Starting to look beyond the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency, read how our members are planning to help keep visitors safe.

Keep Walking: the historical hiking tours that are not to be missed

Autumn and Spring are usually the Blue Badge Tourist guide’s favourite seasons to hike or walk. It’s not too hot and nature is changing, so one can see the leaves turning yellow and red. The sun is lower which is also great for photography.  England is very walking-friendly, and even around historical cities you will find charming walking routes and historical sites along the way which you wouldn’t see if you went straight into town. Blue Badge Tourist Guide Ildi Pelikan decided to mix her two passions, hiking and guiding, and developed some guided hikes. How does it work? “We do walk, but around historical places we stop at places of interest where our visitors learn about the history and hear legends of the site”, she explains.

Here are some of her guided hikes, in her words:

Walking over the cliffs of Dover. Image by Ildi Pelikan

Dover to Deal 

“I call it the White Cliffs and Castles tour. Lovely walk along the coast with plenty of wartime history from the Roman Invasion to Second World War. Things you will see during the walk:  Dover Castle, South Foreland Lighthouse, Walmer and Deal Castle.  We end the walk with a well-deserved drink at the King’s Head pub by the beach.”

 

Apple orchards. Image by Ildi Pelikan

Pilgrim for a day

“This walk is the last bit of the Canterbury Pilgrimage. We start in the medieval village of Chilham. Pilgrims walking from Winchester would have passed through the main square of the village heading to Canterbury to see the Shrine of Thomas Becket.  The route leads through apple orchards and hop fields, you will see herds of sheep, an iron age fort and the Black Prince’s Well, a castle and 3 churches before arriving in Canterbury. What could be better than ending the day with a visit to the Cathedral?”

 

Ildi’s group having a good time in front of Godstow Abbey. Image: Ildi Pelikan

 Oxford, River Isis a Treacle Well & Inspector Morse Pub

“This is a stunning and easy circular walk with loads to see. We start along the Thames Path along the river Isis and return to Oxford along the Canal. Things you will see on the walk: St. Frideswide’s Well and a 12th century Church, the Ruins of Godstow Abbey, The Trout Inn, which is a famous Inspector Morse pub, University Park, Keble College and River Pitts museum. We end the day with a guided tour of the City of Oxford.”

 

The stunning Salisbury Cathedral. Image by Ildi Pelikan

Salisbury, Harnham Hill and Britford

“This walk is very picturesque!  I wonder if you find the spot where Constable stood while he was painting Salisbury Cathedral? The walk starts along the river through the meadows, across several pretty bridges and with stunning views of the Cathedral, then leads up Harnham Hill to the viewing point. We also visit the Church of St. Peter in Britford. The day ends with a visit to Salisbury Cathedral which was built 800 years ago this year!”

 

Memorial to Magna Carta at Runnymede. Image by Ildi Pelikan

Runnymede and Great Windsor Park 

“The walk starts in Egham and takes us to Runnymede where King John sealed Magna Carta in 1215. We visit the memorials before heading to Great Windsor Park. The Park is stunning with ancient trees and a pond full of waterlilies. On the top of Snow Hill, we stop by George III’s statue to take in the views, then we continue to Queen Anne’s Ride and a small detour before reaching the Long Walk that leads to Windsor Castle.”

 

Why join the walks? It’s outdoors, plenty of space and easy to keep distance, it’s a mix of exercise and sightseeing, and who can resist the charming English Countryside? Better yet, Ildi also has the Good to Go from Visit Britain – know more about this here – and she offers the itineraries as public tours on Saturdays , you can book them through the website Take me to London or get in touch with me for private tours.

 

About the author:

Ildi Pelikan was born in Budapest, Hungary and lived in Brazil for 11 years where she also worked as a tour director travelling with groups around the country. She has been living in England for 10 years and qualified as a Blue Badge Guide in 2018. A great fan of walks, she completed las March the Hill and Moorland leader course in the Peak District, and later the Guiding Through Christianity CPD during February.  Her passion is history, walks and sustainable tourism and fashion history. She guides in English, Portuguese and Hungarian and loves to take groups to churches and cathedrals.  Her favourite museum? Victoria and Albert Museum, in South Kensington!