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Our Green Story: Ye Olde England Tours

11/11/2020

When I created Ye Olde England Tours in 2013 I was unique in offering private guided tours to places others couldn't go to for example missing the crowds of Stonehenge for the authenticity of Avebury or West Kennet and letting visitors enjoy the real deal at independent pubs, cafes or farm shops.   

Rather than visit Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square (which I do of course) it's much more interesting for many travellers to visit local markets or pubs and book shops.

I have always seen having my own business to make a positive difference, to help my team, my customers, other independent businesses, and the planet at large. I remember 3 years ago I was out in London mapping out a new walking tour when I realised my shoes were muddy.  I thought to myself how I had been coming to London for nearly 40 years and never got muddy shoes before.Having grown up in the Lake District and Northumberland, I had always loved nature and the wilder the better. It made me think of how I could get muddy in London again.

As it happens, a year or so ago, London became the world’s first National Park City.  You might think of London as being the ultimate concrete jungle, but it is actually 50% green or blue.  Full of parks, woods, forests, rivers, canals and getting greener by the day.

So I began to create a range of green-themed tours as well as those to famous locations that were not only less stressful for me and my customers but also a way to spread the word about nature and support other worthy and often quirky local businesses.

Our canal tour goes right through London and visits places that are impossible to see any other way.  Yes our Cemetery tour visits the graves of great and infamous figures from the past but the large Victorian cemeteries are incredible refuges for nature and well away from the sound of cars or people in general, well, living ones anyway.  You never know what you might see.

My Sacred Secret Sanctuary Gardens and Ruins walk is set right in the heart of the City of London between all those skyscrapers and ancient churches.  There are well over 120 Secret Gardens in the Square Mile and each one has its own character, often in the remains of bombed out churches or ruins from the Great Fire, the Black Death or even Vikings and Romans.  Every garden has its own planting to enhance the local environment and act as a haven for insects, birds and mammals that often would be locally extinct.

It makes for a great way to see interesting sights, learn some history and introduce people from foreign countries both about British nature but also the importance of what they can do in their home cities and all under the shadow of The Shard but often without another tourist or local in sight for the whole tour.

London is such a vast place, and you are never far away from a local market or independent food and drinks outlet or some 'unknown' arts and crafts places.  The visitors love visiting somewhere authentic and real and the places we visit give even better service as they appreciate us going off the beaten track.

Talking of going off the beaten track, as tourism has obviously suffered this year and London is not the first-place people think of for experiencing nature and open spaces; But London has some immense parks and nature reserves.  Not just the well-known Royal Parks but the outer boroughs and green belt.  You can stand in Stanmore common over 500 feet up and looking 40 miles across London and you are amongst deer, cows, birds and insects.  Go into the heathland or deeper into the woods and I can promise you feel as remote as in the middle of the Scottish Highlands or Pennine Moors with the odd Adder and Red Kite and in spring a multitude of frogs from the lakes ponds and one of the oldest and largest Oak trees in the country.  All mixed up with everything from the Romans, Queen Boudica to Dick Turpin and the Battle of Britain.

It makes for such a great mix and I am passionate about combining my love of history with passion for helping the local community and planet at large.  I think my customers like it too!  So, if your looking for a staycation with something a little different and tailored to you why not look at what Ye Old England Tours has to offer?