Louis' London Walks are a series of booklets, each with their own walking theme. They are a handy size to slip in your pocket, making them useful for a walk as well as easy to pack in a suitcase. Each booklet, printed on heavy stock, ranges in length from 14-18 pages and starts with an introduction to the walk, giving some historical facts about the subject. A clear, easy-to-read map is numbered with all the highlights on the walk. The map, however, does not provide a scale or actual distance for the walk or between the sites—information that would be helpful.
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Each walk is estimated at about three hours, but with stops for museums, refreshments, etc. along the way, these walks can be as long as you want to make them.
The booklets and the walks are extremely well organized to take in the sites in a logical manner. Underground stations, when needed, are named, and each walk ends at one, making it easy to grab a ride back to your hotel or to another walk.
In addition to clear directions for the walk itself (turn here, stay on the left side of the street, etc.), attractions are detailed in different coloured boxes, making them stand out well. The opening times and some phone numbers for attractions are given. As you follow the walks, you know what you are looking at and why.
Titles in the series are: Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes Walk, William Shakespeare’s London, The Kray Twins (infamous gangsters) Walk, A Walk through Princess Diana’s London, Charles Dickens London, A Historical Riverside London Pub Walk, and the Beatles in London Walk.
Let’s have a look at one of the titles: William Shakespeare’s London. The introduction gives a capsulated version of his life and the interesting curse written on his grave. There are 26 sites to see on the walk. Opening information and phone numbers are given for the New Globe Theatre, The Anchor Inn, the Clink Prison Museum (owned by Bishops who imprisoned their own prostitutes there), The Golden Hinde, Southwark Cathedral (a capsule information section on the Cathedral), The George Inn (the last remaining 14th century galleried coaching inn in London), the Old Operating Theatre Museum (sounds gruesome), HMS Belfast, St Magnus the Martyr, and The Monument.
As you stop at each of these and the other 16 sites on the walk, the booklet provides you with pertinent information, Shakespeare’s connection with the site (he seems to have had a lot of drinking spots) and interesting sidelights. It even suggests places to grab some grub.
Even if you never plan to take any of the walks, the booklets are a great addition to your library. They are entertaining and informative. Each is extremely well researched, full of interesting facts, unusual information, and historical quotes (where appropriate for the title). These well-written booklets will entice you to find out more about the places in them and take the walks the next time you are in London.
The London Walks booklets are available at Amazon
Book covers courtesy Louis' London Walks.