beast all together.

History of Soap

Ancient Babylonians are credited for inventing soap. Evidence for this has bee...


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What is the strange contraption in St Magnus the Martyr church?

Posted by Susan Baker, London Guided Walks tour Guide on Saturday, January 4, 2020, In : Great Fire of London 

As you enter the church of St Magnus the Martyr, just to the east of London Bridge, you would be forgiven for missing this strange wooden contraption to the right.  What is it?  Not a mobile pop up food stall.  It’s a very early fire engine.  How appropriate it should be in this church as a reminder of the dangers of fire, particularly in medieval London.

St Magnus was the second church to be destroyed in the Great Fire of London – the Monument being built on the site of the first...


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Leadenhall Market: the Heart of Roman London

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, London Tour Guide on Friday, January 3, 2020, In : Roman London 

Leadenhall Market stands in the very centre of Londinium, for underneath its buildings and avenues lie the remains of the forum.

The Romans began their conquest of Britannia in 43AD, and the settlement of London began sometime after. We do not know exactly when, but perhaps the most important find from a great deal of archaeological digging in the capital points to very rapid development. A timber drain found under No 1 Poultry dates to 47AD, indicating that a road was constructed by ...


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When is Twelfth Night?

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, In : Christmas 

It is said that it is bad luck to leave your Christmas decorations up past Twelfth Night. But when is Twelfth Night?

One of the biggest surprises for those on my Victorian Christmas Walk is that at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated. It’s hard to imagine that many businesses did not even consider it a holiday and for most it was simply yet another working day. Instead Twelfth Night was the big event in the calendar associated with parties and drinking....


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Award-Winning London Tour Guide

Posted by Hazel Baker, London Tour Guide on Monday, December 30, 2019, In : Awards 

We have some fabulously fantastic news to share with you.

We are excited to have been awarded, 'Tour Guide of the Year in London' by the prestigious Travel & Hospitality Awards, 2020.

It's wonderful to receive positive reviews from those attending our guided walks, private tours and treasure hunts and we are thankful for each and everyone. 

It now feels incredible to be recognised in the industry for the private London tours, guided walks, photo walks and treasure hunts we provide....


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Jack the Ripper and Winter Nights

Posted by Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Sunday, December 29, 2019, In : Jack the Ripper 
What a perfect time to do a Jack the Ripper Walk as the streets are dark (from 4:00 pm and starting at between 6-7:30 you can be sure of a great atmosphere on the walk. It’s even better when it’s misty or cold, as this gruesome walk will make you shiver to your bones.

A mysterious man our Jack never caught at the time, never really identified. So, who was he? You had a multitude of suspects even at the time, as the police arrested and questioned over three hundred men but never found enou...
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Cartwright Gardens: classical calm off the Euston Road

Posted by Ian McDiarmid on Friday, December 20, 2019, In : Kings Cross 

Cartwright Gardens is a graceful crescent of brick buildings with stuccoed ground floors. The first floors facing the street have finely wrought iron balconies and the top, fourth floor is marked off from the lower levels by a heavy white lintel. Otherwise, the facades are plain with recessed sash windows picked out in white.

The effect is of restrained classical elegance. It lies just south of Euston Road in Bloomsbury, and features in our King’s Cross Walk. The buildings a...


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Guided Theatre: 2020

Posted by Sarah @ Thrifty Theatre on Saturday, December 14, 2019, In : Guided Theatre 

GUIDED THEATRE

Welcome to this new addition of London Guided Walks blog, GUIDED THEATRE by Sarah at Thrifty Theatre. your hub for all thing’s theatre, including news, the hottest shows and where to get your tickets. Each month I will give you my top tip for the month as well as recommendations for some great shows.  

So, what is there to look forward to at the start of 2020:

Curtains

Do you like Murder Mysteries? Do you like Musicals? Do you like Jason Manford? Well this show combines all thre...


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London photography in December

Posted by Alastair Hilton on Saturday, December 14, 2019, In : Smartphone Photo Walks 

Halfway through December and the days are short and the nights are long. Perfect! For photography in London, we now get the best of both worlds, the light and the dark, without staying up really late!

Our smartphone photo walk along Southbank the other day showed what a great time if year this really is. Starting the tour at 3pm, we got some lovely photos of the area and the river and bridges. Then, as we stood photographing the view across the Thames towards St Paul's Cathedral, the ...


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NEW: Smartphone Photo Walks in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, December 13, 2019, In : Smartphone Photo Walks 

Learn how to take great photos with your smartphone with professional photographer Alastair Hilton.

During the photo walk, Alastair will set photography challenges, nurture your photographic eye and help you develop a better understanding of what makes a great photo. 

At the end of the 2 hour tour you will have gained a collection of photos you will feel proud of and having gained insight as to how to improve your smartphone photography. 


Our smartphone photo walks are external focu...


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Victorian Christmas in Islington with Rob Smith

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, December 13, 2019, In : Christmas Events 
Brand New for 2019

London Guided Walks are proud to present A Victorian Christmas in Islington presented by our very own Clerkenwell and Islington tour guide Rob Smith

The Victorians totally reinvented Christmas and this walk looks at how it was celebrated in Islington in the 1860s. Taking stories from local newspaper's of the period Rob will conjure up the sights of sounds of Christmas - the shops being readied for Christmas day, acts performing at the music hall, decorations for sale and ba...
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Guided Walks this Christmas

Posted by Hazel @ London Guided Walks on Friday, December 13, 2019, In : Christmas Events 

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Hidden Roman London

Posted by Susan Baker on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, In : Hidden 

When I wander round the City of London ( “the City” or “the Square Mile”) it is always a delight to find remains from our past amongst the hustle and bustle of the modern business centre.  Many City workers rush around without seeing their history all around them – I know I was guilty of this when I worked in an office in the City.

However, some things are rather more difficult to spot than others.  This remnant of the ancient (originally Roman) city wall is an example.  I h...


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Soho-Ho Treasure Hunt

Posted by Hazel Baker on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, In : Christmas Events 
Our Soho-Ho Treasure Hunt kicked off the Christmas season on Sunday.

Forty people donned their santa hats and explored the area of Carnaby street looking for answers to our cryptic clues in the streets and in shop windows.

Here's a short video of what you missed: https://youtu.be/AfQGwb32Yr0


Our Soho-Ho Treasure Hunt makes a fun Christmas Event for corporates or friends and family.
Who knows, we may see you on our next public Soho-Ho Christmas Treasure Hunt next year with new clues!
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How to access Panoramic on your smartphone (Android and iPhone)

Posted by Alastair Hilton on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, In : Photo Walks 

How to access Panoramic camera setting on your smartphone (Android or iPhone):

Press the camera icon on your phone. Next to the "shutter release button" (the white circle you press to take a photo) will be a list of options, including Square, Pano or Panorama, portrait, time lapse etc. Press the Pano/panorama option. Two parallel lines and an arrow will appear in the centre of the screen. 

