"The wonderful thing about walks like these among like-minded / curious people is that they build a sense of community as you go along and, once it's over, there's a very positive feeling to the day".
Pernille Ahlström, Chair, City of Westminster Guide Lecturers Association
Here is just a small selection of some of our most popular walks. Each walk is around two hours. Please contact us for further details or if you would like to discuss options and dates.
Brothels and Breweries: The real Bankside
This is one of our most colourful walks. Built by the Romans as a ‘suburb’ south of the Thames, for the next 1,500 years this area was London’s zone of hedonism with brothels, taverns, gambling and other illicit pleasures. Learn about the “Winchester Geese” and the “Stews” run in the 12th Century by the Bishops. Discover breweries, a prison, the famous Guy’s Hospital and end up at one of London’s most renowned food and drink market, Borough Market.
Top Secrets: A Century of Treason and Scandal
On this walk you'll hear about treason, double agents, class and sexual scandals in the ‘Spy Capital of the World.’ Discover how the British Secret Intelligence Service was established and the roles of MI5 and MI6 agents during the Second World War and the Cold War.
Leadenhall Market: Romans to Harry Potter
This is a superb example of a Victorian covered market with an ornate painted roof. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter you may be more familiar with it as Diagon Alley in the Philosopher’s Stone but did you know that the original site was a Roman Basilica and Forum? Leadenhall Market is steeped in a 2,000-year history and this walk uncovers fascinating stories and some of the ancient and modern buildings on the fringes too.
The History of Tea
This walk covers the beginning of tea and how London became the centre of the tea trade. You'll learn about the London tea auctions, the famous Tea Clippers, the role of the coffee houses, how tea was taxed and how the rich locked their tea away. We’ll talk about some of tea’s most ardent advocates including Catherine of Braganza, Doctor Samuel Johnson and Sir Christopher Wren.
West End Theatreland
Love the theatre and want to learn more about London's famous and historic theatreland? Why not join us on a walking tour wandering round theatrical London. You will almost be able to smell the perfume and the greasepaint as we explore the star-studded West End, enjoying high drama and low comedy. (Please note this is a street walking tour and, as such, does not go backstage or otherwise enter into any buildings).
Hidden City: Alleyways of the Square Mile
To get truly immersed in London’s past there’s no better way than to explore the alleyways, snickets and courtyards and imagine what life was like hundred’s of years ago. This walk covers many atmospheric stops including televisions most famous alleyway, a wizards shop and where the Great Fire of London of 1666 started.
Marvellous Mayfair: From a swamp to riches
Starting at Hanover Square we take in the streets and squares of Mayfair and discover how a marriage in 1677 transformed a swamp into one of the most expensive places in the world. A poisoned Russian spy, a supermodel and the most haunted house in London are just a few of the characters and places you’ll hear about.
The Great Fire of London: First sparks to last ashes
The Great Fire of 1666 was one of London’s greatest tragedies. London was an emotional and paranoid place, the Bubonic Plague had killed 200,000 people only 12 months earlier. People thought the world was ending. This walk takes you from the start of the fire in Pudding Lane and follows it's path of destruction, explaining what happened to the people, the buildings and to trade and commerce.
Westminster: The heart of London
How did an area of marshland to the west of the City become one of the most famous places in the world? Get your cameras ready as this is the photogenic tour of some of Westminster's finest landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Royal Parks and some very interesting places ‘off the beaten track’.
A City of Spires: Wren's beautiful churches
The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed 86 of 107 medieval churches in the City of London. Under the direction of Sir Christopher Wren, regarded as the most influential architect of all time, 51 were rebuilt and today 23 survive. This tour introduces some of Wren's masterpieces, each with it's own story to tell, and illustrates the extraordinary breadth of his skill and vision.
Soho: The Real Story
Did you know that the word Soho comes from the 17th Century hunting cry “Soho! There goes the fox!” One of the most colourful and vibrant areas in London, which has retained it's distinctive character, this walk covers the more 'seedy' side of the area, the theatre, Carnaby Street, China Town, the centre of the advertising and film world and much more with interesting anecdotes and stories along the way.
A Legacy for London: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The world famous venue of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We look at how the site was first transformed and how the legacy continues to evolve today. See some of the iconic venues including the Velodrome, the Copper Box Arena and the London Aquatics Centre. We'll also uncover the vibrant area of Hackney Wick.
Covent Garden: Market, Music and Madams
From an Abbey to a Royal Opera House, the start of the Metropolitan Police Force, Charles Dickens Coffee House, the home of Eliza Doolittle to houses of ill repute – the list goes on! This walk delves deep into Covent Garden’s history to discover what has made it such a popular place today.
19th Century Gentlemen's Quarter
If you want to find out what London’s upper class gentlemen of the 19th Century got up to then this walk around the exclusive area of St James’s and Mayfair will show you the very best of the tailors, the shops, the gentleman’s clubs and of course, the courtesans.
Fleet Street: Diaries and Dailies
From Samuel Pepys, the most famous diarist in the world, to Dr. Samuel Johnson who founded the English Dictionary to the birth of the modern newspaper we'll take you around the area of Fleet Street where you’ll discover the people and places that have made this area the heart of printing and publishing.
Victoria's "Secrets" revealed
This walk uncovers the area of Victoria and it's rich heritage. It reveals the secrets of days gone by from the long lost Royal Cockpit; the home of the first printing press; where the double agent Kim Philby was recruited into MI6; the home of the Metropolitan Police and much more.
Strictly Legal: The four Inns of Court
The heart of London’s legal profession is the four Inns of Court. You’ll enter the world of the robed English barrister in one of the most historical areas in London. This tour takes you on a journey over the centuries with stories of the Knight’s Templar, infamous cases, dramatic characters, traditions and rituals on a walk that goes through a warren of beautiful gardens, squares and cloisters.
John Nash: The Regency Master Planner
We’ll walk along the grand processional route, Regent Street, the Prince Regent's architect John Nash devised to create "improvements", through some of the delightful streets of Marylebone packed with history and architecture and into Regent’s Park.
Victorian Westminster: The Pioneer Era
Hear how Victorian society was transformed by entrepreneurial vision and how the railways impacted working lives, housing and recreation. See some fine examples of Victorian buildings and discover the achievements of famous statesmen, engineers, reformers and pioneers of the era.
Suffrage: The Battle for Equality
It seems unthinkable that less than 90 years ago women in this country didn't have the vote. On this walk we'll visit some of the battlegrounds where the Suffragettes fought their campaign and hear the incredible stories of how they strove for equality.