London audio tour: The Battle of Britain House: A Walk Through Ruislip Woods

The Battle of Britain House: A Walk Through Ruislip Woods

Walking Tour

|
60 mins
|
1.3mi

About the Tour

The ruins of the Battle of Britain House reveal the hidden story of London’s wartime history. On this walking tour, we’ll escape the rigours of London's inner city to enjoy the great outdoors at Ruislip Woods, a beautiful national nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Our walk leads us to the ruins of a mysterious mansion in the woods, once a top-secret training facility for OSS Operatives during World War II. Along the way, I’ll introduce you to its fascinating history and the lives of the health and fitness pioneers, intrepid globetrotters, and working-class spies associated with it. We’ll also revisit the glamour and innocence of the swinging 60s as I share stories from the now defunct Ruislip Lido, a popular reservoir and artificial beach once frequented by celebrities.

While you walk, scan your immediate environment for the numerous ruins and artefacts scattered along the route, and use your imagination to make its history come to life. This audio tour can become your very own treasure hunt! Take the opportunity to pause for a relaxed picnic, either at Ruislip Woods or at the scenic Ruislip Lido.

Tour Producer

avatar

Evan Panagopoulos

My name is Evan Panagopoulos and I am the founder of the alternative travel experiences brand Explorabilia. I am an urban storyteller, an avid fan of brutalist and mid-century architecture, a knowledgeable WW2 and Victorian era enthusiast, and I like to engage with abandoned spaces and obscure history. I have a knack for rediscovering forgotten and unseen spaces hiding in plain sight, and express what I’m passionate about through writing, photography and interviewing people with a fascinating story to share.

I use obscure architecture and forgotten locations to relate surprising stories that run deep, cut deeper and let you into the nuances of local cultures. I am currently busy with the creation of more alternative walks in London, showcasing the less known sights and stories of the capital. I am also working towards the development of longer international tours, featuring weird and wonderful locales, dark stories, abandoned sites, and fringe cities, where I weave fascinating, well researched social and historic narratives related through authentically local experiences.

My work has featured on BBC Radio London, Architectuul, LOSTiN City Guides, and WW2 Wrecks and I am a regular contributor of places at Atlas Obscura . I’ve began writing my first book, based on a family memoir of the Greco-Italian War.

explorabilia’s walks and tours are currently featuring on Airbnb, Atlas Obscura and Join My Trip.

Major Landmarks

  • Battle of Britain House ruins

  • Ruislip Woods

  • Ruislip Lido

Directions to Starting Point

The tour starts at the Mad Bess Wood Car Park near Ruislip
Address : Ducks Hill Road, Northwood HA6 2SS, Greater London, UK
Coordinates : 51.59510032295011, -0.4423100936209753
Plus Code : HHV5+X3 Northwood
What3 Words : ///quite.memory.loans

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Tips

Places to stop along the way

Water's Edge Pub, Ruslip Lido

Best time of day

Morning to noon

Precautions

Please mind where you step in the woods, and walk sensibly while keeping to the trails to protect the rare flora and fauna of the Nature Reserve. Please be aware of the hazards around the ruin, such as sharp objects, rubble, and uneven or broken steps. In autumn and winter, woodland trails can become muddy up to one's ankles - please ensure you are wearing appropriate footwear (wellies or hiking boots). In spring and summer, the woods experience change, and vegetation is lush. Do follow the red trail on your map closely most of the time, but don't hesitate to take a small detour to the next point if that makes more sense.

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The Battle of Britain House: A Walk Through Ruislip Woods