London Borough Walks
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF LONDON BOROUGH WALKS
BARKING & DAGENHAM
Join us for a walk around the historic heart of Barking. This is a circular walk from Barking Station. Hear tales of the women who ruled the Abbey, a medieval power base and by the Dissolution of the monasteries the greatest Benedictine nunnery in the country. Visit the Town Quay to recall the time when Barking had the largest fishing fleet in the country. And remember the famous people who have called Barking their home - from Captain Cook and early prison reformer Elizabeth Fry to England soccer captain Bobby Moore.
BARNET - Hampstead Garden Suburb
Once open farmland, Hampstead Garden Suburb was the realisation of one woman's dream. Founded by vicar's wife and social reformer Henrietta Barnet this now exclusive area of London had it all - village greens, meeting halls, places of worship, woodland, an open air theatre, affordable housing and the top architects of the day - but definitely no pubs! Learn about this social experiment, admire the work of distinguished architects such as Lutyens and learn about past inhabitants while exploring woods, heath and "twittens".
Starting point Golders Green Tube
BEXLEY - Old Bexley
Join us on a walk through one of London's oldest surviving villages mentioned in the Doomsday Book and get to know village life through its religious and Royal connections through the ages. Sir Edward Heath was MP for years and we will see his favorite watering hole near the charming 13th century church. We also have a James Bond connection... We end near historic Hall Place and gardens.
Meeting point - Bexley Railway Station (Dartford via Sidcup line)
We start our Willesden walk in attractive award-winning Rounwood Park from whose central hill we have great views across to Dollis Hill, heart of the old manor of Oxgate, Wembley Stadium and beyond to Harrow. We also view the 9 acre Pound Lane Jews' Cemetery started in 1871 burial place of members of the de Rothschild family, financier Charles Clore and Sir John Cohen founder of Tesco supermarkets.
Now we walk on to medieval St. Mary's Church, the heart of ancient Willesden all of which was given by King Athelstan in AD938 to St. Paul's cathedral to commemorate his defeat of the Danes. The church has one of the oldest Norman fonts in the London area and an Elizabethan dining table made into an altar and impressive memorials to local notables. We then pass a power station and allotments to end just in Neasden at the stunning 1990s Swaminarayan Hindu Temple.
Meet at main entrance to Roundwood Park on Robson Avenue NW10 opp bus stop 226/206
BROMLEY - "Shops, Hops and Wells"
Not just a shopping centre - a palace, colleges, shops, hops and wells! Come and enjoy a journey of discovery into the story of Bromley which features the author of 'War of the Worlds' and our great dictionary maker Dr Johnson. We will lead you on a gentle walk around the Bromley town centre area, starting and finishing at Bromley South Railway Station.
CAMDEN - Hampstead Village
We start our tour of the highest area in North London admiring Georgian architecture in Church Row where HG Wells lived, amongst others. Then down to 18th century St John's church in whose burial ground are the tombs of Constable, Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, actress Kay Kendal, Joan Collins' mother and many more.
Then up the hill past the Catholic church, where Charles de Gaulle worshipped during his 1940s exile, and on towards Hampstead Heath. We pass the homes - many with extraordinary character and charm - of various men and women of fame including the reputed new home of Russell Crowe. Authors and actors in particular abound.
Enjoy the view across London and beyond that Constable saw and see the hidden away cottage of the celebrated actress Sarah Siddons (and the historian Kenneth Clarke). Now we end with a descent to the part of the village that was a popular spa in the 18th century.
Meet at Hampstead tube
CITY OF LONDON - A "Bloody Smithfields" walk.
Learn of St. Bartholomew London's oldest hospital founded in 1123 and its links with body snatching, an amazing meat market and the adjacent execution site with its horrible hangings and burnings at the stake and related ghost stories.
We will also hear about the many historical characters that had personal involvement with the Smithfields area including King Henry VIII, Braveheart, and the She-Wolf of France, Wat Tyler, King Richard II, John Wesley, William Shakespeare and not forgetting Scratching Fanny!
Starting St Paul's Tube.
Although its reputation is for high-rise post-war redevelopment, there is more to Croydon than office blocks, car parks and shopping centres. This walk will explore the history of the Old Town including the Palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury and the church where six of them are buried. In fact it was the patronage of Archbishop John Whitgift that shaped much of the modern town.
From the nineteenth century there are some exceptional churches, a fine Town Hall and many surviving shop-fronts and industrial buildings.
Finally we shall look at the impact of the 1960s and the building boom which produced one of the most economically vibrant and commercially successful of the outer London boroughs.
