London Walks

Old Jan 26th, 2005, 08:33 AM
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London Walks

I received a brochure from the tourist board about "The Original London Walks". Are these any good, or are they a waste of my time and money?

Thanks
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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They are terrific and very cheap. There are so many different options and the guides are knowledgable and friendly. My only warning is that some are incredibly popular (Jack the Ripper) and you'll find yourself with a couple hundred other walkers. I think that might not be worth the time. But for the most part, they are small and great.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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I don't know how valuable your time is, but for me they have been a valuable resource on many visits to London. I have done at least 20 walks with them since the first in 1993.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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I agree with Grasshopper (no surprise). Our Jack the Ripper was not pleasant as we were in a huge group -- Donald's group was already set -- and we were bored by our guide who knew little and just kept repeating over and over too softly for most of us to hear.
On the other hand we did a "mysterious East End" walk with "the Donald" on a Sunday afternoon and it was great.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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There are also "self-guided audio tours" you can load into your CD player.

http://www.nostalgic-images.co.uk/Application/Products/Historic-walks/historic-walks-1GB.asp
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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Just a note on the Ripper walks: Everyone wants to go with Donald. We accidently got "hijacked" by a guy who turned out to be fantastic. And his group had only about 12 people. Later I was trying to read about this guide on the London Walks website and read their warning. The official London Walks guides always leave at a specific time. Never go with a guide who's not wearing the identifying badge. It turns out "Tony" was one of those. And he was fantastic! We kriscrossed a couple of huge groups and I wondered who they were and was glad I wasn't in those.

So if you happen to run across Tony, a Beefeater by day, who wants you to leave with him about 15 minutes early, you might take a chance. At the end of the walk he asks you to pay what you think his walk was worth. We also got to break in a pub, which the big groups can't do, due to sheer size.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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I LOVED the London Walk we took. Of course it was the Jack the Ripper walk. I'd recommend them in a heartbeat, if only for the fact that you're taken through the back streets you normally wouldn't venture to on your own.

I wouldn't hesitate to take another tour with them next year when we go back.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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I'll add my endorsement too. We went on about 5 of them in June & liked them all. The Christopher Wren walk was especially nice because it was a little more "serious" than the others. Often the guides get a little too caught up telling jokes, and we prefer just the facts. One guide for Westminster was a little hard to understand, so we didn't enjoy that walk as much as others. The one that starts with a boat trip down the Thames, was good for the boat trip, but the remaining walk was just OK. We liked the Belgravia walk conducted by the ex-zookeeper, and the Inns of Court. The guide on the Mayfair walk told too many jokes, but the walk was interesting.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 09:04 AM
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London Walks are about thest thing london has to offer. the guides are excellent, knowledgeable and friendly. We have done almsot all of the ones that they offer in the winter and will take more when we are there in a couple of weeks. There are so many types of walks that it would be impossible not to find something that will interest everyone!!!
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 09:59 AM
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Definitely not a waste of time and money. They are great introductions to London. Their Explorer Days are also very good. I've done around 4 dozen of their walks. The pub walks are a lot of fun. As noted, the Jack the Ripper walks are very popular. Some of my favorite walks include Eccentric London, Secret London, Wren's Churches, Westminister Abbey and the Beatles' walks. I enjoy using self-guided walking books as well, but I still prefer London walks.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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They are very good, and entertaining. We took the Jack the R walk--and it was quite a crowd.

We took two less popular walks, the Bloomsbury Literary Walk and the Lambeth Walk, that were fabulous. But I don't know if they have these any longer.

The Lambeth Walk was especially interesting as the guide (a stage actor) had grown up there through WWII and the 50's. He had so many interesting anecdotes.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 03:08 PM
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I'll add my endorsement. We've taken the obligatory "Ripper" walk, the Greenwich walk and a Ghosts, Gaslights and Pubs walk (can't remember if this is the exact name). They were all very informative and entertaining. We also purchased from a bookstore a Beatles walk that we did on our own, which was lots of fun trying to find all the sites.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:17 PM
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My only caveat about London Walks is that the pace can be a bit brisk for someone who has any walking difficulty. My faithful traveling companion and I can stroll for hours through London's streets and parks -- and usually do -- but we often found ourselves breathless trying to keep up with some of their guides.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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The 'original' London Walks is just one of a plethora of such guided thematic walks, often led by erudite locals. There is nothing magic about London Walks as far as i can see - such a walk is great no matter which of many established companies run them. That they have paid the London Tourist Board to send out their info doesn't make them any better than others. Take any that's convenient to you. Your hotel WILL have in the free brochure racks several different company offerings. Not to say that London Walks isn't good, just that they're one of many.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:27 PM
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PalQ, I can't say I've really heard of any other walk companies in London besides London Walks. Do you know of them and have you tried their offerings?
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Can anyone explain the appeal of the Jack the R. tour? DH thinks it sounds grisly and I can see what he means. We don't watch "America's Most Wanted," lol.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:30 PM
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I think people like to be scared (or at least to think about scary things) because it imparts a sense of aliveness.

Xtreme sports - bungee, base jumping, snowboarding
Theme park rides - roller coasters that will dismember you
Sky diving - what can one say?
Friday the 13th Part XXVIII
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:37 PM
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No i don't know their names but i've seen various brochures for years - i've been going to London yearly since 1969 - look in TimeOut London, on sale in Border, Barnes and Noble in US and all over London. Again i'm not dissing Original London Walks. Yes i did take one other one several years ago but don't remember which. I'm not saying not to take Original walks but check your hotel brochure rack and take most convenient to your plans.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:38 PM
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And the idea of having to call yourself the 'original' London walks implies that there are other non-original London walks?
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Interresting, we did the Jack the Ripper tour too, and while it was crowded, it was very enjoyable. We also did 2 ghost walks, they were great.
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