The enormity of London – geographically, historically and culturally – can be fairly overwhelming, even for those lucky enough to call the city home. Getting to grips with the capital is a task best undertaken slowly, so start unpeeling the layers on our selection of London walking tours…
Unseen Tours’ Shoreditch
Unseen Tours’ professional homeless tour guides offer a completely different perspective on the city, combining historical context with personal experience. The 1.5 hour Shoreditch tour explores the neighbourhood’s rich creative scene but also examines how intense gentrification has affected the homeless and poorer residents of this formerly working class district. Tours of London Bridge, Covent Garden, Brick Lane and Brixton are also available. Shoreditch tours run Fridays through to Sundays and cost £10 (£7 concessions).
London Walks’ Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
Guided by self-proclaimed Pied Piper of Beatlemania Richard Porter, this Beatles Magical Mystery Tour visits all the Fab Four’s famous capital hangouts, including the Apple offices where the band played their legendary rooftop session, the studio where Hey Jude was recorded and the most well-known zebra crossing in the world at Abbey Road. The tour finishes at the Beatles Coffee Shop – owned by none other than Richard himself – and take place every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Tickets cost £9.
London Walks’ Old Hampstead Village Pub Walk
Liberal, literary, affluent Hampstead Village still retains a well-preserved Georgian air, where red brick townhouses line narrow cobblestoned alleys and the views over London are the finest in the city. The pretty hidden lanes of this exclusive London neighbourhood harbour a number of cosy, traditional pubs like The Flask and the Holly Bush, several of which are visited on this weekly Saturday night Old Hampstead Village Pub Walk. Tickets cost £9.
Context Travel’s Charles Dickens: Storyteller of Victorian London
Context Travel’s in-depth historical walking tours are led by world-class academic and specialist guides who delve deep into their subject to paint a vivid portrait of contemporary life at the time in question. The 3 hour Charles Dickens tour reveals the reality of life in the era in which he lived, beginning with his early years working in the Blacking Warehouse near Temple to his time in Marylebone, where he lived for more than a decade. Tours run Thursdays and cost £65.
Fox & Squirrel’s Fashion Walk
Fox & Squirrel’s 4-hour Fashion Walk is led by company founder and fashion historian Penelope Sacorafou or Courtauld Institute graduate and vintage store owner Rachel Chudley, both of whom are passionate about opening up the world of London’s fashion scene to visitors. This is an exclusive, hands-on tour which invites guests into designer’s studios and warehouses to meet the people behind-the-scenes, with the option of add-on masterclasses or workshops. Tours take place daily except Mondays and cost £125. A Vintage Fashion tour is also available.
Header photo © geezaweeza
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.