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Get the know some of the many facets of London, intimately, on foot, with your own private Blue-Badge tourist guide. So many experiences. Here are just some of them.

 

Mayfair - The Best Address in London.  A sophisticated walking tour             Luxury and glamour could easily be the theme for this walk, as we shall be finding our way through one of the most expensive areas not only in London, but in Europe! Hidden away right in the heart of the capital are the top addresses, the hotels where the celebrities and the powerful stay, the clubs where Royalty relax and the shops where they spend their fortunes. 
Of course, there are also the scandals that caused huge headlines in the press; the aristocrat that disappeared, an insatiable Duchess with innumerable lovers, and the royal party that went badly wrong… 
It is also here you find London’s most hidden away little village, a remnant of an historical past where the 18th century atmosphere still lingers round the narrow alleyways. Not to mention Britain’s wealthiest landlord, a Duke and a Marquess – these are just two of his many titles – who guards his inheritance with unswerving commitment. 
A tour to give you a lot to gossip about!


Royal London
Meet the “All powerful Queen of love” and other royal mistresses. Find out where the royal rabbit is buried and what Queen Victoria actually thought about sex. What is the link between Edward VIII, Mrs Simpson and Mohammed al Fayed? You will find the answer to all these questions and more during this illuminating walk among royal residences and the homes of aristocrats in the area of St James’s.
You will see another side of the Monarchy through the centuries; surprising relationships and embarrassing incidents that have only added to our fascination for the House of Windsor and their ancestors.
This walk will take you past Spencer House, St James’s Palace, Marlborough House, Clarence House, Buckingham Palace and more.
If the weather is clement and the date is right (and if you wish), a perfect view of the Guard Change can be included.



Belgravia - Money, murder and the Marquess

A walking tour discovering what really goes on behind the facades of those silent Wisteria covered exteriors that are synonymous with Belgravia.  This peaceful enclave, where the traditional upper classes are gradually giving way to the Russian ‘nouveaux riches’ is not only the home of Prime Ministers and aristocrats, it has witnessed unexplained disturbances and murder most foul…Gourmets in a church, a cherished film location but also the hideaway of some of London’s most delightful pubs.  We will definitely be busy during our walking tour….!



“Wigs and Gowns” - The Inns of Court. Legal London
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A walk through the maze of cloisters, secret courtyards and little-known ancient ‘chambers’ that make up today’s Legal London. An exploration of a hidden world steeped in history and peculiar traditions that still play an important part in the life of a working barrister such as Cherie Booth QC. This tour follows in the footsteps of the TV character ‘Kavanagh QC’ and takes you through Inner & Middle Temple, Lincoln’s Inn and into the Royal Courts of Justice. If open, you will also visit the unique Temple Church to see the famous ‘crusader effigies’.



“To Be or Not to Be” – Theatrical London /A walk around Covent Garden

This tour discovers ‘Theatreland’- the area where DRAMA – both real and enacted- has been the theme for hundreds of years. In Covent Garden you are ‘on location for’ Eliza Dolittle, Hamlet, the great Henry Irving and countless other stars. You will hear of the true meaning of “Royal Performances” and some of its ‘consequences’ and breathe in the star-studded atmosphere of institutions such as the Royal Opera House and the ‘Actors Church’. You will also discover ‘alternative’ London along the back streets; where dancers and actors search for stardom and inner peace can be bought at unconventional establishments…  



Mediaeval City of London

The City of London street plan is almost the same as it was in mediaeval times, even the names remain unchanged, Bread Street, Wood Street.
There were over a hundred churches and religious houses within the square mile. Many are still standing such as St Bartholew the Great, started in 1123 and featured in the films Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love.
Tradesmen joined guilds who controlled wages, quality, education and welfare of it’s members. The guildmembers elected elders and a mayor to govern the City. The system has changed little since then and their C15th Guildhall is still in use.
Justice was administered at the Guildhall too and punishment was severe, public execution at Smithfield or Tower Hill. Traitors like William Wallace head their severed head displayed on London bridge.
Business deals used to be made in ale houses and coffee shops with a handshake for a seal. London is unique for the way it conducts business, even in the computor age, face to face contact is still vital if you want to make it in the City just as it was in medieval times.
The City is now dominated by high tech, high rise office blocks but take a walk with a Blue badge guide and you will find the remains of the old City walls and learn how London has simply evolved and adapted itself through the ages.



Southwark - Hidden London
Once an exceptionally colourful part of London, amazingly busy especially at night, when revellers make their way across the river to the notorious and sinful part called Southwark.' A mediaeval observer remarked on what was the equivalent of Soho today! 
Here prostitutes and bishops rubbed shoulders and sometimes even more!Shakespeare met fame and fortune, and Charles Dickens saw sights and experienced events which shaped his future books. 
Prisoners languished in gruesome and foul smelling gaols while patients endured agonising operations in an era which did not yet know about anaesthetics. 
Hear of famous people like Florence Nightingale and John Harvard, Geoffrey Chaucer and Lawrence Olivier who like you, once walked these dark, winding streets where centuries of history and extraordinary events have left a mark which doesn't seem to want to go away.  
The past will not be shut out in historic Southwark and continues to come back with reminders like the Globe Theatre - fabulous reconstruction of one of the three Shakespearian theatres which attracted so many of the revellers to this part of town, or the charming ancient pub, the George, with its galleried balconies. Not far from here was the famous Tabard Inn, where Chaucer's fictional Pilgrims met up before their journey of story telling and adventure along the well trodden Pilgrims' Way to Canterbury. 



London's East-End
- From Liverpool Street Station to Whitechapel.
Rich in history and always bustling with life. A real melting pot of cultures just outside the City of London. Once there were orchards and fields here where artillery men could practice. In the 1600’s French Huguenots settled and began a silk weaving industry that made them rich. Their fine C18th houses are still standing. As London grew in the C19th new immigrants arrived from the English countryside. They were joined by Jews escaping persecution in Russia, Poland and Germany. All lived in cramped conditions and made a living as best they could. Street markets were set up which still attract bric a brac and bargain hunters. The area which had a pub on every corner. Prostitution, robbery, and murder were rife and people lived from day to day paying fourpence a night to hire a bed in a doss house. The doss houses and soup kitchens are now listed buildings with luxury apartment in them.


ARCHITECTURE

A Rediscovered 18th century Palace – Somerset House
A walk around the grandest and largest 18th century building in London recently opened up to the public. Designed by Sir William Chambers – architect to HM the King- and once the site of a royal palace, this hugely ambitious project was initially built to house learned societies and government offices. You will trace the development of this classical building up to the recently completed refurbishment and look at some of the architectural ‘gems’ of the interior.


ART HISTORY

The Courtauld Institute Gallery
This is “one of the finest collections of Impressionist pictures in the world” and one of those delightful, not too big galleries that you can manage in the space of a couple of hours. Come along on a ‘highlights tour’ viewing art in a ‘jewel-like’ setting, taking you through the famous collections formed by Samuel Courtauld, Count Antoine Seilern and others. The tour also takes you through some of the grandest interiors of Somerset House - the rooms once occupied by and designed for the Royal Academy and the Royal Society.


 
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