Sunday, 16 November 2014

Walk of the Week

Every Sunday we’ll pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks repertoire and put it centre stage.

You can check out the full schedule at

But if you only take one walking tour this week, why not make it…

CHELSEA – London's Ancient Riverside Village

1.45 pm on Wednesdays (not Dec. 24) from Sloane Square Tube

Ah, Chelsea! Let's start with one of the great set-pieces of London architecture and history: Wren's Royal Hospital. Setting foot in there you cross a threshold into another era. Because the "pensioners" – old soldiers – are Redcoats! They're resplendent in the 300-year-old scarlet uniform that was the garb of the British soldier in the 17th-century! As old as the cannon that guard the place. And that's just the overture. Because Chelsea is also Whistler's Thames – best seen in the afternoon with the sun like a blob of melted butter burnishing the luminous water. And it's Sir Laurence Olivier's house (and Oscar Wilde's "Tower of Ivory" and Mick Jagger's house and Thomas Carlyle's). Yup, these gnarled old village lanes and byways are as clamorous with great names as rooks in a wood. And the pageantry of the place continues to unfurl – because Chelsea is also artists' studios and the old Apothecary Garden that changed the course of American history (on Wednesday afternoons it's normally open to the public!) and Sir Thomas More's church and Crosby Hall (historical frissons don't come any more intense – because Crosby Hall was built nearly 20 years before Columbus discovered the new world – and Richard III was staying in it when he heard the "sad" news about the little Princes in the Tower).

The Chelsea – London's Ancient Riverside Village walk takes place every* Wednesday afternoon at 1.45 pm

*except Dec. 24

Meet Brian or Stephanie just outside the exit of Sloane Square Tube

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

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