London is one of the most historical cities you will ever visit and being the history buff that I am, I need to know the stories behind each buildings, alleyways and all the other iconic places around the city. The more obscure it is, the better. I guess I’m nosy like that.
I came across Hidden London Tour while I was looking for unique tours in London which promised a journey into the depths of the old City to discover the more extraordinary stories and locations which are often overlooked. I was hooked right away, I always love exploring off-the-tourist tracks and the best way to do it is to have a knowledgeable guide with you.
On the day of the tour, I met our tour guide Matt at 1:30pm in front of Temple Street tube station. We were a total of 10 in the group including two other bloggers who I dragged along with me (Hello Katy and Angela). The size wasn’t that big and also not that small, an ideal group tour size so it won’t feel too crowded and also not boring.
During the tour, we discovered an authentic hansom cab shelter which offered cheap refreshments and a place to take a break for hansom cab drivers during the 18th century. When I passed by it on my way to the Temple Tube station, I thought it was a garden shed. Makes sense really because there was a garden nearby but this is the reason why I love taking tours like this, you discover the real purpose of things around you.
We also discovered a closed underground station which served as a bomb shelter during WWII for civilians and also to protect some of British Museum artifacts including the Elgin marbles. “Don’t tell the Greeks!” said one of the men in our group, good thing The Greek Mister wasn’t with me during this tour. Lol.
We also saw a Roman bath in the middle of the city which turned out to be NOT a Roman bath, we passed by beautiful courtyards which I wouldn’t have known to be accessible to the public if not for this tour, we saw the church which inspired the wedding cake, we saw one of the remaining buildings which endured the bombings of the war and shows its painful past through its cracked and uneven walls and from the same building, I learned how gruesome children’s songs really are.
My favorite discovery of all is Sweeney Todd’s barbershop. It wasn’t the barbershop itself which is my favorite, it was how our tour guide delivered the story – giving us a chance to decide whether or not Sweeney Todd is real or a fictional character. Having said that, our tour guide Matt was absolutely wonderful. I love how he shared his own personal opinion about each places we visited apart from his knowledge of it. He was very informative and kept the group interested throughout the tour.
If you’re not into history or not really interested in discovering off-the-tourist tracks of London, this tour isn’t for you but if you’re like me who’d like to learn stories which makes London more interesting than it already is, it’s a highly recommended tour. Hidden London Tour does deliver to its promise and probably even more.
I am on a hunt for other interesting and unique London tours, the Churchill War Rooms might be the next place I’d explore.
I received a complimentary Hidden London Tour from Fun London Tours however as always, photos are my own and opinions stated are in no way influenced. I do plan to take all of their other tours in the future in fact, I’ve already booked and paid for another one this coming Saturday. 🙂
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Hidden London Tour by Fun London Tours
GBP12 per adult
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Thanks Katy, always good to see you. 🙂
[…] Travel Bloggers so we could all meet together in one fun event. Having had a great experience with Fun London Tours previously, I contacted them once again and got a group rate for their Liar Liar […]
Have you found Clink Street? Coming from the land down under, any reference to the last home on English soil of the many convicts, Clink Street is vitally interesting. Then Vine St and Carnaby Street were interesting. Love your story telling and the photos are smashing!
I am going to Clink Street soon. Thank you for reminding me about that. 🙂
Great review of a what looks like a great tour. We don’t normally do tours much with the teens, but it would probably bring all that history to life more than me reading out of the guide book – eh? Thanks for linking and engaging with #FarawayFiles – looking forward to what you will bring us this week! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin
Thank you Erin. I understand, teenagers might be a bit bored with this kind of tour. They’re the toughest audience. Lol.
Great photos! I can’t wait to blog about our visit to London before the New Year and during Spring break this year. I recognize some of the places we randomly went passed by then. I love walking tours! Try the Harry Potter Walking Tour. 🙂
I need to watch the Harry Potter movies first before doing that tour, I never watched any of those. I know, sad. Lol.
This tour looks absolutely brilliant, just the sort of thing I love – I must do something like this with my two boys. I love finding out all the quirky, historical details and stories that you’d otherwise miss. Thanks so much for sharing this on #FarawayFiles
Thank you Clare, I’m exactly the same – I try to learn more about the place specially the non-touristy things. I think you’ll love this tour. 🙂
What an ace post – your pics are like time-travelling to old London! I’m also fascinated about the origins of nursery rhymes – I had no idea when I was a kid that I was singing about the bubonic plague! good stuff #FarawayFiles
Bubonic plague! Oh wow! Lol. I don’t understand why nursery rhymes are always based on something like those all the time. Maybe to lighten up the mood? Lol
I have been to London three times and didn’t realise all this hidden history! I think I got lost in the markets and shopping! Can’t believe there was a bomb shelter there for WWII! Wish I had this guide for when I went! The Sweeney Todd barbershop would have been interesting!
Shopping is a good distraction. Lol.
Sounds awesome! I love stuff like this and thats pretty good value for money too. London is just a hive of secret history isn’t it – I love it! We stayed in Clerkenwell a few weeks ago and found a few little interesting stories and hidden spots – it’s just brilliant. Our kind of travel! #farawayflies
Yes it is such a good value for money definitely. The going rate normally for tours is GBP20 and above so it’s definitely really good value. 🙂
Oh I’ve done this tour too and it’s fantastic – as you say, there’s so much history to London if you know where to look and all the quirky details, but even living here you’d miss so much if you didn’t know the significance or happen to go down a particular little street. A lovely reminder, I must start taking more walking tours of my city again, it’s fascinating seeing all its different sides. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
You’ve done this tour before? How amazing! Lol. We should do tours together next time. 🙂
What a brilliant tour. As a town planner by trade I love finding out what hidden buildings are used for. I wonder if there is one in Edinburgh…
There should be one in Edinburgh, I bet there are a lot of hidden gems around that place.
