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Coming Soon! Your tour guide to everywhere!
Coming Soon! Your tour guide to everywhere!

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Walking Tour of Marylebone

Marylebone is the area north of Oxford Street. It was originally the closest village to central London until developed in the 18th and 19th centuries for housing by two landlords. Now Marylebone is a mixture of housing, offices and retail.

The Marylebone walk starts at Marble Arch Underground station (Central Line Zone 1) and finishes at Baker Street (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, Circle, Bakerloo, Jubilee lines Zone 1).

We walk through a number of squares and along Upper Berkeley Street to the Wallace Collection. We then pass near the Wigmore Hall, one of London’s best small concert venues and down the gem of a shopping and eating street called St Christopher’s Place before emerging briefly into Oxford Street, the busiest but by no means the best shopping street in the West End. Turning up Vere Street past Maroush V, a good lunch stop, we come to the home of the LICC at St Peter’s Church, built in 1724.

We then walk along New Cavendish Street through the medical area before turning up Marylebone High Street. This is a ‘must see’ when visiting London – not only for the shops, restaurants and general atmosphere, but also because Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788) writer of more than 150 hymns and leader of the Methodist movement is buried near St Marylebone’s Church.

The final part takes us along the busy Marylebone Road past Madame Tussauds to the Tube at its junction with Baker Street.

http://dropguides.com/tour/marylebone/

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Walking Tour of Highgate

Highgate lies between Haringey, Camden and Islington. It is one of London’s more expensive and fashionable neighbourhoods. It has an active conservation society, and has much to conserve.
Highgate Hill is one of the highest points in London, and the view from the beautiful Holly Lodge Estate is stunning. There are associations with Charles Dickens: his father and mother took the family here to escape their creditors, and Charles modeled Mr Jingle in Pickwick Papers on one of its well-known residents.

The walk is a hilly one. It starts from Highgate Underground on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line in Zone 3. You can use the Journey Planner at the London Walks home page to work out a route using public transport.

The highlights are Hampstead Heath, a wonderfully quiet location where traffic is inaudible, the hills are more reminiscent of the countryside, and people fish for carp in the lakes. We pass through the quaint streets and houses of Georgian Highgate. Highgate School, founded in 1565 is on the route. We see houses where Dickens, J B Priestley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and others lived. In Highgate Cemetery Karl Marx, George Eliot, Michael Faraday, Ralph Richardson and many others were buried.

The walk is full of history and wonderful sights and a view over London unrivaled anywhere in and around the capital. There are churches, lovely pubs where you can sit out and enjoy a snack and a beer, a pub-theatre, manicured estates, grand houses, lovely parks, and the site where Dick Whittington ‘turned again’ with his cat when the sound of Bow bells called him back to become Lord Major of London. Or may have – as the tale is a 14th century fiction.

The walk finishes at Archway, one stop down the Northern Line in zones 2 and 3. This is a fairly strenuous walk, highly enjoyable, fairly short, and one of London’s best strolls. Don’t miss it. You can get to Highgate easily in just a few minutes from Tottenham Court Road, Euston or King’s Cross.

http://dropguides.com/tour/highgate/

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Walking Tour of Clerkenwell Parish

Why Well, Well, Well? Well! – because we pass a number of places where there were wells and spas. In fact, at the Clerk’s Well you can see the original well behind glass. The parish of Clerkenwell was named after this source of water, which later became a pump to service the neighbourhood with clean, fresh supplies from a nearby spring. Unfortunately this tap became polluted and had to be shut down, possibly from the nearby Smithfield Meat Market. Another well is Brideswell towards the end of the walk and Bagnigge Wells comes between King’s Cross and Farringdon. So – well, well, well it is.
This walk is not the most beautiful I have done, but has a great deal of historical interest. We start at King’s Cross (Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Circle, Metropolitan Underground lines, mainline railways, Thameslink Zone 1) and finish at Blackfriars (Circle, District, Riverboats mainline railways Zone 1).

