Saturday, 1 October 2016

#plaque366 Catch-Up! #GeorgeOrwell #DylanThomas & #LeslieStephen #VanessaBell #VirginiaWoolf

Whoops! Plaque catch up! Having missed a couple of days due to circumstances beyond my control, here's a quick catch up – five plaques in one post at two locations!

A London commemorative plaque for every day in 2016. 

The plaques are selected from all walks of life, and all points of the London compass – and I'm taking requests too!

DROP ME A LINE or leave a comment below if you'd like to nominate a plaque for inclusion in the series

I love the wording on this pair - "Drank here!"

Find these two thirsty writers on The Wheatsheaf pub in Rathbone Place…

22 Hyde Park Gate is the only house in London with three plaques…

Sir Leslie Stephen has one of those wide-ranging Victorian CV's that make the millennial jaw drop: mountaineer, critic, historian, biographer and author. His first marriage was to William Makepeace Thackeray's daughter Harriet. Following Harriet's premature death in 1875 – from eclampsia – he married the widowed Julia Duckworth (a philanthropist and biographer who had also modelled for Edward Burne-Jones) in 1878. Together they had four children - two of them are commemorated with blue plaques at 22 Hyde Park Gate.

First child Vanessa (born 1879) became a painter and designer, one of the most celebrated artists of The Bloomsbury Group, and her sister Virginia Woolf a major novelist, also one of the leading lights of the Bloomsbury group. 

(I'll return to both Vanessa Bell & Virginia Woolf in this series before the year is out.)

(An earlier Daily Constitutional post by David Tucker adds a fourth plaque to 22 Hyde Park Gate!)

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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Friday, 30 September 2016

A #London Walker Reviews: Three London Walks ALL Great!

Mary, Fiona, Maxine & Noel in the London Walks office write… On Mondays & Fridays we'll be sharing reviews of our London Walks written by London Walkers. Firstly, THANKS to all who have written to us down through the years, your kind words are greatly appreciated! Our guides don't solicit these reviews on our tours – we believe that this would be a waste of your time. That's what makes these reviews all the more special – they have been sent to us by genuine London Walkers who have given up their valuable time to drop us a line or two, or leave a comment on travel message boards & websites. Thanks everyone.

Mary writes…

Thanks to Craig from North Carolina who joined us on three London Walks tours and left this lovely review on TripAdvisor…

We did 3 London Walks tours - The British Museum (Karen), Tower of London (Judy) and This Is London (Tom). All were great. On of the best aspects of these tours is that you don't have to pre-pay or make reservations. You just show up at the designated spot (tube stations) and pay for the tour (10 pounds per person). Very flexible. Our tours groups ended up being around 25 people. Also all tours are 2 hours - so a perfect amount of time for highlights. Karen on the British Museum tour was very knowledgeable. We went on a very crowded summer day. There is so much to see at the British Museum. This was a great way to go from highlight to highlight. Judy was a great guide - very knowledgeable and quite a great tour performance. Again a great way to learn a lot going highlight to highlight in 2 hours. The best part about the This is London tour was the changing of the guard. Tom knew exactly where to take you and at exactly the right time. We were right up front and the tour started within minutes after we arrived! I would definitely recommend these tours.

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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Friday is Rock'n'Roll #London Day: #MarcBolan in the 60s

Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day!

The Rock'n'Roll London Walk meets at Tottenham Court Road Station every Friday at 2pm.

Adam writes…

Following on from last week's post, today is the 69th anniversary of the birth of Marc Bolan.

Today's Rock'n'Roll London Walk will be dedicated to Marc Bolan.

To mark the occasion, here's a bit of Bolan archaeology - a few tracks from his 60's "apprenticeship". There's solo Marc emulating Dylan and shuffling like Bo Diddley; two tracks from John's Children (including the BBC-banned Desdemona); and a few early Tyrannosaurus Rex tracks from their hippie heyday culled from the excellent album Marc Bolan at The BBC

And here he is in his glam pomp…

The Rock'n'Roll London Walk is ONLY London Walk with its own dedicated comic book

Written by Rock'n'Roll London guide (and Daily Constitutional editor Adam) it's available in both print & digital formats at the London Bookstore online: and on The Rock'n'Roll London Walk on Fridays!

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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Thursday, 29 September 2016

"A Most Magical #London Walk" - Award-Winning @kpgtourguide Shares The Unexpected Secrets Of Her Secret Ceremony Tour

In the aftermath of her Secret Ceremony tour yesterday, award-winning London Walks guide Karen Pierce-Goulding writes…

A series of happy accidents led to a most magical London Walk on Wednesday!

My Secret Ceremony tour was all set to take in the installation of the sheriffs ceremony at the Guildhall.

I met my lovely London Walkers – made up of  people from London and all over the world – at 10am and the walk began like any other.

Then serendipity in the City struck.

While we were admiring the rather splendid coat of arms outside the Worshipful Company of Innholders Hall at Dowgate Hill, one of the honourable members waved at us through the window and invited us in to look at the dining hall all lavishly laid out for a luncheon.

He told us that part of the hall dated back to the 16th Century, adding that they have a feast every first Tuesday of the month as commanded by King Henry VIII when he gave them their first charter in 1514.

And who would argue with that particular party animal?

Finally he added that not only was he a Liveryman of the Innholders but also the local beadle of the ward of Dowgate Hill and keeper of the peace!

His hospitality was both warm even as he waved us on our way. By now our plans had been slightly delayed, but in the most charming fashion.

We paused on Queen Street and gazed up King Street to get the full impact of the Guildhall's ceremonial entrance. There I described the many and varied roles of the Lord Mayor of London who is elected annually on Michaelmas Day, 29th September.

(That's today! Ed)

While I chatted with my London Walkers I noticed a rather dapper gentleman, all suited and booted standing listening. When I had finished describing the pomp and circumstance of the Lord Mayor's Show – which happens annually on the 2nd Saturday in November with carnival floats , pearly Kings and Queens, firework display and the Lord Mayor drawn in Golden Coach through the streets of the old City – he introduced himself to the group.

He was in fact a former Lord Mayor of London, the 682nd to be exact and his name was Nick Anstee and he was on his way up to Guildhall.

I explained we were hoping to see the sheriffs leaving Guildhall wearing their newly acquired chains of office and regalia.

At which point he invited us to sit in Guildhall and watch the whole ceremony!

I offered that we had no permission to do so and were happy to watch from outside, at which point Mr Anstee, with enormous charm, simply said, "Come with me…"

And with that Nick, former Lord Mayor of London escorted us personally and had us seated in fine leather chairs to watch one of the most ancient rituals in the City – the installation of the two new sheriffs.

Aldermen in tricorn hats, High Court Judges in wigs, the Head of the City of London Police and more marched silently past us. It was a glimpse into a parallel universe. Here in the 21st Century City of London, one of the most high tech financial districts in the world, the business of the medieval City is still remembered amid the modernity with a quiet assured dignity.

As the ceremony ended the Liverymen filed out and there among them was our new friend from the Innholders Hall who gave us a friendly conspiratorial wave.

Thanks to the Innholders and to Nick Anstee for their friendly welcome and for making my London Walks walking tour so very memorable.

29 September 2016

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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