Monday, June 27, 2011

London's Parks

The parks of London are one of the city’s glories. Like lungs, they let us breath by pumping oxygen into the air and no trip to London would be complete without a ramble through some of the Royal Parks like Hyde Park or Regent’s Park. Here then are some interesting facts that you might not know about the parks of London.
  • At 253 hectares, Hyde Park (when combined with Kensington Gardens) is bigger than Monaco.
  • Hyde Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace and St James’ Park form a chain that take you from Kensington Palace to Horse Guard’s Parade in Whitehall.
  • Hyde Park was once a hunting ground for Henry VIII and wasn’t open to everyone until 1637 when Charles II turned it into a public park.
  • Green Park was once a notorious duelling venue.
  • St James’ Park is the oldest of the Royal Parks in London and used to belong to Eton College.
  • Regent’s Park’s real names should be The Regent’s Park but this is rarely used.
  • The Official Residence of the American Ambassador is in private land in Regent’s Park
  • Regent’s Park was originally supposed to be where a palace and series of villas would be built for the Prince Regent (later George IV) and his friends but this plan was only partly completed.
  • Regent’s Park became a Public Park in 1835, initially for only two days a week.

You can find out more about the parks mentioned above on Wikipedia:

If you want to find out more about walking in London please click here and if you have any tips please do leave them below.

Friday, June 24, 2011

London In The Rain!

Like it or not, London can be a wet place. The weather in England can be glorious but, more often than not, it is more unpredictable than anything. They say that rain has shaped the British though and whilst other countries, with long, hot summers and warm winters are better at sport (rugby, cricket and football mainly), the Brits boast intellectual heroes instead who attained their position through hard work in the library or the lab. They had, the theory goes, focused on pursuits that didn’t require warm weather to succeed.

This though is little comfort to visitors who find themselves drenched in London. But, what can be of comfort are the city’s many indoor attractions. So, depending on where you are, here are some ideas about where you can go when the rain starts to fall.

The South Bank

You're spoiled for choice down here, so it’s a great place to go if the weather is looking a bit unstable. One of the most unusual spots though is the British Film Institute. It’s home to some really interesting material and shows some amazing movies, both classic and modern and it is the perfect place to hide from the wet.

Covent Garden

Again, there are plenty of places to find cover here but one of the most interesting has to be The London Transport Museum. You almost certainly will have been on the tube at some point and most people forget that is has an amazing history so why not find out more about it.

Buckingham Palace

Even if you’re royal the rain can get in the way so why not visit Westminster Abbey which is just nearby to the Palace. You can explore this historic building, see poets corner where peole like Chaucer and Dickens are burried, as well as see the venue where Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married. If it dries up, and it will, you can explore the area properly. Why not try this app guide to the Royal Wedding to give you some idea of where to go!

With any luck your trip to London will be dry but, even if it is, you should still make some time to visit the venues we’ve suggested. As ever you should also try some of our walks which you can find out more about here. And, if you want to make any suggestions, please do so below!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wimbledon 2011

So it’s Wimbledon time again. Prepare yourself for strawberries and cream, Pimms and the occasional shower if your in London to visit SW19. There are a few interesting facts to remember about The Championship, Wimbledon as it is properly known:
  • It is the only Grand Slam event still played on grass, the original surface for tennis
  • It has been held at The All England Club since 1877
  • Brame Hillyard was the first man to wear shorts at the event in 1930
  • The longest ever match was between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut in the first round in 2010. They played for 11 hours and 5 minutes. The final score was 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 for a total of 183 games and the last set lasted 8 hours and 11 minutes
You can find out more fun Wimbledon facts here and here.

If you can’t get a ticket or have some downtime between matches, you have a great chance to explore London properly. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out Hyde park if the weather is nice. You can walk through the lush greenery, follow the Serpentine or go an listen to some at Speaker’s Corner. And, if it rains, there’s always the Serpentine Gallery, one of the best galleries in London for contemporary art.

Don’t forget to try one of our walks as well. These will give you a great tour of London! If you’ve got any other places to suggest, feel free to comment below!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Here's a fact that not many people know: the word Soho was hunting cry used when this small area of London was used by Henry VIII to go stag hunting. For some reason the name stuck and today Soho is a wonderfully vibrant section of London, between Regent's Street and Charing Cross Road.

In the 1960s though Soho was a byword for seediness, with its sex shops and prostitutes. By the 1980s though, things started to change and now the sexshops have been by and large sidelined by cool Manhattan style restaurant, bars and the offices for TV companies. Yes you will still see the occasional sign for a Model (ie Prostitute) but your more likely to find a good bar first.