The route follows the line of the old Fleet River, now underground. For some of the way we also follow the line of the railway tracks as far as Farringdon. We pass the big London sorting office at Mount Pleasant belonging to Royal Mail. Near the Clerk’s Well we pass Clerkenwell Green and the Parish Church. This is a handy detour especially if you are hungry. The church and green is on another of my walks through Clerkenwell and the Smithfield Market. We pass over lands once the property of the Bishop of Ely, and under Holdborn Viaduct where you can climb the steps to the road over and admire the view.

Another stunning view is from the dip where Farringdon St intersects with Fleet St and Ludgate Hill. The Wren cathedral of St Paul’s is visible here and earlier on in the walk, and you can also walk up Ludgate Hill and visit the tiny Wren Church of St Martin’s. On the right is Fleet St once associated with the British newspaper industry and journalism.

We now pass St Bride’s Church and learn about the Bridewell Palace. The walk finishes at Blackfriars near the 1931 Unilever Building, on the noisy Riverside Walk beside Blackfriars bridge, with fantastic views across the Thames as far as the London Eye and Westminster.

http://dropguides.com/tour/well-well-well-clerkenwell/

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Walking Tour of the Docklands

How can you possibly beat a walk along the Thames on a fine day? Shadwell (the name probably came from Shite-well or Shit-well) might be an unauspicious start, but in a few paces from the Docklands Light Railway or East London Line Zone 2 you come across the fabulous Nicholas Hawksmoor church of St George’s with its 160 ft (49m) tower. Dickens described its ‘Romish’ practices in the mid 19th century as ‘miserable fancy dressing pantomime posturing.’
Dickens features again and again on this wonderful walk. The Mystery of Edwin Drood with its opium dens, The Uncommercial Traveller, and Our Mutual Friend are all references on this walk.

Tobacco Dock is sadly no longer the vibrant retail development it was, but you can still walk through it and see the statue to the Bengal tiger and the young boy rescued from its jaws. You can see the two full size pirate ships, and admire the fantastic brick built construction (Grade 2 listed by English Heritage).

After strolling through an area where there was a notorious workhouse, we arrive at Wapping station. From this point, the walk continues along the Thames Path affording unrivaled views of the Thames and Canary Wharf in the distance.

Joined by one of our listeners, Kim from New Jersey, on this walk, we take a break in the Prospect of Whitby public house with its full length pewter-topped bar, wood posts made from the masts of ships, hangman’s noose dangling over the river, and several fine draught ales I tell the tale of the Hanging Judge Jeffreys as we quaff our beer on a bench in the open air beside the river near the old parish boundary wall. Wonderful.

There are more pubs along the way after crossing Limehouse Basin including The Grapes as well as a fine restaurant bar The Narrow (chef proprieter Gordon Ramsay). Finally we leave the Thames-side to admire another Nicholas Hawksmoor church of St Anne’s with its high clock faces and strange pyramid in the graveyard originally intended to top the tower.

The walk ends at the DLR station of Limehouse (Zone 2) from where it is only a few minutes ride back to Bank or Monument (Central, Northern, District & Circle Lines Zone 1).

http://dropguides.com/tour/docklands/

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Walking Tour of Harrow-on-the-Hill

This is a lovely walk through the charming village of Harrow-on-the-Hill, home of the famous Harrow School and much more. Although Harrow is some way from the centre of London, it is easy to reach.

The best way is to buy an off-peak Travelcard covering zones 1 – 6. Take the Jubilee Line northbound to Finchley Road. Here cross the same platform and take a Metropolitan Line to Harrow-on-the-Hill. The quickest is a fast Amersham service, but any Metropolitan Line train will do: the Metropolitan Line takes the same route as the Jubilee Line, but bypasses most of the stations where Jubilee Line trains stop.

On reaching Harrow-on-the-Hill, climb the stairs from the platform and turn left. Exit the station through the south exit leading to Lowlands Road.

