Guided walks aren’t just for tourists – they’re the best way to get beneath the skin of the city. Learn tales to dazzle your friends with our pick of the walk companies.
Led by its eponymous professional guide, these tours are among the most intriguing and unexpected out there. The Seven Noses of Soho walk is particularly interesting, described by Berthoud as “a mini-refresher course on the joys of being observant in London”.
Spicing up the usual ‘follow and listen’ format, this company gets ‘teams’ solving clues sent via text message that lead to the next stop on the tour, while pulling back the curtain on some of London’s most fascinating neighbourhoods, from seedy Southwark to east end warehouses.
Of all the companies with a broad, all-encompassing remit, this is one of the best. Its guides have been leading people around London for 30 years and offering pretty much every kind of themed walk you could ask for. As well as a Jack the Ripper walk, various Dickens and Shakespeare options, there are pub walks, ghost walks, film walks – you name it.
All led by award-winning Blue Badge-qualified guide Simon Rodway, this broad range of tours spans every area of central London (and beyond), driven by a marathon of intriguing topics, from ‘feisty women’ to ‘the war years’, with an emphasis on famous characters and some really rather juicy historical anecdotes.
A bit pricier than some of its competitors, this company offers some of the longest, most imaginative and comprehensive walks going. Its east end Uncovered tour factors in film studios, a circus school, religious centres and traditional pie and mash, as well as the galleries and street art.
As well as offering walks that travel well outside the city centre, this company also has a few fun-facilitating tricks up its sleeve. our favourite is the Liars’ Tour, led by two guides, one of whom tells lies at each stop, the other who tells the truth. There’s a prize at the end for the person least fooled.
For black history:
For free tours:
For spy tours: