A Road to Ruin Walk

The perfect guided walk for those with a keen interest in history, London and alcohol.

The walking tour ventures through Clerkenwell, historically an area of gin and beer production.

Delve into the past & investigate the relationship between different classes of society in London and what this meant for the alcohol they were able to drink.

  • Authentic different alcohol-themed tour
  • Discover an interesting aspect of historical London
  • Adults only
  • NB: Tea-totalers very welcome. This is not a pub crawl.
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90 mins linear walk


Individual tickets from £15

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You will also explore how the famous English past-time of drinking was interpreted by journalists and artists of the day, fascinating to compare to the modern world.

Why a Road to Ruin? The tour will take you along an ancient Drover’s Road in through Clerkenwell into Smithfields which was once full of pubs, breweries and distilleries. Many of those institutes may have gone but the buildings, history and stories of local characters remain. Visit interesting buildings including an ‘in and out pub’, a world famous inn, a brewery, two gin distilleries and even a licensed pawn broker!

Hazel will also share with you rare and interesting facts and tales and you’ll leave the walking tour knowing the stories behind the expressions “one for the road”, “a Mother’s ruin” and “dead drunk”.


A Road to Ruin Walk Reviews


“A most enjoyable and informative walk, with all sorts of quirky and fascinating detail, and which really encouraged a sense of the living history of the area and the real people who lived and drank there! So good that passers-by who had stopped, intrigued, to listen in, wanted to know how they could find out more and book a walk; I told them about Hazel at London Guided Walks. Great stuff!” Marilyn

“Hazel is a great story teller and we always learn a lot during the tour. Look forward to a new one!” Claudine

“Very entertaining and knowledgeable tour guide; a great history of The Angel!” Gabrielle

“It has been some time since I was on a walk with Hazel, but I can assure you, the lady is back!! And how, wow!! What a walk. So many things that we do not see, but when pointed out to you add to the very rich history of our capital. Fifty-seven principal breweries and God knows how many Gin distilleries!! I even know where the expression, “befuddled” now comes from, and if you think that Sadler’s Wells is all about the arts, think again. Thoroughly recommend this tour to all, it has once again added to my knowledge of London.” Gary

“This was an interesting walk and talk by Hazel looking at the role alcohol played in the area of Angel, and the effect it had on everyday life. The walk explores the sites of pubs, breweries and distilleries in the vicinity, some of which can still be seen today. Fittingly, we ended the walk at a pub in Farringdon! A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.” Sylvester

“The theme to this walk walk alcohol; drinking and making it. It was fun, with a friendly group of people. The tour did introduce interesting facts about the area and helped me discover some new pubs to try!” Sherry

“If you’ve previously been on one of Hazel’s Guided Walks then you’ll already know what to expect. You’ll know that Hazel is a very well-organised and highly knowledgeable guide with a welcoming and friendly style which makes everyone feel involved in her presentations. Unlike some other guides she also has a quality microphone headset with an amp and speaker which works. Yes, you can actually hear what she’s saying. And it’s well worth hearing. She also keeps the group size down to sensible, manageable proportions. If you’ve ever been part of an 80 strong group trying to follow the guide and navigate your way over pedestrian crossings and along London’s narrow suburban streets you’ll appreciate just how essential this is. She’s a very good judge of what is the right amount of helpful information and the appropriate anecdote or story to make it more memorable. Last, but not least, she sets the pace to keep to the timetable. If you didn’t know these things before; well, you do now! The highlight of Hazel’s A Road To Ruin Guided Walk? I think it was the use of the 2 Hogarth Prints ‘Gin Lane’ and ‘Beer Street’ to illustrate, compare and contrast the effects of the two most important participants in the story of the ongoing relationship between Londoners and their alcohol.” Ruthven

“Another very enjoyable and informative walk with Hazel. Her walks are always lively and interesting and we particularly enjoyed looking at the Hogarth pictures she showed us about the effects of gin on the population of London. As always she took us to undiscovered streets and a particular highlight on this tour was the amazing Order of St John gate.” Mary

“This was my third walk with Hazel, and I would be happy to go on many more. She researches and knows her material really well, but wears her erudition lightly. Hazel brings the areas of London she takes you through to life and allows you to see facets that you had not thought of or known about before. Highly recommended!” Carola

“Very informative and adventurous.” IIona

“Would thoroughly recommend. Hazel was an excellent guide and was able to answer all the questions she was asked so seemed very knowledgeable. She handed out photo sheets to further illustrate what she was talking about. The walk took just 90 mins and I have to say we were very ready for a coffee by the end!” Caryline

“A very enjoyable walk from the Angel to Farringdon Station. The Hogarth prints were well chosen to illustrate contemporary life and the evils of fecklessness and a fondness for gin. How unlike today!” Diana

“Informative, imaginative and fun. The Road to Ruin was a thoroughly enjoyable guided walk. It was well researched and brilliantly delivered. Thank you.” Patricia

“A fascinating and amusing tour by the delightful Hazel who brings history to life. Perfectly pitched and a manageable walking distance covered. I am looking forward to going on another.” Julie

“Another excellent walk with Hazel full of interesting history and stories. We will definitely be booking to do one of Hazel’s other walks.” Lisa and Jason

“Absolutely brilliant. I am so glad that I have discovered Hazel and the joy of guided walks. It was easy to identify Hazel at the tube station. Her tour was well planned and extremely informative; bringing the past alive. She even pointed out lovely local museums that I can come back to. I now know some great pubs to bring my American friends!” Elizabeth

“Loved my second walk with Hazel – such an informative, friendly and interesting guide. Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon!” Joy

“Really enjoyable stroll through London. Hazel was very knowledgeable and brought the past to life. I would recommend this tour.” Steven

“An excellent walk conducted by Hazel down the road to ruin from the Angel to Farringdon. Full of information and anecdotes from the Angel station (and the street on the Monopoly board) being the only tube station named after a Pub. She was excellently prepared with images from Hogarth who depicted the Angel amongst other’ roads to ruin’, gin being the main culprit with beer being brought in as a better substitute! It ended at the Castle pub which is still also holds a pawn brokers licence thanks to Queen Victoria’s son, the Prince of Wales. Do the walk to find out why.” Louise

“Really interesting walk, learnt lots about the history of the drinking establishments of the Islington area, and why certain areas and places are named as they are. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and gave us lots of interesting facts. Very funny too. Highly recommend.” Hannah

Your Guide: Hazel Baker