This year, London Walks have both physical and virtual walking tours for Christmas.
25 December 2021, 11.00, £20.00 (£10.00 children)
Christmas Morning, 1660 – Samuel Pepys’ London
Yes, Christmas Morning 1660. Everybody knows that 1660 was the year of the Restoration. But it wasn’t just the monarchy that was “restored” in that year. What’s not so well known is that Christmas was banned between 1652 and 1660. The Ebeneezer Scrooge of that era was none other than the Protector himself, Oliver Cromwell. He certainly didn’t protect Christmas. He shot it down and shut it down. Hard to believe isn’t it – no Christmas in England for eight years. Talk about doing hard time. Cromwell and Co. put the boot in because, according to them, Christmas was a farrago of pagan traditions and popish nonsense. And as such it had to be extirpated. And so it was. But, happily, that all changed in 1660. Cromwell was kaput. Royalty – in the person of Charles II – was rip roaringly replevined, not to say rampant. Puritanism was purged. And part and parcel of all that was we got Christmas back.
To go on the Christmas Morning 1660 walk meet at 11.00 on Christmas Morning, December 25. The meeting point is by the big Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square. N.B. The walk takes about two hours and ends near Trafalgar Square.
25 December 2021, 14.00
The Christmas Day Charles Dickens’ London Walk
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me [Charles Dickens]” Our afternoon walk is all about the man who some think invented Christmas – he didn’t! He re-invented it! Before Dickens and his stories came along Christmas was a rather small celebration on the Christian calendar. It was Dickens whose words plumped, fluffed and sprinkled Christmas all over the world. So on Christmas afternoon we celebrate him, his words, his life, his London and his Christmas. A Christmas before Cola turned Santa red. A Christmas in the gaslight. A Christmas in London – Dickens’ London.
The Charles Dickens Christmas Day walk starts at 14.00. The meeting point is by the big Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. (How appropriate is that?) N.B. the walk ends in Covent Garden, very near the Strand and Trafalgar Square. And yes, there are cafes and restaurants in the area that will be open on Christmas Day.
28 November, 5, 12, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, 30 December 2021, 14.30
Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol & Seasonal Traditions
All the delights and delicacies of a London Victorian Christmas with Charles Dickens’s famous story A Christmas Carol as your route map and inspiration. We’ll deck the streets of London with balls of jolly. Scrooge and Marley and the Cratchits… they’re all here. This was where Dickens’s imagination took wing and where the characters did their thing. And as we make their acquaintance we’ll spice things with warming seasonal stories of turkeys and boars’ heads, Christmas puds, mince pies and pantomimes; cards, crackers, Christmas trees and mistletoe. Let alone the bells that rang out on Christmas morning to wake Scrooge up, a much-changed character. N.B. the walk takes about two hours and ends across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral and St. Paul’sTube Stop.
The meeting point for the Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol & Seasonal Traditions walk is just outside the exit of Tower Hill Tube. Meet by the Tower Hill Tram coffee stall.
23 December, 14.30, 29 December 2021, 10.30
The Sherlock Holmes Christmas Walk
“Compliments of the season!” A goose and a hat are lost in a scuffle at a street corner. But where? Which street corner? A suspect spends time in a museum. But why? An investigation leads to a famous market. But how? We follow the crisscrossing paths of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson as they solve their only original Christmas-time case, and Arthur Conan Doyle as he reaches a crisis in his professional life. Where did the detective acquire his famous Stradivarius violin? Where was the ‘Alpha’ public house which briefly hosted a hidden jewel? Where did Holmes himself live before he moved to 221b? Throw in a film location which links a silent screen Holmes and modern-day Sherlock, a fine house where one of Conan Doyle’s greatest friends lived, a theatre where the sleuth made a triumphant return on stage in the 1920s, and you have the recipe for this affectionate festive offering from the glory days of the Great Detective.
Meet at Goodge Street tube station.
19 December, 14.00, 20 December 2021, 19.00
Last Christmas 2021: The Walking Tour
A Christmas Music Walking Tour with live music and pub stops and history and trivia and fun and singing. A new musical tour of the West End Christmas Lights featuring locations from the movie inspired by the music Of George Michael. It’s not your average Christmas Lights Tour…
Meet at Tottenham Court Road Tube, exit 1.
5, 11, 18, 23 December 2021, 10.30
A Christmas Music Walking Tour with live music
Learn all about our traditional Christmas food. Turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, Brussels sprouts. Xmas pudding, Xmas cake, mince pies…you’ll be eating them soon. Pick up all sorts of titbits to astonish your Xmas dining companions – the turkeys that walked to London, the chequered history of the sprout, the rise and fall of the goose. Salivate over grand pudding recipes, shudder over workhouse Xmas fare. And the meaty past of the mince pie – make sure you eat 12 of them next month…and we end at that feast for the senses, Borough Market, where you can stock up on Xmas supplies.
Meet at Bank Underground Station (exit 3).
11, 19 December, 19.00; 24, 31 December, 22.00 and 30 December 2021, 15.00
The London of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol lies at the heart of the festive season; reinvented and celebrated down through the years. This virtual tour explores the heart of this enduring story in its original setting, the old City of London. Here, where Dickens himself explored and studied every nook and corner, so too Ebenezer Scrooge walked from his counting-house to his melancholy tavern and even more dismal lodgings. But where were they? Where was Jacob Marley buried, and how does this help explain his unquiet spirit? From Bob Cratchit’s icy slide on Cornhill, to the City churches ringing out their peals on Christmas morning – “Golden sun-light; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells” – it is all here for discovery and delight.
12, 19, 27 December 2021, 22.00
Sherlock Holmes & Conan Doyle at Christmas
“I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas…” A goose and a black felt hat were lost in a scuffle at a street corner: but where was it? A suspect spent time in the British Museum: but why? An investigation led to Covent Garden Market: but how? Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson had many classic adventures, and their Christmas outing, ‘The Blue Carbuncle’, contains many classic elements: a missing jewel in a remarkable hiding-place; an innocent man under arrest; a trail from Baker Street to Bloomsbury and beyond; and a dramatic confrontation between detective and villain.
20 December, 19.30; 23 December 2021, 19.00
Last Christmas – The Christmas Music Virtual Tour & Singalong
A Musical Tour of Christmas featuring locations from the movie inspired by the music of George Michael tales of Christmas music down through the ages. Will there be singing? Absolutely! Along the way we’ll explore the history of the London and reveal its hidden stories… all this PLUS an alternative version of The 12 Days Of Chrsitmas! Bring your own bottle!