We've had a balmy summer, but now as we move in to September, I thought I'd write briefly about some of the private walking tours in London I've done over the last few months.
Above left is Hillary and friends on a walk which took us from St Paul's cathedral, through the Inns of Court around Fleet Street and Strand (where they are pictured). Top right is Thorsten and friends on a walk around east London, which aside from bits of history, includes a plethora of street art. Bottom left is Sylvia & Paris in the bombed out church of St Dunstan-in-the-east towards the end of a walk which included the areas of Bankside & Borough to the south of the river Thames. Bottom right is Annette and her family outside Buckingham Palace during a tour around the sights of Westminster.
Top left is Jamie and his lady friend in St James's Park. Top right is Alison and family in a rather dry looking Green Park, whilst giving them a bit of an introduction to London. Bottom left is Stacey & Andrew outside Buckingham Palace, which incidentally will be open to visitors until the end of this month. Bottom right is Terry & Jim by the Thames with the skyline of the City of London behind them.
Top left we have Kirsten and her family in the area of St James's, where I left them at the end of our walk. Top right are colleagues from CAFOD on a day out, exploring London. We began in the morning with a walk about the Great Fire of London, 1666, then in the afternoon dropped them off in Covent Garden after covering Fleet Street. Here they are in Wardrobe Place in the City of London. Bottom left is Bethany and family from the States in Trafalgar Square. Bottom right is Christie and Dan with the dome of St Paul's cathedral behind them.
Top left is Andy and his colleagues exploring the area of Soho one evening. Top right is Nancy & co from Canada standing beside Canada Gate next to Buckingham Palace. Bottom left is Drita and co with the iconic Tower Bridge behind them. Finally, we have Sara and family by Westminster Abbey.
If you are coming to London and fancy doing a private tour that is hopefully fun and informative, then please get in touch.
March was a busy month for my 'private walking tours' around London. Here are some of the people I met and some of the things we got up to. Top left - I spent the day with Hiroko and Dia. Here they are outside St Paul's cathedral. Top right - Another full day, this time with Marge & Kim, beginning in Covent Garden and exploring Fleet Street in to the City of London before heading over to Bankside & Borough to the south of the river in the afternoon. Bottom left - The first of two walks with Emily and her family around Westminster. Bottom right - Cyrena and family at the end of our walk which began in Trafalgar Square.
Top left - Emily and family again, this time by the Tower of London, with Tower Bridge behind them. Top right - Catriona & co. in Borough Market by Southwark cathedral. Bottom left - Kim and her daughters taking a well earned rest on our walk around Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Hoxton in East London. Bottom right - Alixandra & friends in Parliament Square in front of the iconic Big Ben.
Top left - Louise and family on a special 70th birthday walk (with the dome of St Paul's cathedral behind them). Top right - Jody & Elaine in Trafalgar Square during our walk around the sights of Westminster. Bottom left - Linda and Dana by a blossom tree in St James's Park. Bottom right - Kate & family by St Paul's cathedral on our all day extravaganza to see all the sights and loads of other stuff.
Above left - Friends Marina & Jackie and their daughters in Golden Square, Soho at the end of the first of two walks we did together. Above right - Matt & Lindsey on Bankside outside Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
I'm currently taking bookings for private London walking tours throughout the summer, so if you think you might like me to show you around whilst you're visiting, please get in touch.
If you're visiting London and are looking to do a walking tour that allows you and your family or friends to explore London and get a better understanding of it, get your bearings, see some of the sights plus a few other things that you might not ordinarily know about ... in your own time without being part of a massive group ... then I do Private Walks which hopefully do just this. Below are some of these walks that I did in July.
Tina and Steve did a walk around the sights of Westminster. Here they are in Green Park just before they nipped off to Borough Market to get some lunch. For the last couple of years I've done a 'Fourth of July' walk for alumni of Stanford University. The plan is obviously for me to furnish them with American themed bits of London info, which has, on each occasion involved a stop off at the Stafford Hotel which has had close ties with the States since WWII and includes the rather incredible 'American Bar'. Bottom left is Leigh and her entourage in Westminster, part of a full day 'London Extravaganza'. I also spent the day with Jenny and her family, making sure we ticked off all the 'must see' London sights. I took their photo on Tower Hill, just above the Tower of London.
