Whitehall is one of my favourite places in London, very historical but still remaining the centre of political power today. In this small area you can see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. Walk past 10 Downing Street and meet the pelicans in St James's Park. King Henry VII created the Whitehall Palace here, built for that most tragic of his wives, Anne Boleyn.
Public tours on 4th, 10th, 15th and 31st in August. Book here through Funzing
A walk here is a perfect way to get your bearings before heading off to explore this exciting city on your own.
I am committed to being available for one private tour every single day. However if booked at short notice the times when I am available will be very late or very early and prices start at 40 pounds.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour. From the booking process right through to the tour itself everything was very good.
Andi was always very responsive to any questions that we had prior to the tour and was also flexible and gracious when we had to make rearrangements.
The tour itself was very interesting and Andi's enthusiasm for the areas we visited and the stories he told was infectious -
he clearly knows his stuff and loves his job! I would have no hesitation in recommending Everyday London Walks to both tourists and London residents alike.
David Singleton June 2019
Andi was a suberb guide, very knowledgeable and very friendly. I'd recomend him.
Lynn Baker April 2019
Last night we went on The Westminster Ghost Walk with four visiting
Dutch teenagers. We had an amazing, exhilarating and spooky time. The
teenagers loved the stories and the insights into parts of London they
recognised, but didn't know that well. For Gill and myself, even after
living in London for 40 years or more, we discovered things about this
part of London we had never seen before. Andi's knowledge is extensive,
his stories are brilliant and his enthusiasm is infectious. Highly
recommended for visitors and residents.
Jinne Stiksma Jan 2019
"Andi was a friendly and enthusiastic guide with loads of interesting stories to share,
very knowledgeable about the hidden London history we walk past every day! Recommended.
Rob Sambrooks Sept 2018
"Throughly enjoyed the walk, Andi is a lovely guy and he's extremely knowledgeable."
Nichola Folan Aug 2018
"Loved our guided walking tour this morning with Andi for London History Day."
Naomi Kilby May 2018
"Had the pleasure of being on the Whitehall Walk with Andy this week. Really interesting knowledgable tour very well given.
Look forward to going on the Ghost Walk in the future."
Brenda and John Ahrens March 2018
"I joined Andi on the Whitehall Walk. I'm English and have worked in and visited London many times but still learned much
from the clever placing of historical fact with historical place. I enjoyed it so much, I signed up for Andi's Ghost walk
and am happy to report I was not disappointed."
John Hatswell Feb 2018
"It was a unique experience. Thanks again you were really good."
Alba Maria Azorin Segura Jan 2018
"I really enjoyed the ghost walk last night! Andi is full of london knowledge. Thanks!"
Lucy Mitchell Nov 2017
Jennet & I did the Ghosts, Poltergeist & Body-snatchers walk. It was really atmospheric & Andy's knowledge is encylopaedic.
We both enjoyed ourselves & highly recommend this walk.We loved walking through the narrow alleys & byways.
Mary da Silva August 2017
What a fabulous morning! Andi is a fantastic guide, with anecdotes, stories and facts about the well known landmarks of London.
Starting at Westminster and finishing up at Buckingham Palace two hours later, we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it was very reasonably priced!
10 out of 10.
Gemma Kedwell Jan 2017
Taking one of the many London walking tours is a great way to see interesting things whilst on holiday. There is something about being in the scene on foot that makes the London experience come alive. This tour comes from many years of walking and working around this area and exploring all of the nooks and crannies, I hope that it brings out some of the best that Westminster has to offer.
We start in Trafalgar Square, site of Nelson's Column and for many years the feeding ground for thousands of London pigeons. When I was young I came here with my parents and we bought bird seed and fed the birds. They were quite tame and would sit on your hands, I remember one landed on my mother's head. Sadly the bird droppings were damaging the buildings around here so feeding the birds is not allowed now.
The Square was originally laid out to provide an imposing space in front of the National Gallery. You can see the building, which stretches right across the north side of the square in the photo. It was built by William Wilkins specifically for the nation's art collection and is free to visit.
During the Second World War the paintings were moved and hidden away in caves in Wales. Lunch-time concerts were started in the bulding by the pianist Myra Hess and nearly 2000 concerts were given along with exhibitions of war artists like Nevinson and Spencer.
