Coming to London for the first time, it can be hard – nearly impossible – to know where to start. There are dozens of museums – all of them huge, shopping to make a gal drool, loads of tea rooms and pubs – and the city itself is a museum, with most of its buildings older than my entire country (and certainly older than my current home, most of the buildings in which are just now celebrating their 100th birthday, post earthquake).

Luckily, the local tourist center here in my temporary home of Ipswich provided some handy flyers on things to do in London (because you can never have too many guidebooks). One of the leaflets described London Walks.

We selected one that started right when we’d be arriving: and so, at 7pm, we met our tour guide and set out on the Old Knightsbridge Village Pub Walk.

For just 6 quid a person, we enjoyed a 2.5 hour walk with tourguide Fiona down the streets of Knighsbridge – past stately homes and charming Mews. We ducked into a few friendly pubs (the 6 quid doesn’t cover beer, but you’d spend money on beer anyway, right?).

The first, The Hour Glass, was packed to the gills already, so the addition of our large group nearly burst down the door. Fiona explained that beer was available in pints and halves – for those non-natives (of which there were many, Americans, Aussies, and others). I’ve been around long enough to know the correct words, have no fear. We spent about 20 minutes in the two pubs and walked about an hour in between, pausing along the way to hear about Mews (where the name comes from), murderesses (Ruth Ellis), and money (Harrods) in London.

The weather was cold but the beers kept us warm and Fiona kept us entertained. A lot of cities have similar programs and I always learn something new, even in my own city. London Walks has an astounding array of tours ranging from the ghostly Ghost Walks and popular Jack The Ripper Walks to pub walks to politics walks.

Check ’em out!

(Photo by fellow SF Metblogger Rob Nicholson – he had the better walk shots.)

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