I’ve been reading loads about the Tube strike this morning and it’s making me quite thankful that I don’t live in the city. I can’t imagine how busy it must be! And while it’s bad for commuters to have to find alternative routes of travelling to work, it must be even worse for any poor tourists who have come to London to have a good time and found themselves faced with no way to get around! There are the busses, of course, but I imagine these will be super crowded with Tube refugees.
Perhaps it’s just the right time then to resurrect the popularity of the London walking tour. I mean, if you can’t get around by tube or bus, and driving or cycling is hampered by vast amounts of people taking to the roads, walking is the best alternative, right? I think so, anyway. And if you’re new to London, there are loads of walking tour operators that can help you get your bearings.
London Discovery Tours, for example, offers a range of different walks – from popular tours of the city’s main sites to a few things that are off the beaten track. People that relish having a chill up their spine might like the operator’s Jack the Ripper Tours, while the free Harry Potter London walks it runs are a must for families or fans of the fantasy novels. There are other cultural alternatives too; a few walking tour providers also offer a tour of Charles Dickens’ London, while Beatles fans will adore a walk around the Liverpool foursome’s London hangouts.
If following a tour guide around isn’t really your style, there are plenty of DIY walking tours available too. I discovered the website Tourist-Tracks.com earlier this year and I really love its premise. Basically, you just pay £5 for individual tours that you download onto your mp3 player and then plug in and play as you walk around your chosen location. Out of the London tours on offer, I have to say my favourite is the South Bank tour because it includes some of my favourite landmarks in the city: the London Eye and Tate Modern.
And if even £5 is too expensive for you and your holiday party in these credit-crunched days, there are many walking tours you’ll be able to do for free yourself. Just have a search around the internet – there are loads of bloggers offering tips on which London locations are ripe for walking, and Twitter can be useful too. Who knows – maybe the tube chaos of the next few days will expose a few elusive attractions in the city as more people start walking!