In 1941 a scheme was introduced whereby one picture a month was brought back and exhibited on its own in the gallery. Every month a new picture was chosen and lots of people came to see each painting despite all the devastation in London. I love this idea, one painting sitting on an easel in the middle of an otherwise empty gallery. The art critic, Herbert Read, said that the Gallery was," a defiant outpost of culture , right in the middle of a bombed and shattered metropolis"
Then down Whitehall, a road named after the great palace of Henry VIII and site of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Officially still married to his first wife and unable to get a divorce the King took matters into his own hands. The historical record points to two secret weddings. The first one, taking place immediately after the couple came back from France was so secret that months later even a notable Court gossip didn't know about it. The second one took place on Whitehall in the King's private Chapel. The historian David Starkey suggests that Henry deliberately leaked details about this second one in order to appease any worries about whether he was a bigamist or not.
We will also see, the nearly 400 hundred year old Banqueting House, 10 Downing St built by notable spy and turn-coat Sir George Downing and Horse Guards, site of one of the two Changing of the Guard ceremonies in London.
Whitehall has become synonymous with the mechanisms of Government and the Civil Service and there are many fine Victorian public buildings here. My favourite is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, beautifully decorated inside and with great sculptures outside. Many of these offices can be seen on film, the Old War Office was used in the James Bond movies and Scotland Yard was home to the Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter stories.
Next up is Parliament Square for everyone's favourite photograph, Big Ben. It is covered in scaffolding at the moment while they renovate the 150 year old tower but you can still see the Palace of Westminster an outstanding work of victorian gothic and the Westminster Abbey.
It is likely that the river could be crossed here, so humans may have been inhabiting this area for thousands of years.
Then we walk around the corner into St James's Park, originally land bought by Henry VIII to build a Palace for a son that he would never have. A short walk through the park to see the lake and waterbirds before heading to Buckingham Palace, home and office of the Queen.
The route finishes here, within easy reach of good transport links and not that far from where we started. The whole walk takes about two hours but this can change depending on the size of the group and the questions that come up. This area is used for ceremonial events so the route may have to change at short notice.
Trafalgar Square, in front of the the National Gallery, is our starting point for this tour. The National Gallery is haunted by several ghosts and was reputed to have been built on a pit full of victims of the plague. More recent investigations however have given us a better idea of where these pits were and there is not one under the Square. The remains of lions, rhinocerous and bears have been discovered though, an indication of a very different climate many years ago.
Then past St Martin-in-the-Fields to Coutts, a private bank rumoured to have Her Majesty the Queen as a customer and reportedly haunted by Thomas Howard. He was executed on a trumped up charge and so naturally felt a little bitter about it.
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk.
His descendants rebuilt the family seat, Arundel Castle, where I found this portrait. The castle is wonderful and features a rather splendid library where the family keep his death warrant signed by Elizabeth I.
From Coutts Bank we pass the fantastic Victorian replica of an Eleanor Cross outside Charing Cross station before walking down the alley to the Sherlock Holmes pub. Arthur Conan Doyle may well have used the old post box that still sits outside this pub.
Next, the York Water Gate. This is one of the most spooky places on the tour with a very melancholy feel during the winter months. Back then the river was much wider and boats would pick up passengers here. There is a memorable moment in Pepy's diary when he gets dropped off from a boat and comes face to face with a victim of the plague.
A little further on and we cross Waterloo Bridge for one of the best views of London at night.
Along the South Bank and past the London Dungeon, an attraction that focuses on the gory and horrible bits of London's history.
Lastly, a walk over Westminster Bridge for a modern ghost photo before finishing at Parliament Square.
The whole tour takes about
an hour and a half and is fully accessible but please let me know in advance if you
have any access requirements.
Please note, due to the ceremonial events that take place in this area, the route may be subject to change on the day.
On the surface this is a tour about ghosts but it is also about how we use stories to make sense out of the world. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the phenomenon has been happening for millenia, people consistently report seeing them and often the experience changes people. There are many theories and ideas about it but nothing that has been proved. I, myself have had some odd experiences that I cannot explain.
Tours can be arranged at times that suit you, please contact us for more details
Want to have a FUN time in London? See the sights AND experience something special?