Turn your phone horizontally. Stand the aisle of a church (for instance) and point the camera le...


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Taking panoramic photos with your smartphone (iPhone and Android)

Posted by Alastair Hilton on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, In : Photo Walks 

Capturing ultra-wide  or ultra-high panoramas is a great technique to mix up your photography skill-set and create larger-than-life work that captures landscapes and architectural features in a unique way.

You may think you’d need specialised equipment to shoot a panorama, but but fear not. The widespread usage of smartphones means many of us have a really good panorama camera in our pockets, with us at all times, and many don’t
even know it!

The built-in software is designe...


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Susan's River Thames Walk

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, October 7, 2019, In : Guided Walks 

Susan's City of London River Thames walk helps us all make sense of the changing scene on London's river. The Thames rapidly became the most important river in the country following the Roman invasion, and has remained so ever since.

Starting at Blackfriars walk along the length of the City of London's edge of the Thames to the Tower of London. Susan's walk puts everything into perspective and looks at how it developed and changed through the ages. 

Hear the origins of the nursery rhy...


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Half-Price Half-Term London Walks

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, In : Half Term 

Looking for a fun way to keep the kids entertained this half term? 

We have half-price tickets for our half-term London walks to keep the kids busy and entertained. Half price tickets available for half term week Monday 21  - Saturday 26 October 2019

Adult tickets £6 & Kids £4 + booking fee

All our mid-week half term walk start at 1pm and at a tube station.



Monday 21 October, 1pm Wonders of Whitehall

Explore the historical district of Whitehall see the iconic Houses of Parliament and Wes...


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Al fresco brunch at The Plumstead Pantry

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, In : Local History 
Do you have a favourite London al fresco spot? Tell us!

Here's my review of The Plumstead Pantry
With the sun shining I decided to head on out for a spot of al fresco lunch. We jumped on the bus to Plumstead to The Plumstead Pantry. This is somewhere I have been itching to go for a few months after stumbling across them on Facebook. Having missed their August lates I wanted to take full advantage of the Indian summer.

We were lucky to have a table for two outside in the sunshine, overlooking Plu...
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Old Mill Pub, Plumstead

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, In : Local History 

The Old Mill pub is a historic pub right on Plumstead Common. The windmill was built on Plumstead Common in 1764.


In 1827, there was an accident at the mill when so many people crowded onto the stage to watch a sham fight that it gave way, injuring a number of them. In 1848, the mill was converted into a brewhouse, having been disused for a number of years previously.


Plumstead Common Windmill was marked on the 1819-43 Ordnance Survey map. Photographs show it was once tied t...


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FREE Rembrandt Exhibition at The British Museum

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Art 
The British Museum is a wonderful place to visit, especially when you are dipping in to see something specific.

Many of us Londoners would say they are familiar with the British Museum and have ticked off the main display items but few, I would suggest, have visited Room 90 on the Upper Level. Therein lies a free exhibition on Rembrandt. Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) is among the best-loved artists in the world. 

It may surprise you that The British Museum has one of the gre...
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London's Brunch Festival

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Eating 
Saturday 31 August & Sunday 1 September 2019
The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane
Tickets: £12.50 + booking fee
VIP Tickets: £35 + booking fee

This will be the biggest celebration of brunch London has ever seen. There will be coffee, there will be booze, also workshops, talks, music and most importantly … more perfectly delectable brunch food, yum yum.

Event includes:

Marketplace
- 10 amazing Brunch Headliners who will each be serving a special festival menu

Sweet Street
- packed full of...
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Things to do in London (for Londoners)

Posted by Hazel Baker on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Things to Do in London 

We are so lucky to live in such a vibrant world city. Sometimes though, it's hard to find events off the tourist trail and experience the real London.

I am excited to announce the creation of a new Facebook Group 'Things to do in London (for Londoners). This Facebook group is something I have been wanted to do for a while. It's designed as a place to find and share London events which Londoners would enjoy.

Hazel
London Guided Walks / Things to Do in London (for Londoners)

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Nunhead Cemetery Open Day 2019

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Events 
Saturday, 18th May, 2019 11am - 5pm
FREE
Nearest Station: Nunhead

What does the event entail?
Cemetery tour including visits to the chapel and crypt which are not usually open to the public.
Seek guidance on family history
Food and drinks at our café.

More Nunhead open day information

Find out more about Nunhead Cemetery in our blog post.
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Evening bird walk at Sydenham Hill Wood

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Events 
Guided bird walk with London Wildlife Trust in Sydenham Hill Wood.

Typical woodland birds expected to encounter: wren, robin, blackbird, woodpigeon, and to hear migrant blackcap and chiffchaff, as well as nuthatch and stock dove.

Wear suitable footwear for a woodland with rugged paths, steps and gentle inclines.

If there is prolonged heavy rain, thunderstorms or high winds the walk will be cancelled. Please check before attending.

Find out more
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Beasts of London: a Review

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, In : Events 
Rats, horses, a dormouse, pigeons and geese, the Museum of London is turned into a menagerie of beastly wonder.

In partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Museum of London's latest exhibition 'Beasts of London' is a journey through London’s history, told through its animals who have lived in London and those who still call it home.

It's described as an experience rather than an exhibition even though there are a handful of artefacts on display including an impressive prese...
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Beasts of London, Museum of London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, In : Events 
When: 5 April 2019 – 5 January 2020
Where: Museum of London
Suitable for: 7 years+
Price: Variable. Family tickets from £20

Beasts of London experience at the Museum of London explores the fascinating role animals have played in shaping the capital. Step into a self-guided tour through London’s beasty history, narrated by the animals who once lived here. 

Follow the footprints to travel through time, from the Roman era through Medieval London and right up to present day, narrated by the b...
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Feast of St George 20 April 2019

Posted by Hazel on Friday, April 12, 2019, In : Events 

Come and celebrate the best of English culture at the Feast of St George, 20 April 2019

If you want to see me in a Victorian bonnet, now is the time! I am very proud to announce I will be partaking in the festivities by providing three Dragon Quests where wanna be knights hunt down the name of our St George's dragon with Edith Baker (me) and Julius Drake and three 20 minute talks on St George MythBusters. 


Come and join me:

St. George MythBusters 12.15pm, 2.45pm and 4.15pm
Come and hear mo...


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St George's Day Walk

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, April 12, 2019, In : Guided Walks 

It's back!

Celebrate St George's Day 2019 with us on our dragon walk.

The City of London is surrounded by dragons. On this walk we explore the city of London in search of these elusive beasts.

Although dragons occur in many legends around the world, different cultures have varying stories about monsters that have been grouped together under the dragon label. Some dragons are said to breathe fire or to be poisonous, such as in the Old English poem Beowulf. Which dragons will we find?

Start: London...


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It's oh so quiet...

Posted by Hazel Baker on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, In : Quirky 

So, you may have noticed that I am not offering many tours in October and November. Well, that's because something unexpectedly wonderful is happening...

