Inspired by my book Walk the Lines: the London Underground - Overground, each of these trivia-packed walks uncovers London’s history by following a section of a Tube line ... at street level.
When a city is as littered with intriguing curiosities as this one, you need a framework to make sense of it all. What better framework than the Underground system? Join me as we take a stroll along a stretch of Tube line, learning about the secrets and oddities we pass along the way.
On the District Line we’ll learn how long it's going to take Big Ben to fall over ... the Piccadilly Line will reveal why Paul McCartney is the only person allowed to whistle in the Burlington Arcade ... while walking the Central Line we’ll discover what Nelson’s coffin is made from.
Each walk takes approximately 90 minutes and costs £8. Unless you’re older than Churchill was when he became Prime Minister (65), or younger than the number of stations on the Victoria Line (16), in which case you’re welcome along for £5. There’s no need to pre-book – just turn up.
I’m also happy to arrange specially-tailored walks for private individuals or groups – please drop me an email for details.
‘Mark Mason is one of our heroes’ – Time Out
‘Lots of information one usually doesn't get' - Barbara, Germany
‘I can't recommend these tours highly enough.' - Jonny, London
‘Excellent knowledge! Can totally recommend Mark as a walking tour guide. Had great fun!' - Laura, London
Calendar of Walks...
On a visit to Big Ben, I was told that if you stand at the bottom of the tower with a portable radio and listen to the chimes on Radio 4 (they still transmit them live), you hear them on the radio before you hear them ‘for real’. I couldn’t believe it – but was intrigued enough to try it for myself. And you know what? It’s absolutely true. The bongs come out of the radio a fraction of a second before they reach your ears from the top of the tower. It’s something so silly, so counter-intuitive, that you have to tell people. (Well, I did.) Researching the explanation, I found that it’s because radio waves travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) rather than the 700 or so miles per hour at which sound waves travel. The signal travelling down the wire from the microphone to the BBC goes at the speed of light too. Hence the radio version overtaking the real one.
I realised that this would be the perfect way to teach the principle in school physics lessons. Instead of a boring teacher droning on that ‘radio waves travel at the speed of light’, illustrate it with this beautiful and quirky little fact. The kids will remember it then. I certainly would have done if my physics teacher had taken this approach. As it was I had to wait until I heard a piece of so-called ‘trivia’ in my thirties.