Walks and Talks - What We Offer

OUR WALKS AND TALKS - WHAT WE OFFER

We offer a range of walks and talks to suit most interests. We lead guided public walks on most weekends between April and October, as well as ghost walks over the winter months. We can also cater for private groups, with a wide range of bespoke walks and illustrated talks on subjects of local interest. 

To come on a public walk, just turn up at the start point and pay the guide. Separate arrangements apply for ghost walks - see below. Please refer to the 2017 Calendar of Public Walks page for specific dates and times. The cost of public walks is £5 for adults, and £2 for accompanied children (5-15). All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Please click on the links below to be taken to the section that you are interested in :

CITY OF ST ALBANS WALKS

City Walks start outside the Clock Tower in High Street, unless otherwise stated, and take approximately an hour and a half.  Just turn up on the day of the walk and pay the guide on duty. The cost is £5 for adults, and £2 for children (5-15). All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
HISTORIC ST ALBANS - A CITY REVEALED
St Albans, the unheralded jewel of Hertfordshire, a 1000 year old city at the heart of English History. Tour well known and lesser known sites of the City – hear about revolting peasants, martyrs, heretics, monasteries and monks. Find out what is unique to St Albans and see its medieval clock tower and parish memorials.

FISHPOOL STREET – RAGS & RICHES
Journey from St Michaels, the village within the Roman walls, taking in medieval pubs and houses and a 16th century watermill, to Fishpool Street. How did this street, once a major 18th century coaching route, degenerate to a slum and backwater, then become a prime residential area? You will have the opportunity to look at the architecture of some of the 72 listed buildings which range from a manor to workmen’s cottages. Another little gem – find out about puddingstone?! Meet outside Verulamium Museum.

COACHING INNS
For over 1000 years, St Albans has been a town of inns, taverns and alehouses. Find out why there were fifteen inns in one street alone. At one time, stabling was required for over 2000 horses – imagine the smell! This fascinating walk also looks at the architecture and the people who were part of this vibrant area of St Albans.

VICTORIAN ST ALBANS – A TIME OF CHANGE
The Victorian times were the age of massive expansion for the town. This walk takes us from the medieval to the age of steam, the railways, factories and even the pioneering days of cinema (hear about the first ever film advertisement)!  There were many changes in the town, including a new prison whose entrance will be recognisable to all fans of ‘Porridge’.

ARISTOCRATS, PAUPERS & PHILANTHROPISTS
Based in the St Peter’s area you will hear of London orphans and their wet nurses, the philanthrophy of Winston Churchill’s ancestors and find out about the “heir and spare”. Why is there an arrow above the Pemberton Almshouse on St Peter’s Street and why is there an unusual milestone in Hatfield Road? An interesting stroll around the lesser known historic features of St Albans.

STREET WAR MEMORIALS
The Great War changed lives forever. Men enlisted to fight for King and Country, many never returned. The Abbey Parish remembers its dead, not in a church, but the streets where they grew up. The Parish was not unique in its experience but the memorials are. We explore the history behind their existence and the lives of those whose names appear there.

A MONASTERY REVEALED
Our city owes its existence to the monastery, which was once the most important in England. From Dedication to Dissolution, powerful Abbots controlled the town, the lives of its people and of course the monks. How did the people live under this rule, and what was daily life like for the monks? Find out as we walk from the town and round the abbey precincts where once stood a mighty establishment …..before it was destroyed by Henry VIII.

MEDIEVAL LIVES
Be transported back to the medieval period. As we walk around the historic market place you will hear tales about the life and times of the people who visited, lived and worked here. Life was far from easy in those turbulent times. Follow the pilgrims’ route to the Abbey church and beyond.

HISTORIC PUBS OF ST ALBANS
For centuries, the innkeepers and publicans of St Albans have provided hospitality for pilgrims, travellers, market traders and locals alike. This walk traces the changing fortunes of many establishments – some long gone, others re-invented and those that remain virtually unchanged by time.

