London is such an exciting and interesting place, with countless incredible places to visit, each with their own fascinating history and secrets. If you want to discover exactly what London has to offer, a trip with Mind the Gap Tours will be right up your street! I interviewed John about their unique experiences, and any plans they have for the future of the company.
1) Please explain your journey as ‘Mind The Gap Tours’ so far.
I previously worked as a guide in Morocco, taking small groups around for 1-3 weeks. Using local transport, together with staying and eating locally we really got closer to the country and its people.
On returning to London, I noticed there was not much choice for the average visitor. You either jumped on the open-top buses, or joined walking tours that had huge group sizes.
We set MTG Tours up to offer smaller group sizes, and locally guided experiences to try and unravel London and all its hidden gems. Small groups mean that we can squeeze into the best pubs and restaurants, jump on local transport and not affect the atmosphere of the destination we are travelling to.
Each tour is historical in nature, and full of fun factoids and quirky info. However, we theme each tour around an experience of eating, drinking, art or cycling to unwrap each locale.
I still love to roam the city as you can never see or understand it all, and we get to meet people from all over the world to ensure they see some of what we consider to be the best of London and the surrounding area.
Time is valuable, so we aim to offer the highest quality curated experiences available. It is quietly satisfying that we are able to show people another side to the city and ensure their only memory of London is not Leicester Square (eww!) or Oxford Street.
The only thing that stands in our way is the weather! Nothing a good brolly can’t fix.
2) What differentiates your company from others?
Small group with a maximum size of 12 people, to ensure the highest quality experience.
No struggling to hear what your guide is saying, or waiting for stragglers along the way.
We treat our clients as we would our friends, and have a light hearted and informal approach to the tours.
We also guarantee to depart, even if only 1 person has booked. This means that you can book safe in the knowledge that the tour will always go ahead.
Each experience is carefully created, and often slightly off the beaten track to see some of the “real London”. We try to provide the definitive experience, so if you come on the pub tour we guarantee you will leave having visited at least 4 of the must-see pubs of the city.
The incredibly high repeat custom is testament itself to the quality of the experiences we offer, with some clients having returned to undertake all 5 tours with us.
We are totally independent from the places we visit, and receive no commissions or kick-backs. We take our clients to places based on them being excellent, and have the autonomy/flexibility to change our itineraries if required to ensure the best time is enjoyed by all. We choose small independent or family-run venues where possible, trying to support the small person on the street trying to make his way up. Each guide has their favourite route or venue, and we don’t just plough through rote learned scripts day on day.
We run the company because we love it. So if you don’t enjoy your time with us, we are always happy to refund 100% of your money. Life is too short to have bad experiences, so pay a little more and travel with the best.
3) Do you have any exclusive information you can share with us?
Come with an open mind, a sense of humour and a small sense of adventure. The world is an amazing place and we hope to make you see it through slightly different eyes by the end of the tour.
If you are planning time in London we offer an informal concierge/recommendation service. So if you are looking for a great restaurant or pub to enjoy before or after one of tours just let us know and we will send you a list of recommendations.
4) Do you have any exciting plans for the future that you’d like to tell us about?
We love creating new experiences, and are always looking at a new area of London or concept to explore.
Possibly the highest compliment to be paid to us is imitation by others. More companies are now reducing their group sizes and enhancing the quality of their experiences. This can only be good news for the participants.
We plan on just walking, talking, eating & drinking in the company of great clients until we drop!
5) What would you say is your most frequently asked question?
Where is the best place to eat fish & chips or curry in London?
6) Any other information you’d like to add?
We always pass the on going problem of homelessness on the streets of London, so always run at least one tour every year with all profits going to Centrepoint or other designated homeless charity. We are lucky to roam the streets enjoying the finest it has to offer, but are more than aware that not everyone has this privilege.