On the below set of photos, we have Megan, Lindsay and their dad outside the Tower of London, a tour which began at their apartment in Westminster on the other side of central London. Top right is Bryan and his family having a rest in the bombed out church of St Dustan-in-the-east. Bottom left is William and family in Parliament Square during a wander around the iconic sights of Westminster. Lastly, Patricia and Barry outside the National Gallery at the end of their half day walk.
Top left is Skip and his family in St James's Park. I did two half day walks with Mary and her family visiting from Australia. On the below photo, they're standing with Buckingham Palace in the background. Angela and Justin (bottom left) also did a couple of tours, during which time we covered the Westminster area, but also Covent Garden, Fleet Street and a bit of the City of London. Bottom right is Sandra and her crew outside St Paul's cathedral on a wander around the City and ending up (as requested) in a pub.
Jetsun and her family were visiting for a couple of days from Wales. Top right is Patsy, her sisters and partners visiting from Canada en route to a European cruise. Patsy first came on a walk with me with some friends a few years ago. Ed was visiting London with some students from New York. We did a walk around Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Shoreditch in east London which included quite a lot of street art. Bottom right, standing in Victoria Embankment Gardens is a group from the aid charity CAFOD. I think it's the 4th year I've done a walk with them on a sort of annual fun, but educational day out for employees.
Last but not least we have Judith & Mark just by Paternoster Square in the City of London. They'd actually been bought their walk as a gift last Christmas by their son, who had been on one of my regular weekend walks some time ago. We spent a few hours exploring the City of London. Finally, Kristen & Marissa from Australia were spending a bit of time sightseeing after a work trip. They are standing with Westminster Abbey behind them.
So ... if you are planning a trip to London and think that you might like to do a tour with me, then please do get in touch.
June was a reasonably busyish month for 'private walks'. Aside from my regular weekend 'pay what you want' London walks, I do tailor made walks around the capital for couples, families, groups of friends, work colleagues and even the odd lone traveller. They're all a bit a different and are very much based on what those particular people wish to get out of their walk, which could simply be seeing the sights, or maybe something a bit more off the beaten track. Below are photos of some of the people from across the globe that I met in June, along with a brief description of what we did or where we were when I took the photo.
All of the descriptions refer to the set of photos directly below. Top left we have Karen and her crew standing on Tower Hill, with the old Port of London Authority building behind them. I actually met them in the morning to wander around Covent Garden and Westminster where they were staying, but as my afternoon walk had just cancelled, they just carried on, as they were keen to see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Top right is Cynthia & co in Spitalfields about to embark on a well earned lunch after a jaunt around East London. Bottom left is whole bunch of colleagues from Soho based digital media company, Agenda 21. It was actually the third walk I've done with them around the area where they work. Bottom right is Vishal & Becca in Seven Dials near Covent Garden.
Top left is Abi in Westlands in east London which is a large architectural antique centre in a de-consecrated church, Shoreditch. Rather oddly, the statue was originally from communist Prague and is for sale. Top right is Diane and family in Covent Garden at the end of our walk around the sights of Westminster. Talking of sights, bottom left is Hank and family outside Buckingham Palace. If you're visiting London this summer, then Buckingham Palace's 'summer opening' is from 23rd July to 2nd October with a special exhibition entitled 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe' which is pretty self explanatory. Bottom right, Jen and family with St Paul's cathedral in the background.
Top left of the four photos below is Brian and family in Parliament Square, with the iconic 'Big Ben' in the background. I did quite a different walk with Frank & Mary around Spitalfields and Shoreditch and included a pub stop. Unfortunately for Serena & John (bottom left) it rained for the entirety of their walk, but never-the-less remained in good spirits throughout. Here they are in Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery behind them. Bottom right is Alex and family from the States who were back in London and came on their first walk with me a couple of years ago. They're standing in the courtyard of the historic 17th century George Inn in Borough, London's last remaining galleried inn.
