Home Walks

London walks and walking tours.

London has the oldest comprehensive transport system, of any city in the world. As a result it needs continual maintenance to repair bridges, roads and tunnels which are 2-300 years old, so it's not as spanking new as you'll find in younger cities. Despite these difficulties and endless refurbishment programmes, it also has the largest transport system and this section of the site is aimed at persuading you to leave it alone - for at least some of the time.Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs


Far and away the best method of understanding and appreciating the city is to see it on foot. In the same way that flying around the world (Michael Palin, Alain de Boton and Bill Bryson all touch on this), can give you a distorted view of the world - as a series of vastly different cities, conjoined by high altitude naps in aircraft and endless cups of coffee in the monotone, cathedral-like spaces of modern airports. If you travel by foot, bicycle, horse, camel, motorcycle, bus or train you'll see landscapes gradually change over distance and time, according to the geography of the land use and the local climate. Countries begin to make sense and your perceptions of the local people and the land, alter with this realisation.

The same can be said for all cities, albeit, on a smaller scale. As you wander on foot from district (or more accurately 'parish') to district, you can begin to see the layers of the onion radiating outwards. London began as two small settlements which expanded, eventually merging to form the metropolis you see today. The City of London (or 'City') which is the remnant of the Roman settlement and the city of Westminster, where the introduction of the Palace at Whitehall (destroyed by fire), the Palace of Westminster (Government) and Westminster Abbey led to infrastructure developing around it.

The London Underground - Tube trainTravelling by Tube can move you around the city rapidly, but will also contribute to you frequently losing your bearings. If you follow a few of these walks you can take in many of the sites, but more importantly, can understand how those different regions and districts are connected.

Walk Three - Covent Garden to Oxford Circus

CoventGarden

Covent Garden

Originally the site of a fruit, vegetable and flower market from the early sixteenth century until 1974, when it was moved to a more suitable location at Nine Elms. Originally the site of the Convent ('Covent' in middle-english) of St. Peter, it was appropriated by Henry VIII after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. The arcaded piazza was the work of Inigo Jones and it was not long after its construction, that street entertainment became synonymous with the area (since goods here attracted buyers and sellers from far and wide). Samuel Pepys recorded witnessing his first Punch and Judy show here in 1662. After browsing the shops and taking in the buskers, head south down Bedford Street to the.St. Mary Le Strand in the Strand, where the old banks of the Thames lay.



Strand

Its name derives from the english word for a shore (river or coastal). It initially represented the high tide mark of the Thames, before the river was embanked. It was also the traditional route connecting the ancient Roman settlement of the 'City' and the settlement of Westminster. Houses on the south side backed onto the Thames, until the construction of the Victoria Embankment in 1870, which moved the river 50 metres further south. Turn right, heading west and you will pass Charing Cross station before the road opens out into.

 

Walk Two - Bond Street to the Houses of Parliament

Bond Street

Bond Street: Designer clothing shops in the West End.Exit Bond Street Tube station via the shopping centre. Head east along Oxford Street before turning right into Bond Street. Actually two streets, New Bond Street in the north it becomes Old Bond Street in the south, and is home to the most expensive shops and boutiques in town, most especially: international fashion designers and jewellers. At the south end, the street leads into.

Piccadilly

Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly - Beadles in top hats keep order. Turn right into Piccadilly heading away from Piccadilly Circus. On the left you will pass Fortnum and Mason, London's oldest department store and further along, The Ritz Hotel. Piccadilly was so named after the fortune amassed by a tailor called Robert Baker, from selling piccadills (a kind of scalloped collar), which were highly fashionable in the seventeenth century. He bought the land in this district (open country at the time) and built a large house named Piccadilly Hall. Just beyond the Ritz, you will see.
 

Walk One - St. Paul's to the Tower of London

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral - the fifth cathedral of that name built in the same location.Beginning at St Paul's, cross over Ludgate Hill and head east. St. Paul's was built by Christopher Wren in response to the previous St. Paul's (the fourth such building on the site) being destroyed in the Great Fire of London (1666). It took 31 years to complete the building, built entirely of costly but durable Portland stone. Despite the entire surrounding area being destroyed by bombs during the Second World War, the cathedral miraculously survived many near-misses. Wren was the first person to be interred after his death with the epitaph (translated from the Latin) - "Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you." The entrance to Millennium footbridge can be found to the south of the cathedral

Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge: Opened and closed in 2000 because it wobbled, but quickly fixedCross over the foot bridge, the newest of the Thames bridges, which opened and closed in quick succession in June 2000. Nicknamed the 'wobbly bridge' it required further damping, which fixed the problem and subsequently it reopened early the next year. The large brick building on the far side is Bankside Power Station - home of the Tate Modern.
 
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