This is a short walk of less than 2 miles. It’s more of a stroll but there are some hills to climb and descend at the end. You are rewarded with fine views over London to the north east and the west.

Harrow-on-the-Hill is all about Harrow School – second only to Eton College in prestige amongst English public schools. It was founded in the late 16th/early 17th century. The school does not provide all the history on this walk however. We pass the site of the first fatal motor vehicle accident which occurred in 1899. We see where King Charles I watered his horses at a well, and wistfully looked back over London before riding north to surrender himself to the Scottish army. We enter the lovely old church of St Mary. Originally consecrated in the 11th century by St Anselm, the present building has some wonderful effigies, 14th and 15th century brasses, and is the burial place of the founder of Harrow School John Lyon and his wife.

Somewhere in the grounds of the church, Lord Byron’s daughter Allegra is buried. All that remains is a commemorative stone by the main doorway, but nearby is a plaque by the Peachy gravestone where the young Byron as a schoolboy spent hours under the trees, gazing into the distance, and developing his muse.

http://dropguides.com/tour/harrow-hill/

#London   #UK   #unitedkingdom  

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Walking Tour of Hampton

This walk starts at the Thamesside village of Hampton. You can reach Hampton by train from London (Waterloo) or by the District Line to Wimbledon and change to a train to Hampton. The station is in Zone 6 – so you can buy a Zones 1 – 6 off-peak Travelcard.

Leaving the station from the South-West train, exit towards the shops and turn left along the High Street. As we walk down the High Street.

Continue down to the River Thames and the church of St Mary, which is said to be haunted by Mistress Penn who was a nurse to Edward VI the only son of Henry VIII. Nearby there are two houses which belonged to the actor David Garrick and his eponymous nephew. Opposite Garrick’s Villa is a temple which is connected to the house by a tunnel under the road, and housed a statue of William Shakespeare.

Shortly we leave the busy traffic and enter Bushey Deer Park where one should avoid approaching the deer that roam free, especially in May – July and September – October. We walk through the lovely water garden that is little known and generally very quiet, and leave the garden by a gate leading towards the Diana Fountain. This whole area was designed by Sir Christopher Wren who was employed to remodel the Tudor palace of Hampton Court.

After leaving the park we enter the formal grounds of the palace through the Lion Gate. We then walk through the gardens and around the outside of the house, admiring the wonderful facades and marveling at the fact that here we have two entirely separate ages of architecture – Tudor and Baroque. It all happened by accident, but it works well nonetheless. After walking through the gardens, there is a chance to enter the palace.

The walk ends nearby just across the bridge over the Thames at the station of Hampton Court. This is also in Zone 6 and trains run to Wimbledon and into London every 30 minutes. Lunch can be taken in Hampton Court before boarding the train, and I give a recommendation for Cottage Pie in one of the town public houses.

http://dropguides.com/tour/hampton-court/

#London #UK #UnitedKingdom #Hampton

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Walking Tour of Chelsea

A walk around Chelsea starting and ending at Sloane Square.

We start by walking along the King’s Road past the John Lewis department store known as Peter Jones. This shop is the favourite shopping venue for young Chesea women (once known as Sloane Rangers) the aristocracy and member of the Royal Family.

From the King’s Road we walk through the Royal Hospital, founded in 1862 by Charles II and still the home for the red and blue coated Chelsea Pensioners. You won’t find many tourists in its grounds because there is a large guarded security gate, but I show you how to walk in as you have the right of entry. In fact, you will hear me visit the chapel and even pass through the dining room where the men are having lunch.

From here, we walk through the Chelsea Flower Show grounds onto the Embankment where there are views across the River Thames to Battersea and the Buddhist Peace Pagoda built in 1985.

The walk then takes us through the historic district of Old Chelsea. Here we can visit Thomas Carlyle’s house, and see the site of the palace owned by Sir Thomas More and Chelsea Manor House built by Henry VIII in 1536. We also pass by Chelsea Old Church and hear how this area was famous for making porcelain until 1784.

