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London walking tour recommendations please

London walking tour recommendations please

Old Nov 25th, 2013, 10:55 PM
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London walking tour recommendations please

Hi Fodorites
has anyone done sucha tour..daughter and i are looking maybe to do a walk with a guide...blue badge? any others? going next jan and really keen to learn more about history of britain ( more kings and queens rather than beatles)
thanks for any tips!
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Old Nov 25th, 2013, 11:35 PM
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London Walks (http://www.walks.com/)- hands down the best option. Their guides are excellent and there's a wide variety to walks to choose from.
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Old Nov 25th, 2013, 11:45 PM
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Absolutely second the suggestion for London Walks! Great affordable walking tours. I think they do Harry Potter tours if your daughter likes those books!
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 12:46 AM
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ok thank you both galactus and jamikins!
how far in advance would i need to book?
( and yes ...HP would be on the list)..
we just want someone to point out things that we might miss - even if we have a guide book as a reference..easy to miss something and be kicking yourself when you get home lol
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 01:23 AM
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The great thing is that you don't need to book any of their tours. You just show up at the appointed time, pay and you are on your way!
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 04:39 AM
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I was also thinking of doing one of the London Walks tours, but now I'm less certain. I'd be grateful if someone who has done some of these tours could address the points that are worrying me.

I read somewhere that often the London Walks groups are unmanageably large, even though they bring along an extra guide or two to the most popular ones so that they can break into several groups if need be. (We'll be in London over Christmas, and the crowds seem to be greater then.) Because of my next concern, I wouldn't want to be part of a really large group.

Another problem is whether all will understand the guide. I saw a video of part of one of the tours, and my doubts began then. The guide was very lively and entertaining, but her accent was not of the most comprehensible. One of us is an 8-year old American child and another is an Italian whose grasp of English is somewhat shaky. I know that my husband (the Italian) would have had difficulty understanding understanding this particular guide, as he learned English with the "received" pronunciation and hasn't beeen exposed much to any other. I'm not sure the American child would have understood much, either. I've taken tours in English with my husband before and know that strong regional accents greatly interfere with his comprehension. Once at a national park in the US, we had a guide with a Texas accent and he might as well have been speaking Chinese for all my husband understood.

I will be grateful for any input!

By the way, I found on the internet a do-it-yourself Harry Potter walk that you can download. My granddaughter is a big Harry Potter fan, but we couldn't find any Harry Potter walks available on days when we were free. This tour has been put together by Richard Jones, of www.london-ghost-tour.com , who also conducts a walking tour on the theme. It has enough non-Harry-Potter stuff to please even those who aren't captivated by the little wizard. I've downloaded it, and we hope to do at least part of it, maybe breaking it up over several days, so we won't be out in the cold for too long.
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 04:50 AM
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The only one that I have experienced that was massively large was Jack the Ripper and that was the worst one of them all and the only one I wouldn't recommend.

There is no way for us to determine whether you will understand the guide as we don't know which walk you are interested in or what that guide will sound like. I have never had a problem but it isy first language.

My advice is to go to the meeting place and determine both factors for yourself. It is a really low cost so even if you did and couldn't understand some the kids would not be great. You could maybe let the guide know English is a second language and see what they say before paying. In my experience they are great with kids.

Personally I find the crowds way smaller in London over winter and as most of the locals take part of the period off around Xmas the crowds are much less...but that's just my experience
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 04:52 AM
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The costs, not kids, wouldn't be so great...darn autocorrect!
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 04:53 AM
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bvlenci

It varies, sometimes you will have a clear "received English" which used to be called Oxford English but obviously not with an American accent (or any of the..) however you may have a guide hamming it up, which will throw your husband.

The tours don't get so big you cannot hear and since you pay at the time you can decide to not join in. Equally if it is raining "stairods" you don't have to go.

Some of the book based tours are good.

I guess you pays your money and takes your choice.
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 05:28 AM
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Frankly, you are trying to accommodate different interests and abilities. You are correct, a one-size fits all tour might not be best for you.

That said, I too don't remember having a London Walks tour group that was too big.

Also, you probably can help translate a bit for your husband if he runs into difficulty (either at each location or during the walks in between). Most of the London Walks tours have a little time between each stop for you to converse and/or ask the guide questions.

Some of the tours probably aren't appropriate or at least interesting for an 8 year old.
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 06:04 AM
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You could also buy a guide book of walks in London and do your own guiding. I like Andrew Duncan but I am sure there others. Regular guidebooks often have walking routes, too.
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 06:57 AM
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Thanks very much for the information. I suppose we can decide when we're there, maybe take a vote on the day.

The guide in the short video I saw on the London Walks web site was definitely hamming it up!
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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I've done about a dozen walks and never had a problem with accents. It may happen but I haven't experienced it. They often have two guides for the more popular walks. I think the walks are an excellent experience and highly recommend them but pass on Jack the Ripper.
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 07:52 AM
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>>I read somewhere that often the London Walks groups are unmanageably large, even though they bring along an extra guide or two to the most popular ones
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Nov 26th, 2013, 10:15 PM
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thank you for all the information, folks ...

the accent thing shouldnt be a problem but it does remind me of the time we had a tour of versailles and the local guide was telling us they used 'SOUP" to wash the floors back then
and so i dutifully wrote that in my little diary

then i asked for clarification

and she glared at me and said:
'SOUP' ...'SOAP' whats the difference !
i didnt buy into it anymore...lol..still chuckling here! the French certainly have their way with us sometimes!
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