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London is a city steeped in history, and a good way to learn some of the history while enjoying the sights is to join a walking tour. Arguably the best walks are run by none other than London Walks.
With 100s of walks available, there’s something to suit everyone, taking you to every nook and cranny of London, and beyond! There are even day tours to places like Oxford, Bath, Stonehenge, the Cotswolds – of course, you pay for your own train fares and entrance fees on the day tours.
Perhaps the most popular of their walks, at least when I was living in the UK, were their Jack the Ripper walks. These begin at 7.30pm every night except Christmas Eve and Day just outside the exit of the Tower Hill Tube stop, opposite the Tower of London. On this walk, Jack the Ripper’s crimes are retold in chilling detail as you are taken from one crime scene to the next.
I so enjoyed the Jack the Ripper walk, that I joined several others after that, including the Da Vinci Code walk, where we were shown shooting locations for some scenes from the movie.
The great thing about joining a walking tour is that things get pointed out to you that you would otherwise never have noticed. The Shakespeare and Dickens walk took us along narrow little alleyways and past half timbered Elizabethan homes reminiscent of the times in which they lived. 11am Wednesdays and 2pm Sundays from St Paul’s Tube station, exit 2
The thing I remember most fondly about the Darkest Victorian walk was being shown the location where some of the Night Bus scenes from Harry Potter were shot.
We were also shown the cottages of Octavia Hill, a social reformer concerned with the welfare of the inhabitants of London and the driving force behind setting up social housing. 10.45am Mondays from Monument Tube station, Fish Street Hill exit
My favourite walk, though, was without a doubt the Hampstead walk. This is easily one of London’s most peaceful and picturesque neighbourhoods. Set on a hill with great views overlooking London, here you will find tranquil green spaces, quaint cobblestone streets, cute cottages and stately Georgian homes, including the building that featured as the Admiral’s house in the Mary Poppins movie! Your guide will point out the dwellings of poets and artists past and present, from Elizabeth Taylor to Emma Thompson to Jamie Oliver. If you’re lucky, you may even spot one of them! 10am Sundays from Hampstead Tube station
You know what I am insanely jealous about though? I have discovered that they now run HARRY POTTER FILM LOCATION WALKING TOURS! If that doesn’t get you excited, then check out this video below. I feel like I need to book a flight to London just so I can take this tour!
And now, for details:
The walks cost £9, £7 concession (65+, students and Frequent Walkers cardholders – ask your tour guide if you want one for the mere sum of £2), free for children <15yo; day tours out of London cost £16, £14 for 65+ and students, £12 for Frequent Walkers, free for children <15yo. I know, right? Bargain!
They last about 2 hours generally (except for the day tours).
Check online for details to decide which tour you want to go on, then turn up to the relevant Tube station at the correct time – no need to book!
Just look for your tour guide outside the right Tube stop at the right time – look for the person holding up the white London Walks leaflet.
The tours always take place, regardless of group size, and regardless of weather.
Have you been on a Harry Potter walking tour in London? Was it as great as it sounds? If so, do share all the juicy details with me!
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