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London: The Story of a City

Venture on a complete historical journey of beautiful London with a top-notch instructor, from ancient roman relics through Reformation landmarks and to today’s modern metropolis.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23256RJ
12 days
Starts at

London: The Story of a City

Venture on a complete historical journey of beautiful London with a top-notch instructor, from ancient roman relics through Reformation landmarks and to today’s modern metropolis.
12 days
Starts at
Program No. 23256 RJ
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At a Glance

Double-decker buses, red phone booths, a vibrant night life and delicious, reinvented local cuisine. There are countless reasons why London is one of the world’s iconic cities, but it took centuries of trials and tribulations to build the successful capital we know today. On a comprehensive educational journey with award-winning Blue Badge expert Ruth Polling, learn London’s storied past from the third-century Temple of Mithras to the 2012 Olympic Park and present day. Venture off the beaten path to some of the city’s lesser-known landmarks to experience a sweeping and enthralling story that is sure to satisfy the palate of any history buff.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are kept, and then go on a Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval walk to All Hallows by the Tower, the city's oldest church.
  • Follow in the footsteps of London immigrants as you walk through Whitechapel with your local expert Study Leader and explore the German Church, Huguenot houses and Brick Lane.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of 14th-century London in Smithfield and learn about its beautiful architecture and history and a place of execution for Catholics and Reformation dissenters.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
London A Social History
by Roy Porter
'Roy Porter, a historian of formidable range, turns to urban history in this marvellously lucid, informative and passionate book... Porter's facts are always at the service of the narrative, which has a finely maintained momentum, balancing statistics with the words of historians, diarists and novelists, poets and churchmen: Pepys, Boswell, Fielding, Walpole, Blake, Mayhew, Wells, Woolf, Spark, ... a timely and brilliant book.' CLAIRE TOMALIN, EVENING STANDARD 'A vivid celebration of the city, but also an elegy for its decline, bubbling with statistics and anecdote, from Boadicea to Betjeman.' RICHARD HOLMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR
London - The Biography
by Peter Ackroyd
Probably there is no one better placed than Ackroyd--the author of mammoth lives of Dickens and Blake, and novels such as Hawksmoor and Dan Leno and the Lime House Golem which set singular characters against the backdrop of a city constantly shifting in time--to write such a rich, sinewy account of "Infinite London". Ackroyd's London is no mere chronology. Its chapters take on such varied themes as drinking, sex, childhood, poverty, crime and punishment, sewage, food, pestilence and fire, immigration, maps, theatre and war. We learn that gin was "the demon of London for half a century", and that "it has been estimated that in the 1740s and 1750s there were 17,000 'gin-houses'." Fleet Street was an area known for its "violent delights" where "a 14-year-old boy, only 18 inches high, was to be seen in 1702 at a grocer's shop called the Eagle and Child by Shoe Lane." By the mid 19th century "London had become known as the greatest city on earth." By 1939 "one in five of the British population had become a Londoner."
by Edward Rutherfurd
Available in audio-cassette form: ISBN 0679443819 - fiction but gives a real feel for the period. London has perhaps the most remarkable history of any city in the world. Now, its story has a unique voice. In this epic novel, Edward Rutherfurd takes the reader on a magnificent journey across sixteen centuries from the days of the Romans to the Victorian engineers of Tower Bridge and the era of Dockland development today. Through the lives and adventures of his colourful cast of characters, he brings all the richness of London's past unforgettably to life.

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