I'm getting married! 

Who knew my guiding would lead me down this path. I met my future husband several years ago when he came on one of my guided walks in Camden. Like many other people he came back time and time again until he had done all the walks I had offered which finally led to him asking me on a date. 

Our first date was a mo...


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Unusual Work Christmas Parties

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, In : Christmas 

Need to organise a Christmas works do with a difference? 


Being a small business owner, one thing I don't miss are those awkward Christmas work dos, where you're sipping a glass of paint thinner disguised as white wine while trying to look like you are having a good time.

If you need to organise your work’s Christmas do, give them an experience they can share and remember with our Christmas corporate events. This is your chance to get out of the office and to explore an area of Lo...


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Pancakes in Covent Garden

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, In : Eating 
If you have a love of pancakes then you are sure to enjoy Pancs in Covent Garden.

No matter whether you prefer savoury or have a sweet tooth there is sure to be something that suits your palate. We ventured down to the lower level of Covent Garden Market, following our noses to the warm and welcoming smell of Pancs. 



Having chosen Duck Confit Panc containing duck, stilton, rocket, mustard and honey and a Chicken Teriyaki Panc with chicken, pepper, lettuce and teriyaki we say down on the raised ...
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Pancake Day in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, In : Events 
It is Shrove Tuesday! While Brazilians donne their carnival colours and Danish children dress up and 'hit the cat out of the barrell' we English partake in pancake races.

If you are stuck for something to do today then you are spoilt for choice for pancake-related events in London:

Parliamentary Pancake Race, Westminster

Now celebrating 21 years of tradition, the parliamentary pancake race in Victoria Tower Gardens where MPs, Lords and members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery willingly...


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Winter Lights Festival 2018, Canary Wharf

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, In : Festival 

It’s back! From tonight Canary Wharf will be illuminated by sculptures, structures and installations as part of the Winter Lights Festival, an annual celebration of light technology and art.

Over 30 cutting edge installations and artworks provided by artists from across the world including UK, Greece, Australia, New Zealand and USA. They will be on show both indoors and outside from 5-10pm across Canary Wharf estate where you can also enjoy an array of over 300 bars, shops and resta...


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Who's your favourite Scrooge?

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, December 14, 2017, In : Christmas 


There is one question whilst doing my Christmas Carol Tour which I always get asked: who is your favourite Ebenezer Scrooge?

Hmmm….who do I think plays ‘a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping….old sinner’ the best? 

It’s fair to say there is plenty of choice:

  • 1910 Marc McDermott - A Christmas Carol (silent film)
  • 1938 Reginald Owen - A Christmas Carol
  • 1951 Alastair Sim - Scrooge (UK) & A Christmas Carol (USA)
  • 1962 Mister Magoo - Mister Magoo’s Christmas
  • 1970 Albert Finney - Sc...

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Howard's End London Filming Locations

Posted by Hazel Baker on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, In : Films 
The BBC's latest version of Howard's End has now hit the UK's TV screens. For those who have joined me on my Georgian London walking tour will see a familiar sight, Myddelton Square, Clerkenwell.


Myddelton Square, Clerkenwell 2015


Myddelton Square 2017

You'll notice the chapel has moved closer up the street and a large Victorian red brick building has replaced the small Georgian workers homes of Arlington Way.

Even though this majestic flagship square exudes Georgian elegance, a touch of movie m...
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The Writeidea Festival 2017

Posted by Hazel at London Guided Walks on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, In : Festival 
The Writeidea festival 2017 is nearly here!

This free annual festival has a diverse programme of over 40 events over this coming weekend (17-19 November) at the Idea Store, Whitechapel

The Writeidea festival, backed by the Arts Council, will include a breadth of authors such as Stella Duffy, Alan Dein, The Gentle Author and Irenosen Okojie who will be talking and reading from their own work combining well-known names with emerging writers, all bringing their own local, national and internatio...
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Woodstock Terrace, Poplar

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, In : Victorian 
There are so many interesting details to see in Poplar. One of the bigger details is the beautiful Woodstock Street facing west onto Poplar Recreation Ground.

The street was built in the mid 1850s during the Victorian perood. Like many tenancies of the day, the covenants prohibited the lessees and their tenants from practising specified noxious trades, including the boiling of horseflesh (to create cat meat), tallow melting and soapmaking, and from using forges, anvils or steam engines on the ...

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Gold Christmas at the National Gallery

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, November 13, 2017, In : Christmas 

Image Credit: NG1 Sebastiano del Piombo incorporating designs by Michelangelo about 1485 - 1547. The Raising of Lazarus 1517-19. Oil on canvas, transferred from wood 381 x 289.6 cm © The National Gallery, London

Celebrate the festive season at the National Gallery and take part in gold-themed activities and events.

17 November 2017 – 1 January 2018 


Gold shines brightest in the National Gallery during the festive season. This year, visitors are invited to celebrate the holidays by exp...
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Old Flo Returns!

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, In : Art 

Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman has returned to the East End after taking a 20 year holiday at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Purchased in 1962 by the LCC under its ‘Patronage of the Arts Scheme’ where sculptures by leading artists were acquired for housing estates, schools and other public places for the benefit of local people. 

Draped Seated Woman was placed on LCC’s Stifford Estate in Stepney, where it gained the nickname ‘Old Flo’ by the residents and where she stayed for 35 years...


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Afternoon Tea Awards 2017

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, In : Eating 

We were lucky enough to be invited to the 2017 Afternoon Tea Awards, celebrating the best Afternoon Teas to be enjoyed in the UK. The event was hosted in the sumptuous surroundings of 5 star Grosvenor House Hotel, Mayfair. 



Lanson Champagne accompanied a quirky afternoon tea beautifully presented, featuring cream scones in terracotta flower pots, burned caramel chocolates with popping candy and delicate hand-crafted pastries in bird cages. Tea was on hand thanks to Newby Teas. 


2017 Afternoon T...


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BBC Filming in Clerkenwell

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, In : 20th century 


Whilst out with a lovely group on my Georgian London tour in North Clerkenwell we were lucky enough to come across the BBC filming. When I asked the crew, and after being told they were filming Jeremy Kyle the movie I was informed they were filming a new miniseries of Howards End. 

Back in February 2017 the BBC announced an all-star cast for Kenneth Lonergan's adaption of Howards End for BBC One. This is to be Academy Award® nominated screenwriter and playwright Lonergan's first TV screen ad...


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Rossopomodoro - a taste of Naples in Covent Garden

Posted by Hazel at London Guided Walks on Thursday, March 30, 2017, In : Eating 

One of the challenges of eating out in Covent Garden is to avoid the tourist traps and find somewhere authentic and affordable. Rossopomodoro’s Covent Garden restaurant is in olive-spitting distance from well-known chains Bella Italia and Spaghetti House. I was curious as to what culinary delights yet another Italian restaurant chain can offer the area.

