Guide London

Public Walking & Virtual Tours By London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides

In addition to offering customized private tours, many London Blue Badge Tourist Guides also conduct regular walking tours and virtual tours for groups. Joining a group tour can be a fun and affordable way to take in the sights.

For locals, a walk with a knowledgeable and passionate Blue Badge Tourist Guide can reveal fun facts and hidden gems you may not have been aware of. If you are not in London or would prefer to curl up and explore the city from home, there are plenty of virtual tours on offer. These are presented live on Zoom, and the guides use technology to take you virtually through London’s streets, alleyways and historic buildings — an exciting twist on a traditional walking tour.

Here are some of the tours available in October 2020:

PUBLIC WALKING TOURS

The London Magic Tour
More details and bookings via londonmagictour.com
Jennifer El Gammal is not only a Blue Badge Tourist Guide but also a musician and a magician. Discover the magic side of London beyond Mr Potter! From medieval witches and alchemists to tales of great illusionists past and present, learn about the true history of MAGIC in London. Lost theatres, fascinating real-life magic tales and sparkly anecdotes make this 1.5-hour tour a real treat: a relaxing and entertaining experience that will leave you happy and full of wonder. Price £15 for adults, with a choice of dates.

Artists Hampstead
More details and bookings via gailtouristguide.com
Head to Hampstead with Gail Jones. This area has a long association with artists, such as Constable, Mark Gertler and Stanley Spencer. We visit the picturesque streets of the old village, then go down the hill to where young artists could afford to live in the early C20th to discover Hampstead’s Bauhaus connections. After the tour, you could explore the shops and antiques emporium, have lunch in an atmospheric pub, or take a walk or a bus to Kenwood House and see the fabulous art collection there. Covid-19 rules allow us to take larger groups. but for comfort on narrow lanes the tour will be for 5 people only. This 2-hour tour for small groups is an ideal birthday or anniversary present for art lovers at £36 per person.

Mariners, Movies and the Mayflower – Historic Rotherhithe
Details and bookings via secretlondonwalkingtours.co.uk
Diane Burstein has been guiding for many years and is well-known for her walking tours and radio broadcasts that are full of interesting titbits. She is a specialist in the arts and the theatre. This tour visits the old riverside village that was much altered by the development of the docks but still has many stories to tell. Connections with the Pilgrim Fathers, an unusual film studio, 19th-century warehouses, breath-taking river views, contemporary sculpture, an 18th– century church and a community centre with a sinister secret all feature on this tour of one of London’s lesser-known districts. Duration 2 hours. Price £15 (reductions if you book more than one tour).

“Living in Squares and Loving in Triangles” – A Guided walk through historic Bloomsbury
More details and bookings via secretlondonwalkingtours.co.uk
With Radio London Contributor and London Blue Badge Tour Guide Diane Burstein. Bloomsbury is a fascinating area, and on this tour, we discover all the different faces of London’s intellectual heart. The presence of the British Museum and London University have attracted many intellectuals and writers, including the famous Bloomsbury set of writers and artists who were just as well-known for their interesting love lives as they were for their literature and art. Characters encountered include WB Yeats, Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell, Charles Dickens, T S Eliot and George Orwell. We’ll be walking through some lovely garden squares to see the homes and workplaces of Bloomsbury’s notable inhabitants. Duration 2 hours. Price £15.

Chelsea Walk – The Famous the Fashionable & the Filthy Rich
More details and booking via walks.com
This tour covers the history of the area and the hidden gems of this fascinating village, while concentrating on Chelsea’s famous residents, past and present. Among them: Keith Richards, Oscar Wilde, Prince Pavlos of Greece, John Paul Getty, Michael Bloomberg, Bob Marley, Carol Reed, the Earl of Durham…and that’s just for starters. Needless to say, the Swinging Sixties, Mary Quant and the Punk era also get in on the act. The walk is guided by the actor and Blue Badge Guide Paul Aves. Chelsea is very much Paul’s hood. He has, as he enticingly puts it, “a certain inside knowledge” and “all sorts of fun stories to tell.” Duration 2 hours. Price £15 adults.

PUBLIC VIRTUAL TOURS

A Walk Around the Gherkin
More details and bookings via Eventbrite.co.uk  
With Gail Jones. I look at buildings and sculpture to tell stories in the middle of the skyscraper cluster of London. Find out why these businesses are here, and discover secret courtyards and churches tucked into this tiny area of the City of London. Duration 45 mins + discussion/questions. Price £8.

Aristocrats and Artists – Historic Holland Park
More details and bookings via secretlondonwalkingtours.co.uk
A virtual tour of one of London’s most attractive areas with Diane Burstein. Let me transport you to Holland Park’s beautiful gardens and the remains of a Jacobean mansion. Learn about the lives of the aristocrats who lived here over the years. Move on to the Melbury Road Artists Quarter to see the studio houses of Luke Fildes, William Holman Hunt and Lord Leighton. Walk virtually down cobbled mews, admire magnificent Victorian stucco houses that have attracted a variety of well-to-do residents from the world of business, sport and celebrity. We finish at a 1960s design classic: the former Commonwealth Institute, now home to the Design Museum. Duration 90 mins including discussion/questions. Price £10.

Secret London 
More details and bookings via secretlondonwalkingtours.co.uk
With Diane Burstein. An illustrated talk showing a collection of sites that are truly off the beaten London track, but sometimes hidden in plain sight. Courtyards, alleyways, fire-marks, bollards that tell a story, Parish boundaries, beautiful art works above and below our feet, hidden gardens and Roman ruins all feature. Duration 90 mins including discussion/questions. Price £10.

Performers, Pineapples, Courtyards and Courtesans – Historic Covent Garden
More details and bookings via secretlondonwalkingtours.co.uk
With Diane Burstein. Covent Garden has undergone many changes over the years. Once a market garden tended by the monks at Westminster Abbey, the area was London’s first West End development with the first London square, called a Piazza due to architect Inigo Jones’s love of all things Italian. Known in the past for its bustling fruit, vegetable and flower market, Covent Garden is also in the heart of London’s theatreland. The Royal Opera House, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and numerous other playhouses have many stories to tell. We’ll uncover the history, hear about scandalous behaviour and conjure up pictures of the busy market. Duration 90 mins. Price £10.

Alleyways of the Old City
More details and bookings via Alleyways
With Fiona Lukas. Beneath the modern glass and steel buildings of the financial district runs a warren of ancient alleyways, where events have left their marks. Passages walked by Shakespeare, Chaucer and Thomas Beckett. To look down these lanes is to catch a glimpse of medieval London. In the nooks and crannies of the city there are treasures to be found. Churchyards, pubs and trade guilds all bustled with life through the centuries. In this hour-long virtual tour, we’ll discover some of the secrets of the city, the ones hidden down the darkest alleyways. And we see where modern buildings and sculptures are complementing the old routes. We’ll visit the sites of some of the most important events of the city, actual and fictional. To walk her lanes, courts, passages and alleys is to feel the pulse of a trading city, and understand the passing of time.

Guide London

GUIDE LONDON represents the membership of the Association of Professional Tourist Guides which includes 600+ Blue Badge Tourist Guides in London.

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