Interactive British Tours Available to Download
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British Isles direct to your free Obelisk Tours app
Interactive and enlightening, these self-guide British tours for Apple iOS and Android devices are the very best way to enjoy your travelling experience.
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Free Sample Tours
London Whitehall (Part One)
Preston Flag Market
More details on these wonderful free taster tours.
London – St. Paul’s Precincts
This circular tour around St Paul’s precincts includes some of the history of the Cathedral (although does not go inside), but its main focus is to explore the Cathedral precincts bringing to life statues, archways, gardens, buildings and hidden corners.
Emerging from the shadows of history are memorials to the Blitz, John Wesley, and Thomas Becket. We discover the founding of the YMCA, the home of the book burners, the extinction bell, and St Paul’s Cross. Other curiosities include an ancient misplaced archway, a vanished market and a 150 million year old statue!
London – Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square feels like the heart of London with constant traffic and hundreds of tourists.
This tour is a casual walk around the square which is brim full of stories. We discover why Geoffrey Chaucer worked here, how the National Gallery was founded, why there were continual protests here for 34 years (1960-1994), why the Fourth Plinth keeps changing, and what is the story behind all those statues?
We all know our inches and feet, but have you ever wondered what the length of a perch, a pole or a chain is – here on Trafalgar Square you can find out.
You get to stand in the point designated as the centre of London from which mileage is calculated which, of course, means you’ll be standing in the centre of the universe!
And, of course, we cannot leave the square without discussing the life, times and death of Nelson who surveys us all from the top of his column.
London – Whitehall
Part One of this tour is a free sample download, but combined with part two it becomes a thoroughly insightful journey through remarkable times.
Besides finding the obvious government buildings such as the Ministry of Defence, Downing Street, the Foreign Office, and Scotland Yard, we also discover lesser known spots including a vanished Palace, hidden tunnels, Dover House, and Richmond Terrace.
We learn about touching for the King’s evil, Maundy money, the Divine Right of Kings, a royal execution, the wheels of Fortune, an amazing wine cellar, tennis courts, cockpits and jousting.
We visit the death place of Sir Robert Peel, the busy home of Gertrude Barbara Rich Tennant, and where Charles Dickens, as a 12 year old boy, had his “Very best” glass of ale.
London – Parliament Square
Parliament Square is surrounded by some of the great British institutions: Parliament, The Church of England, The Supreme Court and HM Treasury. This tour goes back to the roots of this area and uncovers layers of history from the time when Edward the Confessor first built his Palace here and upgraded a little monastery of Benedictine monks.
This is a place of high drama: of assassination and executions, of Royal scandal and glory, of coronations and state funerals, of monarchy against parliament – all set against a backdrop of inspiring architecture, of Sanctuary and commemoration.
We cross the paths of historical favourites such as Guy Fawkes, Pirates, Richard the Lion heart, Unknown Warriors, and Winston Churchill.
London – Tower Hill
This circular Walk explores the area around Tower Hill and around the outside of the Tower of London. We discover a 1,825 year old wall, a nearly 950 year old palace, and a 146 year old tunnel.
This area just oozes with history and features in just about every British conflict you can imagine including The War of the Roses, The Reformation, The English Civil War, and The Jacobites.
We also explore what most visitors just walk pass without realising what is right under their noses; and learn about Tubby Clayton, TocH, Execution sites, war memorials, escapes, sieges and ceremonies.
London – River Walk 1: Tower to Blackfriars
This is the first of a series of River Walks along the Thames Path. Our tour follows the northern banks of the River and stretches from Tower Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge.
Street names such as Sugar Quay, Three Quays, Oystergate, Hanseatic Walk, Three Cranes Walk, Vintners Place and Fruiterers Passage all provide clues of their days of former glory as the busy wharves of the City. We find old fish markets, vanished bridges, smuggled books, medieval forgers, and the Millennium Measure. We also explain ancient traditions of the Doggett’s Coat and Badge wager, and the annual Swan Upping.
London – River Walk 2: Blackfriars to Westminster
This is the second tour in our London River Walks following the Thames Path. This tour is based on sewage… literally. We will be walking on top of one of London’s greatest engineering feats – the Victoria Embankment which is in fact a huge sewer.
