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31.08.2023 – 02.09.2023

Markets, Merriment and Mayhem – Week 1

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Presented by the City Guides

Join the City Guides on walks around the City to explore the riotous spirit and events over the ages, where entertainment, protest and colourful characters abound.

Bartholomew Fair began in the middle ages and lasted until the 1850’s. For two weeks every summer in Smithfield it was legendary as a selling fair but also a place of entertainment and public disorder. Less well -known are the other places across the City where such things went on.

This is the first of three different walks as part of the City of London's reimagining of Bartholomew Fair. Come and explore some rollicking, riotous spots with an official City Guide on these limited edition, free walks.

Starting outside bastions of solidity - the Royal Exchange and Bank of England - and finishing on the world-famous Fleet Street. On the way we will hear stories of riots, when clerks melted inkwells to make bullets; of markets ancient when Cheapside was the ‘busiest thoroughfare in the world’ and modern, where brightly dressed traders placed bets on the future value of money. You'll see the spire that launched a thousand wedding cakes and learn more about the tales of the ‘tippling street distinguished by the name of Fleet.


31 August and 1 September 1: 2:30pm & 6pm

2 September: 11:30am & 2:30pm

Location: Meet outside the Royal Exchange

Duration: 1.5 hours

What to expect: Guided walking tour / Free ticketed event / Limited capacity

Free but booking essential

tour guide

© Niki Gorrick

About the City Guides

The City Guides are the Official Guides to the City of London. The professional association, the CLGLA, was founded in 1983 to promote and maintain a high standard of guiding in, and lecturing about, the City of London. City Guides offer regular walks and tours on almost every day of the year and work with organisations to create bespoke tours for events, programmes, anniversaries etc . All Guides are qualified, accredited, insured and passionate about sharing the City’s history and culture.

‘Excellent, informative and told me things about London I’ve never heard after working there for 20 years+.’

'Wildly exceeded expectations!'

‘Amusing, interesting and surprising. Will definitely book another tour with City of London Guides.’

‘Customised the entire experience into an unforgettable day.’

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