Author: Graeme Chesters Illustrated by: Jim Watson
Format: Paperback 320 pages, 30 maps
Published: 21 Mar 2019
London has a somewhat haphazard street pattern (to put it mildly), the result of having grown organically over 2,000 years, rather than being planned logically like some modern cities. As a result many attractions are off the beaten track, away from the major thoroughfares and public transport hubs. This favours walking as the best way to explore them, as does the fact that London is a visually interesting city with a wealth of stimulating sights between destinations; you don't see a lot from the seat of a cab or bus and nothing at all when cocooned in a tube train! The starting point for this book was Samuel Johnson's advice to his friend Boswell in the 18th century, on the occasion of the latter's arrival in London: "survey its innumerable little lanes and courts." By extension, wander off the beaten tourist track and you'll find a world of fascinating sights, as you would expect in a city as large and old as London. The aim was to compile a list of these hidden attractions and construct walks around them - which resulted in the 25 walks contained in this book. Most walks can be done in half a day or less, depending, of course, on how fast you walk and how long you spend at the highlighted sights and diversions, particularly the pubs and restaurants. The walks don't always follow the most logical route, but that's deliberate and part of the enjoyment; the aim is to maximise the pleasure and provide a flavour of the area, rather than simply get from the start to finish as quickly as possible.