If you want to guarantee you see all the main sites in the City of London, don’t get lost in the process, and learn all about the buildings, businesses, and echoes of its past history, why not take a guided walk or tour. Walks and tours are often themed, with an experienced and knowledgeable guide taking you down well-trodden tourist routes, or uncovering little known sites and attractions. They’ll always have a story to tell about the people who lived in the area, and the famous sites you’ll see en route.
The City has its own directory of official tour guides, who are all trained and certified to carry out walks around the City of London area. The directory contains information about each tour guide, their specialist subjects, and any language skills, which can be handy if you want to book a specific type of walk for a group. There are also regular programs of walks managed by the tour guides, which leave from the City of London Visitor Centre. 8 different walks are available, including ‘Roman London’, ‘The Stories of Fleet Street’, and ‘The History of Spitalfields Market’. Tourists wanting to take part in a walk, can just turn up on the day, and expect to spend 1 ½ to 2 hours with their tour guide. The official City of London guides also offer a program of free walks and tours during special events, such as the London Maze, a local history fair, the London City open weekend, and the Lord Mayor’s Show day.
Some of the official city tour guides will also have their own websites, and details of walks that they have put together for the public. Example walks on one tour guides site include ‘City Highlights’, including St Pauls Cathedral and the Guildhall Complex, along with ‘Green Lungs’, which covers open spaces and gardens.
Aside from the ‘official’ tour guides, there’s also a collective known as ‘London Walks’, who have a weekly schedule of walks featuring ‘Ghosts of the City’, and ‘Inside The Ancient City’. If you can’t resist the sight of an open top bus, then why not hop on the well know ‘Original London Sightseeing Tour’ vehicles. Some of their routes cover attractions within, or just near the City of London boundaries, such as St Pauls Cathedral, and the world famous Tower of London. If you buy a bus ticket, you’ll also get a free ‘Jack The Ripper’ walk included, which starts at Tower Hill, and finishes at Aldgate.
Last but by no means least; if you’re looking for a bit of freedom to explore the City, then you can download suggested walks and itineraries from various websites. Take in all the sites, and search out hidden gems at your own pace, or book a tour. Whichever way you choose to explore, you’re sure to find that there’s much more to the City of London, than finance and big business.