Operating in twelve cities worldwide, Context's walking tours are available privately or for groups of no more than 6. Eager to redress my ignorance of my new city's history, I opted for the group version of their historical Portrait of a City walk, and was impressed to find that I only had to share the knowledgeable and engaging Caroline with 3 others. All Context guides are experts in their subject area, with the aim of making each tour more akin to an ambulatory al-fresco seminar. With a PhD in archaeology, a university lectureship and a keen interest in architecture, Caroline was certainly well-qualified to lead the four of us through the City of London's history. It's an area many people (myself included) merely pass through only to get to work, no doubt unaware of much of its long history and the stories behind the monuments rubbing shoulders with office blocks and bars. Fortunately for us, the City's commercial leaning means it's deserted at the weekend: ideal for getting to grips with 2000 years of history on a Sunday morning.
|Tower of London|
Moving on towards the financial heart of the borough, we detoured into a hotel's courtyard to peruse the remains of the old city walls. With a very straight Roman base and more haphazard medieval top section, this almost hidden stretch of wall is now home to a number of contented-looking pigeons roosting in old look-out points. As we passed down amusingly-named streets such as Crutched Friars (and later Poultry, my personal favourite), our guide explained that the modern street names relate to the former trades which went on there, with Vine Street the site of former vineyards and Crutched Friars once home to the Church of the Holy Cross.
|Bank of England|
|St Paul's Cathedral|
- You can find out more about Context's 17 different London walks, which range from history to family-orientated tours, here.