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We start in Covent Garden twisting through interesting little alleys full of quirky old buildings, some painted in brilliant colours. We hear of the Great Fire of 1666 and how they put out fires in the old days. We see a clock run by water, and the closest thing to a maze in central London. We also see a shop dedicated to TinTin and also the place where ballet students dream of becoming ballerinas. Then it’s on to where the first Punch & Judy was performed, which is now a great spot to see street entertainers. We then see the very place which inspired Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. We jump on a tube for two stops to see a famous children’s hospital and its statue of Peter Pan. We also hear of J.M. Barrie’s connection with the hospital and see where families of children staying in the hospital can stay. Charles Dickens lived just round the corner so we then hear about children in Oliver Twist’s time and see some wonderful photographs of poor children in those days. You also hear of education in the old days and see a couple of very old schools from those times. We also pass a special playground for children where adults are not allowed in unless accompanied by a child. You hear what a foundling was and then see the most child-friendly piece of modern art in London – Foundlings’ tokens set into the pavement. We then head to Harry Potter’s railway stations. We see the extraordinary gothic one used in the films, and then head next door to see one used in the book, where you can disappear into the wall on platform 9 and threequarters – bring a camera!
Start Covent Garden tube
Leicester Square to Russell Square tube
Finish Kings Cross station
Shorter walk alternative – Omit Seven Dials section of Covent Garden