Thursday, 23 March 2017

#London Fragments From A Long London Day #WeStandTogether

DC Editor Adam writes…

As regular Daily Constitutionalists & London Walkers will know, it is my habit to update this blog first thing in the morning, often as a prelude to a day of leading London Walks tours.

I've left it a little later today. For obvious reasons.

It's not been the easiest day in London.

But I know I am lucky to have seen it.

It's not going to be the most coherent of Daily Constitutional blog posts. It's going to be fragmented. And the fragments may not even be in order. But here goes…


The late PC Keith Palmer was the subject of many tributes, including this one from Charlton Athletic Football Club in South London, marking the seat he occupied for many years at The Valley…




Every Londoner has played a part over the last day or so.

The doctors and nurses who ran across Westminster Bridge from St Thomas's Hospital yesterday to help at the scene.

And the passers-by who stopped to lend a hand. To do what they could.

Every Londoner who had to explain the situation to a child - I count myself in their number – mindful that Aysha Frade was killed on the school run yesterday.


And the police officers all over London last night and today, going about their business. Doing what they do, day in day out.

Every Londoner played a part last night: Every Londoner who made the effort not to bump into another Londoner as we jostled through the busier-than-usual West End streets; Every Londoner who didn't take to social media with bilious hatred.


Every Londoner who got in touch. Thanks to faraway & honorary Londoner Jeannine Lanigan…




Every Londoner who attended the vigil in Trafalgar Square tonight.





Every Londoner – visitor and resident alike - who joined us on a walking tour today played a part, too. I was in the East End with a group this morning. A chilly wind was whipping up from north east.

"Gather round folks," I said to the group, "come close and keep the wind off me!"

"And you can keep us warm," said one of the women in the group, "with all your hot air!"


Boom! We were all grateful for the laughter.


Particular thanks to every Londoner who laughed at the US TV presenter who suggested that we'd been brought to a standstill…




And thanks to President Obama. He gets us…



Last night, in the immediate aftermath of the incident, our London Walks tours went ahead as usual. I led the Rock'n'Roll London Pub walk and, as has become a regular feature on this walk, we stopped at the Alley Cat Bar in Denmark Street and I performed a few songs relating to London music stories.

Of all the acts that are associated with this great city, I just couldn't see past Bob Marley. So I sang Three Little Birds.

And everyone joined in. The tiny bar was packed, and everyone sang along. I stopped playing the guitar and they kept going. Londoners, Americans. Germans, Italians all singing "every little thing gonna be alright"…




Have a listen to the original. (And have a sing.)




We all did what we could. Every Londoner played a part. That – and this blog – was mine. Thanks to every Londoner who helped this Londoner get through this day. And thanks to every Londoner who helped a fellow Londoner along the way.

Last word to Londoner Angel Storey (as shared by Rick Steves)…






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.



Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Last Chance To Win A Copy of #JackTheRipper Starring #MichaelCaine From @networktweets



We've got THREE copies of the movie Jack The Ripper starring Michael Caine to giveaway thanks to the people at Network.




To win a copy just answer the following simple question…


What was Michael Caine's birth name?

a) Maurice Micklewhite
b) Reginald Dwight
c) Harry Webb



(Tip: If you get stuck, try searching this blog for the answer!)


To enter simply CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR ANSWER  stating your name, address & preference for DVD or Blu-ray. Winners will be drawn at random and the closing date is Wednesday 22nd March 2017.



The London Walks Jack The Riipper Tour takes place EVERY night at 7.30pm meeting at Tower Hill tube. Here are just a few reviews for the tours…


"London Walks puts you into the hands of an expert on the particular area and topic of a tour..."  The New York Times

"London's best guided walks"  Time Out

"London Walks has many copycats, but it's the best."  Frommer's London by Night

"The original and best – there are several companies offering walking tours of London but London Walks (London's oldest) is easily the pick of the bunch" London, Cadogan Guide

"London's best walking tours"  Travel + Leisure

"London Walks was the first – and is the best – of the walking tour firms" Fodor's Great Britain

"The best walking tours are organized by London Walks"  USA Today

"Best Tourism Experience in England"  Gold Medal Winner Visit England

"London's best city tours"  The Telegraph

"The best walks are conducted by London Walks" Toronto Globe & Mail

"London Walks offer the very best walking tours of the capital" The Travel Channel

"the definitive guide to one of history’s most fascinating unsolved mysteries" Huffington Post

"the best is London Walks"  Let's Go Europe

"London Walks is the best, hands down." Frommer's London

"all the guides are highly qualified, Donald Rumbelow is internationally recognised as the leading authority on Jack the Ripper" Chicago Tribune

"be careful about the Ripper tour, however, since there are imitations"  The New York Times


"London Walks was acknowledged as the premier walking tour company in the entire world"  American Tour Guides Convention



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.



Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Wake Up And Smell the Coffee - Some Freshly Percolated London History From David Tucker

Daily Constitutional Special Correspondent David Tucker writes…



Let’s think about coffee houses then. Rather than now. (Starbucks. You really think the Whig view of history – a steady progress towards some particular goal, things getting ever better – stands up?)

But no, coffee houses then. Not least because of a half dozen or so Friday London Walks.

But cheese first. One of the photographers on a private Inside – Really Inside – Covent Garden walk we did earlier this month took a stunning photo of a Stilton cheese in Rule’s Restaurant.


(Ed. Here's the pic, as posted on Twitter…)



The “cheese sequence” – tracking back – is what’s on the cheese plate, milk, the milk cow and the grass she crops-chews-cuds-digests-etc., the soil the grass grows in and takes its nutrients from (and the rain of course), the underlying geology.

They’ve all got their own individual character. And everything depends on everything else.  One set of individual characters, – grass, soil, earth, alkalinity, underlying geology, etc. – coming together, adds up to cheddar in Cheshire and Cornish Blue in Cornwall and Wensleydale in north Yorkshire, etc.

Same principle applies to London coffee houses in the great era of London coffee houses.

That’d be the late 17th (late) and 18th centuries.

The character of a London neighbourhood by and large determined the character of its coffee houses.

So you’ve got White’s Chocolate House (as it was originally – it today is of course the most exclusive gentlemen’s club in town) in St. James’s. We’ll go there on our Old Palace Quarter walk on Wednesdays & Fridays. And there’ll certainly be some regaling there – because its history – let alone its character – is, well, colourful.  But the point is it – and its fellows further down St. James’s Street and round the corner in Pall Mall – were smack dab in the heart of aristocratic London. So that meant politics – aristocrats were, after all, “the ruling class” – and gambling. At White’s members would stake their fortune on the throw of a dice. Well, why not, they were staking the fortunes of the country – and the lives and livelihoods of “their countrymen” – on equally dicey stuff.

Moving east you were into Theatreland – the purlieus of actors, writers, “wits” and prostitutes. So we’ve got Will’s in Russell Street there in C.G., the hangout for the superstar writer of his era, John Dryden, and his circle. People who were good with words so, sure enough, it was had the highest reputation for scintillating, for witty conversation.  We’ll sleuth along there on the Sherlock Holmes walk on Fridays.

Heading still further east we’re on our Legal London walk inthe Inns of Court neighbourhood. In one of its many shining moments the Legal London walk will thread its way along Devereaux Court, home of the Grecian Court coffee house, home away from home of the best brains in London – the London learned – members of the Royal Society – off-the-chart IQs – people like Isaac Newton, Edmund Halley, Hans Sloane, etc. We could have eavesdropped there but chances are what we overheard would have been over our heads.

And then it’s along Fleet Street, up Ludgate Hill to St. Paul’s. Our Hidden London walk will end up there. Just as the great biographer James Boswell liked to end up – well, pitch up – there after his day’s and evening’s exertions. Specifically, Child’s coffee house, in St. Paul’s churchyard. It had a much more sober (and sobering) atmosphere. How could it have been otherwise being next door to St. Paul’s cathedral? A sobering atmosphere that was presumably calming, steadying, atoning for Boswell and his ilk. You can hear Boswell talking to himself, “Phew! It’s Saturday night – it’s been a week of ‘luscious fatigues’ – it’s now beeline time for Child’s and spot of R & R and atoning.”

The character, the variety of London’s neighbourhoods. Of its history. Endlessly fascinating.







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.



Monday, 20 March 2017

#London Walkers Review London Walks: "Adam is an Amazing Guide"



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.


Thanks to ColinT for this five star review on TripAdvisor…


I was in London for a week with my girlfriend and we did two of the London Walk tours. Adam was our guide for the Ghosts of the Old City, which was entertainingly funny, and the rock n roll pub tour. Adam's passion, hilarity and personable demeanour made him the perfect tour guide. If you have a chance, for £10 you can enjoy the company of this modern-day storyteller.

Money well spent.





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.



In & Around #London… Clocks Go Forward On Sunday! #BST #photoblog #spring

Monday is mute on The Daily Constitutional (well, almost mute) – because Monday is the day when we post five images captured in and around London by London Walks Guides and London Walkers.


Collated on a theme or an area, if you've got some great shots of our capital and want to join in send your pictures to the usual address.





Don't forget that the clocks go FORWARD next Sunday…


In Covent Garden…



In Soho cafés…



In Soho churches…


In Fleet Street…


In Forest Hill…







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.