Top left (below) is Christine on a layover at Gatwick airport from Italy. I met her at Victoria station and did a quick whizz around Westminster before dropping her back at the station to get a train back to the airport. She's standing next to the statue of Charles I at the north end of Whitehall. Top right is Jack and family from the States. I met them at their hotel in Southwark and we did a walk that included Fleet Street and the City of London, dropping them back at Borough Market on Bankside in time for lunch. Bottom left is Karyl and her family at the end of our walk in Piccadilly, before they ventured in to Soho for dinner. Bottom right is a group of teenagers from around Europe, in London for a two week course. They're standing in Horse Guards.
As you can see, an eclectic and varied month of walks. I'm currently taking bookings for July, August and beyond so if you're visiting London and in the planning stages, feel free to get in touch.
I was lucky enough to have a busy month in September of private weekday walks, which saw me taking people all over London and furnishing them with scintillating bits of information about the things they saw and the places we passed. Here are some of the people I met, who were visiting London from across the globe.
Top left is Nam & Tom visiting from the States, in Trafalgar Square during a walk around Westminster, where they were staying. I did two walks with Layne & Jay, which saw us cover all the big sites in central London over two days. I took their photo in Covent Garden. Dan & Justin from Los Angeles were staying in a hotel on the Strand, so I met them there and showed them around the surrounding area. Bottom right is a team from the homelessness charity Crisis. They are responsible for organising the mammoth effort each year, which sees 10,000 volunteers helping out in shelters in major cities across the country. If you'd like to volunteer over the Christmas period, and help Crisis to help the homeless, then have a look at their website to find out how. I did a walk with them in the area around their office as a sort of team building thing.
Top left is Roda & Marius from Germany, who joined me for an incredibly rainy wander around east London. The main focus was the many pieces of street art that adorn walls and pavements in the area. Next up is Dominique and Chris outside their hotel, the Nadler in Soho where I dropped them off after a wander around Westminster. Bottom left is Kellie & Jeremy from Australia, by the Thames with St Paul's cathedral and the Millennium Bridge behind them. We spent a whole day together on a bit of a London extravaganza tour. Bottom right is Ruth & pals outside the Golden Lion in St James's where I left them for lunch after a walk that took in the sights around Westminster.
John and his Son Chris came on my regular east London walk last year. They returned with Maureen for a walk that took in the area around St Paul's cathedral. I took their photo in Postman's Park in the City of London. It's a remarkable little space that includes a memorial to 'heroic self sacrifice', the brain child of Victorian painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts. Top right is Judith and her family in Southwark cathedral. Judith and her sister from the Netherlands had been on a walk with me previously. Judith has just started a job here in London and her parents were over to help settle her in. Bottom left is Kristy & Co in St James's Park. Bottom right is Tracy & Chris with Tower Bridge behind them.
Top left is Janet and family at the end of our walk in Leicester Square. Top right is Duncan & Hayley. Duncan had been on a walk with me previously, and returned this time with Ellis, a new addition to the family. Bottom left is Cissy & Dave in St Katharine Docks with the Queen's barge 'the Gloriana' behind them. Bottom right is Art, Doug, Marnie and Amy outside Buckingham Palace. I had met them in the morning on the other side of London where they were staying, by the Tower of London, and spent the whole day together taking in all of London's major sights, plus loads of other stuff.
Top left is Peter & Karen during a rather rainy walk through the City of London. I took their photo as we wandered through the legal areas just off Fleet Street of Inner Temple and Middle Temple Hall. Top right is Dennis & Julie from Germany who came on another rather wet walk around east London. Fortunately, they arrived wearing huge plastic bags, so weren't phased by the weather. Another walk around Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Hoxton was with Isabel, Simone, Frank and Jannis, also from Germany. Bottom right is Kelly and her kids at the end of our walk around the area surrounding their hotel by Trafalgar Square. Incidentally, I had an influx of people from Germany joining me last month, as I appeared in German magazine 'Mobil', of which 500,000 copies were printed and distributed on all the Deutsche Bahn trains in Germany.
