I think we could all be forgiven for not knowing that it was English Tourism Week, and I only found out by accident a few days ago. This year, the emphasis in the City of London has been on food and drink, and I went to a fascinating talk about Dr Johnson and his great love of tea, following this up with a guided stroll from the Royal Exchange to Leadenhall Market and taking in various eateries and pubs of interest.
In Johnson’s day, tea cost an absolute packet, and Johnson was clearly the guest from hell, on one occasion requesting no fewer than twenty five cups of tea from his hosts. Apparently, although he was a habitue of the Twinings shop on Fleet Street, he wasn’t particularly rich at the time, so it was easier for him to rely on his friends to supply his favourite tipple.
Incidentally, there was also a talk on gin, including a tasting session, but this was completely booked by the time I got to know about it. Funny, that!
One of the pubs on the walking route was the George and Vulture in Cornhill, and in days gone by there was a real live vulture on the premises. The pub is also of note for Dickens’ fans as it was used as the meeting place for the Pickwick Club.
English Tourism Week ends on 22 March.