City of Christmas Past - a yuletide London history walk for all ages
Saturday 18 December 2021
Rediscover 'Christmas Past' as it was celebrated in the City through the ages, and uncover the origins of some of our most popular yuletide traditions. We'll 'meet' the real Dick Whittington of panto fame, duck down alleys to find Dickens' Mr Scrooge and the Christmas Ghosts he encountered, and hear how Roman Londoners celebrated Christmas. Our festive journey of discovery will end at Diagon Alley, also known as Leadenhall Market, with its magical Christmas tree, yuletide shopping, and the chance to sup a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.
- the origin of festive favourites like those mince pies, the turkey and the Christmas Tree
- how 17th century apprentices reacted to the Puritan Ban on Christmas (clue: not by writing a letter to The Times...)
- the man responsible for ushering in our roast turkey tradition
- the truth about Dick Whittington, his cat (and the biggest public toilet ever built...)
*Rendezvous at 1115am for 1130 departure, outside Cannon Street Rail & Tube station*
Walk is 1.3 miles on the flat, approx 75 mins. Suggested age 10+. £6 for kids!
Burnings, Beheadings & Bodysnatching - a walk into London's gore-stained past
"Very engaging and knowledgeable, Alison had a clear structure and communication, ensuring all of us on the tour understood everything. Cannot recommend enough!" - Mathilde, SW11
An entertaining and illuminating walk exploring the City of London's history of crime and often brutal punishment... We will take in both famous and lesser-known sites, covering 2000 years in 90 minutes, from the City's Roman amphitheatre where baying crowds watched gruesome executions, to the Old Bailey - where the UK's last public hanging drew 20,000 spectators. Along the way we'll discover
- the eye-watering revenge of a Plantagenet Queen on her faithless husband
- how to preserve a traitor's head before displaying it on a spike
- where the wealthy paid £10 for a grandstand view of a man strangling to death - with breakfast thrown in
- the price of a freshly-buried corpse in Georgian London
- why the crowd at a hanging shouted 'Hat's Off!' (Clue: it wasn't out of respect...)
This is a regular walk. Please mail for future dates
Group numbers limited to 15 - meet up details below!
Alewives, hops, and gin shops - a stroll around the City's historic hostelries
Email for next pub walk date & details
This walk explores the City's 2000-year love affair with convivial drinking and the evolution of our favourite social institution - the pub. We will see some of the Square Mile's most colourful hostelries and hear about the birth of brewing, the medieval wine trade, the gin craze, and how City authorities dealt with drunken disorder... a risk we shall limit by only stopping for a drink in our final pub!
- navigate ancient alleyways to find the pubs that inspired Dickens
- see an inn built by the canny Sir Christopher Wren close to his church building sites, so his workers spent their wages on beer and board...
- hear the graffiti ditty accusing a queen of drunkenness
- find out how much ale a medieval Londoner got through a day. (How much?!?)
- hear how women dominated the early brewing trade
- and have a drink under the watchful eye of Dominican friars...
*Rendezvous at 1115am for 1130 departure, Bank Tube Station, exit 4 or 5, in front of Royal Exchange*
The Graveyard Shift. An evening walk around the City's spookiest spots
A sinister slice of dark history served up in the City's spookiest spots. Not a ghost walk (although one or two might pop up to surprise us...) but as we visit old churchyards, creepy ruins, and brave the twistiest medieval alleyways, expect stories from the dark past that will chill you to the core...
- The vengeful Queen who stalks a ruined church holding her husband's heart
- how to preserve a traitor's head for displaying on a spike
- The UK's last witch trial - in 1944!
- The bodysnatchers who raided graves for fresh corpses before selling them - at the pub...
- the mysterious bell that tolled in a secret Georgian Square on the death of a priest
*MEETING PLACE TBF BUT NR ST PAUL'S*
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Themes will include
- City of Words From Shakespeare via Pepys to Dickens and T S Eliot not only has the City has been both inspiration and home to a host of writers, but over 2000 years it has enriched the language - from nursery rhymes to the sayings that rose out of medieval trade and City ceremonies dating back to the Saxons.
- Troublesome Women Women have played a surprisingly significant role in the shaping of the City's politics and public life; from Boudicca's rebellion and female gladiators, via the medieval alewives who ran brewing, to Elizabeth I's and Victoria's trade expansion, to the Suffragettes jailed in the Mansion House.
- The Fire and the Fury How two great catastrophes - the Great Fire of 1666 and the Blitz of WW2 - reshaped the City, leaving a legacy of ruined churches and secret green spaces and exposing its Roman past.
- AD43 - the thrilling story of how the Romans turned a fordable river crossing and two hills into one of the greatest cities on earth with a 7000-seat amphitheatre, imposing fort, a mysterious temple, & huge public baths.