Me me! I love stories and history and mystery! I would definitely consider taking this tour on my next visit to London:)
You should! It’s a fun tour. 🙂
I agree with you, a group tour shouldn’t be too big or too small. If its is a guided tour, the best thing that can happen is having a not only a knowledgeable tour guide but an interesting one too! Nice trip you had there. The medieval buildings .
Those are what makes a walking tour great – knowledgeable and interesting guide. Good thing our guide is both. 🙂
I love interesting tours like this one! You learn so much more than you would just exploring on your own. Once, I took a “Jack the Ripper” tour in London and it was great fun, too. Thanks for sharing! I’m going to pass it along.
I’m planning to take the Jack The Ripper Tour next. 🙂
That’s an interesting tour. Not the typical ones we see that’s always featured by many. I learned more about the rich history of London somehow. The architectures are really amazing as usual. 🙂
Yes that’s true. It’s not within the tourist radar. :p
What a great idea of a tour! I have explored the Temple area not long ago and noticed those Roman Baths myself, I had no idea that they are actually not what they seem to be. I would love to see Sweeney’s Todd barbershop, I remember the movie and the creepy London atmosphere surrounding his shop. I love the idea of out of the box tours especially in London, which has so many amazing hidden spots.
I haven’t seen the movie Sweeney Todd, I should look it up. Sounds really interesting and creepy. :p
I love it; the roman bath you are having when you are not having a roman bath. I love a tour that goes off the beaten track and shoes you unique sights. I would absolutely consider a hidden your of London
Lol. Having a roman bath when you’re technically not having a roman bath. Lol. Sounds about right.
How interesting! This would be such a fun way to discover London and some of its hidden gems. So what was your conclusion in the end – is Sweeney Todd real or fictional?
I’m still confused. Hahaha.
These are great pictures, I love walking tours as they allow you to see so much during the walk. The only thing I don’t like though is the fact that I don’t have the time I always need.
That’s true, time is always against us specially when we want to see and do so many things. :p
I love history and I love discovering off the beaten path places, so this tour would be perfect for me! I’m going back to London in March and was just trying to figure out what else there is to see, and this would be the perfect tour to go on. I wonder if this tour company hosts these tours in other cities as well because I’m sure a lot of major cities have some interesting history that I don’t know about.
I think as of now, they’re only offering tours in London. But I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of unique tours that you can find in different cities. 🙂
Wow I am from London and never new about some of these places, I think I will be taking this trip before I go on my round the world tour. Thank you for the informative post 🙂
Doesn’t hurt to be a tourist in your own backyard. :p
I love tours like this because you’ll learn things that guidebooks just can’t teach you!
Couldn’t agree more. 🙂
Wow I have lived in London for a year and a half and I didn’t know most of these beautiful places even exist! 🙂 This tour looked great fun and really interesting, a great insight into hidden gems within London 🙂
I plan to explore as much as I can while I’m here in London, just to make the most out of it. :p
I love how you presented the tour. 🙂 I was very excited to read this after I wrote mine. 🙂 And I knew it, Sweeney Todd story was the best part for you. Hahaha
Hahhhahahah was I very obvious?
When I was assigned to work in London a couple of years ago, I passed by a “Jack the Ripper” tour. Was intrigued but didn’t have the time to do it – there’s always something to do in London! It is nice to find hidden travel gems in each city. Makes you appreciate the place a lot more, especially if you are a local, apart from the touristy destinations!
I’m taking that tour next. 🙂
This is so good and helpful! I will be in London this December and refer to this.
You’ll have a great time Alisha, I’m sure. 🙂
Just read Angela’s post. Interesting to read about how you both experienced the tour (from your reviews it seems that you both liked it a lot). PS: What’s that thing about Mummy Travels?
Yes it was really informative. I’m taking another tour with them this Saturday and hopefully I’d be able to take all of their tours in the future.
The MummyTravels? Lol. It’s the citytripping link-up every Tuesday hosted by Mummy Travels and Wander Mum. Great way to see other blogs. :p
Wonderful! I’ve started adding guided tours to my trips because they can offer a bit of extra history and trivia that I wouldn’t otherwise know about the area. How fun!
I love taking guided tours but only if it’s a small group. A big group tour can be a bit overwhelming. :p
Love this! I live in Scotland and I take a lot of trips down to London for work. I usually try to make the most of those visits because I love to explore, but I’m starting to run out of things to do (as a tourist anyway). I may try this out!
LEt me know when you’re next down here in London, we can probably take a tour together. :p
I lived in London for three wonderful years and they def took you on a great tour! There’s so many fantastic hidden gems in the city, especially when it comes to history and such. I’m glad you had a great time, your photographs are lovely!
Thank you Kristina, I’ve been on three tours now in London and I’m sure I haven’t even scratched the surface of this beautiful and historical place. :p
London has so much to offer and I’ve been a dozen + times and still feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface! #CityTripping
I feel the same way. 🙂
sounds like a great tour! #citytripping
It definitely is Tanja. 🙂
Living there now you will get all the opportunities to scratch beneath the surface that most visitors only get to when they see London. No foodie trip post yet?
HAhaha. I’m too busy doing the tours that I forget to write about all the food I’ve been eating. :p
I do love walking tours – and what a wonderfully eclectic selection of facts this one had! I knew about the taxi cafes, but I didn;t know that an actual church inspired wedding cakes! Where was that?
It’s called St Bride Church. :p
Wandering around London finding hidden stuff is one of my favourite things to do!
That’s mine too. 🙂