Please see below the programme of off-the-peg walks and special events
Pre-booking essential as groups limited to 15 maximum – contact Diana to book or join the email list for regular updates.
  • Walks last approx. 2hrs. Small groups – Maximum size 15 but often around 10.
  • Price normally– £15/£20, of which 50p goes to a nominated charity* (payment on arrival at walk).
  • Walks go-ahead in all weathers, and however small group size (as long as you have booked by Friday evening for Sunday walks, or 24hrs before for Saturday + weekday walks). Late cancellations may have to be charged.
  • All walks led by Diana Kelsey.
  • See the Winter programme (December 2017 – March 2018) 
  • *2018 Donations to Brain Tumour Research, in memory of Diana’s brother who died in 2015.  Charity No. 1153487. Also to SolarAid, who provide solar power to some of the remotest regions of the world. Charity No. 1115960.

Tours of the Houses of Parliament

I am one of the guides on the public tours in Parliament on Saturdays and during the recess, so if you book on any of dates and times below, you will get me as your guide.  The maximum group size is 25 so bigger than you are used to on my own walks.  The tour takes 1hr. 45mins.

Saturday 24 March                             9.40    12.00    14.40

Saturday 21 April                                9.00    11.20

To book go to the Houses of Parliament web-site www.parliament.uk and follow the links to visiting/guided tours.  Or you can book by phone 020 7219 4114.

NB You must book via Parliament and having booked, just let me know that you are coming and I will ensure you are put in my group as there are 2 guides for each time-slot.

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NEW – Weekday Walks – 2 Options

OPTION 1 - You chose the walk and date – click here for the full list of walks – and guarantee 5 participants (Cost £20 per head).  The walk will then be added to the programme of Upcoming Walks and additional walkers will be recruited.

OPTION 2 - Book a private walk – minimum 12 @ £20 per head (special rates available for registered charity groups).

Do not hesitate to contact me to discuss – DiaKelsey3@aol.com

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Sunday 10 December

SMITHFIELD + CHARTERHOUSE + choral advent service with a difference – in ST. BARTHOLOMEW  the Great

To get you into the Christmas spirit and to give you some uplifting relief from the commercialisation of Christmas a late afternoon walk around the Smithfield area, visiting the newly landscaped courtyard outside Charterhouse.  But this shorter-than-normal walk is designed as a precursor to a very special and different advent service in St Bartholomew the Great.  St. Bartholomew is one of 2 surviving Norman churches in London. (The other is St Johns Chapel in the Tower of London). It was founded in AD1123 as part of a monastery of Augustinian Canons. And although the nave was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries its chancel still exists virtually unchanged from the 12c.  It is especially atmospheric for evening services,-  candlelight and incense are a heady mix!   The service we will attend links Advent with Christmas, and is based on the O Antiphons (responses) traditionally used in the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve.  If you enjoy acrostics and puzzles then this will surprise you! Two choirs, the Priory Church Choir and the Rahere Singers are positioned at opposite ends of the church and some of the responses are in plainsong.  It culminates in the well-known hymn that unites the Antiphons in one text: O come, O come, Emmanuel.
Walk 4.00 – 5.30.  For those staying on to the service, there is time to grab a cup of tea before it starts at 6.30pm  www.greatstbarts.com click on services/advent etc.for more details.

STARTS 4.00pm – St Pauls Tube ( Exit 2 outside Café Nero)

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Wednesday 13 December

CHARLES DICKENS’ LONDON

A walk through the streets of London that Dickens both frequented and immortalised in his novels.  I will both tell you more about Dickens life and times, conjuring up the London he knew and depicted, and take you past places featured in his novels.  He portrayed many vivid characters in his writings and novels but amongst the most vivid was London itself. In this walk see London through Dickens’s eyes . The word ‘Dickensian’ conjures up both abject poverty and Victorian family Christmases by roaring log fires.  An advocate of Victorian family values learn how Dickens’ own life was hardly a role model for the values he depicted in his novels and writings.

