Yup, 'fraid so. Not everybody wants to walk. Or always wants to walk.
Now look, if you want to cut to the chase – want to skip this little intro. and go directly to the goodies – just scroll down. And please note, the goodies come in two tranches.
The first tranche – as per the heading Cue the best taxi tours in London – is, you guessed it, taxi tours.
The second tranche is – as per the heading (way down the page) – The best driver guide in the UK – Claire. She's not just a driver guide – she's a friend. Translation: you have to approach her directly. You don't approach her or book her through us – ergo her contact details (telephone number and email address in the write-up about her). Damned if we're going to be "a middle man" to a close friend. But that's super good for you – for obvious reasons.
So, yes, sure, different strokes for different folks.
Cue them not least because a taxi tour is of course a different cup of tea. Costs more. Gets over more ground. Different ground. (One of the best things about walking tours is that we can thread our way through mediaeval London – pick our way through ancient passageways that are so narrow you can't open an umbrella in them. By definition they're no-go territory for vehicles.) Different weather conditions (taxis are weather-proof – it's like playing in a domed stadium). Etc. etc.
So this strand of the LW programme is absolutely complementary to what we mainly do. Well, complementary in the different cup of tea senses set out above. Not complementary in the fundamental of fundamentals: the quality of the guiding. "It all comes down to the guiding" is the LW polestar. That's ab ovum for us, that's where we start – and everything follows therefrom. So, yes, here as well, it's that same fundamental chord: we've sifted and winnowed, got the very best taxi driver guides – a lot of them are also top flight Blue Badge Guides – and got them on the team. In the lapidary words of that journo: "If this were a golf tournament every name on the Leader Board would be a London Walks guide!"
So that's the starting point. The all important starting point. The other one's pretty important as well. It's this: you won't be able to get these guys – and gals – at a better price than we can get them for you. Reason for that? Oh, lots. Not the least of which is that really important one about LW not being weighed down with the crushing fixed costs of London office space, office staff, etc. That stuff translates into bottom line for everybody concerned: you first of all, but also the drivers and indeed LW. It translates into, in two words, "best price".
Anyway, for starters let's just get some of the titles down. Over the long haul we'll put up here, in the shape of pop-ups, a blurb for each of them. But for the time being let's wave the titles magic wand. And if any of them grab you, well, just give Mary or Fiona or Noel a ring – or email us – and we can talk it over, take you through it.
And, if it's right for you, set it up and make it happen.
Here's what's on the menu (get ready for a sharp intake of breath, because no question about it, the possibilities are as endless and as wonderful as London itself...):
William & Kate – The Royal Wedding Tour
The London Heritage Tour
The Bard, Beatles, Bond & Baker Street
Rule Britannia (The Taxi & River Cruise Tour)
The Titanic Tour (Another Taxi & River Cruise Tour)
The London Half-Day
The Big One – The All Day Londoner
James Bond, 007, Spies & Villains
Shop Till You Drop – 12 Hours! of Retail Therapy
Dr. Who (A Tour by London Taxi, NOT a London Tardis)
London's Step-Back-in-Time Shopping Trip
City of London & Financial District
Law & Order
London's American Connections
Filmed in London
Harry Potter's London
Muggles – The All Day London Experience Tour
Platform 9 3/4 – The Big One (Big time, big cost)
Let alone by far the best price.
Two statements. The first one is an informed opinion. The second one is fact.
That's what those two statements are. Here's what they're not: they're not an invitation. Nor is this page on the London Walks website an invitation. We, London Walks, are not inviting you.
Our good friend Claire (she's the driver-guide) is inviting you. London Walks cannot accept your booking. Claire can accept it.
And that's all by way of saying, if you want to hook-up with the best driver-guide in England you need to go directly to her.
We spell that out because 1) we are emphatically not a Public Carriage Office Licensed Operator; 2) there are strict rules and regulations governing "Licensed Operators"; and 3) everybody must comply with those rules and regulations.
As the Public Carriage Office put it in a letter to Claire, "the definition of an 'operator' contained in the PHV (London) Act 1998 [is] a person who makes provision for the invitation or aceptance of, or who accepts private hire bookings."
And that's why the ball must always be in Claire's court. Because she's a fully licensed operator. Her Operator number is: 04801.
What that means in practice is that you must contact her directly. Her number is: 0787 997 8889.
You can either ring her or text her. If she's driving she obviously won't be able to answer, so just leave a message and she'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Or you can email her one: email@example.com
And now we cut to the chase. What all of the above means of course is that by going directly to Claire you cut out the "middle man". We don't know what Claire charges but 1) she's a good friend and 2) she's a straight shooter, so if she says – and she does – "if they come directly to me they're going to save themselves upwards of £100" – that will be stone cold fact.
Anything else? Sure, there's lots – all of it having to do with why she's the best driver-guide in the business. 1) Her vehicle is superb – it's a Fiat Scuodo People Carrier. 2) You won't just speak to her once (i.e., when you book her) – you'll get a "night-before, touch-base call" from her to talk it over one more time, double check all the particulars, answer any questions you've got, see if there's anything else that might be on your mind about the trip, etc. Little touches like that make all the difference – it's a world of difference from S.O.P. in these matters (S.O.P. being that you're completely clueless about who your driver-guide is until he actually pitches up on the day to collect you, punches the time clock, etc.); 3) Personal qualities: Claire's a poised, lively, attractive, stylishly dressed, fun, well-informed (and well-connected) young woman. 5) She makes the best pasta this side of Tuscany.
And that's that. Except to HALLOO it again. HALLOO it from the top of the final hill (i.e., this nearly last paragraph). London Walks is a walking tour company. London Walks is not in the Driver-Guide or Public Carriage Vehicle business. In consequence, this is not an "invitation" from London Walks. We, London Walks, cannot and will not "accept bookings" for Claire. This page is up here because this is our website and Claire is our good friend. End of story.
Well, end of story as far as London Walks goes. It's not end of story for you. It's beginning of story for you. And what a great beginning. It bears repeating: because of this happy concatenation of events you've just "cut out the middle man" – you're now in one of those "full of win" positions.
Namely, you want a driver-guide for a lot less than you'd have to pay if you went through "normal channels" – well, you've just turned up trumps. And they're face card trumps because this driver-guide – our friend Claire – is the best driver-guide in the business!
Oh for the open road and the best driver-guide ever...
And the open road to? you ask.
Well, here's what's on the menu:
Countryside & Village England Tours
Other Outside London Tours – Windsor, Canterbury, Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool, Lavenham, Bletchley Park, you name it...
Overnight Stays in the Countryside
Garden Tours in May/June
And, yes, London Tours – that capacious vehicle of hers is of course perfect for a larger family group!