The décor is simple and functional with ceiling lamps, and a golden mosaic tile wood oven creates a kitchen-like appearance.  

The menu i...


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Floating Garden Party

Posted by Hazel at London Guided Walks on Friday, March 24, 2017, In : Quirky 

A unique London Thames experience - 25th, 26th and 27th May 2017

The Floating Gardens of Westminster coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show between 23rd – 27th May 2017. A cool and contemporary cruise collides with a quintessentially British garden, offering tourists and Londoners alike the best floating garden party in the city.

The fresh, flower-clad vessel will see a City Cruises sightseeing boat transformed into a fragrant paradise. Hundreds of thousands of fresh roses will adorn the ship'...


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Cake and cocktails? Yes please

Posted by Hazel from London Guided Walks on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, In : Eating 


A girly catch-up was well overdue. Since we couldn’t decide between cake and cocktails we decided to head somewhere in Central London that offered both. Having been to the Quarter Bar & Lounge at London Bridge Hotel for cocktails before I was aching to try their afternoon tea. 

We had a booth reserved which gave the feeling of privacy. Champagne or a sparkling cocktail can replace the usual tea offering for an additional £10. We chose the regular afternoon tea and had a co...


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Have you visited Nunhead Cemetery yet?

Posted by Hazel at London Guided Walks on Thursday, March 16, 2017, In : Victorian 
Nunhead Cemetery was originally called All Saints. Covering 52 acres, it is the second largest of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries established around the outskirts of London between 1832 and 1841 during a time when inner city churchyards were unhealthily overcrowded.
The cemetery was built on Nunhead Hill which rises two hundred feet above sea level with views of the City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral to the north and the North Downs to the south.
The London Cemetery Company, th...

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‘Sacred Bodies’ by Sara Burgess

Posted by Hazel at London Guided Walks on Thursday, March 16, 2017, In : Art 
Art in Nunhead Cemetery, 20 Feb - 22 April 2017
Nunhead cemetery hosts ‘Sacred Bodies’ by Sara Burgess her first solo exhibition of her metal sculpture work in an outdoor space. This art exhibition explores our connection between the inevitable physicality of our earthly, human existence and our violation to overcome suffering.
‘Iron Maiden’ is a stylised wrought-iron torso in a female form; highlighting the enduring discrimination against women throughout the ages and took 50 hour...

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Michelangelo & Sebastiano exhibition review

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, In : Art 

Credit Suisse Exhibition: Michelangelo & Sebastiano plays homage to two of Italy’s great Renaissance masters, Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo.

The large altarpiece The Raising of Lazarus by Sebastiano (NG1) was one of the first paintings in the National Gallery and so it seems quite surprising that Sebastian is not so well known with those not so immersed in the Renaissance art world.

The National Gallery’s latest exhibition is the first to explore the creative partnership between ...


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New Solo Show to open at Curious Duke Gallery

Posted by London Guided Walks on Saturday, March 11, 2017, In : Art 



Solo Show of Contemporary Artist Louise McNaught explores the theme endangered animals through paintings and 3D painted sculptures at the Curious Duke Gallery, currently London's leading urban and contemporary art space for emerging artists. 

The exhibition on opens Friday 7th April. McNaught's wonderfully colourful combinations of animals and neons where the animals are ‘God-like, sublime and ethereal in their luminescence.’ 

McNaught embraces a mixed-media approach which is motivated by e...


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Sensational Butterflies at Natural History Museum

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, March 9, 2017, In : Attractions 



This Easter, escape to the tropical butterfly house and see the crawling caterpillar transform into the beautiful butterfly at the all-time favourite National History Museum.

Sensational Butterflies returns for its ninth year in 2017 and remains a spring and summer favourite for schools, families and anyone seeking solace from the busy London streets.

Running from the 31 March – 17 September you can see so many butterflies and learn about their lives in the specially constructed tropical en...


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Thames River Crossings Event - Saturday 13 May, 2017

Posted by Hazel from London Guided Walks on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, In : Events 



The first London bridge

The first bridge in London to span the Thames was built by the Romans in AD55 using piled structures for the foundations. It was located where the current London Bridge stands. It has been rebuilt many times since. A small trading settlement grew up around the wharves and bridge which later became known as Londinium.

The Thames depicted in Art
French Impressionist Claude Monet painted the Thames three times. 'The Thames below Westminster' painting depicts the riv...


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10 Secrets of a Superhero Revealed

Posted by Hazel at London Guided Walks on Friday, March 3, 2017, In : Quirky 
What does it take to be a superhero? Here are 10 qualities which can see you onto greatness:
  1. Superheroes never give up
  2. They get the job done
  3. They are the best at what they do because they believe in themselves and focus on their strengths
  4. Superheroes have a clear, defined purpose
  5. They don’t seek glory, they focus on the bigger picture
  6. Superheroes help each other
  7. They work well on their own but are even better when they work with others eg The Avengers
  8. A superhero’s real strength comes not fr...

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In search of shrunken heads in Harry Potter and London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, February 26, 2017, In : Films 


The wizarding world of Harry Potter has so many levels, from the books, films, Warner Brother and Universal studios, a stage play and also walking tours in London. 

Shrunken heads in Harry Potter

Shrunken heads are a lively addition to the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban but they don’t appear in the Harry Potter books or any other of the films. I want to share with you my findings on shrunken heads not only in the Harry Potter films but also where to see them in London.


Heads...


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Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, In : Day Trips 



It’s at this time of year where our household orchids come to bud, reminding us that it’s that time of year again; the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens. The orchid festival at Kew Gardens is now in its 22nd year and is something we look forward to doing year after year. Having a Friends of Kew membership makes our regular visit much more affordable, allowing us to treat ourselves to a pub lunch. 

The excitement was building as we entered the familiar steamed glass of Kew Gardens’ Princess...


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Five Fantastic Questions I Get Asked on my Harry Potter in London walks

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, February 20, 2017, In : Films 

I do Harry Potter walks in London. The best bit about doing my tours are the amazing people that come on them. 

My Harry Potter walks attract both adults and children, some with a general interest in Harry Potter and some which are true Potterheads - the eclectic mix of people make each walk truly unique. 

Here are five fab questions I have been asked on my Harry Potter's London walk:


Question 1: What is the name of the Defence Against the Dark Arts in Harry Potter and the Philosophe...


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Fantastic Beasts - Where to Find Them in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, October 13, 2016, In : Quirky 


Magical beasts are on the street of London and many Muggles don't even notice!

Now, the average Muggle may think that griffins and unicorns are mythical creatures harking back to medieval times but the wizarding world may disagree. If you have read J.K Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book then you are already aware that such beasts are hiding in plain sight. But what fantastic beasts and where to find them in London? 

First of all you need to know what you're looking for...

The...
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Why did Charles Dickens choose the name Ebenezer Scrooge?