We wander from the putrid lost River Fleet to the majestic Westminster Bridge and find war Memorials for Submariners, and the Air Force, and a big ‘Thank You’ from Belgium. We pass a notable Titanic victim, a forgotten Royal Palace, a tram tunnel, “London’s Oldest Monument”, the beginning of the War of the Roses and the Year of the Great Stink.
Throw in some poetry from William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Rudyard Kipling and Alfred Tennyson and you have a perfect stroll along the river.
London – River Walk 3: Lambeth & Westminster
This circular tour starts and finishes at Big Ben and takes in the river walks on both Lambeth and Westminster sides of the Thames.
Both sides of the river have seen centuries of history flow before them and today we uncover MI5, Coade Stone, the Great Seal, riots, mutiny, astrologers and Marmite!
Meet Florence Nightingale, Robert Clayton, John Wycliffe, Charles Buxton, The Burghers of Calais, the Pankhursts and Spicers, and many other noteworthies who have left their mark on this area.
London – River Walk 4: Southbank
Distance: 2.25 miles (3.60 km) This Thames Path River Walk follows the South Bank of the River from Westminster Bridge to London Bridge with great views of Parliament, the City, St Paul’s, and the Globe. We explore some lesser known sites such as Jubilee Gardens, the Clink, and the blackness of ‘Ladies’ Bridge. We look out to the River to learn how Londoners reacted to a frozen Thames, and learn of the Golden Hinde, Winchester Geese and Oxo.
London – River Walk 5: Southwark
This River Walk covers the short distance between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. The distance is short but the history is deep in our Tale of Two Bridges. We take an in-depth look at the famous London Bridge and learn about severed heads, drawbridges, waterwheels, driving on the left, celebrations, fires, tornadoes, and poor Nancy. We pass Hay’s Galleria, the Larder of London, and the final resting place of HMS Belfast. We finish by learning about the iconic Tower Bridge.
London – River Walk 6: Docklands
This tour in our series of Thames Path river walks focuses on the northern Docks. Our walk will pass warehouse after warehouse – all transformed from storehouses into very expensive and very desirable apartments. The working Docks have either been land-filled or changed for tourism, sports or relaxation. But…we will strip back the modern façade and reveal a very different world. Historically this would NOT have been a walk for the faint hearted. Using eye witness accounts we experience the hustle and bustle, the trading and thieving, Pirate hangings, transportation ships, frantic dockers, and daring explorers. We encounter Charles Dickens’ visit to an emigrant ship, Henry Mayhew’s shock at the Docker’s conditions, and the thoughts and horrors recorded by William Booth, Thomas Carlyle, Henry Fielding, Eleanor Marx and H.G. Wells.
London – River Walk 7: Rotherhithe
This Thames Path riverside tour begins in Rotherhithe, moves through Bermondsey and ends at Tower Bridge, bringing to life tunnels, captains, doctors, Dickens, manor houses, jubilees and bodysnatchers; and taking in some dramatic views along the river.
Having served a huge role in the development of London’s industry and transport, this area slipped into decay in the 1970s. During the 1980s and 1990s, the area witnessed a marvelous period of regeneration, and this tour allows you to witness that stunning transformation.
Oxford – Noble and Great Ones: Part One
This tour winds its way through the southern part of Oxford, through stately colleges and grassy meadows, to discover some of the Noble and Great Ones. We strip history back to the beginnings of Oxford, to the time of the miraculous Frideswide, and then build layer upon layer of famous name after famous name including Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, Lewis Caroll, C.S. Lewis, Dudley Moore, John Ruskin, Thomas More, Samuel Johnson and many more.
Among the great writers and scientists we find England’s Leonardo, and men who influenced America’s founding fathers for better and for worse. Mix in a plethora of Prime Ministers, a remarkable balloon flight, a penicillin breakthrough, a four minute mile, the King James Bible, and you have the beginnings of a splendid stroll through the city.
Oxford – Noble and Great Ones: Part Two
We continue our Oxford exploration in the eastern part of the city passing eight more Colleges and uncovering numerous more powerful and famous people. We learn of Boyle’s Law, Shelley’s atheism, Halley’s comet, Rhode’s Scholars and my Fair Lady.
From Mr Bean to caring Queen, from Monty Python to Harry Potter, from half warmed fish to Mr Toad – every corner turned brings more surprises. Where else could you pass through Hell’s Passage, discover the power of the “turds of foreign birds” and learn of a 267 year old man who continues to oversee his College?