Start: entrance to West Croydon Station (London Road) (rail, Tramlink and bus station)
Ealing has long been considered one of London's most attractive suburbs with its fine parks, good shops and transport links to Central London .It was already known as "Queen of the Suburbs" a century ago. During our walk we hear about the early days of the Rolling Stones, Queen Victoria's father's links with this area, and see Pitshanger Manor a surviving building of the great architect John Soane.
We pass the site of a major Jazz festival , the Ealing Studios where classic films such as "Kind Hearts and Coronets" were made , and finish at one of the excellent pubs along in South Ealing.
Starts outside Ealing Broadway Station.
Come walk in Enfield, the most northerly and perhaps greenest of London's boroughs, where beyond the bustle of both The Town and C17th Market Place we will find car-free byways taking us past town houses & cottages from Georgian, Regency & Victorian times.
See the C15th Parish Church and the C16th Grammar School. Hear about the often sad lives of Charles & Mary Lamb and walk beside a 400 year old waterway vital to London's well-being. Poet John Keats went to school here and King Henry VIII and his children spent much time here are the great house known as Elsyng.
See also the site of a 'world first' - something now taken for granted by countless millions of us around the world every day.
Starting from Enfield Town Station forecourt.
“From martyrdom to Marathon” let us take you through 1000 years of history from the church where Archbishop of Canterbury St. Alphege was murdered in 1012 to the recent new arrivals the University of Greenwich and the departure point of the famous annual London run.
Much of our walk is within the World Heritage area containing the Old Royal Naval College in the former Royal Palace, the early 17th century Queens House - one of England's first truly classical style buildings, the National Maritime Museum, the 1860s tea clipper Cutty Sark, Sir Francis Chichester's Gypsy Moth and the Old Royal Observatory.
Meet at Greenwich DLR station
HACKNEY - Shoreditch to Hoxton
From Broadgate's voluptuous Venus, we head north, passing listed Arts & Crafts shop fronts, to the site of London's first Elizabethan theatre. We see how the performing arts have developed, from Music Hall to modern theatre, from Hitchcock's films to video art and from clowns to Cirque du Soleil.
Enjoy a mix of historic churches, beautiful houses and trendy bars, restaurants and clubs. See Hoxton's transition from horticulture, through the Industrial Revolution, to Contemporary Art and Design. We shall end the tour at the Geffrye Museum, where, in the area famous for furniture manufacture, you can explore the evolution of domestic interior design or take tea and admire the herb garden.
Meet at McDonalds Liverpool Street station at the top of the escalator.
HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM - Hammersmith Terrance
It has a river running through it. This is as choice a piece of hidden London as anything London can offer. Still pleasantly rural and down the years beloved by artists and nobility - from plucky Queen Catherine of Braganza to bolshie lefties like painter William Turner and godfather of the Labour Party, William Morris.
See where Hugh Grant perfected his floppy-haired English public school persona. Meet the Hammersmith Ghost and the real Ratty from Wind In The Willows. Come and mess about by the river.
Meet on Hammersmith Broadway northside, north exit from Hammersmith tube (leave the station and turn right), by the Etcetera statue opposite The George pub
HARINGEY - Highgate
A local walk through time, from a hamlet in medieval Haringeye to the present unique suburban village, sharing tales of hunts, drovers, powerful politicians and romantic poets, wealthy nonconformists and the latest celebrity residents.
We shall of course take in the famous Highgate School and set the scene for Highgate Cemetery, a grade 2 listed park opened 1839 containing tombs and mausoleums of so many notables such as Karl Marx and George Elliott.
Meeting Point: Highgate tube car park
Say 'Harrow-on-the-Hill and you think of the famous public school of 1572 where Lord Byron (who was a ringleader in trying to blow it up), Churchill and many of the nobility were educated; but here, too, is the 900-year-old church known to Thomas Beckett and William Shakespeare, and the homes of writers Matthew Arnold, Anthony Trollope and Richard Sheridan.
Four hundred feet above sea level, it remains a charming and unspoilt village - with a village green, ancient inn, fields and woodland.
Start point: Harrow on the Hill tube - Lowlands Exit
Hear how two young princesses played, and were tutored in a Palace of distinction and later became famous as Queens. How the future bride of George III was welcomed, and 60 years later her unfortunate daughter in law came the same route, but in her coffin!
Find out what the Domesday Book logged in 1086 as to the size of the population: and hear how King Harold, Thomas Cromwell, The Manor of Upminster Hall, New College Oxford, and New Zealand were associated with Havering.
Notorious Captain Blood,17th century Crown Jewels thief, is one of two villains who found a hideaway in the market, founded by Henry III in the 13th century. The Church of St Andrew sports a bull's head and the 13th century St Lawrence Church probably has its origins as far back as the 7th century when St Cedd was sent to preach and baptise in Essex.
