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5 Reasons why you should go on a guided walk

1. You discover cool stuff you didn’t know: Guided walks are for tourists or old people aren’t they? Wrong! It’s easy to visit some places for years but have no idea about the history or background. For example; did you know that the city of London is the smallest city in England? Only about 9000 inhabitants. It is the tiny financial bit we think of as the money area. The rest is Greater London! Also London is technically a forest. Now I can see you scratching your head and thinking I’ve lost the plot. The framework which the United Nations uses to categorise what constitutes a forest has established that the density of trees in London signifys London is indeed a forest city!

2. You may make new friends During the pandemic many of us got more into walking but most of our walks were alone or with one other person. Walking in a crowd is fun. Your guide acts like a glue. Whilst you walk from place to place there is plenty of time to chat to your fellow walkers and before you know it you find common ground and laughter and fun follows. There’s nothing quite like the collective gasp as you round a corner and take in a stunning view. One time when I was in Bermondsey on a walk we wandered through the Dickens estate and imagined the days of the street urchins only to squeeze ourselves through a tiny alleyway and be confronted by the majestic site of Tower bridge. I think the sheer unexpectedness of it knocked us for six and there was indeed a burst of group excitement.

3. It’s good for your physical health Steps and Fitbits seem to be the thing right now. Even if you don’t have one many of us check our phones to see what distance we have covered. It’s thrilling to discover you have done a whole bunch of steps and the best thing is you didn’t even notice you were doing them! You were talking, you were listening, you were looking at your surroundings then "pow", you are finished and your health has got a nice top up!

4. It’s good for your mental health I am not an expert in the area of mental health, I have friends who are and they tell me that walking and talking and bonding is good for you. We humans are herd animals. We need to be around others and to talk and share experiences. There’s a reason solitary confinement is dished out to prisoners who don’t behave in prison, it really is the worst kind of treatment for our mental health.

5. Change your habits and thrive There is nothing quite like discovering a new place, new knowledge or new friends to broaden your horizons. Putting yourself in a different position to the one you are regularly in will give you a boost of enthusiasm for life. Discoveries are important for healthy lives.

A bit about me: I am originally from the west country. I spent 23 years of my life working as cabin crew for a major airline, chatting to literally thousands of people per week.

One constant in my life has been my Love of London. I adore this city with all my heart and I call it home. I cannot imagine living anywhere else. As a stewardess I visited the huge cities of New York, Sydney and Paris to name just a few but as the song goes ‘I always came back to you’ London is the love affair to outlive all others. I keep thinking one of these days I’ll wake up and have fallen out of love but it hasn’t happened yet.

Even more thrilling, since researching my family tree I have discovered I am not the only one from my family to have come here. As I walk the streets of Lambeth I feel the spirit of my Great Great Great Great Uncle James who came here in search of work and maybe a little adventure. In Mayfair I walk past the Connaught hotel and not only recall Grace Kelly, David Niven and Lauren Bacall who stayed there but also my Nan who would have walked past it as a young girl daily whilst in service to a family based there.

Geography determines settlement and settlement creates culture, culture is defined by history and history or perhaps more simply put, the stories we tell each other about the past have the power to influence the future.

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