About My London Walks

Updated: 24 May 2024


Starting to research a new walk is always particularly enjoyable. At any one time I have several possibilities in mind, but one usually seems particularly right at the time.

It often takes time to plan a route that will cover as many interesting places as possible without it being too long.

I will often walk the route twenty times or more, each time taking photographs and making notes on what I see, and eventually from my various scribbled notes (usually several notebooks full!) I start further researching points of interest or curiosity. This is the time consuming part. I have an extensive library of books on London and of course there’s a vast amount of information on the internet as well as places such as the resources of the excellent London Metropolitan Archives.

As a result, each walk can take many months to produce before I can pass the first drafts to my wife Jane and friend Ron for them to help with the edits.


If you are like me and see something interesting or unusual and wonder how it came to be there, about its history and who the people were who became involved, then these walks might be for you.

statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel at Paddington station
A statue of me at Paddington station. No, not really. It’s Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


I live in Bristol – so how did I become interested in London?

My first visit to the capital was back in the early 1960s, when I was just fourteen years old. I guess things were more relaxed then as my parents didn’t appear to be overly concerned about what could happen to a young boy on his own in London. Or if they did, they didn’t show it, though of course I had all the expected warnings!

Back then there were no mobile phones, internet, or any of what we regard as being ‘essential’ now. And besides the pocket money I’d saved to buy my rail ticket, I remember my father giving me a little pile of pennies (the old ones of course!) to use in a public call box if I needed to call home!

So, armed just with just a book on London that I’d borrowed from the public library in Bristol, I set out.

Even to this day I can remember the thrill of arriving by train (steam of course!) at Paddington Station, then following the signs to the underground station and queuing up to buy a little card ticket, (no Oyster Cards in those days). The excitement of boarding my first tube train and the amazement at the sights, the hustle and bustle, the red buses and black cabs as I stood for the first time in Piccadilly Circus are still things I remember. And even today, countless hundreds of arrivals at Paddington later, I still get a little ‘buzz’ as I step off the train.

I was ‘hooked on London’ and having left school by the age of fifteen, I started to visit the city more often. But the excitement really began when I was seventeen, passed my driving test, and was able to drive to London whenever I wanted. At the time, I was working in Bristol for a regional daily morning newspaper, and would finish work around two in the morning, and sometimes jump in the car and head to London – quite a drive in those pre-motorway days. And one of my favourite things to do was to head for Smithfield Market, where the pubs opened at six am, so I could enjoy half a bitter and a plate of egg and chips for breakfast, along with the market workers, who were then having their lunch!

Later, I started my own travel business, and as it grew, there were many meetings in London, and despite most people catching the train home afterwards, I’d usually manage to stay the night in a hotel to allow myself a few hours more to explore the city. As the business grew, I was becoming a regular visitor to New York, and once again would explore that city on foot. Initially this was in the late 1970s and 80s, when New York’s crime rate was astronomical. Yet I loved walking the many dodgy ‘no go’ areas, even at night and I learnt the ability to ‘stay safe’. (Be aware of being followed, learn how to ‘shake them off’; stand in the yellow hatched area of the metro stations where there would be usually be a member of staff (usually just watching through their ticket office window) and travel in the train’s middle car, where there was usually a ‘conductor’; never indicate that you were a tourist by carrying a camera or guide book, and never pull out a map if you were lost, just keep purposefully walking until you reached a better lit, safer area.)

And it was in New York where my interest in writing walks began. Thanks to the city’s then crime reputation, there were few British tourists. So friends who did want to go began asking me for recommendations as to where to go and what to see … so I began writing walks.

As time moved on, I retired from the travel business; lost my perks of heavily discounted flight tickets … and all of a sudden in the early 21st century, it was back to London! And as friends were now asking me for advice on where to go on London, fun things to see, and for a bit of background on the history, and I bored with photocopying countless sheets, the idea of writing walks around the city and publishing them on a free website took hold.


I try to provide plenty of background information to the walks, the results of enormous amounts of research. I often stop people whilst walking an area to ask their advice; or knock on doors of interesting buildings to ask if they can give me more information.

Any errors are therefore mine, and I appreciate people spotting these then emailing to let me know. I also occasionally express an opinion, perhaps on something I particularly like – or don’t like! These are simply my comments and if I really don’t like a building for example, then I’ll say so. But of course, these are just my opinions – others may disagree.

“And why a website and not a book”, is a question I’m sometimes asked. Simple answer – London is constantly changing, so books can so easily date, whereas a website can continually be updated, and I thank those people who find out that something has been moved or demolished or the name changed – or the shop or restaurant I’ve recommended has closed down.

If you have any comments to make – good or bad – please send me a message via the contact page.


Despite the many hours I spend walking and researching these walks, errors do occur. And I’m immensely grateful to my long-suffering wife Jane and my equally long-suffering and very patient and amazing friend Ron, who both check all my facts, edit my often ‘loose use of English’ and cut out excess ‘waffle’ and, once the walk has been completed and proof read, then ‘walk the walk’ to test out its accuracy. Without their help, these walks would never be of the standard that people tell me they so enjoy.

And equally special thanks to Russ Willey. I spent a lot of time looking for someone who could not only create a fascinating website for my walks but was also interested in the concept I had in mind. That person was Russ Willey.

Fortunately, I came across Russ’s own excellent website that features enormous amounts of information about some of the lesser-known areas of London. I noticed that it also said that he was a website designer and provided links to other sites he had built.

I liked what I saw and tentatively contacted him to see whether he felt he might be able to help. Quite frankly I was amazed at the enthusiasm he showed. He offered to build a trial site, which he did within a couple of days, and it was exactly what I wanted!

Since then, Russ has become a great friend and been my ‘right-hand man’ on this project and I can honestly say that without his help, support – and as I say enthusiasm – this website would never have come to life. So, thanks Russ!


During the course of researching these walks I have used so many resources I cannot possibly list them all.

However, I would particularly like to acknowledge the following –


The Museum of London, The Museum of the London Docklands and The London Metropolitan Archives have excellent resources.


I have found fascinating and in some cases a great source of information include Walter Thornbury’s Old and New London; Docklands – an illustrated historical survey; London in the 19th century, by Jerry White; Docklands Past & Present, by Prof S K Al Waib; A Wander in London, by EV Lucas; Arthur Mee’s London; The London Encyclopaedia, by Ben Weinrich and Christopher Hibbert; London, by Walter Bessant; Chambers London Gazetteer, by Russ Willey; How to Read London, by Chris Rogers and many more.

Websites can often provide further information, and for people interested in London, I can thoroughly recommend a number including –