Just in time — United Synagogue, the British orthodox synagogue umbrella, has launched a free new smartphone self-guided walking tour of historic Jewish London.
The Jewish of London tour is organized around 15 thematic “stops” in central London and the East End.
It is not a downloadable app, like so many self-guided tours.
Instead, it is based on podcasts about the places and their history, which users must contact on the spot via smartphone data.
The podcasts last around four to six minutes and are accompanied by a picture and text, as well as a map of the “stop” location and directions how to walk there.
Sometimes the podcast will be about a broad period or area of Jewish history in London, and the picture or text will focus on something narrower. Sometimes, the document or text will be about something seemingly unrelated to the podcast, but we hope it will give you context.
The walk is connected through a web site, which also has an overall map — and you can also listen to the podcasts and read the textual material in your browser.
The web site advises:
The tour begins at the Barbican and ends at Fournier Street, Spitalfields.
Walking at the pace used by Google Maps to calculate distances and timings, if one walked from the first stop at Barbican to the last stop in Fournier Street, Spitalfields, it would take 52 minutes to cover the distance of just under 2.5 miles.
However, each podcast is 5 or 6 minutes long, and there are fifteen of them. That adds an hour and a half to the tour, not including any detours, loo breaks, coffee stops or avoidance of rain.
Not all destinations are equally-distanced. The last six or seven destinations in particular, are closer to each other than the others.
All in all, we hope that a fit walker who is keen but not so uncurious that they won’t be distracted by anything, might comfortably complete the tour in under four hours, taking some time for something to eat and without rushing. This doesn’t include travel time to or from the start (nearest tube: Barbican) or the end (nearest tube: Aldgate).
You might find the walk easier if you don’t do it all on one day, or even if you use a bicycle or a scooter between stops.