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Five of London’s best walking tours

By: Maxine Sheppard

August 20, 2019

London St Paul's © Shutterstock

The best way to see London is to walk © Shutterstock

The enormity of London – geographically, historically and culturally – can be 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 walk

Unseen Tours’ professional homeless tour guides offer a completely different perspective on the city, combining historical context with personal experience. The two-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 on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and cost £15.

Shoreditch street art by Dale Grimshaw © bablu121/Flickr Creative Commons

London Walks’ Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

Guided by self-proclaimed Pied Piper of Beatlemania Richard P, 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 tours take place on Wednesdays at 2pm, Thursdays at 11am and Sundays at 11am and cost £10.

London Walks’ Hampstead in the Evening tour

Liberal, literary, affluent Hampstead Village still retains a well-preserved Georgian air, where redbrick townhouses line narrow cobblestone alleys and the views over London are the finest in the city. The pretty hidden lanes of this exclusive London neighbourhood harbour cosy, traditional pubs like The Flask and the Holly Bush, several of which are visited on this weekly Saturday night Hampstead in the Evening walk. Tickets cost £10.

The cobblestone alleys of affluent Hampstead © Shutterstock

Context Travel’s London Churchill War Rooms tour

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 three-hour Churchill War Rooms tour begins at this high security bunker – the most important office of World War II – and goes on to reveal the reality of living in London during the Blitz, with a focus on Winston Churchill and his global role. Small group tours run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Churchill War Rooms © Shutterstock

London Bridge Secret Food Tour

As the name suggests, this tour is more focused on food than it is on walking, which is just as well as the London Bridge area is home to Borough Market, one of the best food markets in the world. You’ll have plenty of time to soak up the vibe, including stops to sample some English classics like traditional sausage rolls and award-winning fish and chips. You’ll also visit a historic London pub for cheese and cider, before moving on to explore the famous bridges and London skyline along the River Thames.

The artisan delights of London’s Borough Market © Shutterstock

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Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-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.

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