Posted by London Walks on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, In : Christmas 

Charles Dickens was prompted to write A Christmas Carol as his response to the evident evils of capitalism; but it was also an attempt to pay his ever-increasing unpaid bills. Six weeks after visiting Manchester where the fancy first occurred to him, his novella was complete. Dickens was in the event underwhelmed with the profits it generated, but his story went on to become synonymous with the modern Christmas ideal.

The first few paragraphs of the novella set the scene of Ebenezer Scrooge i...
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Pokemon Go in Bristol

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, October 2, 2016, In : Day Trips 
We had an awesome day in Bristol doing a Poketour this week. We caught many 2nd evolution Pokemon such as Slowbro,  Poliwhirl and Starmie. Since we were all Team Mystic, the best Pokemon Go experience was taking down gyms together.

Pokemon Go aside Bristol is a wonderful place to explore, especially on a day trip away from London. It's small enough to navigate there is rich history starting in the stone age, enough to keep any history-lover happy. 

Below is a short video of some of the wonderfu...
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London's Burning

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, September 4, 2016, In : Guided Walks 

350 years ago the Great Fire of London tore through the medieval streets of London, destroying 80% of the city in four days. 373 acres of the City - from the Tower in the East to Fleet Street and Fetter Lane in the West - and burning around 13,200 houses, 84 churches and 44 company halls.

Learn more about this major event, how the royals and the regulars dealt with this disaster as well as other historical events on our Heretics and Horrors walking tour.

Further reading: Was the Great ...
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Afternoon Tea at The Keeper's Lodge

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, August 26, 2016, In : Eating 


Full of sweet treats and tasty sandwiches Afternoon Tea is a wonderful way to relax during the afternoon. 

The Keeper's Lodge is a sideways extension to Burlington House which houses the Royal Academy (RA) off Piccadilly. Go down the stairs on the left.

Long & Kentish, award-winning architects,  have restored it retaining many details including vaults, old ceiling beams and hearths originating from the Restoration era. Award-winning architect David Chipperfield RA added a luxurious contempora...

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Enjoy Afternoon Tea on the BB Bakery Bus

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, August 12, 2016, In : Eating 

We have the Victorian 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russell to thank for the invention of Afternoon Tea. It was in 1840 when the Duchess found a tasty solution to the problem of being hungry at around 4pm, having to wait another four hours before dinner at 8pm; tea with bread and butter. 

After inviting a few friends to join her afternoon tea had been established and the rest, as they say, is history! Today, afternoon tea includes dainty finger sandwiches, including the famous thinly sliced cuc...

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A Taste of Pleasure

Posted by London guided Walks on Saturday, June 4, 2016, In : Eating 
It has returned! 

Magnum has moved from Selfridges to it's own swanky pop-up shop on nearby Molton Street. So having finished my Street Art in Shoreditch tour I popped along to see what all the fuss was about. 



The Magnum Pleasure Store is serving bespoke ice creams to cool customers throughout the summer.

The hotly anticipated summer pop up of pleasure celebrates the launch of the Magnum Double range, where they will be the first to try a double dipped Magnum with two layers of chocol...


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The personal touch, Covent Garden

Posted by London Walks on Sunday, May 15, 2016, In : 20th century 





Covent Garden's Apple Market is a popular market under the glass roof of Covent Garden market providing an antiques market every Monday. For the other days a vibrant market filled with individuals selling unique products for ever-demanding visitors.


Lavinia has had a popular stall The T-Shirt Club Covent Garden's Apple Market for the last six years; making and selling hand made T-shirts with a London theme. All T-shirts host hand-painted designs by Lavinia herself and are machine washable at 4...


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Cats in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, In : Quirky 

We British pride ourselves on being animal lovers. One of the most unpredictable of our furry friends are cats.
There are a number of cats represented and remembered in the streets of London. Keep your eyes open when you're out and about.

 


In the SW corner of Queen Square, Bloombury is Sam. Very little is known about Sam. His curious sculpture was unveiled in 1997 in honour of Patricia Penn (1914 – 1992) who was a local resident who had been very active in the area.

Outside the Savoy H...

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Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, In : Theatre 

Glenn Close reprises her Tong Award-winning role as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum. This was something of a treat as I was only a teenager when I was introduced to one of the lesser-known musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The semi-staged performance was a contrast to the opulent surrounding of the London Coliseum. 

The 48-strong onstage orchestra was beautifully conducted by Michael Reed whose splendiferous sound feels like ...


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Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre

Posted by Theatreland walks with London Guided Walks on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, In : Theatre 

The story of Nell Gwynn is surrounded with intrigue. A woman who rose up the ranks quickly due to the favour of Charles II and then disappears from the history books. 

A Shakespeare’s Globe production is written by Jessica Swale is an English theatre director and writer and playwright. Nell's story was engrossing and Gemma Atherton commanded the stage. The hat joke was truly magnifique.

The set was cleverly constructed and fully utilised by the performers with having designated area...


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Enjoy Easter at Kew Gardens

Posted by Guided walks in London on Sunday, March 20, 2016, In : Day Trips 
Spring has truly sprung, delicate petals have began to unfurl showing off their colours. The Davies Alpine House at the North end of the rock garden is a real treat with many variety of plants where home would be mountainous regions to the warm Mediterranean. 

Easter is the perfect time to visit Kew Gardens especially with their Chocolate Sensations event on from 19 April - 10 April 2016 with a Lindt Gold Bunny Flavour Trail to follow. On Easter Sunday, the first 4000 visitors to Kew Gardens w...

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Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day?

Posted by Guided walks in London on Monday, February 22, 2016, In : 20th century 


The British tradition of Mothering Sunday is rather muddled. Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the UK on the fourth Sunday in Lent since at least the C16th. 

In the early twentieth century Mothering Sunday underwent a revival thanks to Constance Penswick Smith (1878-1938). It was in 1913 where she was inspired after reading a newspaper report of Anna Jarvis’s campaign for Mother's Day in America.

What is the connection between Laetare Sunday and Mother's Day? 
Laetare Sunday g...


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Visit Magical Lantern Festival, Chiswick

Posted by Guided walks in London on Saturday, February 20, 2016, In : Quirky 

Chiswick House Garden plays host to a 26 day Chinese lantern festival suitable for adults and children alike. To mark the Year of the Monkey 2016, a Mount Huaguo lantern with an illuminated waterfall will provide the fairytale setting for an intricate recreation of popular Chinese fable, The Monkey King.

Other illuminated delights include a life size 
 lantern Terracotta Army, a 10-metre tall recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and an 8-metre, porcelain Imperial Palace Lantern. The 66-me...


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Spa Terminus & Maltby Street Markets

Posted by London Walks on Saturday, January 30, 2016, In : Eating 


Spa Terminus


In a hidden corner of Bermondsey is a gourmet lover's delight. During the week Spa Terminus is an area for food production and distribution where like-minded businesses grow and develop. On Saturdays many open and their their wares to the public. 

