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A fabulous family friendly day out! Discover real London with an authentic black taxi tour

By Sara Hardy– 7th May 2021
authentic black taxi tour

We stepped out of the authentic black taxi and saw the excitement in their eyes; gazing up in awe at Tower Bridge with the Thames behind them and the Shard glistening in the background. It was nothing short of magical. An amazing ‘pinch yourself’ moment to cherish and we were there soaking in this memory together.

 

As a London ex pat, taking a tour of the city had never really occurred to me, but during lockdown I had started to crave the hustle and bustle of the place we once called home. I had always been a little anxious about taking our young children into London, after all taking two under fours into a busy metropolis when you live in the countryside is a big deal. Our youngest is at that awkward stage of needing the buggy occasionally and despising it at the same time; it is for this reason that I had avoided it for so long.

 

With a perfectly timed introduction from Ollie on Instagram, the owner and head guide at Discover Real London , it dawned on me that we could have an easy family friendly day out in London without the need for a buggy, jumping on and off tubes or battling with a three-nager determined to climb the stairs of a double decker bus, not to mention the anxieties that Covid brings! What better way to see the city than to spend the day in our own private authentic black taxi!

 

Ollie picked us up from our home in Surrey early one Sunday morning. He arrived smartly dressed in his perfectly polished cab and immediately made us all feel at ease. The boys had never seen a real London taxi before, let alone travel in one. The excitement was at fever pitch before we’d even left the drive! This set the tone for the rest of our day as we set off for the bespoke Staycation Tour.

Discover Real London offers an authentic black taxi experience

Our first destination was the quiet pretty streets of Belgravia, stopping outside one of my favourite pubs from back in the day, The Thomas Cubitt. Despite everything being closed at the time, the shops were beautifully adorned with spring florals. It was a great spot for a morning coffee and some photos outside the highly instagramable original Peggy Porschen. Ollie pointed out all sorts of fun facts, such as the metal disks on the pavements which were the original coal holes used for heating the mansion blocks, and the windows which appeared to be bricked up as a result of the window tax so many years ago. The boys loved hearing such relatable details and seeing history first-hand. Our tour took us to the iconic landmarks of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye, getting out for a stroll a few photos at each point. A surprising highlight for me was to see the smallest works of art in London on the Millennium Bridge (look closely at the chewing gum on the floor next time you cross).

 

I was keen to show the boys where I used to work which was adjacent to the beautiful Royal Exchange at Bank. It was fun for me to be there with the boys in tow, and they loved having a little insight into what my life was like before they entered the world. From here, we travelled up through Farringdon to Camden which unlike many other parts of London was full of activity. It felt almost normal; music playing, people in the streets, the aromas of food being cooked in markets and all the bright colours you would expect to find in this vibrant part of town. Our penultimate stop was in Primrose Hill, a perfect opportunity for the boys to stretch their legs and burn off some energy. Standing at the highest point, they could barely believe their eyes as they took in the vast London skyline before them. On the way home, we drove through Maida Vale, Portobello and Little Venice admiring the pretty pastel streets and eclectic house boats; an intriguing and exciting concept for such young eyes.

 

To give you a little background, Ollie is a cabbie having completed the world famous “Knowledge” some ten years ago. Ollie’s interest and passion for history and general knowledge led him to study for the Tour Guides qualification which has since been his primary focus. In addition, his love for photography, together with his ability to capture a special moment on camera brings another skill to this already talented and knowledgeable tour guide. With so many strings to his bow, Ollie really knows the best places to achieve a great image and encapsulate the excitement on film; this is what makes Discover Real London really stand out from the rest.

 

One of the many advantages of travelling in an authentic black taxi is having access to the bus lanes so traffic need not be a concern. Moreover, as in all black cabs there is a perspex safety screen which keeps everyone Covid secure. You can expect a relaxed day out with lots of fun facts and an opportunity to see parts of the city you might not be familiar with. Black cabs are buggy and wheelchair accessible and can hold up to five passengers in the back.

 

Ollie offers a range of tours, many of which explore the lesser-known pockets of London that have intriguing histories behind them. Every tour is bespoke, and should you wish to explore somewhere in particular, Ollie will work with you to incorporate it into your day.  As our children had never been to London or seen the sights first hand, we started with the Staycation Tour but I have no doubt that we will be seeing Ollie again for one of his other, slightly more off the beaten track tours in the near future. Tours do vary depending on the season, and routes can be amended depending on the pick-up point. Pick up is usually from anywhere in Zone 1 but Ollie can sometimes offer a complimentary pick up from Surrey if his diary allows. The duration of the tour is approximately four hours plus travel time if you have arranged this in advance. Tours cost £239 and bookings can be made via the website or social media.

Enjoy

Sara x

RECOMMENDATION

This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full by the writer. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

 

 

Photos are credited with thanks to Ollie at Discover Real London

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