How do we travel around London?
The Underground is how Londoners travel around, and it is the quickest and least expensive way. Children love looking at our route on the tube map and counting the stations to our destination.
Additionally we may use the well known red buses or the celebrated black taxis. For slightly further afield such as Hampton Court or Windsor Castle, we will use the train.
I will organise all the purchase of tickets and the details of the journeys. If you need a private car and driver, I can arrange that at an extra cost.
What about lunch?
There is a huge variety of places to eat. I often take my clients into a pub for lunch. As well as being a very local way to have lunch, many London pubs are historic buildings, with stories to tell. You do not have to order an alcoholic drink with your meal. Their other advantage is that you order your meal at the bar and pay for it then, which makes it quicker than restaurant service.
There are plenty of other options from fast food outlets, to posh, table-service restaurants. Or maybe you would just prefer to grab a quick sandwich and carry on with the tour
What should we wear for day out with Mike?
The most important thing is to wear comfortable shoes, as we will be walking on hard surfaces, carpets and probably grass, and we can often cover ten thousand steps in a half day tour, and visits to attractions and museums often involve a lot of standing. Otherwise, dress according to the weather forecast for the day. The weather in southern England is best described as changeable, but never extreme. Londoners consider 80°F/25°C to be a heatwave, and in winter it rarely gets more than one or two degrees below freezing. It does rain in London, but often it is a light shower or drizzle type of rain, rather than a heavy downpour, and rarely lasts all day.
And despite what you may have read in Sherlock Holmes stories, fog is quite rare in central London. If you have not brought the right clothing, rather than spoiling your day I can find you a good relatively inexpensive store to buy what you need. If we are visiting a church, you may wish to consider the way you dress, although they take a fairly lenient view, especially towards children.
What day of the week is best for visiting different attractions?
London is a modern, commercially based city and every Monday to Friday tens of thousands of people are scurrying to work between eight and nine o’clock in the morning and going home between five and six every evening. The only impact on visitors is that public transport system is busier between these hours, but not unbearably so, and I will try and plan a trip to avoid those busy times. On a Friday the pubs tend to be much busier between 4 and 7 pm as office workers celebrate the end of the week.
If you are planning to visit any of the glorious churches, then Sundays should be avoided, as none of them are open for sight-seeing, although you would be welcome to attend a service there.
It is worth bearing in mind that many attractions have extended visiting hours on certain days of the week, and this is a good way of avoiding the crowds. The Tower of London opens at 9 o’clock in the morning on certain days of the week and many of the galleries and museums have late opening on one or two days of the week.
Windsor Castle is best visited in the afternoon, as all the coach tours from London arrive at 10 o’clock but have left by lunchtime.
There are always unexpected closures at sites, but I keep abreast of these changes and can plan your tour accordingly. For instance, President Biden visited the Queen in June 2021 and Windsor Castle was closed for to visitors for two days.
How long will a tour of the Tower of London take?
I normally allow 2 hours for a tour. The Tower is quite a large site and there is lots to see – The Crown Jewels themselves take 30 minutes to go around, and the White Tower will take a little bit longer. And then there is all the other things to see and hear about.
I can shorten it to as little as 90 minutes, without it seeming too rushed, or alternatively it is easy to spend three or four hours, especially if you are interested in English history or want to stay and see the free costumed interpretation of historic events. There are plenty of places to sit and rest at the Tower, along with a large restaurant and café.
We cannot walk as far as we used to, and need to sit regularly. Is this a problem?
No. Any tour that I take you on will be personalised and adapted to your circumstances. I will adjust our trip to allow plenty of time to get around, and modify it so there is less walking. We can travel between places by black London taxi if necessary.
Many of the historical buildings in London and elsewhere have slightly uneven floors, but I will be extra careful here, and although there are stairs to climb, most also have a lift between the floors. This is your visit and it should not be an ordeal. I will listen to you during our time together, and if at anytime you need a rest, sit down or to stop I will of course arrange this.
How do we book Mike?
If you’d like to book me, either email me using the button below, on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp or text me on +44 (0)7503 932036, with a brief idea of what you are looking for, how long you are looking for and how many people there are in your party.
I’ll get back to you as soon as possible to confirm that I’m still available, and how much I would charge. I will ask you to confirm that you’d like to book me for the date(s). I will then offer ideas for our time together, and we can begin to plan it. This generally only takes two or three e-mails to finalise
Is crossing the road a problem in London?
If you are not used to cars on the left, I would recommend that you stop and think for a second before you cross and road, and don’t just step out. Traffic doesn’t move too quickly in London, and the bus, lorry and taxi drivers are all professionally qualified and aware of the pedestrians around them
Do you use Tourist Guides when you travel?
I have employed a guide for my family and I when visiting ancient sites at Pompeii, Herculaneum, the Forum and Coliseum in Rome and Knossos on the island of Crete. I used local guides in South Africa for game viewing and a battlefield tour, and on a visit to the west Coast of the USA privately employed guides showed me around Seattle, the California Redwood forests and a whistle-stop tour of Los Angeles, pointing out all the unfamiliar features that I would never have found.
Each guide made our holiday a much more pleasurable, fun and satisfying experience
What my clients say of my Custom Tours
“.....a perfect English gentleman. We hired him for a 2 day walking tour of London and he customized the tour to our specifications ........ my husband and I both experienced some physical issues that hindered our ability to walk for long periods. Mike was so accommodating and patient as we had to take frequent breaks" Alice, Florida