London through the Ages
Discover a wealth of intriguing history
The City of London and Southwark have a history which extends back over 2,000 years. This tour will explore this complex and beautiful area from its earliest beginnings and will focus on the city’s Roman and Medieval past before coming face to face with the modern city. We will explore the city on foot up into the modern age, on a walking tour. After setting the scene for Roman Britain at the British Museum, we will trace back the city’s history from the foundation of Londinium in AD 43 up to the beginning of the 20th century at Whitechapel and discover the secrets of this global metropolis.
We arrive independently in London and meet at our hotel. This evening, we will start our tour with an introductory lecture from John Oxley FSA, former York City Archaeologist, to set the background for the visits of the next days.
We start our day with a visit to the British Museum. The Weston Gallery holds some of the most important objects from Roman Britain. We will use these to set the scene for the emergence and growth of Londinium as it became the most important city in Roman Britain. We will go on to explore Roman London looking at remains of the London Wall, the Roman Amphitheatre and will end up at the site of the original Roman London Bridge. After lunch, we continue to All Hallows by the Tower, where we will view the Saxon and Roman finds on display in the Crypt Museum, as well as part of a Roman pavement which once formed part of a domestic house from the 2nd century, and a model of Roman London. We will then go into the Tower of London, a World Heritage Site and one of England’s most iconic structures. William the Conqueror built the White Tower in 1066 as a demonstration of Norman power, siting it strategically on the River Thames to act as both fortress and gateway to the capital. It is the most complete example of an 11th century fortress palace remaining in Europe. Afterwards, we will board a river cruiser and follow the Thames to Westminster. This will give us the opportunity to view the city from the river and gain a different perspective on the history and archaeology of London and Southwark.
We start with an ascent of the Shard for an excellent overview of London. Southwark was the centre of theatrical London in the 16th century. We will visit the remains of the Rose Theatre where we can look at Shakespeare’s London and also discuss the ethics of archaeological preservation! In 1989 John Oxley was a key adviser to Southwark Council when the controversy over the Rose Theatre made national and international headlines. We will then make our way to Smithfield where we will begin our exploration of this part of the East End of London on foot. Arriving in Spitalfields, we pay a visit to the Dennis Severs’ House, the residence of a Huguenot silk-weaver family from 1724 until the beginning of the 20th century. We will then continue our exploration of Smithfield and Whitechapel taking in the historic streets and buildings and a visit to the Ten Bells pub, famed for its association with a victim of Jack the Ripper. Our tour ends this afternoon and we travel home independently.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Andante Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners)
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - Accommodation in hand-picked hotels.