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London’s First Coffeehouse

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Monday, July 6, 2020, In : Eighteenth Century 

London’s first coffeehouse was founded in 1652 by the churchyard of St Michael’s, Cornhill. It was not quite the first coffeehouse in England, which had been founded in Oxford two years earlier, and it was not really a coffeehouse - more of a coffee shack. Business blossomed for the man behind it, Pasqua Rosee, and soon he was selling 600 dishes a day. From this start, the capital had acquired several hundred coffeehouses by the turn of the century, a development which set London apart fr...


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Ten Things To Know About Florence Nightingale

Posted by Hazel Baker on Thursday, June 18, 2020, In : Victorian 

Florence Nightingale is credited as the founder of modern nursing. She strived to improve the standards of nursing, notably during the Crimean war. There was something special and extraordinary about Florence Nightingale and here are some facts about her.



1. ‘International Nurses Day’ is on her birthday

International Nurses' Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. Her birthday is also celebrated as International CFS (chronic f...


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A St Pancras Royal Wedding – Well Sort Of!

Posted by Rob Smith, Clerkenwell and Islington Tour Guide on Saturday, June 13, 2020, In : Kings Cross 

The little Old St Pancras church lies to the north of Kings Cross station. Lovely though the church may be it seems an unlikely location for a royal wedding, and indeed it is, but in 1826 a royal wedding of sorts took place there – between Louisa Constance Bouchier Smith and Charles Edward Stuart, Count Roehenstart – pretender to the British throne.

The last of the Stuart monarchs, Queen Anne, died childless in 1714, and the 1701 Act of Settlement prevented Catholics from the throne. This ...


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Shopping For Our History in Kingston-upon-Thames

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Saturday, June 13, 2020, In : Local History 

In these strange times we have more time to look more closely at some of the familiar spots in our own locality. So, I had time to stop and study this over-the-top shop frontage in the historic market place of Kingston-upon-Thames – normally full of shoppers but it was very quiet as most shops were still closed. 

At first sight this Grade II listed building might be thought to be Medieval or Tudor but the two dates 1909 and 1929 give away the fact that it is just over 100 years old and built...


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London's Coffeehouses of 18th Century London

Posted by Hazel Baker, London Tour Guide on Friday, June 5, 2020, In : Eighteenth Century 

London's coffeehouse culture and its commerce were intrinsically linked. During the 18th century a new active culture evolved. Coffeehouses sprang up all over London and attracted a variety of patrons with a head for business. The crowd at coffeehouses included doctors, merchants, writers and politicians.

Over two-thousand coffee houses existed in London by the closing of the seventeenth century. Here are some of London's prominent coffeehouses in the 18th century that we didn't have time t...


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A Fine House For A Ship's Captain

Posted by Rob Smith, Clerkenwell and Islington Tour Guide on Friday, May 22, 2020, In : Local History 

Rainham Hall, in the London Borough of Havering may not be the largest house in London, but it is certainly one of the most charming. Now owned by the National Trust it was built for a ship’s captain. Captain John Harle, one of the traders and ship owners who made 18th Century London wealthy, showed off his fortune by building Rainham Hall in 1729.

Harle was born in South Shields , in the North East of England and began his career sailing on ships bringing coal from Newcastle to feed London...


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Clattering Hooves Over London's Oldest Bridge

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Friday, May 22, 2020, In : Local History 

In the most South-Western corner of Greater London is the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Many people think of this area as just the suburbs, but there is a lot of historic interest here.

This shouldn’t really be too surprising. It is one of only three Royal boroughs in London – the other two being Kensington and Chelsea, and Greenwich. Just think of the name – it means King’s manor/estate. It was first mentioned in royal records in 838. In the tenth century it was the place of ...


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The customers are ready, why isn’t the industry?

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director at London Guided Walks on Monday, February 10, 2020, In : Customer Service 

By the nature of their work London tour guides are big into CPD (Continuing Professional Development). As part of our CPD, all London guides who work with us are encouraged not only to go on other local London walks led by fellow London Guided Walks guides but to also to attend tours by other tour guides. 

In January I had booked my place for a local London walking tour for February.  I had done this over their website (after having submitting more information than I really though necessary a...


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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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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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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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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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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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London Wine Week 13-19 May 2019

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Events 

What: London Wine Week 
When: Midday Wednesday 13 May to Sunday 19 May 2019
Where: Flat Iron Square, 64 Southwark St, London SE1 1RU
Cost: FREE Event, you need to get your free digital festival pass

There will be over fifty of London’s top spots for a delicious drop, offering £6 wine trios or wine & food pairings, so whether you fancy something red, white, pink of fizzy.

Get your FREE festival pass now


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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