“I like a walking culture; I need to be in a city where you can walk everywhere.” – Eddie Huang
When I visit a new place, a new city I like to explore it by walking around. For me there is nothing better than walking in a city. When it’s raining or simply too far a distance to walk, I take the tube, the train, the bus, the tram or any other mode of transportation that is available. But other than that, I try to walk as much as possible.
During my last London trip I only took the bus and tube on three occasions. I had such a central hostel near Waterloo Station, that I could walk pretty much anywhere. It was in my hostel that I saw ads for Free Walking Tours where you could explore different places in London. I have been to Free Walking Tours before, both in London and Singapore and really loved them.
The concept is simple. You show up, take the tour and at the end of it you pay as much as you think the tour guide deserved. If you don’t want to pay anything at all that is fine too. That way many people can go on these tour whether they have lots of money or barely get by. As a student, who is addicted to buying books and travelling to different places, I can totally relate to this concept.
I have done some payed walking tours as well, there you pay a fixed price before the tour starts. And I loved those too. Generally, I would say I love the aspect of discovering a part of the city, your own, one you have been many times or one you are visiting the first time. Having a tour guide, who knows much, much more about a city than you, is also always a good idea.
So, when I was in London, I took three Free Walking Tours in two days. I used Strawberry Tours on all three occasions and would really recommend them. They have their tours in English and Spanish and all tour guides I’ve met have been incredibly nice and competent.
The first tour I took was the Soho Tour. I have been to Soho numerous times, but never really seen it for what it really is in its historic context. Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I had to take the Harry Potter tour as well. How could I not have? On this tour you don’t only get to see the places where the films have shot some parts, but also the places that have inspired J.K. Rowling to use in the books.
The last tour I took was the Jack The Ripper tour, the tour starts at eight o’clock in the evening and takes you to all the places Jack The Ripper murdered and gives you insights into London of the 1880s. All three tours have been amazing and I am pretty sure that next time I am in London I will do some of the other tours. Also Strawberry Tours do tours worldwide, so check them out if you’re planning your next trip.
When I was in Singapore I used Monster Day Tours to explore China Town and Little India, you can read more about those tours and Singapore itself here. Just like the tour guides in London, Monster Day Tours’ tour guides have been so nice and knowledgeable about their city. I would really recommend going on a tour, if you’re in Singapore.
I am sure there are other great tour companies out there, so if you know any let me know. I am always looking for walking tours (free or paid). So, have you taken walking tours before? Do you enjoy walking while exploring a new place as much as I do? I would love to hear in the comments all about it.
P.S. I have not been paid to rave about those companies, I just love them and what they’re doing so much.