The Tides of Time: A London Walk

by Lexa Pennington /
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Jul 31, 2008 / 0 comments


A unique walking seminar of the River Thames organized by scholars in the Context network takes travelers on a journey through London’s history.

Context Travel Tides of Time

London, July 28, 2008 – As part of its continued quest to give curious travelers new ways to learn about and discover the great cities of the world, the scholars and specialists at Context announce a collaboration with Thames 21, a charity dedicated to cleaning up the River Thames, on a new walking tour of London.

The TIDES OF TIME, as the walking seminar is called, follows the course of the Thames as its winds through the heart of London, passing by many of the city’s landmarks. Moving mostly along the recently regenerated and pedestrianized South Bank, from Tower Bridge to the Houses of Parliament, participants will explore how the river and the city have shaped each other through history. Along the way we’ll pass the rebuilt Shakespearean Globe Theatre, ruins of a medieval palace, and the former Bankside Power Station, now the Tate Modern, accompanied by a historian from the Context network in London who will weave an interactive narrative about the city, its architecture and landscape, and the role of the river throughout it all.

“This is an exciting addition to our expanding range of London walks,’ says Petulia Melideo, city manager for Context London. “The Thames has defined London through its history and so makes the perfect subject for one of our walking seminars. At the same time, this is also a chance to make people aware of the Thames clean up and reclamation efforts specifically and the importance of urban rivers, more generally, in Western culture.”

Royal palaces and modern government buildings will illuminate the river’s role as a power base; old warehouses and wharfs will illustrate the working river and the bridges will tell the story of the development of areas previously divided by the river. In addition, TIDES OF TIME will chart how London has cleaned up its act—and its river—since the ‘Big Stink’ of 1858, allowing the Thames to once again become a diverse wildlife habitat with over 120 species of fish and an ever-growing population of Chinese mitten crabs.

Part of the proceeds from the walk are donated through the Context Foundation for Sustainable Travel, a 501c3 U.S. charity, to Thames 21, an organization charged with cleaning the Thames. As part of its commitment to the river, Context is hosting a special cleanup day on the Thames on September 20, 2008, during which travelers can spend several hours with a scholar exploring the rich heritage and then engage with member of Thames 21 to help pick up litter and trash along the river. It’s an excellent voluntourism opportunity and part of Context’s sustainable tourism initiative.


Context Travel Tides of Time

The TIDES OF TIME lasts three-and-a-half hours and runs Wednesdays. The cost is 35 pounds per person, with a 5 pound donation to the Thames 21 project, or the walk can be booked privately by request. All inquires should be directed to Context Travel’s website,, or by calling (+44) 207 193 9158. Other London walks available include: an introduction to London Architecture; Roman and Medieval Canterbury; and The Labyrinth: a tour of the Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals—including art historians, writers, architects, and gastronomes—who organize and lead didactic walking seminars in seven cities: Paris, New York, London, Rome, Naples, Florence, and Venice. In May 2006, Travel + Leisure named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context visit its website at: