Saturday, 30 July 2011

The OTHER Royal Wedding 2011

Her Majesty is buying TWO new hats this year!

Congratulations to Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall on their big day up in Edinburgh.


The historic Canongate Kirk (pictured) is the venue – the Queen’s church in Edinburgh. The Kirk stands on the Royal Mile and was founded in 1688.


It was also the venue for…



… the marriage of London Walks guides Karen and Adam. That’s Karen pictured on her big day.


Karen and Katy lead the Royal Wedding Walk every Monday at 2pm from Green Park Station (Park exit) – no, we don't walk to Edinburgh, that's 400 miles away! But we wish everyone at the beautiful old Canongate Kirk a joyful day today.





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Friday, 29 July 2011

Dinner is Served: The NEW Foodies London Walk

‘Beef and Liberty’ – a ringing endorsement of the ultimate English dinner. Hear more about the nation’s favourite Sunday roast on Ann’s brand new walk for foodies this Saturday. She’ll tell you about the king of chefs and chef of kings, and the very first tv cook – predating Delia by some 40 years. And about Covent Garden when, piled high with fruit and veg, it rang to the oaths of the traders.

Not to mention a discourse on muffins – what is a muffin worry? Don’t worry – it’s quite a respectable affair. Mrs. Beeton – who also makes an appearance – would have approved.

The brand new Foodies Walk tomorrow (Saturday, July 30th – 2.30 pm from Embankment Tube




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New Foodie Walk!

Is a broken neck good for anything?

Hmmmm, yes – if it's the broken neck of the dark green glass wine bottles we Brits used 250 years ago.

And it's not just Hmmmm – it's also Yum Yum.

We used those broken necks for forcing asparagus. And why was that so ingenious? Three reasons: 1) the glass retained the heat of the sun. 2) it sheltered the shoot from the wind. 3) it kept it appetisingly white.

Dear oh dear. The things London Walks guides know. The above's a tidbit from Ann, who's doing her new Foodies Walk tomorrow (Saturday, July 30th – 2.30 pm from Embankment Tube). The which walk stalks – surely the mot juste – the (historic) stalks of the old Covent Garden fruit and veg market.*

And that's precisely what we mean when we bang on about London Walks, uniquely, fronting its walks with real experts. I mean, who would have known that – apart from someone like Ann? Do today's "horticulturalists" know it/use it/do it?

And of course once she buds your taster with one of those asparagae (is that the plural?) – well, that's it. She's done for you. You'll never look at a green wine bottle quite the same again. Let alone shove yourself outside of a piece of 21st century asparagus without wondering – "was Dr. Johnson's asparagus a whole lot tastier than this stuff?"

*Amongst many other succulent delectables, of course.




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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Haymarket: The Saturday Street


The Saturday Street is our weekly series in which we unlock the stories behind the names of London's famous thoroughfares. It's compiled by London Walks guide Karen – listed by Travel + Leisure magazine as The World's Greatest Tour Guide. You can find Karen on Saturdays guiding her Old Westminster and British Museum walks. If you've got a London street query or suggestion, email Karen at the usual address


Haymarket SW1

Location: The City of Westminster

All over town, the green shoots of rural history try to push up through the urban modernity – and nowhere in the West End is this clearer than in the name of the Haymarket. At the time of Queen Elizabeth I, this rural spot near the village of Charing (more of that another day) was the location of a market for the sale of fodder.

By the 19th century, Haymarket had become a notorious haunt of prostitutes and their clients – more a kind of Roll-in-the-Haymarket, if you like. Today it is home to one of London’s most glamorous theatres – the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Across the road is Her Majesty’s Theatre, home to the long-running musical Phantom of the Opera at

See Haymarket on this Sunday’s Theatreland walk at 10.45a.m meeting at Piccadilly Circus tube by the statue of Eros.


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Friday, 22 July 2011

The Friday Postcard From London – 22nd July 1920


Dear Mr & Mrs Walker,

Off to the theatre this weekend.

Our postcard shows the London Pavilion at Piccadilly Circus, the former variety hall where Harry Lauder among many others once played. Currently the home of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, it has also been a cinema where the first James Bond and Beatles movies were premiered in the 60s.

Wish you were here

D.C



This Sunday 10.45a.m: Theatreland – An Award-Winning Look at the World's Most Beauitiful Theatres. Meets at Piccadilly Circus tube by the statue of Eros.


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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

It's a London Thing No.40: The Albert Memorial

It’s a London Thing is our Wednesday series in which we turn the spotlight on a unique aspect of London – perhaps a curious shop, sometimes an eccentric restaurant, a hidden place, book or oddity. The subject matter will be different every week. The running theme, however, will remain constant: you have to come to London to enjoy it. It’s A London Thing.


London Walks guide Karen Pierce-Goulding on The Albert Memorial…

You could live in London for half a lifetime before you ever run into a Londoner who will say: “The Albert Memorial? I don’t have an opinion either way.”

Everyone has an opinion on the Albert Memorial. A Gothic space rocket? A Gothic vision? A Gothic monstrosity?

Delete as applicable: “Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Albert Memorial is the apex of Victorian ingenuity and creativity and symbolizes vividly the reach-for-Heaven-and-beyond ethos of Victorian ambition.” Or “Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Albert Memorial stands as testament to the excess and vanity of an empire that not only subjugated its colonists but enslaved its own citizens right here in the East End of London.”

Answers on a postcard, please.


In the meantime, here comes the science: 176 feet tall, 20 years in the making, cost £120,000. Restored in 1994 at a cost of £10,000,000 – roughly the modern equivalent of the original cost. Sir George Gilbert Scott is responsible for the memorial, while the golden figure of Albert is the work of John Foley.

How much did Victoria love Albert? One glance at the Albert Memorial will get you up to speed on that one.

The Albert Memorial. It’s a London Thing.

(This is a sneak peak at a sliver of Karen’s book on Royal London, which is due to be published in April 2012.)


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