Oxford – Noble and Great Ones: Part Three
Part Three of our Oxford jaunt provides a fresh parade of the Who’s Who of Britain from the heart of the City. We learn the history behind the iconic images of the Radcliffe Camera, the Divinity School, Bodleian Library, and the Ashmolean Museum and find the high adventure of Lawrence of Arabia, Agincourt, and the bizarre Mallard Song.
We discover the influential John Wycliffe and his nemesis Richard Fleming, the tragic ending of the Oxford Martyrs, the founding of Wesley’s Holy Club, the origin of the two minute silence, and why April 6 begins our tax year.
Throw in some Hobbits and Orcs, Lions and Wardrobes, Green Eggs and Ham, and tonnes of pilchards and you have another set of Noble and Great Ones.
Glouestershire – Gloucester 1
The City of Gloucester boasts one of the finest Cathedrals in the land which was an architectural trend setter – even though many visitors are more excited to learn about troll infestations in the toilets rather than impressive roofs and carvings. We stroll the streets surrounding this magnificent building and relive the horrific martyrdom of John Hooper and visit the scattered remains of poor St Oswald. The City provided literary inspiration for Treasures Island’s Long John Silver, Peter Pan’s Wendy, The Tailor of Gloucester and Doctor Foster.
This City is also the birthplace of the famous poem Invictus and, more surprisingly, the American National Anthem.
Gloucestershire – Gloucester 2
The modern streets surrounding the Cathedral have still preserved some delightful finds including Roman gate foundations, the only complete galleried inn left in the country, Greyfriars ruins, Blackfriars Monastery and St Mary de Crypt. We discover the influence of George Whitefield’s sermons, Robert Raike’s Sunday Schools, and Charles Wheatstone’s inventions. We also find Ebeneezer Scrooge and Bleak House, and…any visit to ‘fair’ Gloucester would not be complete without paying respects to Toby the Pig!
Herefordshire – Ledbury
Ledbury is one of the nicest medieval market towns in England. This circular tour will weave in and out of ancient alleyways and burgess plots to explore the legend of St Katherine, the influence of the Bishop of Hereford, and why did little boy blue blow that horn? Surrounded by half-timbered houses, and cobbled streets we hunt out the poetical influences on Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, Robert Frost, and John Masefield and discover the literary influence of the forgotten Jacob Tonson.
Along our route we uncover a hidden anti-reformation light, an unusual church tower, a tin armadillo, a civil war battlefield, impressive coaching inns and a quick lesson on how to eavesdrop…
Cheshire – Chester
This circular walk along Chester’s City Walls uncovers over 2,000 years of history. From Roman legions to Civil War battles; we pass by castle and cathedral and discover canals, cheese, Cheshire cats, and canons. We learn about Deva, Dee, Defoe, Dominicans and the Dead Men’s room. If you are feeling lucky you can take the Wishing steps challenge or sing to the Miller of Dee. A fascinating introduction to this compact City centre.
The Tour starts and finishes on the wall at the Eastgate Clock, but since it is a circular tour you can stop and start at any other point along the way.
Distance: 2.25 miles (3.62 km)
Merseyside – Southport
The Southport Civic Society has created this fascinating Heritage Town Trail to promote an awareness of the architectural and historical development of their urban environment. The trail focuses on the Lord Street Conservation Area, and the atmosphere and rich variety of building styles which make up its unique character. We discover how Southport grew from little more than sand dunes into a flourishing Victorian resort considered ‘The Montpelier of the North’; how Lord Street’s influence has shaped the boulevards of Paris and major cities of the world, and how a mix of classic and Regency architectural styles helps makes Southport one of the best loved coastal destinations in the United Kingdom.
Distance: 1.25 miles (2km)
Approximate duration: 1 hour
©Southport Civic Society. All rights reserved.
Merseyside – Liverpool Pier Head
This insightful tour of Liverpool’s Pier Head unveils how this huge port became the world’s busiest trade centre and “one of the nineteenth century’s greatest success stories”. As we wander around the Pier Head we will discover the rich history behind this area and its magnificent buildings as well as finding horses and kings, museums and memorials, a church and a vanished dock, a canal system and a tunnel.
Distance 0.75 mile (1.2km)
Approximate duration: 1 hour
Yorkshire – York
York is a charming city. This tour weaves its way around the western and northern sections of this wonderful ancient city. We see railways, city walls, bridges, stone coffins, stained glass, Abbey ruins, war memorials, and of course the magnificent Minster. We discover how these places were brought to life by Monks, Romans, Guy Fawkes, Constantine the Great, George Hudson, George Leeman, St Olave, Jocundus, William Etty and many more.
