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Various London Tours (PHOTOS)

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Various London Tours (PHOTOS)

Post by Karen on Sat 4 Jun 2011 - 0:15

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LONDON Walking Tours.

Guided tours of most major cities consist of piling on a bus, fighting traffic jams and listening to a nasal tape recording spew forth encyclopedic facts about the church you passed 30 seconds ago.
But several groups in London offer another, more down-to-earth way to see the city and soak up some historical culture at the same time.
Walking tours of London usually concentrate on a specific subject, such as Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, or the London of Charles Dickens.
Weekly listings of walking tours are published in several magazines, found in any newsstand or hotel gift shop.
Walking tour guides are either self-employed or are part of a small staff. They're usually native Londoners who have researched their city's history and recall hundreds of anecdotes which personalize their tours.
Most tours last between 90 minutes and 2 hours and cover 1 - 2 1/2 miles in distance and centuries in time. Tours are extremely informal (wear comfortable clothing and shoes made for walking), usually meeting at a subway stop at the time and date listed in the newspaper or travel brochure.

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TOURS FEES RANGE between one pound, 50 pence and two pounds (about $2.25-$3).
What do you get for the money?
The Jack the Ripper tour covers areas of Whitechapel, the London slums made famous by a series of grisly prostitute murders in 1888. Guides discuss several theories about the Ripper's identity, including one which links the killer to the Buckingham Palace royalty of Queen Victoria.
The tour also goes past the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a still-active concern which cast America's famous Liberty Bell.
Other areas show the narrow, litter-strewn alleys and squalor in which Victorian-era Whitechapel residents lived.
Gas streetlights, which were scarce in the area, actually contributed to the famous London "fog," darkening the area instead of lighting it to expose robbers, thugs and murderers lurking in the shadows.
Other tours are more pleasant. There are several pub tours, which offer insights into London's history and entertainment.
One pub tour stops in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, one of the first buildings restored after the great London fire of 1666. The story goes that workmen refused to rebuild the city until they had the pubs in which to drink and relax.

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THE PUB TOUR ALSO stopped in The Blackfriar's, so named for the monastery built in the 1200's and used by Sir Thomas More. The pub featured tile relief mosaics of monks making wine, praying, singing and picking grapes. The guide also said Shakespeare owned a house in the Blackfriar's area in 1614.

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Several tours retrace the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes as the fictional detective solved several cases and outwitted notorious criminals. Another tour traces Shakespeare's London of the Middle Ages, including a visit to the site of the Bard's famous Globe Theater.
Another tour covers the ground where the Charles Dicken's character Oliver Twist lived. The tour ends with a visit to the Dickens House Museum, a former home of the writer.
Other tour subjects include England's royalty, ghosts in London and London's legal system. Yet another traces the city's roots to the ancient Roman town of Londinium.

Source: Stripes Magazine, September 8, 1983, Page 8

***************************************
Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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