The final two walks I'm including here were two work walks. The first for a team from CAFOD, the official aid agency for the Catholic Church, who are a lovely bunch that I've done a number of walks for over the years. Lastly we have Hannah and her team on an evening walk from their office by Aldersgate, though the City of London to a pub on Bankside, just south of the river. I took their photo as we passed by St Andrew's by-the-Wardrobe.
If you're visiting London at some point in the not too distant future and would like me to show you around, please get in touch.
July was also a busy month for my Private guided tours around London and here's my roundup up of some of the walks I did, the people I met and the places we visited. Top left is Pam and her extended family in Trafalgar Square. I met them at their hotel, The Royal Horseguards and we spent a few hours exploring the Westminster area. Next up is Ted and his son outside Liverpool Street station in the City of London where I left them after a wander around Spitalfields and Shoreditch. Bottom left is Dave & Chrissy who came on one of my first ever group walks nearly four years ago. It was Chrissy's birthday and I met them by the Tower of London and we pretty much meandered around the City of London, ending near St Paul's cathedral. They're standing next to one of the old Police Telephone Boxes that although not in use have been left as sort of street antiques around the city. Bottom right is Elizabeth & co. outside St Paul's cathedral after doing a bit of an all day 'London Extravaganza' tour taking in all the major sights, plus loads of other stuff en route.
Above left is Lindsay & Gordon at the Haymarket Hotel where they were staying, and where I dropped them back at the end of our wander around Westminster. Top right Dave (who bore an uncanny resemblance to John Major) and his entourage during our full day seeing London's highlights. Bottom left is Jim & Scott with St Paul's cathedral behind them. Due to a tube strike I had to do a different walk than planned with Ryan and his daughter, and as they were staying in east London, met them there and explored the surrounding area. I took their photo in Old Spitalfields Market.
Above left is Rae and her group with Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament behind them. Top right is Sammy & Ellen as we wandered through Soho on a walk that began in Knightsbridge. I did a walk for two families travelling together from the States (bottom left) around Shoreditch, and took their photo on Great Eastern street. Bottom right is Jennifer and her family in St James's Park in Westminster.
The four photos above show Brad and his kids who had just arrived in London, standing outside St James's Palace. On a rather wet, dreary day I met Pat and his family in Covent Garden and they braved the rain to explore Westminster. I took their photo standing on The Mall with Buckingham Palace behind them. Bottom left is another two families travelling together, this time, on Whitehall. For the last three years, each summer I've done a walk for people who work for CAFOD. They're standing by the statue of Charles I, just to the south of Trafalgar Square. We were lucky enough to be taken in to the church of St James's Piccadilly, shown around and told about what they get up to by the Revd Lindsay Meader.
In this last set, we have Eric & Donna on College Green next to the Victoria Tower to the west of the Houses of Parliament. Staying in the same area, but to the opposite tower, the Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben) we have Stephanie and her family. The last two pictures are both in Shoreditch where any kind of walk is inevitably accompanied by street art. We have Allegra and her parents and Dean and Lucy.
I'll be continuing to do weekday walks throughout the rest of the year, so if you're visiting London and would like me to show you around, please get in touch.
June was a busy month for my private walks. I met loads of people from all over the world, and had a great time showing them around London. All my 'private walks' are different, and very much depend on what those particular people would like to get out of the walk. It might be they want to see the sights, or something a bit more off the beaten track. In June, there was hardly a stone left unturned.
Top left we have Jillian and her family standing in front of Big Ben during a half day wander around Westminster, which with a lot of sights in a very walkable area is my usual suggestion for people wanting to get a bit of an intro to London, whilst seeing a large number of iconic sights such as Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. Next is Bert and Kate. I met them at their hotel near Tower Bridge and they had a table booked at a restaurant in Soho that evening, so we walked there along Bankside, past St Paul's cathedral, down Fleet Street, through Covent Garden and dropped them off at their restaurant in time for a well earned dinner. Bottom left is a group of Italian language students in London to brush up on their English skills. I showed them around east London. Bottom right is Curtis & Melinda. We spent the whole day together and did a mega London extravaganza walk taking in all the major sights, plus loads of other stuff. Melinda was wearing a pedometer and apparently we walked 12 miles that day. Don't worry though, walks aren't always that long.