This tour is designed to be taken in daylight hours. We spend time in the Memorial Gardens, the Museum Gardens and Deans Park – all of which close their gates at dusk. Written directions for alternative routes are provided in case you arrive too late to gain entry to these locations, so you can still take the tour and can at least see images of what is behind those locked gates.
LDS Preston – the Birthplace of British Mormonism
We follow in the footsteps of the first LDS missionaries to Britain and discover Joseph Smith’s dentist, the cursed stone, the 1842 riot, the powerful Reverend Wilson, Heber C. Kimball’s amazing prophecy, LDS shorthand, and the Deseret Alphabet.
We visit all of the well-known sites including their lodgings (where a host of evil spirits attacked them), the River Ribble (where the first British baptisms took place, the Vauxhall Chapel Site (where they first preached) and the cockpit site (where the first British Conference was held in 1837). We also unveil the poverty, the opposition and the beginnings of the Nauvoo Sunstone.
LDS Ribble Valley
LDS Ribble Valley – In the footsteps of the ‘old prophets’.
We drive through beautiful English countryside and visit the Roman settlement of Ribchester where, on the banks of the River Ribble we hear of secret baptisms and a raging bull. We visit tiny villages and castle towns – all of which have LDS tales to tell.
We find the delightful villages of Chatburn and Downham and relive one of the most touching encounters of Heber C. Kimball’s and Joseph Fielding’s missionary labours; and see where Wilford discovered the charms of fly fishing.
LDS Lake District
LDS Lake District – a day of scenery and inspiration.
We start by visiting the John Taylor sites (third church president) before driving through the famous Lake District. We learn about the saving of the Doctrine and Covenants, the contribution of Shakers & Quakers, the Romney connection, William Wordsworth’s attack, George Washington’s lineage and Ruskin’s words of wisdom.
LDS Hereford – “The field is white…”
This is part one of the discovery of LDS sites made famous by Wilford Woodruff and the United Brethren.
We visit Benbow’s farm, Castle Frome, and Ledbury to meet the likes of the pioneers John & Jane Benbow, and William Carter – Utah’s first ploughman. This is a tale of miracle after miracle.
We follow in the footsteps of Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards and Brigham Young to the top of Malvern Hill for a very important meeting; plus we get a sense of the influence of these early converts after they emigrate to join the saints in Nauvoo.
This is part two of the Wilford Woodruff and the United Brethren story and explores the Gloucestershire villages he visited.
We meet up with the likes of Thomas Kington – the head of the United Brethren, William Pitt, the musical convert, James Palmer, a remarkable missionary, and many others. The stories on this tour demonstrate the fiaht of these early converts as they witness miracles, and persecution unfold in their tiny villages. Included is a special visit to the restored Gadfield Elm chapel – Britain’s first LDS owned meeting place and an iconic symbol of the United Brethren story.
LDS Liverpool – The Docks
Liverpool served as the arrival point for hundreds of missionaries and the departure point for thousands of emigrants as they gathered to Zion throughout the 19th century. We take a tour around the famous dock area which, besides its LDS history, has had a long association with America (including slaves, cotton, the Beatles, and the claim that the first and final acts of the American Civil War took place here!).
We visit the beautifully restored Albert Docks where we learn more about the life of an emigrant, see the Sea Trek monument and discover a host of famous LDS names.
We experience Liverpool through the eyes of Dan Jones, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, George F. Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor and Brigham Young.
LDS Liverpool – The City
In this second part of LDS Liverpool we turn inland to hear a non-member’s description of Orson Pratt, feel George Q. Cannon’s grief, ponder at the arrival of Martin Harris, and delight in Orson Spencer’s unscheduled ‘resurrection’.
We witness a Music Hall conversion, hear Victorian journalist observations, learn of £200 rewards, and sense why John Taylor said “I feel the word of the Lord like fire in my bones.” We visit sites such as 42 Islington, Holly Road, and Edge Hill which have changed beyond recognition, but all once served as the Mission headquarters, emigration office and church printing press.
We also get to see some of the best preserved parts of Liverpool with Georgian and Victorian streets looking pretty much as our early missionaries would have seen them.
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