This walk is predicated on two beliefs. The first, platitudinous if rarely put to the test, is that the centre of London is not so large that people of ordinary fitness couldn’t walk everywhere. The second would perhaps be greeted in some quarters with scepticism: that one can traverse the capital from Hyde Park Corner to the Tower of London without walking along main roads for more than a couple of hundred yards in total.
This is London seen from parks, gardens, alleys, backstreets and pedestrian zones. As the crow flies, it is exactly 3⅓ miles, but as avoiding traffic requires some circuitous deviations the distance walked is 8 or 9 miles.
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 pre-20th-century architecture, picturesque vistas and intriguing alleys, patches of parkland and well-tended gardens, recent architectural behemoths and mediaeval street patterns.
Some special arrangements have been made to enter a few buildings en route. Champagne at the Savoy and lunch in the grandest Elizabethan hall in England are among the treats. But the main point of the day is to provide the satisfaction of accomplishing a unique and fascinating journey through the heart of the most vibrant, varied and fascinating city in Europe.
Dr Geoffrey Tyack
Architectural historian. He is a Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford and his main academic interests are in British and European architectural history, especially from the 18th–20th century, and the history of urban planning since the Renaissance. His books include John Nash: Architect of the Picturesque. He was co-editor of the revised volume on Berkshire in the Pevsner Buildings of England series, and of Sir George Gilbert Scott 1811–1878, and is now writing a history of the urban landscape in Britain from the Middle Ages to the present. He is also Editor of the Georgian Group Journal.
Martin RandallMartin Randall obtained a BA Hons in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London University, and subsequently undertook postgraduate work in Aesthetics in the philosophy department of the University of York. His earliest art-historical passion was English architecture; this continued, even while his interests wandered over mainland Europe, and in recent years has again become his main focus.
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.
Barnaby runs London’s leading independent travel publisher, Eland Books from a garret above an East End street market. He has lived in a cellar in Kensington; an attic in Maida Vale; a palace in Greenwich; right beside the railway at Bermondsey and a house in Islington. He is descended from four generations of London brewers and has edited the London collection in the Poetry of Place series. His sole sport is taking a weekly flåneur stroll which happily intersects with a number of antique markets, bookshops and favourite cafés.
9.00am, Hyde Park Corner, Wellington Arch.
c. 5.40pm at Tower Hill Station.
Price includes refreshments and lunch, admission charges and donations.
This is a serious hike, so please don’t attempt it unless you are able to walk at about 3 mph for at least an hour at a time and have the stamina for 9 miles (though there are 4 refreshment breaks). The terrain is fairly flat but there are steps (one flight has 57). Stout shoes are of course advisable – but no trainers please: they are specifically forbidden at the lunch venue.
Maximum 18 participants.
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 was 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 the route and we were not disappointed.'