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Heretics and Horrors City Walk

Welcome to our Heretics and Horrors guided walk in the City of London, where we will explore the darker side of the city’s history. Join us on a journey through time, from the medieval period to the Tudor and Stuart eras, as we uncover the bloody past of this fascinating city.

90 mins linear walk
Individual Tickets £20

Step back in time and uncover the chilling history of the City of London on this 90-minute guided walking tour. Join us as we explore the horrors of living through the plague and the Great Fire of London.

  • Go back to September 1666
  • Find out why there is a statue of Henry VIII on a gate
  • Hear about the realities of public executions & gallows humour
  • Learn how Mary Tudor become known as Bloody Mary

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Walking along the medieval street plan of the City, you’ll gain a unique insight into what life was like during these dark periods. Learn about the measures people took to avoid the deadly disease, and discover why cats and dogs were no longer safe on the streets. You’ll even find out what Watchmen were paid to watch!

We will start our walk by exploring the aftermath of the Great Fire of London, one of the most devastating events in the city’s history. We will then move on to the Dissolution of the monasteries, a time of great religious and political upheaval that destroyed many of the city’s religious buildings.

Along the way, we will discover the stories of some of the city’s most notorious figures, such as the infamous Henry VIII, whose statue adorns one of the city’s gates. We will also learn about the realities of public executions and the gallows humour that accompanied them.

Finally, we will delve into the gruesome legacy of Mary Tudor, who became known as “Bloody Mary” for her brutal persecution of Protestants during her reign.

As we walk through the streets of the City of London, we will bring to life the stories and legends that have been passed down through the centuries. Join us on this unforgettable journey through the city’s bloody past, and discover why heads adorned the gates of the City.

Discover the truth behind Bloody Mary’s infamous reputation and why people feared her. Was she as bad or worse than her father, Henry VIII? We’ll also delve into the world of body snatchers and discuss whether they were necessary. And of course, we’ll explore the mystery surrounding Sherlock Holmes’ famous jump.

Join us for a spine-tingling journey through the City of London’s past and uncover the heretics and horrors that shaped this iconic city. Our expert guide will share fascinating stories and insights that will leave you with a new appreciation for London’s rich and dark history.

  • Start: St Paul’s Cathedral
  • End: Smithfields
  • Suitable for all age groups. Please note all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Your Guide: Hazel Baker