I did two half day walks with Phil & Sue from Australia. Top left they're standing outside Buckingham Palace, and bottom right on the Millennium Bridge with St Paul's cathedral in the background. Top right is Susan and her colleagues on our Street art tour around east London. Bottom left is Faisal & Yasmin visiting from the States in Horse Guards Parade.
Top left is Elizabeth and her family in Trafalgar Square. Top right is Howard and his family standing in the courtyard of Westland's on Leonard Street in Shoreditch. Bottom left is Oliver & Malte who were visiting from Germany to write an article about east London. They're standing outside the Brick Lane Jamme Masjid Mosque. Bottom left is Meredith and her family in St James's Square on the first of two walks I did with them.
Top left is Howard and his family again on their second walk with me; this time outside the Tower of London. Top right, having a breather in the courtyard of the George Tavern in Southwark is Theresa and her family visiting from Las Vegas. Bottom left is Fred and family in Covent Garden. Bottom right is Meredith and her family again at the end of their second walk with me, when we explored around east London.
Top left we have Cathy and her family visiting from Australia in St James's, Piccadilly. Top right is David and family outside St Paul's cathedral. Bottom left is Brenda & co in Spitalfields at the end of our east London walk around Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Hoxton. Bottom right is Tim and his son in Trafalgar Square.
Top left is Amanda, Charlotte and Dayna in St James's Park. Next up, Frank and his family visiting from California standing outside The Queen's wine shop, Berry Bros & Rudd. Bottom left is Cathy & Pete with Christchurch Spitalfields behind them and last, but not least ... Jeff and family outside their hotel, St Ermin's in Westminster after I dropped them off having shown them around the surrounding area.
If you think you'd like me to guide you around London wen you visit, please feel free to get in touch.
During the week I do 'Private Walks' for families, friends, couples etc which are tailor made to their own interests or what they would like to get out of a walk in London. Often it involves seeing some of London's iconic sights like Big Ben or Tower Bridge, but also could be to discover less touristy areas of the city. Here are some of the private weekday walks I did in November.
Starting top left, we have Raymond & Brittany on Westminster Bridge with Big Ben behind them. I met them at their hotel near Green Park and we started the walk from there, taking in the sights around Westminster. Next is Magdalena & Janina outside Berry Bros & Rudd, which as a holder of a 'Royal Warrant' is otherwise known as 'the Queen's wine shop'. Bottem left is Sally and her entourage of family and friends standing on the Hungerford Bridge over the river Thames with the City of London in the distance behind them. Lastly, you can see Eileen and her family with Westminster School in the background.
Top left is Jan and her family in St James's Park. I met them at their hotel which was situated on the south side of Westminster Bridge, just next to the London Eye, which you can just make out in the back ground. Top right is Tina and her son Dan at Horse Guards. Bottom left is Gavriel and Alexandra who were visiting from New York in Victoria Embankment Gardens in front of the 17th century York House Watergate. Finally we have Sabine and her family in Leadenhall Market. I met them at their hotel by Liverpool Street station and we spent the whole day together taking in all of London's major landmarks as well as seeing loads of other stuff along the way.
If you would like to book a private tour with me around London, then please get in touch.
I do my regular weekend guided walks around London almost every weekend, which are run on a 'pay what you want' basis and pretty much follow three different routes. During the week however, I also do 'private walks' which are tailor made for people that contact me. It could be a first visit to London and they want to see some of the sights, or a work outing to explore the area around their office or a family on holiday. They're all different. Here are some of the weekday walks I did around London in August.
Above left is Gayle and her family in one of the Guard boxes outside St James's Palace, and above right is Scott and his family (visiting from the States) outside Benjamin Franklin House on Craven Street, the only surviving Ben Franklin house in the world. He lived there for nearly 16 years from 1757, and didn't actually own the house, he was a long term lodger.
One evening I did a walk with a group of architects around Bankside & Borough. I took the photo of them in the entrance to The George, just off Borough High Street (complete with photo bombers). Top right is Alex and his family (from Texas) outside Buckingham Palace. Bottom left is Gwendy and Patrick next to Syd's Coffee stall in Shoreditch and lastly, Arlene & Chris in Trafalgar Square.
