We believe that the greatest cities are those that preserve their history but are equally unafraid to evolve. With its eternal ability to be both old and new, London is clearly a city in that category.

In the words of Christopher Winn, author of an interesting book series titled: ‘I Never Knew That About…’, he says: “London is whatever you want it to be….There is pomp and ceremony and spectacle, and yet London is also intimate with quiet corners, crooked cobbled streets, winding alleyways and sunny squares…”

Cross Bones Graveyard Southwark

 

WANTED! A fresh pair of eyes

“Fish are the last to recognise water.” – Anonymous

Following from that saying, it is very common for residents of a city to take it for granted due to the over-familiarity that comes from living their day to day lives there. We are always surprised (and a little shamefaced) when visitors, who often bring the fresh pair of eyes that we lack, tell us about new experiences in London we never knew about. Therefore when we were invited by PlanetPass to book one of their walking tours through their new mobile app, we grabbed the opportunity immediately.

PlanetPass London Walking Tour IOS App Booking Screens

Our road to rediscovering London began when we downloaded the PlanetPass app and scrolled through the impressive list of thirty themed walking tours currently available. The uncluttered app interface presented concise but highly visual information about tour itineraries.

A Pokétour option promised an opportunity to catch water and psychic Pokémon along the London Southbank with a ‘Pokémon Master’. However, on this occasion we preferred reality to its augmented version and decided to save that one for another day. Although the ‘Gin Odyssey’ and ‘Soho and Chinatown’ tours seemed equally appealing, being avowed foodies, we were naturally drawn towards the ‘Foodies at Borough Market’ tour.

Borough Market Food and Drink Southwark London

It certainly helped that PlanetPass offered morning, afternoon, and evening tours which made it easier to fit the tour around our schedule. We easily completed the booking and payment process and received an immediate confirmation email.

 

Connecting the past with the present

The next day we headed towards our meeting point in Southwark, near London Bridge. Under the stern glare of The Shard, which at 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) is the United Kingdom’s tallest building, we joined up with our tour guide, an amiable lady carrying a PlanetPass bag and wearing a warm smile.

The Shard, London Bridge, Southwark

Our two-hour walking tour took a windy historical route around Southwark, starting from Britain’s oldest operating theatre (opened in 1822) at Guy’s Hospital and ending up at the 12th century Southwark Cathedral in whose shadow lay the world famous Borough Market.

Our guide pointed out little, picturesque gardens near streets that we had frequented for years without knowing what lay around them. For example, the Little Dorrit’s Playground, near the old Marshalsea debtor’s prison near Bermondsey, was three things: a reminder of the hardships faced by Londoners in the 19th century, a nod to the great Charles Dickens whose writings highlighted many of the societal injustices of that time and part of the vital network of the green spaces dotted throughout the city.

The Shard remained an imposing marker in the distance, reflecting the grey moodiness of the sky over London. We were certainly in a sombre mood when our guide led us to Cross Bones, a disused medieval graveyard near Borough High Street which now plays host to one of London’s ‘secret’ gardens.

According to John Constable’s The Soutwark Mysteries, Cross Bones was an unapproved graveyard for ‘women of the night’ (known locally as ‘Winchester Geese’). The outer fence of the space was adorned with emblems representing London’s dispossessed. This poignant memorial in a former place of burial provided a chance to reflect on the inequalities that continue to persist in today’s London.

Borough Market Food and Drink Southwark London

We did a quick pass through Borough Market with a stop at the iconic Roast Restaurant to admire the beautiful portico of the 19th century Floral Hall. Originally located at Covent Garden, it was restored and relocated to its new home here in London’s thousand-year old fruit and vegetable market. Visiting Borough Market would not be complete without a few taste sessions. We saw enough to mark a few stalls for a return visit. Our tour ended at Southwark Cathedral, a building whose stained glass windows bore silent witness to centuries of Shakespearean and Dickensian history.

Southwark Cathedral, London

 

Borough Market – a foodies’ paradise

The ‘Foodies at Borough Market’ walking tour covered a total distance of 10km. A quick glance at our activity trackers suggested that the walking tour had contributed nicely to our daily step count target. However, by the end of the tour, we were ready to replenish any calories we had burned and so after thanking our guide, we headed back towards the street food section of Borough Market to tuck into some Ethiopian and South Indian cuisine.

Taking a tour of your own city is like taking the back seat in your own car and letting someone else drive. #Travel Click To Tweet

Borough Market Food and Drink street food

Taking a guided tour of your own city is like taking the back seat in your own car and letting someone else drive. It was both strange and liberating to defer to someone else’s knowledge, insights and perspectives. We appreciated how a tour such as this could be perfect for travellers looking to fill a short gap in their busy holiday schedules with an opportunity to discover London.

Our own love story with the city goes back to 2012 where we met and began dating in London; a meeting that has resulted in a lifelong relationship and cemented its place in our hearts. However, although we live in London, we haven’t written much about the city which is rather unfair. London offers great diversity and over 2,000 years of history and thanks to innovative walking tours from PlanetPass, we hope to get more insights about our city and share our experiences with you.

 

More information about PlanetPass

The PlanetPass Walking Tour booking app is currently only available on IOS and can be downloaded from the App Store. Recently launched in London, PlanetPass plan to extend their walking tours to other cities in future.

SPECIAL OFFER: Our previously advertised special offer is now closed.

PlanetPass London Walking Tour Voucher

What is the ONE thing you love the most about your city? Share a photo #Travel Click To Tweet

 

Disclaimer: Although we received a complementary walking tour from PlanetPass, all opinions and views expressed in this article are ours. We love London and appreciate every opportunity to learn more about our city.

 

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PlanetPass London Walking Tour Foodies at Borough Market


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