Mrs Dalloway’s Errand
Love Letters to London
LAUNCHING SPRING 2020
A very special London walk from Westminster to Bond Street, inspired by the route taken by Clarissa Dalloway in Virginia Woolf’s much-loved book. Our walk will end with a delicious savoury tea in one of London’s most elegant dining rooms.
Join me on this unique Bleak House Experience as we step into the footsteps of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway as she walks from Westminster to Mayfair on a summer morning in June 1923 on an errand to buy flowers for her party.
From the leaden circles of Big Ben’s chime (sadly silenced for renovations) to the flags flying on Bond Street, seeing this world through Clarissa Dalloway’s eyes you will realise how little this part of London has changed in a hundred years. It’s easy to imagine Buckingham Palace, St James’s Park, Piccadilly and Bond Street as they were on that day in June in 1923, as if we have peeled away a hundred years of layers to expose the stories beneath.
Whether you have read and want to immerse yourself in the world of Mrs Dalloway, or have not read the book and simply wish to have a visually inspiring wander through one of the prettiest parts of London and a delicious tea afterwards, this unique London amble will deepen your love for London and introduce you to new friends and people who share your interests.
An indescribable pause; a suspense before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.
As with all Bleak House Experiences, Mrs Dalloway’s Errand offers a chance to step away from your everyday life and see the world from a different perspective. You will return home refreshed and inspired.
Our walk begins at the Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens (next to the Palace of Westminster). Our time together ends with a delicious savoury tea (or excellent cake, if you prefer) at the wonderful Thomas’s at Burberry on Regent Street, one of London’s most lovely dining rooms.
This special wander is the very first in my new series of Love Letters to London. These unique Experiences are designed to deepen your connection for London’s streets by seeing it through the eyes of writers who loved London as much as we do.
Our Experience will last approximately three hours, though there is nothing to stop you making a longer day of being in the heart of London’s West End. This is an area of London I know very well and so if you need suggestions for what else to do during your stay, just ask.
I love walking in London’, said Mrs Dalloway. ‘Really it’s better than walking in the country
About Mrs Dalloway
Mrs Dalloway, published in May 1925, is one of Virginia Woolf’s best-known and most-loved novels. It follows a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a high-society woman in post–First World War London, as she prepares for a party she is to hold that evening. Her meander through London to buy flowers for the party provides a perfect route for us to follow, full of history, atmosphere and London’s eternal spirit.
Bond Street fascinated her; Bond Street in the early morning in the season; its flags flying; its shops; no splash; no glitter; one roll of tweed in the shop where her father had bought his suits for fifty years; a few pearls; salmon on an ice block.
Thomas’s is named for Thomas Burberry the founder of the quintessentially British fashion label. The restaurant itself is in the same building as Burberry’s flagship store on Regent Street but is reached form Vigo Street in Mayfair. It is a haven from the hustle and bustle of central London and is timeless and restful inside. The cake table is a wonder to behold and happily they do a very good line in quintessential British tea staples of crumpets, scones and toasted teacakes.
- Three hours to spend walking in one of the prettiest parts of London
- A delicious savoury tea (or cake, if you prefer) in the café at Thomas’s
- A hand illustrated guide to the parts of the walk detailed in the book to take home so that you can re-do the walk as many times as you wish. Printed on gorgeous GF Smith paper.
- The opportunity to connect with and make friends with like minded people
- A copy of Mrs Dalloway to take away with you, so that if this Experience inspires you to read the book you can begin straight away on the tube home
Today I felt like Mrs. Dalloway, except flowers were bought for me! The Experience took us through Mrs. Dalloway’s footsteps, from what may have been her street in Westminster up to Bond Street and lunch at Thomas’s. From completely unexpected charming residential streets tucked away behind Westminster Abbey up to the fishmonger’s on Bond Street that has been replaced by a Hugo Boss, it was a unique journey through London.
Mrs. Dalloway has always been one of my favourite books, but I hadn’t read it since I moved to London 8 years ago. When I did recently, it was like coming home – I knew exactly where Clarissa was without having to look at Google Maps, and now I’ve retraced her steps. Such a lovely day.
How to book
The date for this unique Experience will be announced in the New Year and the places will be released for booking shortly after. Do sign up to my newsletter, below, to be notified when booking opens.
Terms of Booking
Please note this Experience is non refundable. If you are unable to attend you are welcome to send someone in your place, but please do let me know beforehand.
Included is a hot or cold drink and a choice of savoury tea items, or a slice of delicious cake. Should you choose to have different or additional drinks or food at Thomas’s you will need to settle these separately.
In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.
Absolutely not. We are taking our inspiration and the route from this book but there is no need to have read Mrs Dalloway in order to enjoy our time together to the full. Don’t be surprised though if you feel inspired to read after the walk.
The entire walk is about 2 miles long and is over flat ground. We will be walking at an amble and so it will not be too strenuous at all although you will of course need to be able to cover this distance comfortably. There are plenty of places to sit down for a little while during our route if you need to.
We have planned this experience so that the start and finish are easily accessible by tube or by bus. Full details of the experience, including transport options, will be sent to you in good time, and the principal tube stations are Westminster, Oxford Circus, Bond Street and Green Park.
Yes! Just ask. There are so many fabulous things to do in this part of London.
The short answer is yes. Once you have booked we will ensure that they are aware of any dietary requirements you have, just let us know what they are.
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