Stéphanie Kuypers, Senior Tour Guide at Talk of the Town London, reveals the capital’s most intriguing group-friendly tourism spots
To the avid group traveller, London may seem like a daunting destination, but there are plenty of hidden gems around the city that highlight the capital’s history and culture, making initial planning worthwhile.
A great place to start – especially for an early morning snack – is Borough Market.
Dating back to 1851, the variety of smells, sounds and tastes experienced here provides the perfect opportunity to try out some authentic London street food. Visit on a Friday or Saturday to get the full – busy but fun – experience. My personal favourites include Horn OK! (vegetarian Indian street food) and the crumbly fudge made at Whirld. Also located here are artisan bakers Bread Ahead who run bread making classes, which is a fun activity for everyone after you’ve enjoyed a spot of breakfast. Coming in the afternoon?Vinopolis offers wine tasting in all shapes and (glass) sizes and you’re right on the Thames Path to walk off the food and drink afterwards.
Exploring London On Foot
The best way to see London is on foot, so forget the bus and leave the Boris Bikes to the wayside. Talk of the Town London offers unique walking tours around all parts of the city. Strapped for time and want to see it all?
Interested in the gruesome and the grisly? Grim Tales of London takes you around London’s famous East End, where notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper dwelled and where you’ll learn more about the creepy and the bizarre.
Alternatively, for a refined afternoon with London’s elite, walk around the St James area on our High Society Tour, where you’ll learn how the privileged and influential conducted themselves. On our High Society Tour, you’ll travel past some of the most royal hangouts, such as Fortnum and Mason. In the shadow of Buckingham Palace, the group is turned into Lords and Ladies of old as TOTT London observe the traditions of the ‘season’ and the debutantes greeting the King and Queen. Towards the end, TOTT London honour the great British tradition of light afternoon tea at a secret 1940’s tea room in the heart of Soho.
Off The Beaten Track
Step back in time and visit the Greenwich Naval College. It’s free and so beautiful that it frequently gets used as a television and film location. If you head here at the weekend, be sure to stop by Greenwich Market for antiques and vintage maps – a take-home reminder of London’s ever-changing cityscape.
The National Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark are just around the corner and will give you an insight into Britain’s glorious seafaring history. On your way back, jump on the Thames Clipper that travels across the river underneath such architectural highlights as Tower Bridge and Millennium Bridge, with familiar sights including the HMS Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe. End up near the Tate Modern or carry on to the London Eye for a different view of the city, where you can book a capsule exclusively for your entire group.
End Your Day in Style
To finish off the evening, catch a classical concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields, where you could decide to grab an early dinner in its atmospheric Café in the Crypt. Alternatively, visit Brick Lane to sample authentic Indian food.
With so many places vying for your attention, you can haggle for the best deal and there’s no booking required – not even for a big group.
If you’re prepared to queue, Banana Tree in Wardour Street is cheap and cheerful, with accommodating staff. For a more upscale experience, Christopher’s near Covent Garden has a Martini Bar and a classy dining room serving tasty American cuisine (think steak and Missouri lamb).
However you decide to spend your time in London, you certainly won’t be bored.
There are a whole host of options available, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in and explore, whether it’s with us at Talk of the Town London, or through one of the many experiences mentioned here.