The walk then continues along the King’s Road, well-known in the 1960′s with Carnaby Street as the source of all those wacky military-style fashions and mini-skirts before finishing at Sloane Square, home of the Royal Court Theatre which staged the first production of Osborne’s Look Back in Anger in 1956.

Sloane Square Underground is on the District and Circle Lines, Zone 1.

http://dropguides.com/tour/chelsea/

#London   #UK   #UnitedKingdom   #Chelsea  

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Walking Tour of Hampstead

A lovely historic walk through the tiny roads, alleyways, and steps around the centre of Hampstead. Hampstead is about 4 miles north of the centre of London. It is easily reached from stations like Tottenham Court Road, Euston, or Embankment by taking the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. The station is in Zones 2/3.

Turning left outside the Hampstead Underground station, we have only a few paces to walk on the busy Hampstead High Street before we turn into Flask Walk. The first portion of the stroll is through the area that sprung up around the spa. The water from the chalybeate spring contained dissolved iron and was considered health promoting. The practice died out in the late 19th century, but there are pubs, street names such as Well Walk, and many other associations with this period of Hampstead's history.

More importantly even today Hampstead is more likely to be associated with the rich, the famous, intellectuals, artists, and writers. The list of literati and gliterati is a long one, including nowadays stars of film and TV, but in the past such names as John Galsworthy who wrote The Forsyte Saga here, three generations of the du Mauriers, the painter John Constable, poet John Keats and many many more.

The walk passes  the French and Dutch influenced houses around the William IV public house, and enters Hampstead's parish church dedicated to St John. This is a 1745 gem - a galleried interior of wood painted in two shades of grey with a beautiful plasterwork ceiling. Definitely a must-see, and in the two adjacent burial grounds there are so many famous people that the church offers a tomb walk leaflet to guide visitors around the church yard.

There are wonderful views over #London , and we reach a high point of 440 ft above sea level near the Jack Straw public house. The best is kept for last, as we wind our way down a steep hill and enter a tiny enclave of small houses beside a narrow street with another wonderful view to east and west. This leads to steps that conveniently descend to the Underground station where the walk ends.

This is a lovely urban stroll through one of London's most fashionable historic places. There are some steep hills, narrow uneven streets, cars and vans labouring up the inclines, and expensive eating places and watering holes. But for free entertainment and learning about the past, it is a great walk and one especially suitable for families.

http://dropguides.com/tour/hampstead/

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Walking Tour of Islington

This is a most enjoyable walk through Islington, starting at Angel Underground (Zone 1 - Northern Line, Bank Branch) and ending at Highbury & Islington (Zone 2 - Victoria Line and Overground).

The first part of the walk passes through the antiques market area along Camden Passage. The middle section follows the line of the New River - neither new nor a river. This man-made watercourse took fresh water from Hertfordshire to New River Head. Little of the river is visible nowadays, but the route is clearly visible and there is a charming garden were we walk alongside the water by formal gardens near Canonbury Grove. The last part of the walk passes Canonbury Tower and House. The Tower was built in the early years of the 16th century as a manor house on the site of an Augustinian Priory owned by the canons of St Bartholomew's in Clerkenwell (which we pass on the Well, Well, Well... walk).

The walk should take about an hour, and includes references to such people as Charles Lamb, Sir John Spencer, Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell. Upper Street is also the site of a restaurant in which Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are said to have discussed the timing of the transfer of the leadership of the Labour Party, and hence the office of Prime Minister.

Most of the route is quiet and free of heavy traffic. The houses are predominately 18th century terraced properties, and the area is well known not only as a smart and expensive place to live, but where the left wing intelligentsia of the capital prefer to hang out. It also reminds me of the British Monopoly board - the Angel Islington is a modestly priced light blue property on which it is much more affordable to build hotels than on places further from 'Go.'

I recommend this short walk as a very interesting way to spend an hour - more of a stroll really, past charming houses and lovely residential locales.

http://dropguides.com/tour/islington/

#London #UK #UnitedKingdom #Islington  
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