Welcome to London Discovery Tours

Posts Tagged ‘Clerkenwell’

City of London – walks and facts

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Our City of London walks include a lot of facts and figures about the history and the workings of the City of London.

Greater London occupies and area of around 640 square miles. It is divided into 31 boroughs and 2 Cities, The City of London and the City of Westminster.

It is home to some 7 million people who between them speak around 300 different languages, making London and incredibly culturally diverse place.

The City of Westminster is the Royal City and is also home to the machinery of British Government and home to Parliament.

The City of London occupies and area of just one square mile. But that one square mile is, without doubt, the wealthiest square mile on earth as it is the financial centre of London and home to over 200 banks, numerous insurance companies, investment houses

The one square mile covered by the City of London starts just alongside the Royal Courts of Justice in the west of the city,  encircles the streets as far as Clerkenwell and Shoreditch to the north of London, and goes as far east as the Tower of London with the River Thames making a natural southern boundary.

Many Cities can point to a specific act of foundation or a particular founder be he real or mythical. Not so London. Indeed there is a great deal of debate over how long the area now covered by London has seen human occupation.

But to all intents and purposes the London that we know began a few years after the Roman invasion of AD43. Having sailed up the River Thames the Roman’s found an area where the River was shallow enough to cross and where the banks on either side were gravel, opposed to the marsh that they had encountered on much of their journey up river.

Within 10 years of their arrival in Britain the Roman’s established trading port here and called it Londinium. Thus with the coming of the Romans London was established as a trading city and even today 2,000 years later it is still a place where daily trading is done.

You can enjoy the streets, squares and buildings of that City on our Historic City of London walks such as The Secret City and  The London Story.

Walks of London

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Walking is truly one of the best ways to see more of London. Setting off into the historic backstreets on foot ensures that you get to both see and feel the atmosphere of different London streets.

Our London walks have well and truly got London covered. We have Walking tours in places as diverse as the lovely village of Hampstead, the secret streets of Clerkenwell, the vibrant streets of Soho, and even the squares and passageways in the Royal village of St. James.

All these neighbourhoods of London have some true treats for those who take the trouble to venture into their backstreets and by joining one of our London walks you get to hear anecdotes and lots of history about each of the places passed as you make your way through streets and thoroughfares that are untouched by time.

But, in addition to our guided walks of London we also offer a series of free print off and do yourself walking tours. These can be viewed on our sister site www.walksoflondon.co.uk. On this site you will be able to explore Dickens London, Docklands. You can also enjoy a self guided walk through the village of Clerkenwell that was recently featured in The Los Angeles Times.

Of late the most popular of our free London walks has been the Harry Potter Tour which we offer as a free print off and do 28 page booklet. This has been extremely well received and to date we have sent out in access of 2,000 PDF downloads for this tour.

Many people have emailed back to say how much fun they had on our Harry Potter Tour and one lady even wrote in to tell how, as she and her family were walking the route they got a surprise that was way beyond their expectations.

Where as we can’t take credit for the actual surprise, we can most certainly take responsibility for guiding her and her family to the spot where she had the ultimate luck for anyone enjoying a tour around the Harry Potter film locations in London.

Walks are what make this sort of thing possible. On a bus tour you are behind glass or up on a top deck far away from the actual streets of London. Your sightseeing takes place in a vacuum as it were.

But with a London Walking Tour you are there on the streets, walking through the streets and every fascinating aspect of this magnificent city, every surprise that is there to surprise you become real and immediate.

In tomorrow’s blog we will reveal just how special the surprise was for the family who were doing our Harry Potter London walk. But, for now, if you would like a copy of the free PDF of the tour ( a 28 page booklet no less) then please send an email to

harry-potter-pdf@discovery-walks.com

and we’ll email it to you within 24 hours.

A London Haunted House

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Haunted London walks can be truly thrilling. Indeed, this wonderful old city, steeped as it is in history and mystery, has so much to offer the intrepid thrill seeker who sets of in search of the ghosts of London.

Walks that twist and turn through the narrow old alleyways that snake their way through the heart of the old city can be truly thrilling, and to discover these places when the sun has gone down, the daytime populace have returned to suburbia and the streets resonate with the ambiance of the past is a truly moving, not to say spooky experience.

To the north of the City, a stone’s throw from Barbican Underground station, you will find central London’s only surviving Tudor town house, the Charterhouse.

It gazes solemnly across Charterhouse Square, which is the site of a plague pit dating back to the year 1348 when the Black Death decimated the population of London.

On our Clerkenwell London walk we stand by this old building and tell the story of the Plaque, how the building came to be founded, and how it was transformed into a school and retirement home by Sir Thomas Sutton in 1611.

On our dark shadows of haunted London walks we visit the square by night, and a creepier location is difficult to imagine. The trees that tower over it creak and groan. Parts of the square are lit by gas light, and the dark windows of the Charterhouse are intriguing and mysterious. We tell of the ghosts of monks and noblemen that have been seen hereabouts and we urge those who join us on these inspiring London walks to return to this spot and explore at their leisure.

However, you don’t need to be on our London walks to enjoy and experience the Charterhouse. This old slice of historic London actually opens its doors to the public at this time of year and, on Wednesday afternoons, you can join one of their excellent guided tours that introduce you to this timeless interior. To find out more just do a search for London Charterhouse and prepare to discover one of London’s genuine timeless treasures.