A History of Britain in 12 and a Half Portraits – indoor tour at the National Portrait Gallery
You can never trust the weather in Britain and so an indoor tour is always on the option list. This is looking at the history of Britain of the last 500 years or so, but through the medium of 12 and a half people and their portraits. The history of Great Britain is also the history of Great Britons and the history of what makes Britain great. Here, I pick 12 portraits and a sneak peek at another. People who represent their era, or who represent a part of what makes Britain great. If you love history but prefer the personal to the political, the pen portraits of these 12 and a half people will give you an insight on British history and the British character. And of course, it is indoors and out of the rain!
Belgravia was from the time of its building in the 1820s-1840s to the present day, one of the most exclusive residential neighbourhoods in Britain. This tour meanders through this beautiful area, tells the stories of the famous residents, from Lords and Ladies to actors, pop stars and oligarchs, passes by one of the most exclusive hotels in Britain, a little piece of France in London and a little square that is one of London’s best kept secrets. If you like to wander through one of the best neighbourhoods in London, and talk about who was there, then this one is for you.
The Empire Tour
This one is for history buffs. It covers the classic sights of Whitehall. It starts at Trafalgar Square, goes down Whitehall, past Downing Street to Parliament Square and then round the back to Horseguards, and then the Mall and finishes at Buckingham Palace. But it is a themed tour and brings out the story of Empire. It tracks the amazing story of how a small, also-ran kingdom on the Western periphery of Europe ended up assembling, over a period of 150 years, the largest empire the world has ever known. We will trace the origins of empire, what sustained it for so long and how it all fell apart in the 20th century. If you are interested in the grand sweep of history, draw parallels with American dominance in the 20th century and possible decline in the 21st century, the deep schisms from history that manifest themselves in the Brexit debate, then this tour will provide the fuel for that debate… as well as covering some of the most iconic sites in Britain.
If you have never really done London, then this tour is for you. It starts at Trafalgar Square, goes down Whitehall, past Downing Street to Parliament Square and then round the back to Horseguards, and then the Mall and finishes at Buckingham Palace. This is a traditional ‘highlights’ tour that covers some of the most iconic and must visit places in London. If you only do one tour in London, then this is a strong candidate.
Stoke Newington and Newington Green
This walk starts in Newington Green on the edge of Islington, which has a rich history. The second half of the walk is along Church St, an oasis of cafes, restaurants and pubs – a route featured in the Eurostar magazine in 2017. At one end is a medieval church and at the other the fabulously gothic Abney Park cemetery.
Camden Town to Kentish Town
Either Kentish Town and Camden Market or the “Museum Mile” in the Bloomsbury district between the British Museum and British Library, covering general local history, theatre (particularly of East and North London) and that great British obsession, football.
This Greet is focused on the regenerated Olympic Park area in Stratford and the historical parts of the surrounding area of East London.
Marylebone and Regents Park
Marylebone’s buildings are mostly Georgian, Regency and late Victorian. You can see examples of all three during your Greet. Also included in this Greet is a visit to Regents Park which many consider to be the most beautiful of the London Royal Parks.
This Greet will include a visit to the fascinating Bloomsbury area. The walk will cover Russell and Brunswick Squares, including the British Museum, the University area, Gordon and Tavistock Square, and the Brunswick Centre.
This Greet covers Hampstead Village, New End, Church Row, Hampstead Parish Church, Fenton House and Whitestone Pond.
St John’s Wood, Little Venice and Abbey Road
The two-hour walk passes the Abbey Road recording studio and Lord’s Cricket ground, through St Johns Wood and Maida Vale’s 100 years of residential architecture and finishes on the Regent’s canal and Little Venice basin. An optional extra hour on this Greet allows for a canal ride through Regent’s Park to finish at Camden Market.
St Katherine’s Dock and Wapping
his walk follows the north bank of the river Thames from The Tower to Wapping; looking at the history and developments of the London Docks and the communities who have lived here.
Spitalfields and Brick Lane
This walk looks at the history of immigration that has been the foundation of this interesting and vibrant area. The walk includes visits to vintage/retro markets and street food stalls including the curry restaurants of Brick Lane.
South Hackney: Shoreditch and Haggerston
This walk covers the social and domestic history of this part of South Hackney up to the gentrification of today. It includes visits to Haggerston Park, the Regents Canal and weekend street markets.
From little secrets left behind by the Romans to modern architecture, the visitor will get a glimpse of the City’s rich background.
The Soho Greet is focused on the last 200 hundred years and the cultural blooming that made Soho one of the most exciting places to be in the world. Expect amazing surprises about little known facts of the area and an excellent food scene.
Greenwich Old Town and Maritime
This Greet focuses on the Greenwich old town centre and the wider World Heritage Site.
The Victoria and Albert (V&A) is the largest museum of art and design in the world, housed in a historic Victorian building.
Kenwood House is a hidden gem in Hampstead. Hampstead itself is known for its beautiful Georgian architecture and the wooded Hampstead Heath.
Take in Maritime Greenwich before visiting the Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory with one of the finest views across London
A fascinating area of London. On this Greet, hear stories of the history of this area where Nelson met Wellington, Charles I was executed and negotiations to prevent a world war took place.
This Mayfair Greet takes in locations connected with people as diverse as Edward Heath, John Adams, Keith Moon, Jimi Hendrix, Handel, Oscar Wilde and Theodore Roosevelt. Mayfair holds its allure on the Monopoly board for good reason.
This Greet starts in the now redeveloped King’s Cross. The walk combines between the everyday hustle and bustle of the streets with the serene beauty and peace of the inter-connecting canal towpath and Camden’s famous markets.