STARTS 11.30am – Embankment Tube (Villiers St. Exit.) Meet from 11.00am for coffee in the Embankment Cafe in Embankment Gardens

Ends approx 1.15pm near Holborn Tube

Cost £20

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Saturday 30 December

THE NEW RIVER WALK  +  A bit of ther River Fleet
Stoke Newington – Blackfriars (Full Day with pub lunch)

I will be doing my traditional post Christmas/pre New Year walk for those smart enough to decide to stay in London over the festive season.  The New River is neither new nor a river.  Completed in 1613 it  was a major ‘infrastructure project’ and private enterprise funded by a City merchant to bring fresh drinking water 39 miles from Hertfordshire to Islington, from where it was distributed to the City.  We will follow its final 5 miles from Stoke Newington to the ‘New River Head’ in Islington and then continue the watery theme by picking up the route of the river Fleet a further 2+ miles down to Blackfriars, where the Fleet flows into the Thames.  It is a varied walk through parkland, a brand new wetlands bird reserve,  a major regeneration project of Woodberry Down, elegant Georgian terraces and squares of Canonbury and the narrow streets of Clerkenwell and Holborn.  We will stop for coffee and a loo break and for lunch at the Narrowboat Pub on the Regents Canal in Islington.  Those who have done my Regents Canal walk will forgive me for using this pub again…but it’s good!

STARTS 9.30am – Manor House Tube EXIT 6 – Green Lanes N.W side (Piccadilly Line) Meet at Park View Café from 9.00am

Ends 4.30pm approx Blackfriars

Cost £25 – lunch extra

Minimum 8

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Sunday 7 January

RIVERSIDE VISTAS.  ROTHERHITHE to SOUTHWARK (More walk less talk!)

As a start to my 2018 programme, a 3+mile winter walk along the Thames to blow away ‘the January blues’. To avoid us getting cold I will keep the stops short as the idea of this walk is to enjoy the dramatic views you get upriver as you walk towards the City.  We will start with a brief walk round the old sailor town of Rotherhithe with its early 18C.church and almost villagey feel.  As we near Tower Bridge we go along the canyon-like streets of Shad Thames between the towering Victorian dock warehouses to pass under the approach to the bridge.  We then continue along the river past the new Bridge Theatre and City Hall from where there is the best view in London of the Tower and the soaring skyscrapers of the City. We will end with tea (for those who want) in Southwark Cathedral Refectory.
(NB Mayflower Pub www.mayflowerpub.co.uk Rotherhithe riverside pub does good food, if you want an early lunch)

STARTS 2.00pm – Rotherhithe Tube (London Overground)

Ends nr. London Bridge Station

Cost £20

Minimum 8

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Sunday 4 February

HOW MAYFAIR TURNED THE MONOPOLY BOARD BLUE!

The most expensive square on the Monopoly Board originally priced at £400!  In today’s money you would need upwards of £3.7m to buy a terraced house in Mayfair.  An area, unlike any other in London, that has never lost its cachet. Come on this walk and you will learn that it all started with a local fair in a buttercup field, a child bride and disgruntled neighbours.  Elegant facades, shady squares (in more ways than one!), transatlantic connections, Mayfair madams, posh shops …true blue money and blue stories.  A rich area in both senses of the word.

STARTS 2.00pm – Green Park Tube – Green Park/Buckingham Palace exit. (Meet in the park)

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Sunday 11 February

SOUTHWARK’S  HINTERLAND  Bankside, Borough and beyond  ***New in part***

This walk is based on my original ‘Borough’ walk, but follows a partly different route to take in all the new development happening behind Bankside…forget the popular river frontage, there is lots of old and new to see a few blocks in. Second only to the City in age the Borough was so named in Anglo Saxon times being the only other settlement outside the City.  Now part of Southwark it is another fast changing area with the onward march of property development, but one full of history from Roman times onward. Associations with Chaucer, Shakespeare, Harvard to many Dickens connections, including fragments of the prison where his father was imprisoned for debt feature on this walk, as do stories of Victorian poverty and philanthropy, a hidden garden and narrow atmospheric streets. Now those streets are being revitalised with many warehouse conversions.

STARTS 2.00pm Meet George Inn Yard, 75-77 Borough High St. (SE1 1NH). nrest tube London Bridge (Borough High St. East Exit)

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Sunday 25 February

NEW BUILDINGS OF THE CITY – THE POST BREXIT EFFECT ***New***

If you are feeling worried and depressed about London’s future post Brexit, come on this walk and be encouraged.  I was an ardent ‘Remainer’, but as I guide round the City I am buoyed by the sheer scale of redevelopment and the confidence of the City and its foreign investors.  Despite the many cataclysmic events that have shaken the City to its foundations..sometimes literally..such as the Great Fire and the Blitz, sometimes economically such as the end of Empire, the City has always found a way to survive and succeed.  Brexit is yet another of these events.  In response the City has developed a new strategy that focuses on promoting London and the City in particular as a great place to live and work.  For the first time residential complexes are being developed, the City is planning a ‘Culture Mile’ bringing art, culture and creativity into the square mile, old medieval alleyways and courtyards are being opened up, and yet more skyscrapers are being built and planned.  This walk may be nearer 2.1/2 hrs and will cover more distance with shorter stops, to give you a real flavour of the ‘new city’ rising to the challenge of life post Brexit.

