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What is your favorite London Walk and why?

What is your favorite London Walk and why?

Dec 1st, 2002, 06:39 AM
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What is your favorite London Walk and why?

I'm planning a trip to London in March and would like to try two or three of the London walks given by the Original London Walks. I've heard Jack the Ripper and the pub walks are good, but I'm more interested in history and architecture and museums. If you had to pick two or three which would you recommend and why? Are the V & A or the British Museum ones any good? Thanks.

Dec 1st, 2002, 06:53 AM
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I happen to be one of the few who didn't like the Jack the Ripper tour. We went on a night when seemingly hundreds of people showed up and we got a newer guide who was boring and terrible. She tried to play dramatic actress and kept telling the same story over and over, more concerned with the blood and gore than the actual history.

This past summer we did a fairly new tour, called the "Unknown East End" walk on a Sunday afternoon, with the reknowned Donald of the Jack the Ripper walks. It was wonderful, much of it centered around the arcitecture and history of the east end.

Have you looked at the web site for the London Walks? It is very complete. I hit the download button and got something like 25 pages!
Dec 1st, 2002, 02:11 PM
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Have been on a number of London Walks over the past few years..and the Jack the Ripper was not one of my favorites either.

Can't remember the exact names but two favorites were 1)a walk re Christopher Wren's London..starts at Tower Hill & winds it way to St Pauls..the guide at the time (Molly, I think) also leads a walk of the BA; I believe she is an historian..this walk took you to a portion of the London Wall, to a mediveal church, the Temple of Mithrus, to the bombed ruins of a church in which there is now a peace-rememberance type garden, besides to quite a number of Wren churches before ending at the south side garden of St. Pauls. And 2)a walk in Clerkenwell, which now has become more trendy & popular but it was a really interesting historical walk with lots of hidden medieval corners including St Bartholomews, St Botolph's & its postmans park, Smithfield Market (nearby is the plaque to William Wallace; site where he was tortured/quartered), Charterhouse etc. Much of this was nearby to a modern office building where I had been several times during business trips to London, never realizing what was just around some corners.

Instead of Jack the Ripper, London Walks has several pub walks,we went on the Thames one which was pretty interesting, altho this was before Globe & Tate Museum were open.

I've taken the walks in other parts of the city, but seem to find those that are located in or near to the City of London most historically interesting.

Also if you like history & museums, & haven't been, you should go to the Museum of London.
Dec 1st, 2002, 02:24 PM
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The Original London Walks that I've enjoyed the most were Legal London (for the history), Greenwich (for the architecture, and the boat ride), and Hampstead (for the history and its general picturesqueness). I haven't taken any of their museum walks, since I prefer to do museums on my own, so the absence of any museum walks from my list isn't meant to suggest anything negative about those walks.

If you do the Greenwich walk, be sure to allow enough time to visit the Queen's House (designed by Inigo Jones, and a must for anyone who's interested in architecture) on your own after the walk has ended, because my recollection is that the walk doesn't actually take you inside the building (which is now part of the National Maritime Museum).

By the way, I noticed that the Original London Walks website is now calling the Legal London walk "Legal & Illegal London"; I wonder what's changed since I went on the walk, several years ago.
Dec 1st, 2002, 03:41 PM
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Patrick, thanks for the info. I actually checked out the website, and the amount of info was just too overwhelming...which is why I defer to you experts!
Sharon, excellent idea on the Wren tour. I was actually eyeing this one, but wanted some more info before proceeding.
Bree, good stuff, as usual (as I've begun my London research, I've noticed you're a frequent helper on this forum).

As there are about a million different walks, and I'm going to choose 2 or 3, any other ideas or experiences out there that can help me narrow this difficult choice? I've already done a keyword search...but I need more narrowing down help.
Thank you.
Dec 1st, 2002, 05:40 PM
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I've taken many, many of the walks in the past few years, and enjoyed them all. I agree with the previous posters, Jack the Ripper was not among my favorites - too many people. I did the V&A and enjoyed, as they pick out very interesting things to see (in a overwhelming museum). At the British Museum I took one of their own guided
tours. I think one of my favorites was "Old Kensington", guided by David(who I think runs London Walks). He is terrific, and I also loved his "Along the Thames Pub Walk" for a good one in the evening. Truthfully, I don't think you would be disappointed with any of the London Walks you pick.
Dec 1st, 2002, 06:14 PM
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Just curious,why London walks are so popular?

Hope I don't sound critical,but do they offer anything we couldn't find out from guide books or webs?
Dec 1st, 2002, 06:22 PM
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If you that the Big Bus tour, included is a walking tour -- It was delightful -- departed from Trafalger Square Big Bus stop at the Museum.

Also took the Pub Walk down the Thames. Besides hitting some great pubs, loved the Shakespear History.
Dec 1st, 2002, 06:33 PM
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Quick question. What exactly is a pub walk? Is is like a pub crawl (a pint here a pint there)? What is actually emphasized on these tours? Is there really a lot to "pub history"?
Dec 1st, 2002, 07:21 PM
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What is a pub walk. A good pub walk combines a bit of history with a stop in a pub, a little more history and a stop in a pub, etc. For the walk to be fun it helps to have a good storyteller as the leader.

Some of them are very well done. I have enjoyed the walks I have been on. And I was even able to find one of the pubs I was in years later! There was an interesting walk in Chelsea, and the Hampstead Heath walk was fun also.

Have a great time.
Dec 2nd, 2002, 06:46 AM
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I can also recommend the London Walk's trip to Greenwich: a ride on the Thames is included, and it makes a nice first day cure for jet lag.

We did one of the pub walks as well, called (I believe) the Gaslamp or Gaslight. Mostly along the Thames, with lots of history. And plenty of pints as well. We stopped in at several pubs, including one where we saw the late Richard Harris (to the delight of our guide who pointed him out to us, quietly).

As for JC's query as to whether guided tours offer anything above and beyond the info you can get out of a good guide book or off the web, I'd say absolutely. The guides (London Walks guides, anyway)are well-educated and articulate, and impart much more information than I've ever been able to glean from a guide book. You could manage if you already knew a lot about the area, but then you could be a guide yourself, couldn't you?

The down side to guided tours can be your companions, either too many of them, or a few pests. The London Walks guides generally deal well with the latter group, preventing them from hijacking the trip.
Dec 2nd, 2002, 06:55 AM
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Enjoyed the pub walks. Thames was my favorite, and includes some history (also did the Chelsea). Did a general crime walk, but don't recall its name (in 1998). Ok, but long (we covered a great deal of ground). More recently we did the eccentric London. Includes some history and some oddities, some of which were a little contrived. Not great, but of some interest.

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