Heretics and Horrors Walk Reviews

The walk, “Horrors and Heritics” was hosted by Sue who is a London Walks Guide. The meeting place was easy to get to. Sue is very knowledgeable on historic happenings and people associated with various areas in London. Myself and my 3 friends really enjoyed the walk and the various little stories pertaining to buildings and sites. The walk itself took 90 minutes but it wasn’t tasking or tiring. We discovered little gems hidden away in back streets that we weren’t aware of previously. Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
A really excellent tour, full of historical London gems hidden in plain sight and some things I’ve never seen in all my years living in London. Highly recommended!
This was such an interesting and enjoyable walk. The time flew past and I learnt such a lot. Our guide was Susan who was incredibly knowledgeable and really brought the past to life.
Susan, was knowledgeable and led the walk with an inclusive approach. Just the one small part of the city of London covered had so much history and loads of stories, some more gruesome than others! The walk added a different lens to the history of a number of sites including Newgate. An enjoyable and informative walk.
Really interesting walk led by Hazel. Her enthusiasm coupled with her extensive knowledge made this great fun. Would heartily recommend it.
I highly recommend ‘Heretics and Horrors City Walk’. Hazel’s enthusiasm for her subject matter is infectious. She is both knowledgeable and entertaining and delivers information with admirable clarity. Some of the less-than-admirable facets of London’s gruesome past were served up with relish and humour and I came away from the walk with a richer appreciation of an area I thought I knew quite well! I am looking forward to attending more!
The Heretics and Horrors City walk was brilliant. Hazel is a super guide. She speaks clearly, with confidence and has a great sense of humour. She brings history to life. I thought I knew a lot about The Great Fire of London, but I learnt so much more yesterday. We will definitely be going on one of her walks again.
A really enjoyable, informative and interesting afternoon with Hazel who is lovely and knowledgeable. I went along to the walk with my sister and brother-in-law who also thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
This is a stunning walk, Hazel’s knowledge of History is second to none and her storytelling leaves you totally engulfed in the period. Very entertaining and informative, you don’t have to be a history buff to love it. Walking at a nice pace through beautiful parts of London and noticing many details that ordinary people miss you feel quite privileged. Highly recommend it! I’m booking all Hazel walk tours and suggest you do the same.
Hazel was an outstanding guide. She was very knowledgeable and brought history to life. The walk was highly engaging and informative. She gave me a taste to book more tours. I am also looking forward to seeing her podcasts and tv appearances. All in all a first-rate experience. If you book this tour you book a winner.
A fun walk, yes it’s about the horrors of past London but Hazel delivers it with a lot of humour and she will keep you entertained with historical and a few contemporary film anecdotes The walk lasts 1.5 hours and there is not much to walk, starting in St Pauls and ending in Smithfields.
This was a fascinating talk and a fun way to see the lesser-known landmarks in the area. Susan, our guide, was extremely knowledgeable and brought the subjects to life. Very enjoyable.
We were extremely lucky with the Heretics and Horror City Walk as the rain held off. It lasts around 90 mins stopping at interesting churches and sites along the way. Susan gave us lots of facts and interesting snippets of history. It was a fairly comfortable walk so very convenient if you can’t walk too far and too quickly. We enjoyed it enormously and despite being Londoners we found there was still more to learn. As the walk finished near St Bartholomew’s Church we visited the church afterwards.
We had a lovely and most interesting walk and talk. This is the second time we have had the same guide you is an absolute gem full of interesting facts. I would highly recommend this walk.
A very informative tour of the City of London. I will see this part of London in a different way now. So much history packed in what seems like a modern space. Clever winks to the past in small details of modern architecture. A must.
Great tour with the lovely Hazel. Learnt lots of interesting facts around historic pockets of the City of London. It gave us a clearer idea of why things are the way they are today.
Hazel was very knowledgeable and an interesting storyteller.
Hazel’s ‘Heretics and Horrors City Walk’ was informative and highly entertaining. Energy levels were kept high throughout, with explanations and a walking pace suitable for a wide range of participants. My American visitor and I (a Londoner with some knowledge of local history) both learned lots of new things and really enjoyed it. Thoroughly recommended.
Hazel’s guided walk of the City of London gave me an enjoyable learning experience about the history of streets that I have walked along many times. Furthermore, it is inspiring me in wanting to learn more. Her knowledge and love of London is evident.
“Heretics and Horrors is a very enjoyable guided walk, Sue was informed and informative and made good use of her microphone on a blustery day! I liked that we did not cram too many places/facts into our 90 minutes stroll and had time to listen and observe. I thought I knew the area around St Paul’s and Barts Hospital quite well, but there was lots more to learn about the history. I plan to join the “sister” walk (Bleeding Hearts?) in the future to complete the learning. Ps We ended the walk at Smithfields and I recommend a look around the local streets after, because there are some very nice cafes and pubs!”
“It was a nice day so enjoyed a nice tour walk around St Paul’s god exercise whilst learning history.”
“I have already submitted several reviews on London guided walks, so, as my brother accompanied me on this one, I will merely quote him; ” Bloody hell that was really good, never knew about most of these horrific things or places, when can we go again?” and that from a former diplomatic protection group officer who used to tour London on his motorbike?”
“Enthusiastic and funny city walk delivered by a warm and knowledgable expert. Ensured we came away with a lot more knowledge of our city’s history; feel very informed about the Great Fire of London now.”
“Very cheerful and experienced guide. I’d definitely do another.”
“Hazel was brilliant, informative and funny”
“This was an excellent walk. Hazel was a really engaging, knowledgeable leader, who came up with some fascinating stories about London life. I would definitely go on another of her tours.”
“Intelligent , interesting and entertaining exploration of an area of London I thought I already knew quite well. A friendly and very knowledgeable guide caused time to pass all too quickly.”
“Great time with our guide Hazel. Didn’t bombard us with lots of facts but told real stories of real people really well. Brought old London – and particularly the hidden side of its history – to life. Really knew her stuff! Highly recommended.”
“Lovely walk around the city. Our guide Hazel is really knowledgable and her enthusiasm is contagious. Really recommend it.”
“It was excellent and l learned a lot Hazel was a most engaging guide full of interesting information I will definitely go with her again”
“It was lovely to see Hazel again and this was my first walk of the year. As usual it was very informative and entertaining and I hope to go on many more walks now.”
“Wonderful guide in Hazel and an easy paced walk for all abilities. So interesting and makes you very keen to go on further walks.”
“Another fascinating walk around the city led by Hazel who is always brimming with obscure facts enthusiasm and charm.”
“Very enjoyable walk given by a well informed and humorous tour guide. A pleasure to attend and we would attend more of these.”
“An excellent walk as always. Fascinating facts and stories and the opportunity to explore different parts of the city. Hazel is a wonderful guide.”
“Really interesting walk and talk. History made fun by Hazel, our very engaging and knowledgeable guide. Highly recommended to people of all ages. Will definitely look for another walk!”
“Enlightening, Informative talk. Very little to walk actually, around St Paul’s and Ending at Smithfields.”
“Fascinating talk and walk – a real eye opener. We saw churches and ornate city gates such as the ones near St Paul’s showing statues of Stuarts Charles 1 and his son Charles 11 that I had not noticed before. Heard about the Great Fire of London when houses were pulled down to stop the spread and Londoners having to camp in nearby fields – more dying then because of poor conditions than in the fire. We heard about heads on spikes, acting as deterrents; walked past the old Bailey, site of Newgate prison where public executions were held nearby. We saw crumbling churches now city gardens and ended up passing Barts hospital and stopping near Smithfield market to hear about Bloody Mary’s religious martyrs burnt at the stake there and the rebels of the Peasants revolt meeting Richard II and the killing of their leader. Nearby is the ancient Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great which I visited too – a wonderful surprise.”
“Thoroughly enjoyed hearing historic information about the places I walk through every day. Well worth time and cost.”

Qualified London Tour Guides

Blue Badge Tour Guide
City of London Tour Guide Badge
City of Westminster Guide
Clerkenwell & Islington Guide
Camden Tour Guides Association

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