At Spa Terminus you will find Adrienne Treeby at Crown and Queue working to produce the very best of British heritage pork including sausages such as Lincoln Imp which uses Kernel Brewer's Export Stout, Answell which uses Five Points Brew...


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Winter Lights Festival @ Canary Wharf

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, January 25, 2016, In : Quirky 
Canary Wharf has been illuminated by sculptures, structures and installations as part of the Winter lights Festival @ Canary Wharf. 

Many pieces were about how we communicate in the modern world, one using a live newsfeed to extract words for them to be projected onto falling water droplets.

What was interesting was to leisurely walk around Canary Wharf at night; a place which has the reputation of being full of men in dark suits walking in what could be described as a human version of an ants ...
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Victorian London; a new era full of hope

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, In : Victorian 

Victorian London was the largest city in the world for much of that time. London's population grew from about 1 million people in 1800, to about 6.7 million in 1900.  Many of the city’s residents lived in poverty.

Middle class England grew rapidly and the upper class, which was formerly purely hereditary, came to include the nouveau riche, who made fortunes from successful commercial enterprises.

However, a large proportion of Victorian society was still working class, and they remained disgr...


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Halloween London Walks

Posted by London Walks on Thursday, October 15, 2015, In : Quirky 

London has a lot of many wondrous things such as pubs and theatres but what London seems to have more of is ghosts.

We have some fab Halloween themed walks available 27th, 29th & 31st October. Join us on this night walk and hear tales which will give you a chilling thrill! 

Tues 27th Oct, 7pm Baker Street  - Haunted Marylebone & Mayfair Book now

Thurs 29th Oct 7pm Baker Street  - Haunted Marylebone & Mayfair Book now

Sat 31st Oct, 3pm London Bridge - City of London Dragons Book now

Sat 31st Oct, 7...


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Play a piano in Canary Wharf

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, In : Quirky 

If you missed the Play Me I'm Yours pianos in Canary Wharf in 2012 then this is your chance to play them! Play Me, I'm Yours is a touring artwork by artist Luke Jerram. This interactive artwork has been presented in over 46 cities so far, reaching an audience to date of over 6 million people around the world.

In Canary Wharf now until 12 October there are 15 street pianos which have been decorated by local artists and community groups. The pianos are located in parks (e.g. Jubilee Par...


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Explore Victorian London on our walks

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, In : Victorian 

In Victorian literature London is often described as a labyrinth or a maze; once you enter it’s hard to get out. Even though we may look back at the Victorian era with fond sentimentality Victorian London was a dangerous place especially after dark, with highway men and other scoundrel’s waiting to pounce on anyone crossing their path. 

Our Victorian Covent Garden & Soho walk we delve into the world of Music Halls, the introduction of ice cream to the masses and the fortitude of V...


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Visit Eltham Palace

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, August 7, 2015, In : Day Trips 
Eltham Palace has had an interesting life being once an important royal palace and being the home of King Henry VIII and his siblings to being occupied by Army Educational units until 1992. With being so easy to get to from Central London Eltham Palace is certainly an English Heritage site certainly worth visiting. 

The building is a concoction of various inspirations such as Christopher Wren's Hampton Court Palace, Trinity College's library and 1930s ideals. The interior is defined with each ...
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St John Street, Islington

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, In : Local History 

St John Street, Islington, was originally a lane linking the village of Islington to the City of London.

When you look up St John Street (as in the pic above) you can see a slight incline. That's been made up of gravels from the ice age. Underneath that is London clay. Where the gravel and London clay meet there is a line of fresh water springs. 

Those springs are still evident in place names such as Sadler's Wells and Clerk's Wells, more commonly known as Clerkenwell today.

The geology has had ...


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Take a trip to Bath

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, In : Day Trips 
Bath is a small and beautiful city and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. From London, Bath is less than two hours train travel, making it an ideal location for a day or weekend trip. There is plenty to see without spending too much money. Here are a few suggestions:


Bath Abbey, BA1 1LT 
The fan vaulted ceiling and wood carvings in the choir stalls are particular fine.  They also have a free audio guide which you can download and listen to as you walk round. In the audio guide...


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Visit the Wellington Arch

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, June 18, 2015, In : Georgian 

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Wellington Arch is an English Heritage property which has an interesting exhibition about the battle and reveals a few details which are missed from the English history class rooms.

Wellington Arch now sits at Hyde Park Corner, where Kensington Road meets Piccadilly near its junction with Park Lane, and where the Kensington Turnpike Trust had its tollgate. As a result, Hyde Park Corner became thought of unofficially as the new entrance...


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Shaun the Sheep hits London streets

Posted by Guided walks in London on Sunday, March 29, 2015, In : Quirky 

Over 50 giant sculptures of Shaun the Sheep created by artists, celebrities and designers will be placed in iconic locations and beautiful green spaces across central London.

Much as we did with the book benches last year, we will be following a trail of Shaun the sheep. Each walk will last c. 90 mins with an option for post walk drinks available. 

These walks are intended to be pleasant and light with plenty of opportunity for taking photos and chatting along the way. Bring your camera and you...


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Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner

Posted by Guided walks in London on Thursday, March 12, 2015, In : 20th century 

The Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner has continued to be the subject of much critical discussion with Lord Curzon being quoted as describing the howitzer as "a toad squatting, which is about to spit fire out of its mouth...nothing more hideous could ever be conceived". 


What is the objective of having a war memorial? 

To remember the dead? To bask in the glory of sacrifice for King and country? Ex-servicemen were quoted by the Manchester Guardian as reminiscing about the war as they...


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London Underground - Victoria Line

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, February 27, 2015, In : Travel 

For many of us Londoners the tube is something which needs to be endured rather than enjoyed. Big improvements have been made to the Victoria line with new bigger and more comfortable trains with wider aisles and doors, and higher ceilings.

Victoria Line History

Funding for a deep-level “Route C” line, better known as the Victoria line, was approved back in 1955. The grand opening of the Victoria line, or “London’s Pride”, was on 7 March 1969. Queen Elizabeth II was the firs...


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Follow the Footsteps of Oliver Twist

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, January 4, 2015, In : Victorian 


Many of Dickens’ contemporary critics and reading public feared that novels could be too realistic, and that naïve readers (often female readers) wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between fiction and reality. Especially for a novel like Oliver Twist, which is about “dangerous” subjects like poverty, crime, and the relationship between the two.

"Please sir, I want some more"

London is repeatedly described as a labyrinth or a maze – once you get into it, it’s hard to get back o...


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Oliver Twist Guided Walk in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, January 4, 2015, In : Victorian 

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Farewell Christmas Lights

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, January 4, 2015, In : Guided Walks 
It's not yet the 6th day of Christmas and yet many retailers in the West End have taken down their Christmas decorations. The 2 tonne Christmas canopy of Selfridges on Oxford Street disappeared overnight. Where is Harry the Golden Goose now?

