The Famous 'London Walks'

The London Walks Company provides scheduled walks all over London, rain or shine.  Just show up and pay your 5 pounds (4 pounds with a 'walkabout' card that you can purchase for one extra pound!).  Here are photos from two of my walks.

Guide for the 'Oscar Wilde' Walk

The walks are always interesting, and the guides are very knowledgable. This one even dresses for the occasion! Many of the walks have a theme.

The Royal Arcade

This is where Wilde bought his signiture green carnations, which were a bit of a joke on his friends and countrymen; they didn't realize that in France, this was apparently a code for men of his... 'persuasion.'

Roof of the Royal Arcade

Although no longer the original, the roof and ceiling of the Royal Arcade has been restored, and is quite beautiful.

D. R. Harris, Chemist

Although the shop has moved down the street from its original location, they have moved all the fixtures as well. This is the shop that sells the famous 'pick-me-up' that Wilde, and many of his countrymen, would take to help get them through the morning, especially if they had a few too many the night before. For a pound, visitors can sample the same concoction, still a family secret.

The Golden Lion

Tucked inbetween other, newer buildings, this is the pub for St. James Theater, where two of Wilde's play premiered.

Eros on Piccadilly

The famous statue on Piccadilly Circus. Londoners often use this as a meeting place before going to West End shows.

'Sarcophogus' of Oscar Wilde

Just down the street from where Wilde lived and worked, they have installed this odd memorial (just off Strand).

The Monument

I took another Walk in the 'Famous Square Mile,' that the original City of London. This is simple known as 'The Monument,' and commemorates the Great Fire of 1666. You can walk to the top and look around, and you get a certificate that you made it (over 200 steps).

Plaque of the Great Fire

This plaque commenorates what is believed to be the exact starting place of the Great Fire of 1666. If you knocked the Monument over, the tip would land here, on Pudding Lane.

The Bank Of England

Of the first institutions of its type in the world, the Bank of England was once the most powerful financial center in the world.

The Temple of Mithas

Whenever there is excavation in London, they find layers of artifacts. These Roman temple ruins were found 20 feet down when an office block was being put up. Rather than change plans, the Temple was moved to street level.

The Jamaica Wine House

In St. Michael's Alley we find the first coffee house in Britian, first serving coffee in 1652.

Garroway's

And in Change Alley, the first place in London to serve tea to the public, in both leaf and drink forms. Tea was very expensive and few could afford it at that time. This is not the original building, but still carries Garroway's signature image, the grasshopper.

Guild Hall

This is the equivalent of 'city hall' for the City of London (which is actually a subset of Greater London).

Inside Guild Hall

This is the main hall and meeting room of Guild Hall, being set up for a banquet while we were there. That's our guide at the lower left. Beautiful building, with statues and guild shilds all around.

Churchill in Guild Hall

Churchill is everywhere evident in London, in my experience second only to Nelson (who has a memorial just to the right of this one).

Giant Protector of Guild Hall - Gog

This is Gog, and Magog stands nearby, symbols of the City's independence. Originally, there were longer names, which got shortened over time.

Giant Protector of Guild Hall - Magog

The City of London was not conquered in 1066; they came to terms with William, and so in Guild Hall he is referred to as "William the First," and never as "William the Conquerer," as he is everywhere else.

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