Dr William Derham, Chaplain to the Prince of Wales, later George II, was Rector of St Lawrence in 1689. A physician, Canon of Windsor and a fellow of the Royal Society, he pioneered the scientific study of weather and barometric pressure.
Meeting point: Upminster tube/rail station
HILLINGDON - Uxbridge
From a medieval market to a thriving 21st century town, Uxbridge guards its past in hidden corners. Behind a modern shopping centre and 20th century station, see undisturbed 16th century shop fronts & the route of a much earlier transport system.
Shaped by the markets and the coming of the railways, Uxbridge has been constantly growing and developing throughout the ages. Walk with us to discover a 13th century church, an Elizabethan pub, the site of a Victorian slum and right through to modern times when most of the South East England RAF fighter squadrons of World War II were controlled from an underground base here and later Brunel University was built just outside.
Meet outside Uxbridge station on the High Street .
HOUNSLOW - Chiswick
We start with a leafy walk through a famous eighteenth century garden and then marvel at the smallness of house that is now associated with it — a delightful Italianate villa called Chiswick House.
Later we will see the country house of Hogarth (the social critic, painter and engraver), as well as his grave and a statue of him and his pug. He was the neighbour of Lord Burlington at Chiswick House but they apparently disliked each other.
The walk also passes many other interesting houses including the oldest house in Chiswick which dates from sixteenth century. Also we will see evidence of some of the industry associated with the area.
The famous Cherry Blossom shoe polish factory has been demolished but there is some evidence left and beer connoisseurs will see the home of Chiswick Bitter and London Pride- the Griffin brewery is one of the oldest breweries in London and still on the same site it started at in the eighteenth century.
The final part of the walk goes through an area where one of the earliest skirmishes of the English civil war took place in 1642.
Meet Chiswick BR station in Burlington Lane (on E3 bus route)
ISLINGTON - Clerkenwell
We head downhill into the southern part of the borough to discover central London's “Hidden Village”. We pass the recently rebuilt Sadlers Wells theatre just by the New River Head - the early 17th century creation of Sir Hugh Middleton to bring good water in from Hertfordshire.
Into Exmouth Market, seeing the amazing church of the Holy Redeemer and down to the elegant parish church of St. James, on the site of the former medieval nunnery of St. Mary.
The nearby Victorian School is built over the remains of the notorious Clerkenwell House of Detention. Around the village green we see the former courthouse where Dickens once worked as a shorthand writer and Oliver Twist learned to pickpocket and Welsh school that became the Karl Marx Memorial Library.
We are reminded that here was the original home of the gin industry due to the quality of the water in the local streams and wells! We end with a look at the remains of the 12th century Priory of St. John of Jerusalem near Farringdon station.
Meet at Angel underground.
KENSINGTON & CHELSEA
Choose between 2 walks:
Walk 1 - Chelsea
We start by the Royal Court Theatre which has been linked to avant-garde since its foundation and cross Sloane Square named after eminent physician Sir Hans Sloane, Lord of the Manor whose collections led to the foundation of the British Museum in 1753.
Into Kings Road whose earlier origins linked to merry monarch King Charles II visits to mistresses and now famed as the place where many young fashions have been born in recent decades. We then turn towards the river and view Wren designed Royal Hospital Chelsea and towards the heart of the old village with so many houses of artists and writers Whistler, Wilde, Rosetti to name a few. Chelsea Old Church goes back to very ancient times and this was the place of worship of Sir Thomas More and centuries later of writer and historian Thomas Carlisle. We end back at the Kings Road.
Meet at Sloane Square tube.
Walk 2 - Kensington
We start with the bustle of commerce on Kensington High Street and cannot fail to be impressed by the two great 1930's department store buildings, built as Barkers and Derry & Tom.
Opposite we marvel at the tallest spire in West London on the parish church of St. Mary Abbotts where Princess Diana used to attend service. Church Street winds northwards with fashion shops that were so famous in the 1960s and then the many specialist antique shops. Now back in time into Kensington Square viewing the former homes of ministers and ambassadors back in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Out onto Kensington Gore and a walk into beautiful Kensington Gardens one of London's Royal Parks. We end at Kensington Palace whose heyday was 3 centuries back but also known as birthplace of Queen Victoria 1819 and still hosting apartments of some members of the current Royal Family.
Meet at Kensington High Street tube.
KINGSTON ON THAMES
Let us take you around the oldest of the only three royal Boroughs whose charter goes back to 1200. Important early on as a place where the Thames could be forded and very good for fish (see them in the coat-of-arms) Kingston has much history and character.
