Bicycle Tour through London- Since I like to get in any exercise when I am traveling, I was looking forward to this tour. We met at the Waterloo station underground in the old abandoned part that is now scattered with graffiti. Not the type just done to tag, but some real artwork. I would have to say that this may have been the most interesting part for me. It was amazing, and I would have loved to have spent more time down there. As for the bicycle, once I got my footing the pedaling was easy. The bikes were very comfortable and well kept. The only draw back we had is that we were in a very large group, and going through busy streets made one of our riders very nervous. We kept falling behind and we only had one tour guide in front. On the ones I have been with before, we have had one in front and one in back for stragglers if there were too many people. I really enjoyed seeing a lot of the places by bike. Our guide's knowledge was the biggest bonus. If there was one thing I would recommend for this, it is more than one guide. Of course, the price is very cheap, so it may not have been doable for the company and I understand that, but if they had more, then one it could have been nice for one of the guides to show us the Bangladesh community and art work more instead of leaving us to roam for a half hour. There are tons of things to see and learn about there. All in all, I would absolutely take this tour again and I rate it highly, but only with people that are very comfortable on city streets. BreakAway bike tours is not #1 on Tripadvisor for nothing.
East End Walking Food Tour: Now, just because I showed you some pictures above, you might think "Hey, we can just do this on our own." DON'T! This tour company has the way in and out of each place as well as so much more to offer. You might get lucky to locate one or two of these stops, but the whole experience is what makes this an amazing tour. Everyone in our group came away extremely happy. So, what is this tour? If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I LOVE ghost tours and food tours. This particular food tour was one of my favorites. I know that is surprising since it was in England, (not a diss since my mother was raised there and cooks like a Londoner, but we did not love her for her cooking skills. Most things she prepared tended to be bland by American standards and boiled, except her curry. So don't blast me for that comment, please) the reason it made one of my favorites is that the host was very engaging and friendly. It also was not just a food tour. She reveled us with history lessons of the places we toured and the food we would be eating. If I am being completely honest, it may have also been because it was the food tour with the most stops and full food samples I had been on to date, plus the food has come a very long way from the food of twenty years ago. Lots more spices are used now.
Even if it had not been for the food (I know right? Why leave out the food?), the
tour itself was very informative. We received architecture info, saw one of the sites of a Jack the Ripper victim, sat in one of the oldest authentic pubs, and experienced the art work of the East End. In our group, we had some fun and interesting people to visit with along the way. But back to the food...It was delicious and filling. DO NOT eat before hand. Of all the food tours we have taken, this one filled us up the most. Eight stops! I don't want to spoil it for you, but lets just say we started the morning with a bacon sandwich made in-house (the bacon and the bread) and ended with one of those desserts you keep thinking about when you get back home. A chocolate and salted caramel tort.
Harry Potter Walking Tour- According to a few websites, Muggletours is the #1 walking tour for Harry Potter fans. We were instructed on where to meet and had only a little problem finding it since there are so many exits out of the subway and we unfortunately took the wrong one. That was on us. The gentleman who met us was an actor and was engaging in his stories of the locations we went. He entertained the group along the way with facts and then a quick response of "10 points for what ever house you belonged to" to keep it competitive. He also gave us a test of questions to determine your house. Lucky me, I had Gryffindor. We walked around London and mostly saw places you would have seen in the film. Unless you are a true fanatic, a few of the places you may not recognize (I didn't). All in all, this was a enjoyable stroll in which he threw in other locations and facts along the way from other movies and historical events. We ended with him doing a little magic trick for the kids in the group. My biggest disappointment is that we did not see platform 9 3/4 like we had when we did our last black cab tour (You can read about that in our archives). They did, of course, state that we would not see it on the information before we booked so it would be unfair to hold that against them. I understand it is a walking tour and hard to get to. I thought I had already seen it so it would not bother me, but I ended up thinking that a big piece of the experience was missing by the kids not getting pictures pushing the cart into the wall. Silly, I know. So, take that for what it is worth. It is a lovely day out regardless with a fun guide and an excellent value.
The video is not of the sites but of the streets we rode on to let you decide how comfortable you would be. As I said, I loved it, one of the others were a bit too nervous.