Russian Revolution Tour
Remember Bolshie Benjamin from your three-month Carphone Warehouse stint? How he loved to wax on about the boozers that Lenin and his comrades drank in across the tumultuous years leading to 1917, and how you scoffed. But it turns out it was all true, alongside various other wonders on this Saturday tour of central London and its relationship to the Russian revolution.
Running every Tuesday, a playwright-guided tour around the backdrops – booze dens, Georgian squares – to some of the most famous literary lives this country has produced. Yer Dickenses, yer Wildes, yer Woolfs. Our advice is to finish Mrs Dalloway beforehand with the express intention of one-upping the bumbag-clad dad who’s there solely to show off his bookish prowess. And no, it doesn’t matter if he’s your dad.
Highgate Cemetery Tour
Sure, we’ve all peeked at pictures of Marx’s enormous marble dome in GCSE history textbooks, imploring his spectral voice to tell us what the chuff “dialectic” means. But it’s better to splurge on this masterful dive into the layered, contentious history of the most famous of London’s Magnificent Seven graveyards. For a small entry fee you can roam the east cemetery where Marx is buried, then venture to the west cemetery for one of the tours which run at various times throughout the week. Booking ahead for the weekday ones is essential, and weekend tickets have to be bought on the day.
The Ancient City By Night
No, this does not refer to the mammoth 4am tramp around Bellingham you took in search of “small orange Rizla”. This is the lifeblood of the metropolis. The labyrinthine alleyways and unexpected dead ends of The City proper. And, of course, a hot air balloon’s worth of beer. Starting at Bank station at 6:30pm on Thursdays, it’s a two hour journey peppered with pub stops and a heap of stuff you almost certainly don’t know unless you’re the reincarnation of Ian Nairn.
In The Footsteps Of Dickens
Auld Charlie D’s legacy is a funny thing and one we know primarily through half-remembered Christmas specials. This comprehensive tour by author Richard Jones is a valuable resource for the beginner and the Barnaby Rudge scholar alike. From the great man’s inauspicious beginnings as a debtor’s son and blacking-factory apprentice, to a stroll through the Cross Bones burial ground (the medieval cemetery that inflamed the young Dickens’ imagination), this is a monument to the lesser-known side of a literary titan’s development. Runs but once a month – tickets this way.