Friday, 30 April 2010

Something for The Weekend #2: London’s Secret War

A coded message from Ed Glinert

Lurking around every corner, hiding under every street, listening on every phone line is a secret world of spooks, spies, saboteurs and subversives. Those on the wrong side of the War on Terror. The capital is full of them, or at least stories about them, as you can discover on the London’s Secret War walk on Saturday 1 May which leaves Charing Cross station Thistle Hotel at 2.30pm.

It will be led by a man who has read too many dodgy dossiers labelled “Top Secret! Confidential!” and watched too many films with soundtrack supplied by John Barry.

(Yup, it’s that Ed Glinert again. Blog Ed.)

Now you too can be as enlightened as he. You will be taken to the HQ of the government’s mysterious “Z” organisation; to the Nazis’ embassy on the Mall to hear how the German ambassador was assassinated on Hitler’s orders; to a site above the government’s not-so-secret Pindar bunker; to the Whitehall office where the government established the “Flying Saucer Working Party”; and to the early home of MI6 where the director-general used to stab his wooden leg with a pen-knife to test the nerve of potential recruits.

And even when you head of home your mission may not be over. If you take the Victoria Line you will be using a route built secretly by the government to link major strategic sites across the capital. Above the line stands the new home of MI6, Buckingham Place , the Queen’s war-time bunker and …

[the rest of this communication has been inexorably censored for reasons of security. Only those who need to know, or those willing to part with eight pounds or six pounds may proceed …]


To follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, to watch London Walks Films on YouTube, to send us an email or simply to catch up on the latest news from www.walks.com, click on the appropriate icon below…

bebobebomyspaceyoutubefacebookEmail melondonwalks


Bookmark and Share

Something for the Weekend #1: Lord Byron's London

On Saturday 1 May London Walks will be celebrating Lord Byron with a walk conducted by Ed Glinert, author of Penguin’s Literary Guide to London.

We’ll hear about the life and loves of the man dubbed “mad, bad and dangerous to know”.

Why Lord Byron? Well, he was probably our greatest poet. Just consider this stanza from Don Juan. Can anything outside the Bible match this for lyrical dexterity:

When Newton saw an apple fall, he found
In that slight startle from his contemplation --
’T is said (for I'll not answer above ground
For any sage's creed or calculation) --
A mode of proving that the earth turn'd round
In a most natural whirl, called "gravitation;"
And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,
Since Adam, with a fall or with an apple.

Or capture a universal mood of one of the world’s best loved tourist destinations in only two lines?

I stood in Venice , on the Bridge of Sighs ; 
A palace and a prison on each hand:

He was also a bit of a character, a cad, who had a string of affairs with paramours of both sexes and even his half-sister. And to preserve his image he conveniently died young.

The walk starts at Green Park tube (north exit) at 10.45 a.m. It will wind round St James’s and Piccadilly, visiting the poet’s haunts like Hatchard’s, Albany and Burlington House.

To follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, to watch London Walks Films on YouTube, to send us an email or simply to catch up on the latest news from www.walks.com, click on the appropriate icon below…

bebobebomyspaceyoutubefacebookEmail melondonwalks


Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Signs of the Times III

David swings by, with more daft London signs…

Thought I'd throw my hat in the ring (see Archive for earlier silly sign posts). This one greeted us at the door of the Green Man, the funky old "cider pub" deep in lost – and-rarely-found – down-home neighbourhoody Fitzrovia on the last Fitz Pub Walk.


I mean what's not to love about a "cider pub" that plays host to the London Air Accordion Society? And what's not to love about the London Air Accordion Society? Especially since air guitars are sooooo last century.

And as long as we're at it, here's a glance at The Green Man's chalk board. My kind of pub. No airs, no poseurs. Down home. Friendly. Welcoming. Overflowing with that untranslatable German word: gemüetlich.



And am I giving away the family silver – putting the word out about The Green Man? Hardly. Sure you can get there off your own bat. But you can't get there via the most picturesque, the most interesting, the most full-of-win route. You need me and my Bohemian Fitzrovia Pub Walk for that.”

For the Fitzrovia Pub walk – and all the other “Other Saturday Night Pub Walks” – hit www.walks.com


Seen any great London signs? Daft ones? Grumpy ones? Confusing ones? Send ‘em to us by clicking the envelope icon at the foot of this post.

More signs coming soon…

To follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, to watch London Walks Films on YouTube, to send us an email or simply to catch up on the latest news from www.walks.com, click on the appropriate icon below…

bebobebomyspaceyoutubefacebookEmail melondonwalks


Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Plaque of the Week No.32

“The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and endure much.” William Hazlitt 1823


Commemorating: William Hazlitt
Issued by: The old London County Council
Street: Frith Street
Postcode: W1
Borough: City of Westminster

Quite what William Hazlitt would think of having a boutique hotel named in his honour, is a matter for another day – although Bill Bryson brings any hoity-toity fancy hotel frippery back down to rude earth with the line, “All the rooms are named after his chums or women he shagged there.” Ahem.

Writer, grammarian, philosopher, regarded by the literary establishment as among the greatest of English essayists, Hazlitt lived in a modest apartment within what is now the upmarket Hazlitt’s Hotel. Much of his work today is today out of print. But one could find worse things to do of a wet London afternoon than trawl the Cecil Court bookshops for a copy of his Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays – which remains required reading for all Bardic scholars.

A venomous critic of the political establishment, his spirit has regularly been invoked by admiring journalists during this current General Election campaign.

You can see his plaque on Sunday night’s Soho Pubs Walk.

To follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, to watch London Walks Films on YouTube, to send us an email or simply to catch up on the latest news from www.walks.com, click on the appropriate icon below…

bebobebomyspaceyoutubefacebookEmail melondonwalks


Bookmark and Share

Monday, 26 April 2010

In and Around… The River Out East

The Monday Photoblog!


Monday is mute on The Daily Constitutional (well, almost mute) – because Monday is the day when we post five images captured in and around London by London Walks Guides and London Walkers.

Collated on a theme or an area, if you've got some great shots of our capital and want to join in send your pictures to the usual address.



Some shots around the River Thames out Woolwich and Greenwich way…







POST UPDATED 5/4/16

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 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.









Bookmark and Share