Since all I care to do when I arrive in a city is eat my way round it, Eating London Tours - which can also be found in Rome, Florence, Amsterdam and Prague - is my kind of tour.
During the 4-hour tour of the London Old Docks, knowledgeable and spirited tour guides lead intimate groups off the beaten track of London’s tourist trail to eat and drink as the locals do and have done for hundreds of years. It’s an immersive experience full of conversation, stories, laughter and discovery, making it the most agreeable way to to learn more about London’s rich culture and fascinating history.
The Mayflower Pub, Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe, which was once a bustling trading hub of London. was the perfect place to start our tour of London’s docks, the now eerily quiet streets a far cry from its dramatic and chequered past. We headed to the iconic Mayflower pub, where we raised a pint of aptly named ‘Scurvy’ ale and dug into bangers, mash, black pudding and gravy alongside passionate locals.
As we dined, we learnt of the history of Brunel’s Rotherhithe Tunnel and how when it opened in 1843 millions flocked to what was referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. It certainly made our short tube journey through it to get to our next watering hole more interesting!
The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping
The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping had a sinister past - its deck still bears an ominously suspended noose from the days of public hangings, and there are rumours that it's haunted - food for thought over good old fashioned fish, chips and mushy peas all washed down with Truman’s craft beer.
Turners Old Star
After a leisurely stroll along the canals, we found ourselves in the charming Turners Old Star, one of the longest standing traditional East End taverns, which was converted by painter Joseph Turner in the 1830s for his then mistress. What else would the landlady whip us up but a hearty steak and ale pie with a London Pride chaser?!
The Captain Kidd
This riverside pub offered us great old-school pork scratchings, a Samuel Smith’s Porter rich with molasses, a gorgeous view and the perfect setting where we were told tales about the ‘mudlarks’ who scavenged the banks of the Thames.
After our time at the Captain Kidd, we set off on a picturesque riverside walk to head to the Dickens Inn, our final destination on the tour.
This flower-adorned 18th century warehouse in the regenerated St Katherine’s Dock Marina was the perfect pit stop for a cheeseboard and a refreshing cider - a great end to the day after exploring one of London's most fascinating yet overlooked neighbourhoods.
So, if you're looking for a marvellous day out that will fill your stomach and put a smile on your face, you can't go wrong with this unique tour.
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