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Review: London Markets Walk

Escorted Tour - Walking

London, England, United Kingdom

London's fascinating ancient Markets

  • By SilverTraveller jogette

    1 review

  • Aug 2011
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113 people found this review helpful

We met Sandra Shevey, markets specialist, at Liverpool Street Station on a rather wet summer's day. She was very friendly and approachable and encouraged us to ask questions throughout the tour.

We walked to Middlesex Street (Petticoat Lane) where Sandra gave a brief history of the area and explained the relevance of the street names. She also read a passage from Dickens describing a street market which was very atmospheric and we were able to imagine the Market in its heyday. She also read a passage from Monica Ali's book Brick Lane for a modern description of the market. We walked on towards Spitalfields Market and admired the old Huguenot houses with their distinctive shutters and doorways. Spitalfields, originally a fruit and vegetable market proved a little disappointing, it's been redeveloped and it's now a small collection of market stalls surrounded by restaurants and cafes. It is a pleasant area to browse through but has none of a Market atmosphere. We were interested to see Gilbert & George (the famous artists) having coffee in one of these cafes. Sandra told us they lived nearby in Fournier Street and had spent time and money trying to save the area from unsympathetic development.. As we walked and talked, we discovered that Sandra has a great interest in street markets. She had spent much time researching this Market walk and had arranged access to buildings not normally open to the public, which is a unique feature of her walks.

We then caught a bus to Borough Market which is a vibrant, fascinating place with a long history, but is under threat from developers – what a shame it would be if it disappeared. It has a wonderful atmosphere and is a foodie's paradise, it really is a joy to visit. We walked on to St Guys Hospital, all the time Sandra describing the fascinating history of this area. We went into the hospital and found a hidden exhibition about St Guys history with maps and drawings of the area and lots of fascinating information. I would have loved to stay longer but time was getting on and we had still to visit Bermondsey Leather Market.

Off to the Old Leather Market and into the Leather Exchange which is now offices and a cafe where we saw the scales that had been used to weigh the hides. Sandra told us the history of the leather trade and described how the area would have been in those days.

Our three hour walk had come to an end, we had been so engrossed with Sandra's commentary that we hadn't noticed the time or the weather. For a fascinating insight into London, I recommend Sandra Shevey as a guide– her wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm brings London alive. Although it was a 3 hour walk, it wasn't too strenuous and would be suitable for most people.

For more information on all Sandra's London walks, email [email protected]

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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