He also has a great idea listed called 'Heathrow to Hotel' where he can collect you from the airport and your London tour starts from the moment you arrive. Of course, he can do this on your last day too to make sure you've seen everything you intended.
My Tour and Review
Straight away Graham was able to impress me with his knowledge as he pointed out where we were meeting was very close to the location of Hungerford Stairs where Warren's Blacking Factory was located and where a 12 year old Charles Dickens was put to work when his father was at Marshalsea Prison. The rest of the family stayed at the prison with John Dickens but Charles was considered old enough in the 1820s to start earning a living.
As I'm based in London we decided to take a mix of his tours so he could show me some of the Dickens & Shakespeare locations and Horror tour sights plus, of course, Graham was also able to throw in other interesting snippets as we drove around town.
As we had just been talking about Dickens we immediately had another Dickens connection as we passed a street where he had lived but there had also been other well-known residents on the same street over the years from Peter the Great, the Russian Tsar, and Samuel Pepys, the diarist.
We went through a London underground street that only cabbies seem to know about (Lower Robert Street, WC2) and we talked about the location for Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues video from 1965 as we passed close by.
Graham explained that he is able to gauge his customers to see who of the group (as it is usually a group) is most interested in the subject booked and who would like some other London information and he tries to cater for all.
From his Shakespeare tour we talked about Southwark Cathedral as Edmund Shakespeare, the brother of William, is buried there.
From the Dickens tour we got out of the cab and found a high wall still left from the Marshalsea Prison where his father was held. The prison was in use from the 14th century and closed in the 1840s and the wall Graham showed me is all that remains. We discussed the name changes of nearby streets and Graham was able to answer many questions on other figures connected to the area.
I liked the way the tour mixed chatting and information while traveling and involved getting out at some sights to look more closely. And, of course, because it's a private tour you can spend longer at some places if they interest you more.Still in the London Bridge area, from the Horror tour we stopped at Cross Bones, a pauper's unconsecrated burial ground. There's a fence covered in ribbons and notes and it's a sad place but part of our city's history. The Bishop of Winchester was a bit like 'Tony Soprano' (I have to thank Graham for that excellent comparison) and he ran all the 'entertainment' including the prostitutes buried here who he licensed and were known as the Bishop's Geese.
While these moments are poignant, nothing Graham includes in his tours is untrue. London has enough history so making up stories is not necessary and he certainly knows his stuff. Graham did a history degree and specialised in British urban history so was always going to be well suited to giving tours.
We went down atmospheric cobbled streets in the East End and visited the site of Execution Dock in Wapping where pirates and smugglers were hanged and drowned. We also stopped at an unassuming crossroads with a grisly history connected to the Ratcliff Highway Murders of 1811. Graham explained the story and then what was done to the convicted murderer, plus what workmen digging up the street found there many years later.
I thoroughly enjoyed my couple of hours with Graham and he's a great tour guide. However much time you have - whether it's a half day stopover in London or a two week vacation or longer - a private tour in a London black cab is well-priced for a family or group and a fun way to see other parts of town.