London as you’ve never seen it before… at Christmas with the voice of an Angel.

I wasn’t going to blog again, especially so as I have been out on a tour this morning.  It was my inaugrial Sacred, Secret Gardens of London tour today and I was showing round a lovely PhD student studying medicine.

Most tourists to London are content with seeing the big tourists sights such as Big Ben, Trafalgar Square or Westminster Abbey.  These are mostly in the City of Westminster which is now wholly incorporated into the Greater London metropolis.  Whilst I do plenty of tours here, I really like going where no tourist has gone before and this tour gives me the chance to do just that.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Sacred, Secret Gardens takes place entirely in the original old City of London or Square Mile.  This is the city that is still built on Roman, Viking and medieval street plans and is a mix of heady sky scrapers and tiny, narrow alleways that you might expect to see in York in England or even somewhere like Dubrovnik or Cairo.    This is real London and there are so many hidden surprises here that you could spend a life-time of discovery.

Without tourists, some of the busy streets do swarm with the hundreds of thousands if not millions of office workers that descend on the area in the week but at weekends of holidays the whole place is deserted.

My tour today visits old churches that were wholly or partially destroyed in The Great Fire of London or the WW2 Blitz… and often both.   My tourist loved the tour and I expect it will be the highlight of his 2 week stay here.  Not many foreign visitors appreciate just how much the British love Christmas and how we shut down completely for it.  This mean’t that the City of London today was entirely deserted.  We saw 9 people in 3 hours, 2 of them were mounted police and another was one of my love guides, Nigel who was busy giving a Sherlock tour.

So here are a few photos of a very deserted City of London

This piece of wood is an incredible remainder of the old wooden London Bridge built by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago.

This piece of wood is an incredible remainder of the old wooden London Bridge built by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago.

 

Botolph Alley, near the home of the famous Dick Whittington... and his cat?

Botolph Alley, near the home of the famous Dick Whittington… and his cat?

2,000 years ago we would be looking down to the River Thames here

2,000 years ago we would be looking down to the River Thames here

The bombed out remains of St Dunstan In The East

The bombed out remains of St Dunstan In The East

 

Now kept as a gorgeous and tranquil city garden

Now kept as a gorgeous and tranquil city garden

 

An original Routemaster Bus

An original Routemaster Bus in a real hurry. The driver sees there is no traffic so can go above 1st gear!

 

The Hung Drawn And Quartered. I wonder what used to happen here? Their pies in the 15th century had lots of body in them.

The Hung Drawn And Quartered. I wonder what used to happen here? Their pies in the 15th century had lots of body in them.

 

Leadenhall Market

Built on top of the foundations of the biggest Roman building north of The Alps, Leadenhall Market is looking very festive in a Dickensian way.

 

Just where did everyone go?

Just where did everyone go? I love these places. I bet less than 1 in a million tourists gets to see these alleyways.

 

The oldest Coffee Shop in London

The oldest Coffee Shop in London – Ye Olde Starbucks

 

I do some great pub tours but not usually here. On a weekday it is crawling with high-flying bankers but on Christmas Eve, not so much.

I do some great pub tours but not usually here. On a weekday it is crawling with high-flying bankers but on Christmas Eve, not so much.

The Bank Of England

The Bank Of England

 

The Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange

 

Mansion House

Mansion House – standing in the middle of one the busiest intersections would normally be suicidal. So there is life out today… if you look hard enough.

 

I hope you enjoyed just a few of the photos of a very deserted London today.   Whilst we were touring the gardens and ruins, I took my lovely guest inside one or two of the many old churches still operating very happily in the medieval streets.  How glad we were that I did so as inside one in particular, we were treated to a wonderful recital of Ave Maria and I was able to get part of it on video.   Can you think of a more wonderful way and place to spend a few moments on Christmas Eve?

I invite you to view my Youtube video which I took below.

 

I hope you enjoyed this very unusual look at not just the original and oldest part of London that few outsiders get to see but also to see it totally devoid of people which only happens at this special time of year,

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
This entry was posted in history, Life, London, Travel, Ye Olde England Tours and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to London as you’ve never seen it before… at Christmas with the voice of an Angel.

  1. A very interesting tour. I too love to see the hidden places that not many people know about. London has so much history behind it. I wish you a merry Christmas and New year

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mlbradford says:

    Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year, Stephen!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Farewell 2017, hello 2018! | Stephen Liddell

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