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After the American Civil War, the US economy grew at lightning speed. The so-called robber baron families built vast fortunes from monopolies in steel (Carnegies), oil (Rockefellers), railways (Vanderbilts) and real estate (Astors). Mark Twain called these unprecedented times The Gilded Age.

Meet our Blue Badge Tour Guide at 10.30am for morning refreshments (included) in Trafalgar Square before exploring a story-rich enclave of The Gilded Age running between Pall Mall and St James’s Park. This is a tale of money, mansions and scandal. On the cusp of Victorian and Edwardian London American Dollar Princesses, who had everything they wanted, except invites to the nicest parties, crossed the Atlantic husband hunting for a cash strapped Duke or Earl. It was a game of keeping up with the Astors. We are on foot, on the flat, away from noisy streets and co ver a distance of some 1500 yards but if you think your folk would not manage the walk we also ha ve a rather entertaining coach tour that extends into Mayfair and Kensington.

For lunch there is free time in fascinating St James’s, just off Piccadilly, with pubs and cafés that won’t break the bank and window shopping to die for.

In the afternoon there is a choice of visits followed by time to buy refreshments locally before heading home at 4.45pm:

Two Temple Place (Jan to April only) Overlooking the Thames a hidden architectural gem built for William Waldorf Astor - the richest man in the world. Opulent interiors and each year a special exhibition: for 2019 the subject is John Ruskin.

Spencer House (Sun & Mon all year) London’s most magnificent 18th century aristocratic private palace. During the Gilded Age the house was let to the 9th Duke of Marlborough, chatelaine of Blenheim Palace, and his Dollar Princess wife Consuela Vanderbilt. The lavishly furnished state rooms have been beautifully restored by the Rothschild family.

Jam Buster Option Weds Jan to April

Arrive midday for free time for lunch in Trafalgar Square. After lunch enjoy The Gilded Age walking or coach tour followed by a late afternoon tour of Two Temple Place and head home on emptier roads at 6.30pm.

Adults & Seniors: £32

With Two Temple Place Mon, Weds, Thurs, Fri 27 Jan to 24 April 2020

With Spencer House Sundays & Mondays all year except August. Max 50 people

Walking tour option includes 1500 yards walking, the coach option brings this down to 440.

Price Valid to 31 March 2021

2-5 miles