Take the lead in a tour of London's historical cultural influences through time with the helping hand of me, blogger Shaun Nolan!
"Light the Lights" takes you on a tour from the Embankment, up Charing Cross Road, into Covent Garden, along the Strand and back to Leicester Square. As you walk, I'll tell you everything you need to know about the history of the beautiful buildings you see and the amazing people who have walked the same pavements as you.
London is a city that has forever been shaped by the culture that has influenced it, from literature, to theatre, to architecture. Famous creatives like Charles Dickens and Henry Irving have spent a lot of their lives in the city, being influenced by the environment and atmosphere. The vibrancy of the City we all know and love is a testament to that.
And it's not just a writer's playground - modern designers, intelligent innovators and important names have also helped to shape the city. The London Underground - the first underground train system in the world - is one of the city's biggest landmarks, and memorable names like World War One nurse Edith Cavell are celebrated in the West End.
So come along with me, Shaun Nolan, as we look at the history and influence of culture, design and society on The Big Smoke. If you're a fan of the theatre, a historical enthusiast or just a supporter of London itself, this tour is right up your street.
Royal Opera House, Somerset House London
This walk starts next to the black telephone box on Villiers Street outside Victoria Embankment Gardens, a stone's throw away from the Embankment Underground Station.
From Embankment underground station: after exiting the turnstiles, turn left and out onto Villiers Street. You should be able to see the black telephone box to your right in the distance when you reach the station's exit.
From Charing Cross station: exit the train station so you're stood with your back to the station and hotel. You're going to want to head down the street directly to your right, called Villiers Street. At the bottom of the street, you'll see the black telephone box outside Victoria Embankment Gardens on your left hand side.
Places to stop along the way:
Shopping: Charing Cross Road houses many different second hand bookshops and boutiques. The Seven Dials and Covent Garden host a wide variety of different shops, cafés and boutiques, mainly specialising in beauty supplies and fashion. If you're looking for more commercial shops, they can be found on the Strand.
Drinking: We pass several different drinking places that are recommended on the walking tour itself. Traditional pubs like The Chandos and The Nell Gwynne are available if you're looking for something alcoholic, as well as Gordon's Wine Bar (the oldest wine bar in London). If you're looking for something a bit warmer, the Charles Dickens Coffee House and coffee shops in Somerset House are perfect spots.
Eating: The Ivy restaurant is on this tour if you fancy brushing shoulders with people in the entertainment industry, as well as famous restaurants like Rules and Tuttons in the Covent Garden area.
Other culture: See if there are any exhibitions available at Somerset House when you take a visit (www.somersethouse.org.uk), or stop to watch some street performers in Covent Garden when you walk through.
Best time of day:
I recommended taking the walk at around 11am to see its full potential. We walk past a lot of West End theatres on the tour, so it's probably best to avoid matinee and evening performance times (2:30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday or 7:30pm every evening). However, this tour can be taken at any time during the day.
We do walk through a lot of populated areas, so make sure your bags are closed and you're aware of your surroundings. We also cross over a lot of busy roads on the walking tour, so please be safe when doing so and cross at the signposted crossing points.
Plunge yourself into the surprisingly dynamic world of the British Public Toilet. This tour takes you past some of London's most iconic views with a new twist.
Performed by Rachel Erickson (The Loo Lady), Music by Paul Freeman, Guest voices:... More»
We take toilets (and most other sanitary fixtures) for granted... but there is nothing pre-ordained or natural about them. They reflect deeply ingrained cultural norms.
This walk through Bloomsbury dives into the history of toilets and how we... More»
On this walk we follow in the footsteps of Chaucer and Shakespeare across London Bridge to the south bank of the Thames. Here is the district of Southwark, which used to have a murky reputation, as it provided the entertainment, manufacture and... More»