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Walk For Life Tour: Review

Having lived in London for only five months, despite regular visits for as long as I can remember, I realised I really knew very little about the city I was living and working in. To begin to get to know it a bit better and expand on what generalities I knew of its history I went, this last Bank Holiday weekend, on a walking tour with walk4life (www.walk4life.info ).

All their walks are free and range from 1.5 miles over 2 hours to a full days walk over 11 miles and 8 hours. I opted to go on the 2 hour, 2 mile Highlights of London tour. So, on a bright, sunny, if windy Saturday afternoon we met at Waterloo Station and I prepared myself for an afternoon of edification and education.

Walk for life

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These tours are not just for first time visitors to London, or for tourists, they have something for everyone and are a fantastic service run free of charge, which relies on attendance to keep them going.

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In a city such as London, on a walk like this, where history and interest is all around you, what will make or break a tour like this is the guide. In this instance we had City of London Guide Lecturers Association member Bruce Panday, who is also accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding and perhaps more significantly for this tour is a Freeman of the City of London and Londoner born and bred. To say he knew his stuff would do him a disservice. The extent of his knowledge and most impressively, the time and energy spent to obtain this knowledge really came across in everything he said.

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Beginning with the London Eye, with its EDF Orange capsule, and carrying on via a brief discussion, inevitably, of the Shard, the ancient Queen’s Hythe Dock (a tautology we were reliable informed – ‘hythe’ means dock) and ending up at Tower Hill with an abbreviated of the history of the eponymous Tower, the tour was comprehensive without being overwhelming. Although it stretched to a little over 2 hours, I am confident the tour could have been twice as long and maintained the interest and attention of the group. There was a lot more covered of course on the tour, but as ever with these things it is best heard in situ from the mouth of an expert.

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The tours run regularly on a variety of routes and themes as well as at different times of day. There are night tours, such as the Ghosts of the Old City tour, taking you around the more gruesome and out of the way parts of the City, which sadly I missed, but will definitely be looking out for again.

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Details of the tours can be found in the following places:

Website: www.walk4life.info

Twitter: @walk4lifeinfo

Bruce Panday can be contacted via:

Email: brucepanday@hotmail.com 

Reviewed by Pete Churchill

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