I spent a really nice few hours walking around Westminster with Rebecca and her two sons. I took the photo of them standing outside the Cabmen's Shelter near to Embankment Station. Originally, there were 61 of these small, green, wooden huts around London. They were built between 1875 - 1914 and were designed to provide (as the name would suggest) a place where drivers of Hansom Cabs and later Hackney Carriages could stop to get some food and drink, or even have a break and read a newspaper. Today there are only 13 of these Grade II listed buildings left. The photo in the centre is of Mike and Brian, who I spent a morning with wandering around Hoxton and Shoreditch, as Mike had been born in the area and had been doing a bit of research in to his family history. We visited the church where his great grandparents were married. Last, but not least we have Caroline and her family in Covent Garden.
So ... if you're visiting London on holiday and would like me to guide you around some of the sights or are after something a bit different, then please do get in touch.
In case you are unaware, aside from my regular 'pay what you want' weekend guided walks in London, I also do 'private walks' during the week for families, couples, individuals or work outings. They're all different, and all tailored to whatever each particular group is interested in. I do a lot of walks for people on holiday (or vacation if you're American) taking in many of London's well known sights, or sometimes people are keen to explore somewhere a bit more off the beaten path. Here are some of these walks that I did in July.
I began the month doing a walk with Pam and her son from the States, who were joined by a couple of friends visiting from Cambridge. You can see them siting on one of the fountains in Trafalgar Square. I met Bruce & Sue from Australia at their hotel in Bethnal Green and we explored around east London. They're standing in front of a piece of street art by fellow Australian, Jimmy C. A guy called Kit, who came on one of my walks ages ago, contacted me about doing a walk for him and his colleagues, so I met them at their office and we did around the surrounding area, which was basically Fleet Street. Finally, I met Vibudh who was on a stop over at Heathrow airport en route from Canada where he lives to visit family in India. He's standing in front of Canada Gate outside Buckingham Palace.
Top left is Joe and his family outside St James's Palace, followed by Carlos and his family, who like Vibudh had a few hours to spare at Heathrow. They got the tube in to central London and we did a quick whizz around the sights of Westminster. Here they are with two of London's iconic structures; the red telephone box and Big Ben. Tara, John & Isabella can be seen just outside St James's Palace and finally, Andrea and her two kids in front of the 'Women of World War II memorial on Whitehall.
Top left, we have Anne and her family in Covent Garden and then Valerie and family with the Tate Modern in the background. Bottom left is Margaret and her family in Whitehall Gardens and finally Pawnee & Brad standing outside their hotel, the Courthouse in Soho, which as the name suggests, did used to be a court house and was where Oscar took the Marquess of Queensbury to court on criminal libel charges in 1895, and in more recent history saw Mick Jagger and Keith Richards fined for drugs charges. Another iconic 60s musician, John Lennon was taken to court there for exhibiting apparently risque images at a London art gallery.
Top left we have Jules, Marcia and their grand daughter outside Buckingham Palace and Mike & Gina and their two sons next to the Jewel Tower in Westminster. I did a walk around east London with two brothers Tom & Ted and finally, a Westminster based walk with New Zealander's Sue & Gavin. Sue's parents met working in Bomber Command during World War II, so I took the photo of them in front of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park.
So, to conclude July's walks, I did an east London walk with Scott, Arlene and Hannah who are standing in Spitalfields with Hawksmoor's Christchurch in Spitalfields in the distance. Next up is Lisa and family in St James's Park. Bottom left is a whole bunch of people from CAFOD. It's the second summer in a row I've done a walk with them, and this year we split the day up in to two sections, exploring around the City of London in the morning and east London in the afternoon. They're standing in front of 30 St Mary Axe, otherwise known as 'The Gherkin'. Last Thursday I did a walk with Alexis & Adam, visiting from the States for a wedding. I took their photo on the Southbank, shortly before they went on the London Eye.
So, there you have it. There's still plenty of availability in August and September, so if you're visiting London and would like me to show you around, then please get in touch.
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.