WALKS AROUND THE DISTRICT

We offer a range of walks within the surrounding district of St Albans, outside the City itself. The cost is £5 for adults, and £2 for children (5-15).    Just turn up and pay the guide on duty. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

DISCOVER HARPENDEN
An infamous spy, a lane nicknamed after the smells from the brewery and the local artist who painted royalty and presidents – these are just some of the places you will see and people you will hear about on this walk through the village and common. The walk begins at the war memorial

DISCOVER REDBOURN
During the coaching era, Redbourn became known as a Street of Inns and boasted at least 30 inns and public houses. This walk explores the area around the historic High Street, St Mary’s Church and Almhouses. Join us for a gentle stroll through the fascinating bygone days of Redbourn. The walk begins from the car park on the Common, adjacent to the cricket club.

DISCOVER WHEATHAMPSTEAD
This is a traditional site of the Catuvellauni, the local Iron Age tribe, but it eventually became part of the monastic Estate of Westminster. Join us and learn more of this ancient and extremely interesting village. A visit to St Helen’s Church is included. Meet in the East Lane public car park at the rear of the Bull.

Verulamium was the third largest Roman town in Britain at the height of the Roman occupation. A large part of the site of the former Roman city was excavated in the 1930's by a team led by Sir Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler, and many of the artefacts found are on display in Verulamium Museum. 

THE ROMAN THEATRE
We offer guided tours of one of the finest and most complete examples of a Roman theatre in Britain. The tour also includes the remains of a 3rd century townhouse with an underground shrine and a parade of shops facing onto Watling Street.

Tours take place on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday afternoons between 2.30pm and 4pm, from April to October. An entrance fee is payable at the Roman Theatre – but the guided tours are FREE!

ROMAN GALLERY TALKS
These presentations are held at the Verulamium Museum on most Saturdays and Sundays at 3.00pm. The story of the Roman Town of Verulamium comes to life in the talks which include: Mosaics; Iron Age; Domestic Life; Leisure; Food and Drink; Trading in the Empire; Gods and Goddesses; Death and Burial; House in the Park; Life and Times of Alban.

To find out what talk is being presented on a specific date, click here to be taken to the What's On page of the St Albans Museum Service website. 

Talks are free, but there is an entrance charge to the Museum for visitors from outside the St Albans District Council area.

A ROMAN CITY REVEALED
Discover the lurid past of Roman Britain’s third city, revolting Celts and a fire to rival the Great Fire of London. See the hypocaust, the Roman central heating system not surpassed in England for over 1400 years, and part of the Roman Wall. Visit the unique Roman Theatre where Roman acting was very much part of the activities.

There is a small charge for entrance to the Roman Theatre.

Meet outside the entrance to Verulamium Museum. For dates and start times, please refer to the 2017 Calendar of Public Walks.

  

WALKS FOR PRIVATE GROUPS

St Albans Tour Guides offers privately booked walks throughout the year. You can choose from one of the public walks described above, or you can request a bespoke tour according to the special interests of your group. A group can be any size, and the cost is £5 per head for adults, with a minimum charge of £60. Reductions apply for children's groups. 
We can also supply guides for coach tours. We will also be pleased to accommodate those with special needs.


Contact us to make a booking enquiry

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

St Albans Tour Guides now offers walks for schools and other young persons groups.
They are particularly aimed at key stages 2 and 3 but can be adapted for older children.

The two walks are: –

The Roman Town of Verulamium
This walk takes the children around the visible remains of the Roman town, including the theatre. The children are helped to understand what life would have been like for people living in the town, through various characters who lived there.
This walk fits in very well with a visit to Verulamium Museum.

The History of St Albans
This walk begins at the old Town Hall in the Market Place and takes the children around the historic centre of the town, including the outside of the Clock Tower, the Abbey and the Gatehouse. Again, characters living in the town in the past are a focus to help the children to understand what life would have been like, particularly in the Middle Ages.

