If there was one thing in life I wish I could do, it would be to convert my passion for London into fairy dust so that I could sprinkle it onto everyone 🙂 I really, really love this city. There are so many layers to this city that it would take several lifetimes to uncover them all. Fortunately we are able to uncover many of them…by joining tours. Of course there is no guarantee that the guide will be any good, but every now and then you join a tour that turns out to be a real treat. I have been on a great number of tours in the city, some guides are great and some are just plain boring. But last night I had the good fortune to join a Pub Tour with Vic Norman of Dragon and Flagon Pub Tours.
I connected with Vic last year already through my page 3 Days in London. Although Pub Tours are not generally my kinda tour, for some reason Vic’s tours appealed to me. His tours take in some of the most historical pubs in London in some of the most intruiging areas of London.
Last night I joined his Jar & Marbles tour from Holborn station. The first pub we visited was an ancient, tiny pub down a winding alleyway. From there we went to an 18oo’s Gin Palace, then a pub that started life as a pub called ‘The Dog and Duck’ in 1783 just over the road from one of the most famous museums in the world. We visited a pub where a Queen of England stored her husband’s favourite foods when he was in hospital and after one more stop a pub that I can only call ‘drop dead gorgeous’. I never thought I would call a pub drop dead gorgeous but OMWord… I was almost drooling! It is just so beautiful; lofty ceilings that look like the inside of a cathedral, a three-cornered stove and in the cellar the remains of a 15th century pub.
The group were lovely and I feel like I made a few new friends; Vic Norman the tour guide, entertaining and friendly, took a real interest in his group and mingled well with everyone…some of the people on the tour had already done 3 of his other tours 🙂 A good recommendation I would say. Mike, a lovely guy with whom I had some great, albeit short conversations about records (of the vinyl kind) and movies (of the Bedknobs and Broomsticks kind). Amy and Steve, a delightful couple who joined the tour with a friend of theirs Catherine who is a Blue Badge Guide in Tunbridge Wells. Chris, a Swedish, Irish, Englishman! An expert on the secrets of a good brew! I had a taste of his; Norman Conquest and although I am not a beer drinker (normally) I found it quite palatable. There were a couple of other folks in the group and what was really lovely is that we mixed and mingled, the dynamics of the group changed as we walked and conversations ebbed and flowed as we walked the streets of this marvellous city.
I was amazed to discover that despite my many 8hour walks around London, there are still streets that I have not yet walked along! Can’t imagine that now could you! 🙂 One of the streets we meandered along was Lamb’s Conduit Passage. I bet your’e thinking of little white lambs, bounding about….well, no you’de be wrong! In 1577 William Lamb, a clothworker by trade but musician by profession, repaired at his own expense of £1500 the old conduit, or water duct, which fed water to Smithfield, from a spring at Holborn. Neat huh! “The street was named after William Lambe in recognition of the £1,500 he gave for the rebuilding of the Holborn Conduit in 1564”.
In all a fab evening (Friday) and I am now booked onto the next pub tour for 24th Feb, where we will be visiting some even older and in some cases notorious pubs.