There are plenty of places worth checking out in Soho. The most famous right now is The Box which is a regular stop of point for celebrities. But the smaller venues are a lot of fun too. Try The Soho Arts Theatre Club, a small friendly bar modeled on a New York speakeasy that will let you dance until 2am. If you want something more civilized you could try L'Escargot, the restaurant which introduced the French delicacy of snails to England and which used to farm them in it's basement. You can still try their traditional dish today and it is delicious.

Lastly, if you're into music then you may have heard of Ronnie Scotts, one of London's great jazz venues. It can be tough to get in so here's an alternative: The 100 Club. Located on Oxford Street you'll be hard pushed to find a band that's not played this intimate venue. Listing can be found here on the websites:

Ronnie Scotts

The 100 Club

And if you want to experience a great walk around Soho to take in its history, you can listen to our StrollOn Soho Walk. If you've got any tips don't forget to leave them below!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Southbank, London

If you've never visited the Southbank in London, well, you've missed out. In 1951 it received the royal treatment when it was redeveloped for The Festival Of Britain. This saw the construction of The Southbank Centre, home to The Hayward Gallery, the Royal Festival Theatre and Queen Elizabeth Hall, some of London's best cultural venues. If you're in the area, have a look in because they often offer free or discounted events to the public so you can sample some pure classical music or the latest in sculpture. The best place to find out more is the Southbank Centre website

Art is a pretty big thing on the Southbank with the Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe being very close by, but there's more to it than that. There is a weekend food market running from May to September (2011) so that you can sample some great regional produce and there's a regular book market for you to sniff out a bargain. 

If you're a foodie, you should definitely check out Skylon restaurant with it's views over the city and classic British grub. Or there are several cafes and coffeeshops on your StrollOn walk if you want to just grab a sandwich.

Last but not least, you can't leave the Southbank without a visit to the London Eye. Yes, it maybe a cliche but there is something magnificent about being at the top of the wheel with London laid out all before you. There really isn't a better view in town.

If you're new to the Southbank, you might want to try our audio walking guide  to get the best sense of it. You can find out how to download it here. And, if you have any comments, don't forget to let us know below.

Monday, June 13, 2011

London Hotspots

So summer is almost here and London is a special city in the sun. It's the best time to experience the place, strolling around and enjoying the weather, trying out some of the most exciting places you can. Here, then, are some of our favourite hotspots in London. We hope you enjoy visiting them! And, if you've got any suggestions, let us know below.


There's one restaurant that everyone's talking about at the moment and that's Polpo. You'll find it on Beak Street, close to Carnaby Street, and it does some of the most delicious food in the area. Unusually, the menu is based on a Venetian Baccaro - think northern Italian tapas - and it makes for a great sociable experience.  Sit and enjoy some of it's pizette or fritto misto with a cold glass of white wine and you could be sitting in Venice itself. Remember that you can only book for lunch and tables in the evening are first come first serve.

Covent Garden

When you are walking around Theatre-land you'll come across hundreds of places to eat. Some are good and some are bad. The place you shouldn't miss though is Byron, located on Wellington street, very close to The London Transport Museum and The Theatre Museum. Byron may be fast food, but it is great fast food. Delicious burgers and fries, served with a cool coleslaw, is perfect lunch fare. You can usually walk in and get a table and the service is great.

The Southbank

If you're exploring the Southbank, soaking up some British heritage, you can't do better than grabbing a bite to eat at Canteen. Specializing in British classics, this place has rightly won countless awards for it's food. It's menu usually includes staples like fish & chips and roast pork and it has the sort of cheeses that even Wallace and Gromit would approve of. With Shakespeare's Globe, the Tate Modern and the London Eye being so close by, this is a perfect stop of point on a walk - plus you get to see a different take on British Culture.


If you've enjoyed this and what to see more of London, don't forget to try our walking tours. You can find out more about the areas of London we cover here

A World of Audio guides, Walks and iPods

About StrollOn

Hello and welcome to StrollOn, where we produce audio guides and audio tours of London, Paris and an ever-expanding list of major european cities. We have also developed our free city overviews and "Hot spots" (individual audio commentaries for individual sights and attractions). Whichever product interests you we simply ask that you select the relevant audio guide or audio tour on our website and download the mp3 files onto your iPod or other mp3 player, thereby turning your iPod into your "GuidePod".

As you will see from the this blog, we are a new company, providing recently developed products on our website. We've set up this blog so that we can tell you all about us as you join us from our infancy. And we are actively looking for feedback, both on the website and the blog. We don't want you to help us simply to become the biggest, but we do want you to help us become the best walking audio tours company.