All through the month of August we'll be blogging a few choice nuggets from The Mothership – that's www.walks.com, the main website of London Walks. Our From The Archive series is written in the main by London Walks' Pen David Tucker and will feature practical tips on joining in with a London Walk, some general London info as well as some more "off the beaten track" bits…
Is London Safe? Is London Expensive?
Okay, one at a time. First, is London safe? Well, it's a whole lot "safer" than "home" in most cases. For starters, if you're a visitor to London you won't be getting behind the wheel of your car. Straight away you've significantly improved your chances of surviving the next five days - or however long you're in London. And the beat goes on. Hand guns are as rare as hen's teeth in this country. If you're from a place that's awash in them...well, you can draw your own conclusions. To paraphrase the inscription on Yeats' tombstone, Cast a cold eye on terrorism on aspirin abuse, Visitor head for London.
And as for the other question: is London expensive? The answer is yes and no. If you're staying at Claridges and shopping at Harrods and forking out for stalls seats at the Royal Opera and dining at The Ivy darn tootin' it's expensive. On the other hand, if you know what you're doing - if you know how to do it - this place can be a bargain basement paradise. Gets back to my point about the importance of local knowledge. You want to have a world class meal for 25 bucks...well, toddle along to my Old Kensington walk and listen up. You want to eat very well in London for five dollars...well, that's do-able as well. Takes a little bit of planning...but that's part of the fun. Let alone satisfaction. Buttonhole me on any of my walks and I'll tell you how to do it. Sold out tickets to a hit London show? No problem, that one's solvable as well...and without paying some tout way over the odds. Superb classic English "threads" for chaps...at a tenth of what you'd pay for the same garment in Saville Row or Jermyn Street...again, that's very much on my radar screen (but certainly below the radar of 99.99 percent of the "tourists" who come here). A roof over your head without paying over-the-odds, typical London rip-off hotel rates...that's also eminently do-able. What was that sign that was plastered all over the Clinton campaign GHQ years ago: It's the Economy, Stupid. Well, to recast that in these terms: It's Local Knowledge. And you can leave off the word Stupid...because if you're savvy enough to tap into - and take advantage of - local knowledge you're anything but stupid!
I've just wittered on a bit about some of my own personal London "finds"...but the point is that every single London Walks guide is clued up with his or her own local knowledge extraordinaire!
A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.