London's Hidden History Tour

Discover London's origins and hidden treasures with a local historian
From US$518 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • St. Bartholomew the Great
  • St Andrew Holborn
  • Lincoln's Inn
Photos & Highlights
  • Join us on a walk led by a historian or archaeologist and discover the hidden, fascinating buildings and architectural remains of London.
  • By the end of the tour, you'll have a deeper understanding of the city's rich history – from Ancient Rome to today.
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Tour Description
From ancient Roman ruins to Norman architecture, London is littered with reminders of its past. However, in order to see the full historical breadth of London's buildings, one must look closely. As a complement to our London History Tour, this Hidden London Tour focuses on the hidden physical remains of London’s past rather than the more obvious sites and the spaces between. While London has been on the brink of destruction time and again—be it from the Great Fire or the Blitz—remnants of London's past persist in the least likely of places.


Sites Visited: 

  • Explore the hidden remains of the Roman fort and city wall at St. Paul's tube station
  • Visit the church of St. Bartholomew the Great, an example of Norman architecture
  • See the western gate of the Roman and medieval city, Newgate, and the medieval survival of St. Etheldreda's crypt and chapel
  • Optional visit to the underground Silver Vaults, a set of silversmiths and shops.

Hidden London Tour

We begin our walk at St. Paul's tube station, a few minutes away from one of London's most impressive hidden sites. The remains of the western gate of the Roman fort that once stood here, something not normally accessible to the public, now incongruously sit within a parking garage. While here, we will look at the remains of the Roman city wall and the signs of its continued use up to the eighteenth century. We will then walk to the area near the church of St. Bartholomew the Great, an important part of medieval London. Here, we will view the church itself, a perfect example of twelfth-century Norman architecture that survived both the 1666 fire and the Blitz.

Onto Newgate

Next, we will walk to the western gate of the Roman and medieval city, Newgate, an area once infamous for its prison. From here we may take a short stroll to St. Etheldreda’s, another remarkable medieval survival where the crypt and chapel still stand. Depending on time, we may move to the Silver Vaults, which was built as a Victorian safe deposit but is now a set of underground silversmiths and shops, and is little known outside the silver-dealing world. 


Looking to explore more of the city's buildings? Try our London Architecture Tour.

Lincoln's Inn and Friaries

Across the road lies the medieval Lincoln’s Inn, one of the four remaining ‘Inns of Court’ in London, where aspiring lawyers lived and learned their trade. This particular inn, which extends over a sprawling 11 acres, was constructed in stages between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, providing an overview of the many architectural styles that were popular during this period. Further along Fleet Street lay the large Carmelite and Dominican Friaries, now recalled in the street names Whitefriars and Blackfriars, respectively. We will see the remains of the former under a modern office building and again a short walk away in a seventeenth-century pub. This pub, the Olde Cheshire Cheese, is notable for its age and its former regulars: Samuel Johnson, G. K. Chesterton, and Charles Dickens, to name but a few. You can have a drink or eat here, which will provide a suitably energetic end to the walk.

Takeaways

At the end of our walk, we will have explored some of the little-known and fascinating buildings and architectural remains of the city, and will have a deeper understanding of London's history.

FAQ

Where does the tour begin? Where does it end?
It begins near the St Paul's tube station and ends at the Olde Cheshire Cheese pub. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point.


Is this walk suitable for me if I am claustrophobic?
Yes, we don't visit any site that is particularly narrow or small, however we do go down several flights of stairs and through some uneven pavements.


Can I take pictures during the tour?
Absolutely yes!


What kind of shoes and clothes should I wear for this tour?
Weather can be quite variable in London, so we suggest comfortable shoes and layers, possibly with some kind of waterproof item.
Where You'll Start
(4.81) 96 Reviews

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Peter is excellent. Knowledgeable. Very excited about his job. And so so thoughtful.
Peter was extremely knowledgeable and so friendly. We left wanting him to walk London with us all day! I was also feeling I didn’t pay enough for his brilliant service, absolutely wonderful 3 hours!
Superior guide in every respect, knowledgeable, witty, and professional. Just a superb human being.