Heritage Tours of London

For the very best in London Guided Tours

Walking London

 

Walks to your specification

I am always happy to tailor tours to your specification and enjoy the challenge of something different, so do please let me know about your individual needs.

Here is just a selection of walks - scroll down and have a look

Bermondsey Riverside: London’s Larder Until the 1960s the entire stretch of river from London Bridge to Tower Bridge was dominated by wharves belonging to the Hay’s Wharf group. Overhanging cranes unloaded New Zealand dairy products from clusters of lighters and in the 19th century and before, banks of sailing ships waited to unload tea from China. The area became known, with every justification, as “London’s Larder”. But there’s more to discover: London’s first railway line, the story of the most devastating conflagration London had seen since the Great Fire of 1666, the leather industry, the brewing industry, Charles Dickens’ Bill Sykes and much more.

 

Rotherhithe: a Village by the River

Rotherhithe village is a peaceful oasis on the banks of the Thames. But history is all around. Hear about Marc Brunel’s famous Thames Tunnel - the first tunnel beneath London’s river. It was from Rotherhithe that Captain Christopher Jones left for New England with the Pilgrim Fathers; we relive the famous journey with a pint of beer in the “Mayflower” pub, with its river views. Then there’s Rotherhithe’s fine parish church, the poignant story of Lee Boo, a pub with the best view in London, a long lost Royal Palace and a doctor determined to rid the area of  its “the death traps and fever dens”.

 

The Royal Docks

Here we adopt a different format to other walks because of the longer distances involved. Short excursions are made from stations on the Beckton Branch of the DLR and from North Woolwich Station. We hear about the Royal Docks, once the largest area of wet docks in the world. Also we learn about the first iron clad sea going vessel in the world, a familiar sugar refinery, the largest ever explosion experienced in London, the largest gas works in Europe and (if there’s time) the story of a pleasure garden holding “giant baby” competitions,  a railway museum and a free trip on the river.

 

Docklands: Old and New

London’s Docks were officially opened when the “Henry Addington”, bedecked with the flags of all nations, sailed into the West India Dock. We admire its legacy: the magnificent warehouses each holding 8000 hogsheads of sugar, with basement vaults for rum, and coffee in the attics. We hear about the notorious “call on”, the source of all the docks’ labour problems.  Now there is Canary Wharf – so called because tomatoes were landed here from the Canary Islands -  and No 1 Canada Square, claimed by its architect to be London’s first proper skyscraper.

 

Isle of Dogs

The Isle of Dogs is so called because Henry VIII’s dogs were exercised here (or so they say). We admire  Millwall Dock, hear about the early days of Millwall Football Club.  See where Brunels’ Great Eastern, in its day the largest steam ship in the world, was launched. Enjoy “the best view in London” from a park created in 1895 as a “little paradise for local people" and conclude at  an oasis of countryside in the heart of Docklands in the company of farm animals.

 

 Scientific and Industrial London

A very short walk in central London to hear about Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the measurement of longitude at sea, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Robert Boyle, Sir Isaac Newton and John Hunter. We then walk through the National Portrait Gallery to stand face to face with scientists and men of industry who have shaped the world as we know it today. It’s quite a list!!

 

Wapping: They shall not pass

There’s so much variety in this walk. We admire the ruins of the last Cistercian Monastery in England, hear about Sir Isaac Newton and the Royal Mint, learn about a hospital founded by Queen Matilda, walk by an ill-fated rival to Covent Garden and a couple of London’s early docks. And end at a Hawksmoor church and a mural telling the story of the Battle of Cable Street. Oh, and there’s gruesome murder and an escaped tiger.

 

Southwark: in the footsteps of William Shakespeare.

Our walk begins in Blackfriars, which as well as its monastery had an early theatre. We cross the river to Bankside and hear the story of Tate Modern and its industrial past. We walk past the Globe, both old and new, and hear of Bankside’s unsavoury past of bear baiting and the notorious stews. We pass the remains of the Bishop of Winchester’s palace, then Southwark Cathedral (worth a visit all on its own) and end at a fruit and vegetable market – don’t forget your five a day! 

 

Essential Westminster

This walk is for those unfamiliar with London. It’s just a taster to Westminster. Almost everything is included: Piccadilly Circus, Florence Nightingale, the Grand Old Duke of York, Trafalgar Square, St James Park, Horse Guards, Whitehall, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and loads more on the way.

 

London: City of Plague

A medical theme runs through this walk. First there’s the Priory of St John of Jerusalem and the Knights Hospitallers, the Black Death, followed by London’s oldest surviving hospital and then the livery hall of the capital’s early medics. In between there’s my favourite London church, a ghost story, a fat boy, the London home of one of our best loved poets, and much more.

Bermondsey: its Abbey and the Leather Industry.

Bermondsey was once the centre of this country's leather industry and in medieval days it boasted an abbey of national importance. There are many reminders of this former industry on this walk as well as some recent archaeological discoveries of the abbey - not to mention re-born Bermondsey Street, lined with fashionable restaurants 

Hampstead: a Village on a Hill

 So many well known artists, writers, poets, and statesmen made Hampstead their home: H.G.Wells, John Constable, Peter Cook, George Gilbert Scott and many more. The walk is rather hilly and explores Hampstead's back-doubles, friendly pubs and elegant Georgian archetecture. There is also the tale of a famous brown dog.