Even though each season has it's own charms, there is an air of sadness when the darkness returns to the West End, when the Christmas lights are removed and the wait for lighter evenings begins.

Christmas 2014 saw nearly 200 attendees on our Christmas light...
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What is a silent Disco?

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, December 28, 2014, In : Quirky 
What is a silent disco?
In basic terms it is a disco where instead of 1 DJ playing at a disco, there are 3 playing at the same time. The music is played through wireless headphones and those wearing them can chose which DJ to listen to.  The head sets themselves are comfortable, adjustable with easy to find controls for channel and volume change and have a 200m range.


What are the benefits of a silent disco?
1. You can't please everyone - Not everyone likes the same music which means you have a ...

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London in a Day

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, December 18, 2014, In : Quirky 
There is no denying it, London is a fabulous city in which to live, work or to visit.

As a London guide I have few tools but my voice, my stories and the streets of London in which to paint a picture as to how London has been in the past.



This 3 minute timelapse video called LapseLondon took 40 talented photographers a day to film. It shows the familiar iconic views of the City of London, the financial hub, the shopping triangle of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street and the ever po...
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Christmas at Kew Gardens

Posted by Guided Walks in London on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, In : Quirky 

I get a little tired of hearing "Christmas is for Children'. Surely Christmas, a time for sharing and goodwill is for everyone, no matter their background and beliefs?

Walsall Illuminations and Severn Valley Railway at Christmas were my Christmas highlights as a child. But what is there for adults that doesn't include mistletoe or alcohol?

Christmas at Kew Gardens has the answer; a one mile trail of illuminations befitting the world’s most famous botanic garden. The effects are enough to gi...


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Paddington Bear hits London

Posted by Guided walks in London on Monday, November 17, 2014, In : Art 
As a child of the 80's I grew up with the cartoon of Paddington Bear who wore an old black hat, a blue duffel coat and had an unhealthy relationship with marmalade. I have never been a fan of the sweet citrus nectar but certainly could relate to the well mannered bear as I too had a duffle coat and very often found myself in surprising situations.

The star studded Paddington film hits the UK 29 November. To assist it's launch 50 statues of Paddington Bear have graced the streets of London.  ...
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Know your Ghosts from your apparitions

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, In : Quirky 

London has a lot of many wondrous things such as pubs and theatres. What London seems to have even more of is ghosts. 

There are a number of different types of paranormal activity:

Demonic hauntings - a haunting by a nonhuman entity. They often start off with subtle and relatively simple paranormal activity before quickly increasing to strong, potentially scary activity. Demonic hauntings can be very dramatic, yes, even violent.

Cold Spots – a small, defined area of intense cold, at least 10 d...


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Georgian Clerkenwell & Islington

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, October 13, 2014, In : Georgian 


On Saturday many tour guides provided guided walks in London based on the theme of the Georgians for Local London Guiding Day 2014.



Luckily in Clerkenwell & Islington we are spoilt for choice as to what to include in an hours walk. The problem then is to decide what to include. Each guide designed their own walk around particular stops. Mine included Islington Tunnel, the Angel Inn, George Cruikshank and a young Charles Dickens as well as middle class houses and Georgians shops. No Georgian...


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Free London Walks

Posted by Guided Walks in London on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, In : Local History 
It's back again!  Local London Guided Day

I am proud to be involved with this years Local London Guided Day on Saturday 11 October. This year's theme is the Georgians, a particular favourite of mine. Four guiding associations are working together to deliver free guided walks in their specialist areas: Clerkenwell & Islington, City of London, Westminster and Greenwich.

Walks start at 10am and repeat on the hour with the last one at 4pm. Each walk will last no longer than an hour which means you...

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Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Posted by Guided walks in London on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, In : Victorian 

Charles Dickens was the quintessential Victorian author. His epic stories, vivid characters and deeply descriptive depiction of contemporary life are unforgettable.

In his second major work, Oliver Twist, he highlights a number of social issues including the abuse and corruption suffered by children. The orphan boy Oliver Twist manages to survive the ordeals the authorities and criminal fraternity throw at him. The scene of Oliver's plea in the workhouse for more to eat is familiar to countl...


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Hampstead Village Highlights - A Guided Walk

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, September 12, 2014, In : Guided Walks 

Hampstead Village has a rich history of intellectual and artistic associations and, of course, Hampstead Heath. With Hampstead having attracted the rich and famous over the last two centuries it's not surprising there are plenty of historical plaques which show a glimmer of its glamorous inhabitants.

This guided walk starts at Hampstead Tube station (Northern Line). There will also be a post walk drinks option too. The terrain does have a few inclines (Hampstead is on a hill you know). Ther...


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Notable Priors of St John's Priory, Clerkenwell

Posted by London Guided Walks on Saturday, September 6, 2014, In : Local History 


Thomas Docwra Shield

Notable Priors of St John's Priory, Clerkenwell



The shields in the Chapter Hall of St John's Gate are a wonderfully visual timeline of the English Grand Priors of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell. The following are Priors who made history.

Thomas Docwra

Responsible for the rebuilding of the gateway in 1504. He was very close to King Henry VIII and accompanied him to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, Val d’Or in 1520. 


Sir Robert Hale

By the 1200s the Knights Hospitaller were h...


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Walk a royal trail around the fields and woods of Windsor

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, September 5, 2014, In : Hidden 

Home to kings and queens since William the Conqueror, Windsor is dominated by its castle, which, as benefiting a monarch, is the largest in the kingdom.


 The trail starting in Egham takes you first to the calming waters of the Thames, where you can explore Runnymede, the site at which medieval barons forced a King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215 which  lasted less than three months. Read more about the situation surrounding the Magna Carta.


"And still when mob or monarch lays,

Too rude a ha...


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The Great Fire of London - a terrorist attack?

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, September 5, 2014, In : Restoration 

The Monument, near Pudding Lane

The Great Fire is known as the most famous disaster in
London's history.
 The Monument is located at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 61 metres from where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. It was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City.

How did the Great Fire of London begin?

The fire is believed to have began in a baker's house in Pudding Lane on Sunday 2nd Septemb...


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A brief history of Barnsbury, London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, September 1, 2014, In : Local History 

Where does the name Barnsbury come from?


The name ‘Barnsbury’ comes from the de Berners family, which owned the medieval manor that occupied the site until the early C16th. The Manor of Barnsbury (also called Bernersbury or Iseldon Berners) was held in 1086 by Hugh de Berners.


Who owned The Manor of Barnsbury?

The Berners family retained the manor until 1502 when it was sold to a Merchant, Thomas Fowler. He passed the manor on to his son Edmund (d 1560) who left it to his son Sir Thomas (d 1...


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Artist Walter Sickert in Highbury

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, August 28, 2014, In : Art 

Walter Sickert, Victorian artist & actor

At 1 Highbury Place there is a Georgian building with the green plaque was once Walter Sickert’s school of painting and engraving.