STARTS 2.00pm – St Paul’s Tube – Exit 2 – outside Café Nero

Ends nr. Liverpool St. station

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Sunday 4 March

CHISWICK HOUSE, GARDENS + CAMELLIA FESTIVAL ( Reached by riverside walk)

Chiswick House always features in any programme or book on the history of British architecture, as a perfect example of a Palladian building.  Its gardens designed by William Kent have recently been restored to their former glory, including the 1828 conservatory housing the oldest and largest camellia collection outside Asia. We will walk along the Georgian riverside, past Chiswick’s 15c village church and Hogarth’s grave. I will take you round the gardens and show you the house from the outside (House should be open) The walk  will end around 2.30pm to give you time to visit the camellia house (entry free) at the conservatory and/or Chiswick House itself, which in previous years has been open during the camellia festival, (Entry charge. Eng. Heritage membs. free).

STARTS 1.00pm – Ravenscourt Park Tube

Ends in grounds of Chiswick House

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Sunday 11 March

ROMAN LONDON REDISCOVERED (inc.visit the MITHRAEUM +  Roman Amphitheatre)

To mark the upcoming Ides of March…well almost… a walk tracing Roman London.  Despite the increasingly modern appearances of the 21st century City of London, there are many reminders of the foundation of London. The geography and role of the City we know today is much influenced by its Roman origins.  This walk aims to give you an idea of the scale, geography and everyday life of 400 years of Roman London. We will see fragments of the Roman wall, the site of the forum, governor’s palace, a sacred river and Roman temple.  Highlight of the walk will be a visit to the newly restored London Mithraeum under the Bloomberg building (prov. on my managing to get tickets) + a visit to the London Amphitheatre..

STARTS 2.00pm – Outside main entrance to Museum of London Barbican. Nrest tube St. Pauls – 10 minutes up St. Martin le Grand. Access via escalator to high level walkway

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Sunday 18 March

DISCOVERING DEPTFORD ***New***

An area still in transition but with a colourful and varied history.  Originally a riverside village on the pilgrimage route to Canterbury, Deptford is mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales.  It really came into its own 400 years ago when Henry VIII made it his main shipbuilding dock.  Long associated with all things maritime, it declined in the 19th and 20th century into an area of poverty and slum dwellings.  Not many fine buildings or monuments survive, but there are a few gems which we will see, but it is nevertheless an area with many fascinating stories, the death of Christopher Marlowe, the visit of Peter the Great…the abject poverty of 19th century swept away by the planning ‘enthusiasm’ of the post war LCC (as featured in Secret Histories of our Streets).   It still however has retained its proud working class heritage, but it is worth a visit, before the ‘creeping gentrification’ alters the area.  I have not yet developed the walk in full, but as there is a lot to see and for some it may feel a long way to travel I plan to make a day of it…so starting around 11.00am with a coffee somewhere along Deptford High St, then doing part of the walk before having a pub lunch and then completing the walk in the afternoon…but this will be dependent on me finding a reasonable lunch venue. Failing that I will make it a 1.00pm start.

STARTS Deptford Bridge DLR – poss. mid morning

Cost £20

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Sunday 25 March

POPLAR –  THE EAST END RE-INVENTED

Until the building of the enclosed docks in the early 1800s Poplar was one of the small hamlets east of the Tower (hence Tower Hamlets!) surrounded by grazing and market gardens.  With the East India Company opening a dock and ship building in Blackwall in the 18th century, the East India Dock Road became lined with elegant Georgian mansions for merchants and ship builders, a few of which still survive. But once the enclosed docks were built in the early 19th century the area declined rapidly into cheap accommodation built for the dock workers. Although Poplar lies just north of Canary Wharf, it is still a poor area, but unlike other London areas it is not yet fully fallen prey to ‘gentrification’. In contrast it is being regenerated mostly with social housing and amenities, so it still retains its East End community feel.  It is a fascinating area with impressive churches and the occasional Georgian villa, a street for the Imperial Gaslight Company workers…still lit by gas lamps, interesting social housing and remnants of its dockland past.

STARTS 2.00pm – Blackwall DLR – meet by no.15 bus-stand just outside the station (on the n. side)

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