We shall see the Market Place (now a Conservation Area), the ancient Griffin and Druid's Head inns, the Grammar School founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1561, the Market Hall, Bentalls Department store, the famous leaning telephone boxes and the Kings' Stone. We end at the Guildhall.
Meet at Kingston station
North Lambeth has a rich history, and was home to characters as diverse as William Blake, Charlie Chaplin and the Tradescants. Parts of Lambeth Palace date from the 13th century. Behind the Fire Brigade headquarters, we will see the former Doulton Lambeth studio where Hannah Barlow produced her vases, and uncover associations with the famous Vauxhall Gardens.
The manor of Kennington was given to the Black Prince in the 1330s — his Palace is gone but the Duchy estate now includes fascinating domestic architecture as well as the Kia Oval where in 1882 Australia's first cricket defeat of England led to the birth of the 'Ashes' legend. Kennington Park is best known as the setting for a famous Chartist rally. At the end of our walk, we'll see recycling 1940s style, some fine Arts and Crafts architecture and one of the 'Waterloo churches' built in the 1820s 'lest a godless people might also be a revolutionary people'.
Meet Lambeth North Underground Station
Sovereigns, Sailors, Skulls and Shipwrights
Deptford is one of London's most historic Riverside areas. Once the site of the most important shipyard in England, it has a rich maritime history, home to explorers and adventurers, writers and even a Russian Tzar!
Today it's a vibrant modern community, with its regenerated Creek-side area hosting many of Deptford's 100+ artists studios and the award winning Laban Centre of contemporary dance training and performance.
Starts Deptford Bridge DLR Station (South side of Blackheath Rd.)
Blackheath: Royals, rebels, Peasants and Preachers. High on its plateau to the south of the Thames, Blackheath is one of Londons gems. It lies on the Roman Watling Street, historic route from the Kent coast to London. Great royal pageants have been played out and poor peasants have assembled on its plain.
The thriving Blackheath Village, with its shops, bars, pubs and restaurants is often buzzing into the small hours. You will find the Paragon among buildings gracing its elegant streets, while the Devils Toothpick climbs silently into the sky above a quiet side turning!
Starts Blackheath station
MERTON — Wimbledon
From the 14th to the 16th centuries the manor was a possession of the Archbishop of Canterbury whilst in more recent times it has belonged to Earl Spencer. We start our walk in the old village centre on the hill full of charming buildings of various eras. Then we explore the Womble's tracks across the Common on and around which many famous people have lived and played!
Hear about Earl Spencer's proposals, duels once fought and how Emma Hamilton entertained both her husband and Admiral Horatio Nelson. Come and discover the wonderful Wimbledon Windmill whose small museum explains the history and development of windmills in Britain.
Meet opposite the Rose & Crown in the High Street (the 93 bus route links to Wimbledon station).
Let us introduce you to the Royal Docks the easternmost sector of the former port area which started to be redeveloped in a major way from the 1980s to include London's new fifth airport City Airport. The Albert, Victoria and George V docks were the largest enclosed docks in the world.
We start with the amazing contrasts between the impressive new Excel conference and exhibition centre and the adjacent solid 19th century warehouses which are now being transformed and refurbished for diverse new uses.
A new pedestrian footbridge takes us across the dock to the new village and then we end in the Thames Barrier Park with the chance to enjoy the natural park, relax in the café and marvel at the 1980's modern wonder the Thames Barrier which now protects central London from flooding.
The Wanstead walk incorporates part of Winston Churchill's constituency for 40 years and his party HQ. The grade 1 listed church designed by Thomas Hardwick, the site and subject of one of Turner's first pictures aged 13, contains several historical burials including "Watchers Box" a memorial to Joseph Wilton, founder with Reynolds & Chambers of the RSA and that of one of Nelson's Captains.
We see a church by eminent Victorian architect George Gilbert Scott plus his first ever commission, now Snaresbrook Crown Court. Henry VIII had hunting grounds here and we see the site of an historical house owned by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and visited by Queen Elizabeth 1st many times ( she left from here to see off the fleet against the Spanish Armada).
We see where William. Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, grew up and also the site of a house owned by the parents of poet Thomas Gray.
Wanstead retains its village atmosphere with 3 village greens and now many people want to live in the area with the 2012 Olympics increasing the interest considerably.
Starts at Wanstead Central Line station
'RICHMOND - undid me'. T.S. Eliot maybe but not us!
Richmond is the only London borough that spans the River Thames. It has always been and still is a preferred retreat for people in the public eye and continues to be a desirable address. Add to that its royal connections (particularly remains of the Tudor Palace where Elizabeth I died in 1603) it is the perfect place for a stroll through the centuries.
