Hidden City: Six Walks that Reveal London’s Real Treasures.
There’s the London walks every basic tourist knows about – sauntering down Bond Street, crossing Tower Bridge, strolling around Hyde Park. But what if you want to get behind the visitor brochure veneer? To experience diverse, multicultural London? To eat its food, see its street art and breathe in its history?Well the best way is to walk the streets and get ground level experience.
Here are six experiences that will help you do just that. So, plan your route and pack your favourite FitFlop shoes. For this trip, both style and comfort are essential.
Best For: Art
Yes there is the National Gallery, The Tate and The Saatchi Gallery, but what about London’s buzzing East End street art scene? Take The Alternative London Walking Tour and clock the incredible youth culture the city is famous for. Takes 1.5 hours and costs £12.
Best For: Crime
If you want to experience the seedy underbelly of London, then book a Jack The Ripper Ghost Walk. Wander through the sinister alleys of Whitechapel and Spitalfields (they haven’t changed much since 1888) and hear the secrets of the city’s most notorious killer.
£10 for two hours.
Best For: Beauty
London’s grand palaces and imposing cathedrals are impressive, but the houses and parks that line the Regent’s Park Canal are equally beautiful. Start at Little Venice and admire the white stucco villas and colourful house boats with gardens on their roofs. Divert to Clifton Nurseries for lunch, then follow the canal, skirting Regents Park and London Zoo, before finishing at rock n’ roll Camden. Unguided and free.
Best For: Food
London is famed for its multiculturalism and the many waves of immigration show in its food. Eating London East End Food Tour Tours is a four hour experience that covers Jewish, Bangladeshi and French culinary cultures.
Includes a total of eight different authentic tastings, including treats like famous salt beef bagels, fish and chips, and Indian curries. £80.
Best For: Drink
Warning: this is less about actual drinking and more about discovering the secrets of Soho’s drinking dens. The tour only covers half a square mile, but there’s easily enough info to fill two and a half hours (including the little known fact Mozart was sent into Soho pubs to busk as a child). Soho Historic Pubs Tour takes 2.5 hours. From £36
Best For: History
Forget zzz inducing school lessons, the Tale of Plague tour makes history fun. Focusing on gratifyingly gruesome tales of the 1665 Plague and 14th Century Black Death, expect actor invasions and facts your text book was too shy to say.
Covers two miles and takes two hours. Minimum of 10 people
London style is cool and understated. And so are these shoes.