Hidden London & The Regents Canal 2018
 
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HIDDEN LONDON & THE REGENTS CANAL

This day, with a gentle walking tour in Smithfield and a cruise on the Regent’s Canal, has been one of our most popular tours for 30 years. With a bit on foot, a bit on the coach and a relaxing cruise at four miles an hour from Camden Lock to Little Venice there’s plenty of variety and interest. The tour now includes the opportunity to go inside the London Charterhouse to see the chapel and little museum. The walk is gentle enough for most but its always possible to lop off a bit for folk who really can’t walk too far.


Meet the Blue Badge Tour Guide at 10.30am to buy coffee at the Museum of London on London Wall, which follows the line of the old Roman city walls. In 1666 the Great Fire of London swept away much of the mediaeval City but the flames died to ashes to leave this one corner untouched. We start at the Aldersgate and make our way to the Newgate via a maze of narrow streets and bygone alleyways surrounding the smooth field, now known as Smithfield. For centuries Londoners came here for the raucous Bartholomew Fair, to watch grisly public executions and to visit London’s first hospital and the meat market. To this day if you see a man in a bloody white coat you don’t always know if he’s a butcher or a doctor!


We’ll visit Postman’s Park to see memorial plaques telling of tragic and brave acts of heroic self sacrifice and walk beneath a Tudor gatehouse into the yard of London’s oldest parish church. You’ll see Sir John Betjeman’s town house and the spots where Scottish hero Sir William Wallace was executed and the Bishop of Rochester’s cook was boiled alive! Folk can peel off at this point or stay with the guide and carry on to see the London home of Hercule Poirot, the site of a plague pit and go inside the stately Charterhouse to see the chapel and museum before breaking for lunch a few minutes walk back in Smithfield where we reunite with those who peeled off. There’s bench seating in the gardens and a good choice of pubs and cafés including one in the old priory cloisters of St Bartholomew Church. Beneath the white stuccoed mansions of opulent Little Venice we board a traditional narrow boat that once carried real cargoes. On the 50-minute cruise we pass through London Zoo and the aviary designed by Lord Snowdon. We see an oriental floating restaurant, willow-draped towpaths and a colourful collection of houseboats and brightly decorated narrow boats. We pass beneath “blow up bridge” and glide silently through a narrow tunnel that the bargees, in horse-drawn days, had to walk their way through upside down.


The guide will help your folk to pick out the little details that are so fascinating: the grooves cut into the bridge ironwork by the tow ropes and the pipe that carries one of London’s lost rivers across the canal. We arrive in the cobbled and flagged yard of Camden Lock where there is time to buy tea before heading home by 4.45pm.


Adults: £25 Seniors: £24

Available daily March to end October


Jam Buster

Avoid the rush hour at both ends of the day.

This is not an abridged itinerary - it’s the

same content as the day described above.

Meet the Guide at the Museum of London

at midday for free time to buy a light lunch.

At 1.30pm we explore Smithfield and

Charterhouse. At 4.00pm we cruise from

Little Venice to Camden Lock. Time here

to explore and maybe buy a meal - there’s

plenty of choice. At 6.30pm you’ll start the

drive home on much emptier roads.


Adults: £25 Seniors: £24

Available daily March to end October

Prices valid 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019


15 miles

2