Walter Richard Sickert was a late Victorian painter who came from an artistic family. He had a particular fondness for Islington which was a major presence at both ends of Sickert’s life, personally and professionally.


It was a 5yr old Walter Sickert who first visited Islington. In 1865 he attended St Mark’s Hospital, Ci...


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New River Head

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, In : Hidden 

Clerkenwell is an area flowing with history of London's water supply. There is Myddelton Square, Amwell Street, Chadwell Street, Myddelton Street and River Street all in recognition to the New River. 



The New River Head, is on Rosebery Avenue and was built in 1920 to a design by Herbert Austen Hall who is more famously associated with the post-war design of several livery halls, primarily the re-building of Carpenters' and Clothworkers' Halls, but also the interior and north part of Fishmonger...


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Cloudesley Square, Barnsbury

Posted by London Guided Walks on Monday, August 25, 2014, In : Local History 

Cloudesley square was the first square to be built over the Barnsbury area of Islington and was originally part of the Cloudesley Estate. 

Cloudesley Square, Barnsbury, London

The site of the square was formerly known as Stoneyfield and in the C16th was owned by Sir Richard Cloudesley. By the early C19th, the area was leased by dairy farmer Samuel Rhodes (great grandfather of the founder of De Beers diamond company Cecil Rhodes).


It wasn’t long before areas of the Estate were being chosen for ...


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Exploring London on foot

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, August 24, 2014, In : Quirky 

“London is a city that needs, that demands, to be explored on foot.”
Geoff Nicholson, The Lost Art of Walking


The pace of London and its people moves so fast that the ability of being able to observe and absorb one’s surroundings certainly requires the speed of travel be slowed down. And what better speed to decrease down to than that of walking? It is a way of actually shifting a state of consciousness.

There are many nooks and crannies of London that cannot be seen and/or appreciated at ...


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History of Ice cream in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, August 24, 2014, In : Victorian 


History of ice cream in London
It's on hot days like today where we Londoners should thank Victorian entrepreneur Carlo Gatti for introducing us to this splendid cool nectar.



Carlo Gatti came to London in 1847 travelling from the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. He began his business selling refreshments to normal Londoners from a stall selling a waffle-like treat sprinkled with sugar in the summer and chestnuts in winter.

Gatti lived in Holborn where there was an established Italian comm...

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What does the Coat of Arms of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries mean?

Posted by London Guided Walks on Saturday, August 23, 2014, In : Art 

What is a Coat of Arms?

During medieval times a coat of arms was very important. It told everybody who you were, what family you belonged to, who your relatives were, what territory you may hold. It basically said everything about a powerful person that you wanted (and needed) people to know.

A coat of arms is a unique design belonging to a particular person (or group of people i.e. the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries) and is used by them in a wide variety of ways. Some of these ways include...


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The Start of the Georgians

Posted by London Guided Walks on Saturday, August 23, 2014, In : Georgian 

Queen Anne of Great Britain & Ireland (1665-1714)

Only one of Queen Anne's seventeen pregnancies produced a potential heir, William, Duke of Gloucester (1689-1700). His death in July 1700 at the tender age of eleven caused Parliament to institute the Act of Settlement making Electress Sophia of Hanover heiress presumptive. Electress Sophia died two months before Queen Anne.


In 1714 Queen Anne died and was succeeded by her second cousin, Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover. Georg was an appealing c...


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History of Mason's Yard, Mayfair

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, August 21, 2014, In : Art 

History of Mason's Yard, Mayfair

Mason's Yard SW1

Ormond Yard was laid out as a 200 feet square plot of land originally designed to be a stable yard and by 1740 the yard was already being called Mason's Yard, probably due to the owner of the two houses fronting both the yard and Duke street was a Mr Henry Mason. It would make sense for him to have rented some stables in Mason's Yard.


In 1748 the London Evening Post reported a death 'at his House in Duke-Street' of a Mr. Margison 'who for several...


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The National Police Memorial

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, August 21, 2014, In : Art 

National Police Memorial

Seated at Cambridge Green, on the corner of The Mall and Horse Guards Road, directly outside the Old Admiralty Building.The site had previously been occupied by an air shaft on the Bakerloo Line of the London Underground.


The National Police Memorial consists of two distinct parts; a black granite clad tablet with a glass cabinet containing a book listing the names of every British police officer killed during arrests or as a result of criminal acts. Alongside that is t...


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Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, August 21, 2014, In : Art 

What is the objective of having a war memorial? 

To remember the dead? To bask in the glory of sacrifice for King and country? Ex-servicemen were quoted by the Manchester Guardian as reminiscing about the war as they examined the statue, and remarking on how the bronze figures had captured the reality of their time in the artillery. The newspaper noted that the frankness of the portrayal was a "terrible revelation long overdue", and hoped that veterans would be able to show the monument to the...


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Christie's in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, August 21, 2014, In : Art 

Christie's is the world's oldest fine art auctioneer and has sold fine art, furniture, jewellery and wine since 1766, when James Christie conducted the very first sale in London. Since then, Christie's has continued to build its reputation as the perfect backdrop for the sales of the world's finest collections and greatest works of art before their auction. 


It was in 1823 when Christie's moved to its global headquarters at 8 King Street, St. James's, which remains to be its London headquarter...


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History of the Carousel

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, In : Quirky 

A carousel could be considered to be a key component of any fayre. But how did it the carousel come about?


Horsing Around

It's believed that in 1100's, Arabian and Turkish horsemen competed in a game played on horseback. 

Italian and Spanish crusaders who witnessed this sport described the contest as a "little war" or garosello and carosella respectively based on the ferocity the horsemen played.

When the crusaders returned home, they brought the game back with them where, over time, became an ex...

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The lamps are going out all over Europe

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, In : Art 


One hundred years ago Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary stated to his friend and journalist John Alfred Spender, editor of the Westminster Gazette "the lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time." It was dusk as he was watched the first of the gas lights along the Mall were being lit. The next day Grey would face the Cabinet and persuade them that the time had now come to declare war on Germany.

From what had been a European war, when Britain declare...


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A City surrounded by dragons

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, In : Quirky 
The City of London is surrounded by dragons but why? 


How are dragons perceived in western culture?

In classical legend, dragons are associated with guarding something. For example, in Greek mythology, a ten headed dragon guarded the golden apples, in the Garden of the Hesperides. In medieval romance dragons spend a lot of time guarding pretty, captive women i.e. the princess in the tower story we all know so well.


How are dragons portrayed in literature and language?

Dragons are mention...


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Henry VIII and his family jewels

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, In : Tudor 

The statue of Henry VIII on top of the main entrance gate to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in West Smithfield is apparently the only public statue of the Tudor king in London. Is familiar frontal stance shows off his shapely calves and codpiece off to full advantage.

What is a codpiece?

The word comes from Middle English with cod meaning scrotum and was originally required to provide a fashionable man of the Middle Ages with modesty as the short doublets failed to do so.

What is a Tudor codpiece?

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