Walking Tours

"I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings, the lower the morals" Noël Coward

From unforgettable sights to undiscovered corners, there’s just so much to see and explore. Choose from one of my private tours or opt for a guided group tour. If you have any questions or are ready to book your tour, feel free to get in touch.

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The City of Westminster: Pageantry & Politics

The City of Westminster is at the heart of royal and political London. On this tour, pass Buckingham Palace and other royal residences. Hear tales of royalty past and present, and visit the execution site of King Charles I. 

Hear about political figures and brave women such as Queen Boudica. See Rodin's emotive statue and hear about the brave Burghers of Calais.

This also takes us into the West End where we will see the famous statue of Eros, and Trafalgar Square.

This walk can be combined with the Guard Change Ceremony at Buckingham Palace (provided this is scheduled.) For a longer tour, it can be combined with a visit to Westminster Abbey or the National Gallery or Tate Britain.

The City of London: Old & New

Experience the wondrously varied City of London. Its history takes us from Roman times about 2,000 years ago, through medieval street patterns leading to the devastating Great Fire of London of 1666 and on to the most magnificent, though sometimes discordant, architecture where old is juxtaposed with new.

Another great trial for the City was the devastation of World War Two, and we will visit bombed-out churches that have now been turned into peaceful gardens. We will dip and dive into secret little alleyways that reveal the oldest coffee house in London, founded in 1652 by Pasqua Rosée.

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Want to organize your own custom tour? Get in touch with me today.

All photos © Clarissa Skinner

 

Walking Tours

"Life is too important to be taken seriously" Oscar Wilde

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Literary & Artistic Chelsea: Walking on the Dark Side

Standing outside this house, you may want to grab some garlic and a cross, as this is the former home of Bram Stoker who wrote Dracula. He was apparently inspired to write it after nightmares induced by a crab dinner. 

Why not come on my tour and learn about the lives and inspirations of the many authors and artists who lived in Chelsea. I will regale you with tales of artistic and literary rivalries, tragedies and fabulous females ahead of their time. We will also pass by the nursery where the real Christopher Robin played with his bear. We also pass the home of a super spy or two...

Mayfair: Blue Bloods, Clubs, Fops and Dandies

Come on a tour of Mayfair. Mostly set in Georgian times, learn about the fabulous 19th-century gambling dandies such as Beau Brummell and the flamboyant Count D'Orsay.


The Blue Bloods refers to royalty and the clubs, both gambling and otherwise, of the wealthy past and present. From scandalous trysts to royal gossip to those who lost all. 

Beware, this is a saucy tour of foppish nonsense, but terribly stylish!

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Want to organize your own custom tour? Get in touch with me today.

All photos © Clarissa Skinner

 

Walking Tours

"Find a place with a bath and no bugs in Bloomsbury, and be happy there" Dylan Thomas

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Kensington Village

Explore the exclusive area of Kensington. Learn about the tragic fate of the real Peter Pan and see the magical statue by the Serpentine lake. 

Delve into little back-streets and squares and learn what it is to be a Talleyrand. This area serves us up the homes of royalty, prime ministers, poets and artists. 

It is here that you will find Albertropolis with the glitzy Royal Albert Memorial to Queen Victoria's beloved husband. This tour can be combined with a visit to Kensington Palace where Queen Victoria was born and brought up. There are also ghosts at the palace.

Or combine it with a visit to the incredible Victoria & Albert Museum with artefacts of craft and design from all over the world.

Literary & Philanthropic Bloomsbury

Visit the homes of the Bloomsbury Set including Virginia Woolf. They were said to "Live in squares, talk in circles and love in triangles" being very avant-garde and racy for their times. 

Pass the home of Charles Dickens, the offices of Faber & Faber, the Foundling Hospital for the poor, deserted babies and the Church for the "Climbing Boys" and discover who they were and the crusade to save them.

This tour can be combined with a visit to the British Museum. I have an extensive knowledge of the museum's vast collection. I do recommend taking plenty of time here as there are so many amazing artefacts from all over the world to see. 

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Want to organize your own custom tour? Get in touch with me today.

All photos © Clarissa Skinner

 

Walking Tours

"To be, or not to be, that is the question" Hamlet

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Shakespeare's Southwark

Shakespeare was described in the 1590s by Robert Greene as "This upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, who thinks himself the only Shake-Scene in a Country".