Contact us to make a booking enquiry

LOCAL INTEREST TALKS

St Albans Tour Guides offers a choice of talks on various themes connected with the history of St Albans, in a PowerPoint presentation format. The talks bring to life periods of history that featured exciting and dramatic changes to the lives of the people of St Albans. From Roman times to World War II – a wealth of fascinating events and people. Currently there are eight available:

City Beneath the Park
Recreating life as it was in the Roman town of Verulamium is the focus of this talk. Mosaics, wall paintings, buildings and how the people lived and died, all are vividly described in this presentation. The Roman town of Verulamium still lies beneath Verulamium Park in St Albans. It was the third largest town in Roman Britain and its placement on Watling Street ensured its importance. It was one of the three towns to be destroyed by Boudicca and rebuilt. A fascinating story.

A City Steeped in History
This illustrated talk takes you through two thousand years of St Albans history. From the warrior Queen Boudicca, Wars of the Roses, revolting peasants to the man behind the Ryder Cup, St Albans has played host to many of the country’s key historical people and events. The City is an archaeological treasure house full of amazing discoveries and inspiring buildings in unexpected corners. This Monastic market town founded around the shrine of Britain’s first saint – Alban - has many stories to tell!

A City at War – The Home Front
This nostalgic talk delightfully illustrates the memories of events and people during World War II. Land girls, rationing, make do and mend, and forgetting your troubles at the local cinema and dance halls are all part of the story. The resourcefulness of the people of St Albans in the hard times and their generosity of spirit in welcoming evacuees into their homes must be heard.

Made In St Albans
From straw hats to steam trains and from brickmaking to bouquets of orchids, the industrial past of St Albans is rich and varied and includes household names such as Roses Lime Marmalade. This illustrated talk looks at the industrial archaeology of the city from the picturesque watermills and blacksmiths to the breweries and printing works. This talk is a real trip down memory lane.

Samuel Ryder
This talk is about the life of one of St Albans’ most prominent citizens. Samuel Ryder was so much more than the man behind the Ryder Cup, although that is what he is remembered for world wide. He was a man committed to the local government of his adopted town. He changed the face of gardening nationally with his penny packets of seeds. 
The talk will be of interest not just to golfers, but also to gardeners and to anyone interested in hearing about a man who contributed so much to the life of St Albans.

Daughters of St Albans
This fascinating talk focuses on the stories of a variety of women whose interesting lives were connected with the town. Tales range from the violent exploits of Queen Boudicca to the singing of Maddy Prior.

Sons of St Albans
A talk about the men whose lives have touched St Albans in some way, from Francis Bacon to Stephen Hawking.

Eat,Drink and Be Merry in Roman Verulamium
Did the Romans invent the burger? We shall see. They certainly knew how to feast and enjoy their food. This tasty talk looks at what we know from the Roman finds unearthed at Verulamium.  Find out what they ate and drank, how they enjoyed themselves, and how they entertained their friends. You might just find out the real meaning of a Vomitorium!
Contact us to make a booking enquiry

GHOST WALKS

Ghosts and Ghouls is our popular walk at Halloween and over the winter months in St Albans. As we explore our haunted city, we will visit many places that are noted for some strange events. Stories of the well known phantoms of the town will be related by the guide. During the walk you may wonder if we are on our own – who knows! Join us and discover the hidden, ghostly side of St Albans.

 This walk is by advance ticket only. Tickets for Ghosts and Ghouls walks between October and December 2017 on the public walks calendar are now available. Go to the What's New? page to book.  Alternatively, if you have a large group, and you would like to enquire about a private booking for an evening of your choice, please enquire by clicking on the orange button below. A minimum charge applies for private bookings.

Haunted Harpenden is also very popular. Tickets for this walk are available from Harpenden Town Hall  (01582 768278) from 1st October. This walk is also by advance ticket only.

Our ghost walks which we offer to the general public may not be suitable for children under the age of 12 years. However, we do offer adapted walks which are suitable for children's groups, such as cubs, beavers etc. Click on the orange button below to make an enquiry.
Contact us to book a private tour for your group
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