Since I began Bowl Of Chalk London walking tours five and a half years ago I have continued to offer three set walks each weekend which operate on a 'pay what you want' basis. Each walk generally lasts about 2.5 / 3 hours. They are as follows:
Saturday morning - Trafalgar Square to St Paul's cathedral.
This walk begins in the tourist hot spot of Trafalgar Square, taking in the square itself, Nelson's Column and the National Gallery building. Although we don't venture around the 'sights' of Westminster, Big Ben is visible at the bottom of Whitehall. After visiting the statue of Charles I next to the official centre of London, we have of late, passed Benjamin Franklin's House, threaded our way through Victoria Embankment Gardens and up in to the bustling Covent Garden and St Paul's, the Actors' church. From here we make our way around Aldwych, passing the church of St Clement Danes and the Royal Courts of Justice, in to the City of London via Fleet Street. We usually veer off through the maze of alleyways that brings us to Dr Johnson's House, the famous statue of his beloved cat, Hodge and past the famous Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub. Back on Fleet Street, we pass the church of St Bride's, and up towards St Paul's cathedral.
Saturday Afternoon - St Paul's to Monument (via Bankside & Borough)
This walk begins by St Paul's cathedral, through the churchyard and on to the Millennium Bridge, taking us over the River Thames towards the Tate Modern on the south side. Here we pass by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the site of the original Elizabethan Theatre which opened on Bankside in 1599, and along to the usually heaving Borough Market. We usually pop in to the 17th century George Inn on Borough High Street before heading up on to London Bridge, which offers a great view of the iconic Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the H.M.S Belfast before finishing at the Monument, commemorating the Great Fire of London, 1666.
Sunday - East London
The Sunday walk is very street art heavy, but does include historical elements. We often begin near Old Street, including Bunhill Fields Cemetery, where the likes of Daniel Defoe, William Blake and John Bunyan are buried. We pass the Wesleyan Chapel on City Road before heading in towards Shoreditch, which although is now a plethora of cafes, boutique shops and clubs, was in the 19th century, the centre of London's furniture trade. We usually stop off at Arnold Circus, the UK's first ever council estate, then bypassing the incredibly busy Brick Lane make our way towards Spitalfields with its fascinating Huguenot, Jewish and Bangladeshi heritage. Obviously the street art changes pretty regularly, but I tend (as with all my tours) to talk about things that interest me, and street art is no different. I'll undoubtedly point out and talk about Banksy, Ben Wilson (the chewing gum man), Christiaan Nagel, Bambi, Roa, Jimmy C and Thierry Noir ... amongst others.
If you're in London one weekend and think that one of these walks might appeal (or fit in with your schedule) then please send me a message via the contact form. You won't actually know where we're meeting until I send you all the details confirming the walk and how many places you'd like to book. I do this so I can keep an eye on numbers. Please don't try just turning up. You'll see from the photos that it could be just you, two people, four, eight or more. Unless someone books loads of people at once, it probably won't be that big a group.
Please check the dates on the website homepage to make sure the walk you'd like to join is running, as although it is pretty continuous, there are occasional changes.
Just a quick little roundup today. It rained pretty much non stop during the east end walk on Sunday. On top of that it was also pretty incredibly cold, grey and miserable, so I'd like to say a massive thank you to Jay, Christine, Ashley, Adam and Dina for not only turning up (there was also major tube disruptions) but sticking around right until the bitter, cold end.
Here they are in a random, non descript car park. You see, it was so cold and wet, that I didn't put too much thought in to framing a wonderful, picturesque photo. However, if you look carefully, you might might notice one of street artist Roa's large black and white animals just behind Adam's head.
However, not sticking to the same route does has its advantages, as we stumbled across a couple of other bits of street art just near Hoxton Square. This one by Stik (no pun intended), who I've mentioned on multiple occasions.
And another one of Christiaan Nagel's ubiquitous mushrooms.
Most energetic - Dina (walked all the way from St James's, before we started the walk)
Most Irish - Christine
Most male - Adam
Best moustache - No winners
On Saturday morning I was joined by Liz and John for the walk from Trafalgar Square to St Paul's. Here they are standing outside Apothecaries' Hall, situated in the precinct of the former priory of the Black Friars in the City, from which the nearby bridge and station get their name.
It's got a lovely courtyard and is the oldest existing livery company Hall in the City, which despite a major refurbishment in the 18th Century, retains a number of rooms and features (including a rather grand staircase) from when it was rebuilt after the Great Fire between 1668 - 1670.
For Sunday's walk around the east end I met Martin and Wendy who run a hotel in north Devon called The Rocks Hotel in Woolacombe, so if you fancy a visit to the area, why not look them up. Joining them was William, Caroline, Emmett, Lucian (all based in Hackney) and Elodie visiting from Germany. Just before I met them, I spotted one of street artist Christiaan Nagel's mushrooms on top of the Shoreditch Grind cafe next to Old Street roundabout. Not sure how long it's been there for because sometimes these things have been around for ages, then one day you suddenly notice them. Anyway ... if you live in or have visited east London, you'll be familiar with the colourful mushrooms that adorn rooftops and walls and are apparently made out of a mixture of polyurthane (a sort of expandable foam), fiber glass and stainless steel.
Anyway, we had a wander around Old Street, Hoxton and Shoreditch and here are the group just by Hoxton Square.
Most likely to have an MBE - John
Keenest spotter of padlocks and buses - Emmett
Most German - Caroline & Elodie
Youngest - Lucian
Best moustache - No winners (although John did have some facial hair)
Had the same P.E teacher as me at school (weirdly) - Martin
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.