Explore Shakespeare's Southwark. A cruel place of cut-throats, bear and bull baiting, stew houses (brothels) and theatrical rivalries. A place where the bishops were pimps with their "Winchester Geese" and had their disease-ridden prison the Clink.

This tour can be taken with a visit to the Globe Theatre (provided it is open.) Even better, take an afternoon tour and see a show at the Globe and experience the life of a "groundling" first hand!

Combine it with a visit to Tate Modern and Borough Market (a fabulous foodie haven, especially if you love cheese.)

Theatreland Tour and Covent Garden

Come on my Theatreland Tour. See the oldest working theatre on the same site in the West End, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. It also claims to be the most haunted. There are also murder stories connected to our famous theatres. 

I will take you on a journey through the history of theatre, the founding of the Bow Street Runners or "Thief Takers", past the office of Household Wolds, Dickens's magazine but also his retreat from family life.

End this tour by spending time in the delightful, old, covered Covent Garden Market. This is a market of British craft and hosts street performers and delicious eateries and restaurants. 

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Want to organize your own custom tour? Get in touch with me today.

All photos © Clarissa Skinner

 

Walking Tours

"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully"
Dr Samuel Johnson

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Crime, Law and De Worde

This tour explores crime and tabloids in London at the heart of the city. My picture shows a newsprint styled image of the Old Bailey Criminal Courts of Justice. I will tell you some of the great and strange trials held here past and present.


De Worde relates to Wynkyn in de Worde, the pupil of William Caxton who brought the first printing press to England in c1476. De Worde moved it from Westminster Abbey to the City of London c1500 after which there has been about a 500-year history of printing on Fleet Street. Hear more about the rise and fall of Fleet Street and pass the printers church of St Bride's and Stationers' Hall.

We will also see the former home of Dr Samuel Johnson (just tucked away in a tiny courtyard behind Fleet Street) where he compiled the first English dictionary, printed in 1744. It was on seeing the hangings in the yard at the Old Bailey that he gave us the quote on this page.

Criminal London

Experience criminal London. Sweeney Todd, myth or truth? Jack Sheppard, the Houdini of his day? What of Moll Cutpurse who dressed up as a man? And Lazarus who came back from the dead?

We also see a horribly haunted pub and hear of a fake 18th-century haunting.

This tour centres around the Old Bailey, and we will end up in Bleeding Heart Yard where a member of the famous Hatton family's heart can sometimes still be seen beating on the cobbles.

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Want to organize your own custom tour? Get in touch with me today.

All photos © Clarissa Skinner

 

Walking Tours

"A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!" Charles Dickens

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Jack the Ripper

On this tour, my focus is on the victims of Jack the Ripper; all women and all prostitutes in Victorian London.

We will explore their backgrounds and the social history behind this very great mystery. The victims were from very diverse backgrounds, but drink and other circumstances led to them living hand to mouth and becoming destitute, thus falling prey to the Ripper.

I will of course focus on who Jack the Ripper may have been. Some historians claim to have solved the crime; however, I believe it to still be an unsolved mystery...

We will also explore the cultural diversity of this fascinating area of the East End of London.

Dickensian London

Coming soon...

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Want to organize your own custom tour? Get in touch with me today.

All photos © Clarissa Skinner

 

Walking Tours

"And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee" John Donne

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Legal London

Join me on a tour of Legal London. We will visit three of the Inns of Court where barristers are called to the bar to practise law. The four Inns are Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple, Inner Temple and Gray's Inn.

Inns were so-called as they provided lodgings for the law students in the past. I will give you the history behind the development of the legal system as we dive in and out of these beautiful, hidden places. I will also tell tales of abandoned babies named Lincoln; and 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'...

Providing it is open, we will visit Temple Church, said to have been consecrated by Heraclius himself - Patriarch of Jerusalem - on February 8, 1185 (though restored after bombing during WWII.) This church has the most wonderful effigies, including one of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke - an executor of the Magna Carta of 1215, probably the most important legal document in history.

Sir John Soane's Museum

Why not combine a legal walk with a visit to this intriguing little museum. Sir John Soane was an eccentric architect who rebuilt the Bank of England in the City of London in the late 18th century.

The museum is his former home, filled with curios, vase-mania, paintings and many mirrors to reflect space. To some it may be cluttered and claustrophobic, but non-the-less it is fascinating. He even managed to get his hands on the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I (father of Rameses The Great).

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Want to organize your own custom tour? Get in touch with me today.

All photos © Clarissa Skinner