Last month was the anniversary of the execution of Charles I, 31st January 1649 on Whitehall. There is a statue of him near Trafalgar Square and I have seen wreaths placed there before. I went down to have a look before my Ghost Walk and this is what I found. It is incredible to me that nearly 400 hundred years later people still care enough about it to do this.
Wandering down the alleyway at the side of the Sherlock Holmes Pub I noticed this rather odd stone tracery and tiling. Thanks to the internet I discovered it was an entrance to the Charing Cross Turkish Baths founded in 1884. The Baths feature in the Sherlock Holmes story "the adventure of the illustrious client" and "Psmith in the City" by P G Wodehouse.
This is the Old Cross that gave Charing Cross it's name. 12 of these were erected in memory of Eleanor of Castille, at every place her body spent the night on way to burial in Westminster Abbey.
In 1647 this one was broken up at the behest of the "Committee for the demolition of monuments of superstition and idolatry".
According to E Sheppard the marble steps were used as paving stones in Whitehall, wouldn't it be great if we could find them?
We work as Tour Guides with many years experience of guiding but we are also muscians, actors and writers who love London.Get in Touch
We write and produce our own tours of London. Each tour includes major London sights like Big Ben and provides an interesting and entertaining commentary relating to the theme of the tour. You will get our undivided attention for a couple of hours so you can ask questions and gain a Londoner's insight into how to get the most out of your holiday. We have been giving tours for many years and are experienced with a whole range of groups of people, including young people, seniors and those with special needs. We primarily guide for visitors to London, both native english speakers and those for whom english is not their first language.
Contact us and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.
The walks will start by this statue on the top left corner of Trafalgar Square as you face the National Gallery.
Guiding at the Royal Albert Hall is wonderful as the building is full of music and history, two of my favourite things. If you are a fan of pop music then the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix performed on that stage, a fan of classical music, well both Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi conducted their work there. So many artists have performed there that it's easier to count those that didn't rather than those that did.
A spectacular victorian-workhorse of a building, people often stop dead still when they first come into the auditorium, eyes widening as they attempt to take it all in.
We've all been on fantastic nights out and I'm sure you've seen some great shows but the recent reading of the book, "Warhorse" was quite extraordinary. The story, set during the First World War is told from the perspective of a horse and the author, Michael Morpurgo, read the male characters and actress Joanna Lumley read the part of the horse. They were accompanied by some lovely music mostly written for the National Theatre production with songs sung by Tim van Eyken and it was drawn live by artist, Rae Smith. For me the drawings brought the whole thing together and made the show.
As she drew her pictures they were projected upon a huge screen behind the stage and used rather well. We were in the Gallery at the top of the auditorium as the narrator described the moment that tanks are seen for the first time on a battle front and she drew an excellent picture of one rearing up a hill. Then as the story continued she added straight lines to it that not only simulated the effect of shells and bullets whizzing by but also left the picture looking like the Cubist art of its time.
Taking a tour group in for an event like that is a rare privilege indeed.
So when to come to see the Change? The change happens on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday out of season but timings can vary so please check here, this website is your friend. If you want to be there from the start then you need to be outside the courtyard of St James Palace just after 10.30am (I know, confusing isn't it ! Fortunately this early Tudor palace is only across the park). If horses are more important then Horseguards is where it's at, the Change taking place on Horseguards Parade at 11am every day except sunday when it's 10am. The dismount ceremony at is also worth seeing, essentially putting the horses away at night but done with all this military ritual that has been preserved for over a hundred years. This is done at 4pm in the smaller courtyard on the Whitehall side of the Horseguards.
20th-31st Dec including Christmas Day
If you want to make the most of your holiday, see the sights and discover something new then you are in the right place. Each Everyday London walk mixes the must see sights with stories, insights and off the beaten track routes that explore the best of what London has to offer. For Christmas I have gathered a potted history of Christmas itself and wrapped it up with modern Christmas Trees, Markets and Nativity scenes. It includes a walk across the river, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
Come and find out how London has celebrated Christmas and what has changed over four hundred years. Featuring fabulous Frost Fairs on the frozen Thames, Charles Dicken's ghosts and torn winter clothes as the local youngsters take advantage of the crowds to play tricks on the adults, experience a London Christmas with Everyday London.
Tours cost ten pound per person and take about an hour. We meet at the Thumbs Up statue on Trafalgar Square and finish by Westminster Abbey