Ice skating, poppies, a river recluse, novelists, poets, artists, stars of music, stage and screen and lovely views all are on the agenda.
Meet at Richmond Station.
Our walk takes you through 2000 years of history from a Roman settlement through to Tate Modern.
We leave the 1970s London Bridge (on the site of many earlier ones right back to the Romans) towards Southwark cathedral from the early 13th century and on the site of a Roman temple of Minerva. The Diocese is all that is south of the river and the cathedral was frequented by Shakespeare whose brother Edmund was buried there and a little later John Harvard was baptized there.
The Shakespeare trail takes us to the George Inn and the site of the 16th century Rose theatre and the Globe theatre reconstruction.
We pass by the Borough Market with its Bridget Jones and Harry Potter connections. We see the remains of the Bishop of Winchester's Palace and the infamous Clink Prison. We end with new attractions Vinopolis, Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.
Meet at the “needle” at the south end of London Bridge.
SUTTON — Cheam
After hearing how the railway came to Cheam we learn about the origins of the medieval village of Cheam and how it was held by Christ Church, Canterbury. We then explore some of the fine surviving pre-19th century houses before walking to parkland to hear about and look across to the site of the long lost Nonsuch Palace - intended by its builder, King Henry VIII, to be, as the name implies, without compare.
Next port of call is St Dunstan's Church, with the magnificent medieval Lumley chapel, complete with alabaster monuments - the actress Joanna Lumley is a present day family member.
We finish at the Tudor house, Whitehall, and explore its interior. Refreshments are also served there.
We meet at Cheam Railway Station (the main entrance)
TOWER HAMLETS - Wapping & Shadwell
We set off from Tower Hill skirting part of the old Roman and Medieval city wall and pass the former Royal Mint and the remains of St. Mary Graces the last Cistercian Abbey founded in England.
Just past Tower Bridge we arrive at St. Katherine's Dock opened in 1828 on the site of a medieval hospital and now a marina. This is the part of the East End where we will hear stories of pirates, smuggling and execution.
We journey down London's oldest riverside cobbled street - once so full of sailors it became known as Sailor Town! We go past a pub once owned by one of Britain's most famous artists - and bought for his mistress.
Pausing to look at Captain Bligh's house we move to Nicholas Hawksmoor's church of St George's in the East opposite the magnificent Tobacco Dock and then the scene of one of London's most terrible murders (years before Jack the Ripper) and on to see London's oldest remaining Music Hall.
Starts at Tower Hill underground.
WALTHAM FORREST - Walthamstow Village
The original (probably Saxon) heart of Walthamstow, still contains a large number of buildings from the different eras when it was the centre of the community - the mediaeval and Early Modern periods with the Ancient House (yes, it's called that), Vinegar Alley with the Monoux Almshouses, the 18th century Squire's Almshouses where six local widows were allowed to do 'small but not heavy washing' and could not hang anything in front of their homes.
The centre changed with the coming of the railways, and moved to the present High Street: the Village remains a charming enclave, with an excellent local museum in a former workhouse and police station, complete with cell. A couple of very good pubs, too.
Meet at Walthamstow Central station
On the banks of what was once the fastest flowing river in England, the River Wandle, lay the world's first railway; the foundry where the cannon for Lord Nelson's 'Victory' were cast; and nearby, the church planned by the architect Robert Smike in the classical style, which was to be his model for the British Museum.
At the mouth of the River worked the 'batterers' and the gunpowder makers. One hastens to say - not connected. The Quakers were established in Wandsworth and still have their Meeting House here.
Much of the land from Tibbet's Corner on the A3, down to Wimbledon and across through Wandsworth to the Common was at one time owned by Sarah, the first Duchess of Marlborough who gave it to her great grandson the first Earl Spencer. So this borough is rich in many aspects of our history.
The walk will begin at the Old Courthouse, now the Wandsworth Museum, by the No 44 bus stop in Garret Lane near the High Street.
Royalty and Government areas of Westminster to view buildings ancient and modern.
See Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister; Westminster Abbey, where British sovereigns are crowned; the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben, the most famous clock in the world and the Middlesex Guildhall, now the UK's Supreme Court.
From Methodist Central Hall we move into delightful St. James's Park seeing the very attractive back facades of several of the major ministry buildings incorporating the Cabinet War Rooms and new Churchill Museum. We cross the park to see Buckingham Palace, Lancaster House, Clarence House, St. James's Palace and Carlton House Terrace and we end in Trafalgar Square.
Meet Westminster tube outside riverside/pier exit