Do you long to get off the well-worn London tourist trail and see more of the city’s hidden corners? If so, you’re certain to enjoy this walking tour alongside the River Thames, once the main trading gateway into the city.
On this walk, you’ll hear the many, varied stories linked to this stretch of the river. I’ll share the history behind the buildings you see and, along the way, I’ll introduce you to some of the fascinating characters that have lived here, including the artist Francis Bacon, some of the protagonists in one of the first industrial disputes, and even a witch and a ghost. We’ll also pass the charming 450 year-old pub, The Bunch of Grapes, located directly above the spot where Sir Walter Raleigh set sail on his third voyage to the New World. If you pause here for a pint, you can get a glimpse of the staff that actor Sir Ian McKellan, who is also part-owner of the pub, used when he played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
You can look forward to hearing about:
• The first London docks
• A little piece of China on the shores of the Thames
• Francis Bacon’s lover’s plot to plant cannabis in the artist’s studio in order to get him arrested
• Great feats of Victorian engineering
• Law, order – and the lack of it – along the river banks, where drunks from a nearby pub were reputedly drowned
• The repurposing of Docklands in the 1900s
Whether it’s your first time in the capital or you’re a local who’s curious about this stretch of the river, you’ll gain a valuable introduction to one of London’s most fascinating neighbourhood’s rich history.
Allow approximately an hour and a half for this walk if you plan on keeping strictly to the route. There are several opportunities to explore some of the historic waterside taverns that still exist, which will add more time if you choose to stop for refreshments. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and food outlets if you feel the need to take some time out during the tour.
Temptation March by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Dragon and Toast by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/