Take an Unusual London Walking TourThese walking tours for small groups visit the homes and haunts of remarkable characters from history. But rather than the artists, nobles and politicians I bring you the ingenious, enlightened and eccentric - typically scientists, inventors, engineers and spies.
Aimed at the layperson these walking tours in central London or in one of London's "villages" feature architectural pleasures and quiet and attractive stretches in back streets, parks or along the water. They embrace social history and the often surprising evolution of London's infrastructure.
Enjoy an offbeat London guided walk, for example Nine Boffins - an original Westminster war walk, also Making the Earth Move in Woolwich, or a London Spy Walk. Other walks feature Local Heroes (and a few villains) in Mayfair, Kensington, Lambeth, Chelsea, Belgravia, Notting Hill, Bayswater, Holland Park, Richmond, Blackheath, Smithfield, Marylebone, Wimbledon and West Brompton.
Scientific Tourism in London
London is home to world famous institutions like the Royal Society (founded 1660), the Royal Institution (founded 1799), the Science Museum (1857) and the Natural History Museum (1881). Many world famous
scientists* and inventors have also lived here including Charles Babbage, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday,
Alexander Fleming, Benjamin
Franklin, Isaac Newton, Alan Turing and James Clerk Maxwell.
Literally hundreds of others with extraordinary stories of their own have largely been forgotten. Outside my walking tours few of these stories are enjoyably accessible to the visitor, even via the English Heritage blue plaques. Apart from scientists and inventors I also cover others with science or enlightenment in their story: explorers, pathologists, code breakers, surveyors, cooks, camoufleurs, manufacturers etc.
Seen some interesting science on BBC2 or BBC4? You might like to leave your armchair and take a London Science Walk
|Here are typical topics from my walking tours arranged in a historical timeline.|| |
This is not the history of science textbook-style, but colourful stories of invention, experiment, discovery and adventure told in appropriate locations in a great city.Laurence's Walks were not constructed through a logical and academic study of the history of London. They grew out of an eclectic and illogical study of interesting topics.
Secrets and SpiesAs I focus on stories of ingenuity and eccentricity I have found it natural, in addition to science, to explore another hidden world, that of deception, espionage and secret weapons. You can still see sites in London connected with scientific intelligence, the day to day commerce of secrets, the conduct of elaborate deceptions and the development of bizarre secret weapons.
Scheduled Guided Walks & Private ToursThese unusual London walking tours, mostly within zones 1-4 of the Travelcard area, generally last 2-3 hours, but there are some longer walks which involve a rest stop. Click here for a tour menu. For mobility aspects see General Information.
You could hear about magnetic mines at one street corner, and false teeth or plant hunting at the next.
Get a quick impression of the guided walks from my Word Cloud below.
Photo: Mike Gould
Science trivia. It turns out that you cannot research remarkable people for long without finding that a number of them had very odd or very talented pets. You can be sure to hear about them.
*The term "scientist" dates from 1834 and describes those who use the scientific method. Prior to that it is usual to use the term "natural philosopher" to describe those who sought to describe nature (space and matter) by any means available.
(c) Laurence Scales 2014