Considering my businesses are in East London, I don't actually explore the area very often. The area is pretty fascinating to walk around though, the culture is a beautiful clash of modern and old, and the people blend from the most colourful (tattoos seem more previlant here than anywhere else in London!) to the more traditional East End characters filling the markets and local caffs.
I was offered the chance to review a food tour of East London (thanks to Eating London Tours), and I leapt at the chance. I've always been a fan of city tours as I love discovering all of the crazy little facts cities hide within them. I tend to do the classic bus tours (I've done London, Edingburgh, Philadelphia and Brussels so far), so a walking tour (and a food tour for that matter!) was a new concept for me to try.
The tour takes you to 8 different locations, and all food and drink is included. Definitely do not eat breakfast before coming; I have never eaten so much in such a short period of time. Each of the locations or the food item is selected as it represents a part of the cultural history of the area.
I'm a vegetarian, and they were more than accomodating, but I did have to shelve my 'low carb' preferences for the day!
Our tour guide Emily was brilliant, and I was shocked to discover that they do two tours every day! Who knew that tours were such big business? She shared a wealth of interesting facts (I love a fact!) including ones about Jack the Ripper, Henry VIII, prostitutes, immigration, street names, hipsters (!), and food.
I loved that each location clearly knew Emily our guide well, and lots of kisses and hugs were exchanged. It added a nice authenticity to the tour, and I was also pleased to find out that location is paid full price for their food, so there is no fear of getting anything substandard (is it just me who would be concerned about that on a tasting tour?).
I was on the tour with a large family of tourists, and I definitely felt that they loved it. It gave them a chance to explore the area, and learn about some of classic dishes. Being a born-and-bred Londonder I forget sometimes how much of what is normal here, isn't normal anywhere else! We have such a long and fascinating history.
Being a tourist in your own city is great fun!