Monday, 26 September 2016

#plaque366 Mary Prince

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





Mary Prince's autobiography (1831) was the first account of the life of a black woman to be published in Britain.


Born in Bermuda to an enslaved family in around 1788, she arrived in England in 1828 as a servant and is commemorated here as a major abolitionist and groundbreaking author.







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 www.walks.com.









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In & Around London… Secret Ceremonies (Or… Stuff Happens On A #London Walks Tour)

DC editorAdam writes…


From time-to-time, odd stuff happens in London. Most days, in fact. Ceremonies, stunts, parades, incidents, things occur here that just don't happen anywhere else. And as London Walks guides, we do our damnedest to rope these happenings into our tours.

Here I am trying to do just that with Jaffa the giant hamster in Kensington back in June…



(It's a long story – you can read it HERE.)


Where other tour guides less steeped in London and its lore than London Walks guides may view these pop-up events as a challenge - or even an obstacle on their pre-planned route – London Walks guides seize the opportunity to reveal a part of London life hidden from even native Londoners.

On Wednesday 28th September, London Walks guide Karen will be harnessing one of these London ceremonies and making it the centrepiece of a NEW London Walks tour The Secret Ceremony Walk which meets at the Fish Street Hill Exit of Monument Tube at 10a.m. Full details HERE.


Here are a few shots from earlier such tours, built around London's more obscure pageantry…

The Worshipful Company of Vintners show their colours

The annual pancake race at Guildhall

This grainy snap from a London Walker shows the Worshipful Company of Butchers delivering a ceremonial boar's head to the new Mayor

A cheery scene from the Pearly Kings & Queen Harvest festival




Join award-winning guide Karen at Monument tube (Fish Street Hil exit) at 10a.m on Wednesday 28th September 2016 for The Secret Ceremony Walk.

For more on this new London Walk click HERE



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 www.walks.com.









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A London Walker Reviews: "One of the Most Informative and Interesting Guides I Have Ever Met"



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 London Walker Pamah15 for this review on TripAdvisor. We'll make sure Brian sees your review!



Walk Around Bloomsbury

An excellent guided walk around the streets, squares and historic region of Bloomsbury with Brian Hicks, one of the most informative and interesting guides I have ever met. His knowledge of the personalities, events and literature of the time was outstanding.





The Literary Bloomsbury tour goes every Tuesday at 2:30pm meet at Holborn tube. Full details HERE.



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 www.walks.com.









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Sunday, 25 September 2016

#London Walks Walk of the Week: Rollicking, Frolicking #Fitzrovia


Every Sunday we’ll pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks
repertoire and put it centre stage.





You can check out the full schedule at www.walks.com.





But if you only take one walking tour this week, why not make it…

Rollicking, Frolicking Fitzrovia

2:30p.m Saturday 1st October
Warren Street Tube

Guided by Jane


The West End's untamed quarter.

Bodes well that Fitzrovia takes its name from the illegitimate son of a king who was known as the Merry Monarch for to this day Fitzrovia has lost none of its raffish, irreverent air. Of the four quarters that make up London’s West End (Mayfair, Marylebone, Soho and Fitzrovia) Fitzrovia features least on the usual tourist trail. This has distinct advantages. Fitzrovia fizzes with surprises: from Banksy’s iconic stencil-style guerrilla art to a wondrously quirky church that, astonishingly, is taller than Westminster Abbey.

Charles Dickens, who lived for a while in Fitzrovia, once described London as ‘streaky bacon’ with the lewd and bawdy sandwiched between elegant grandeur. Nowhere is this truer than in Fitzrovia. Relatively unscathed by 1940s bombs or 1960s town planners, Fitzrovia boasts an opulent square yet still oozes the bohemian charm that grew out of its having been, over many years, the beloved home of artists, such as James McNeill Whistler, Walter Sickert and Grayson Perry.  And, oh my, the tales, the goings on. By way of example, it was here in Fitzrovia, whilst lodging with Ford Madox Brown, poor Dante Gabriel Rosetti once fell through the floor into the pit below – the cesspit below.

The same free-wheeling spirit that captivated artists also attracted radicals, revolutionaries, writers and philosophers, and in hedonistic Fitzrovia even the formerly repressed middle-class intelligentsia seem to have discovered sex. An informal group of bon viveurs and thinkers called the Bloomsbury Group, famed for living in squares and loving in triangles, also colonised Fitzrovia and we spill the beans on how their lifestyle further spiced up Fitzrovia’s rollicking, frolicking reputation.

Nowadays much of our titillation comes to us over the airwaves, so it is wholly appropriate that our walk ends near an institution which keeps up Fitzrovia’s tradition of delighting our imaginations: the BBC. The BBC’s Broadcasting House is an exciting blend of old and new which eases us gently back into the twenty-first century world of consumerism and Oxford Street where our walk draws to a close at Oxford Circus Tube.


Rollicking, Frolicking Fitzrovia meet at 2:30p.m on Saturday 1st October outside Warren Street Tube


Guided by Jane


About Your Guide

Jane is from Bloomsbury, where Virginia Woolf's circle lived in squares and loved in triangles. She keeps up the tradition by living in a square and as a professionally qualified Clerkenwell & Islington, City of Westminster and City of London Guide, loving the triangle she tills. Living at the foot of Centre Point she's the fixed point of the London compass: London encircles Jane! There's more: she's another award-winning London Walks guide.





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 www.walks.com.










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