The bustling city of London is notorious for its skyline, featuring such landmarks as The Shard, London Eye, Somerset House and many more. But, I bet you’ve never explored its hidden streets, tucked away pubs or ghost stories of the past. Well, recently Leoni and I were invited to take part in an experience that would give us a different perspective of the city and learn a thing or two about its intriguing history.
First agenda of the day was meeting our bubbly tour guide, Jess, outside Temple Tube Station. He was easy to spot with his bright blue tour jacket and matching flag (great when you’re making your way through the crowds of London), then we set off towards out first stop.
Our first stop was on Strand Lane, outside some baths believed to be from the Roman era. However, this has been disputed over the years. It’s hard to think they are Roman Baths as the area of London the Romans invaded was actually miles away… suspicious. Turns out, they were branded as Roman Baths as an advertising gimmick and were actually a portion of a cistern built in 1612 to feed a fountain nearby, oops!
We moved onto our next stop which was an abandoned underground station. Jess filled us in on stories of how the underground was used in the war as a bomb shelter and they’d play live music to entertain people throughout the raids. We don’t want to ruin all the stops on the tour before you go out and enjoy it for yourselves, so we’ll move on to the last stop…..
Jess’ story begins on Fleet Street about a particularly infamous barber you may have heard of – Sweeney Todd. The ‘demon barber’ would entice customers in for a haircut and shave; then slit their throats. The story gets worse as he would then give the bodies to Mrs Lovett for her pies in the shop next door. Whether this story is fiction or a true story, it’s up to you to decide!
Thanks again to Fun London Tours and Jess for inviting us on the tour. We have certainly learnt about a different side to London! This tour is the ideal gift for a history fan, whether they are a London local or planning a trip to the city, you’ll be taken to hidden gems the city has to offer, rich with history and culture.