This walk is predicated on two beliefs. The first, platitudinous if rarely put to the test, is that the centre of London is small enough for people of ordinary fitness to be able to traverse it on foot. The second is likely to be greeted with scepticism: that one can walk across the capital from Hyde Park Corner to the Tower of London without having to walk alongside main roads for more than a couple of hundred yards.
This is London seen from parks, gardens, alleys, backstreets and pedestrian zones. As the crow flies it is 3⅓ miles, but as avoiding traffic requires some circuitous deviations – and enjoyment is enhanced with a few choice digressions – nearly 9 miles are conquered.
The route – which is far from obvious, as may be understood – is laced with delights and surprises. Many famous buildings are passed or glimpsed, but largely the interest lies in unexpected clusters of historic buildings, picturesque vistas and labyrinthine alleys, patches of parkland and well-tended gardens, the contrast between medieval street patterns and recent architectural behemoths.
Some special arrangements have been made which will allow glimpses of normally hidden interiors. A glass of champagne in a Georgian theatre and lunch in an Elizabethan hall are among the treats. But the main point of the day is to provide the satisfaction of accomplishing a unique journey under one's own steam through the heart of the most vibrant, varied and fascinating city in Europe.
For an insight into the Culture Days experience, view our video of The London Backstreet Walk, below.
Martin founded the company in 1988 to combine his background and continuing passion for art history and music with what he had learnt from ten years in the travel business. He has a BA (Hons) in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London University, and studied aesthetics in the Philosophy Department York University. After a number of temporary and part-time posts in the museum world, and spending a year in both Italy and Germany, he turned to specialist tour operating. He stepped down as Chief Executive in April to take on the new role of Creative Director.
A travel writer since 1991, Sophie has written for the Telegraph, Times, Guardian and Condé Nast Traveller among many others. She also lectures on travel writing and is a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Her book on the traditional events of the summer, The Season: A Summer Whirl Through the English Social Season was published in 2013. Twitter: @aguidetolondon | Instagram: @aguidetolondon | Website: sophiecampbell.london
Start and finish
Start: 9.00am Hyde Park Corner. Finish: 5.45pm Tower Hill.
£220. This includes a good lunch, three other refreshment breaks, admission charges, the use of radio guides, services of a tour manager.
This is a serious hike, so please don’t attempt it unless you are able to walk at about 3 m.p.h. for at least an hour at a time and have the stamina for 9 miles in a day. The terrain is fairly flat but there are steps (one flight has 57).
Please inform us at the time of booking if you have any.
We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to email@example.com. We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.
'Carefully planned and always interesting.'
'The route chosen revealed parts of London completely unknown to us, and the unfamiliar vistas of familiar landmarks were a joy.'
'The walk leader again lived up to every high expectation: outstanding background knowledge combined with the love of the subject.'
'Impressively comprehensive, offering a cornucopia of delights even to a Londoner.'
'I found the walk full of interest and was introduced to parts of London that I’d never been to before. I would certainly recommend it to friends.'
'For me, it was perfect in every way and cannot be faulted. We were promised ‘delights and surprises’ and we were not disappointed.'