The Unknown East End

(14 customer reviews)

Whitechapel underground station, London (Whitechapel Road exit)

Guided by Adam or Matthew or Steve F.

Walk Times

Day Walk Type Start Time End Time
Sunday Weekly 2.30 pm 4.30 pm Winter Summer Reserve Online
26 December 2023 Special 2.30 pm 4.30 pm Winter

N.B. this walk will not take place on the following dates:

26-05-2024 14-07-2024 28-07-2024 27-10-2024

Short read: Frontline London – the only neighbourhood the government feared.

Long read: Down and out London, it was the worst slum in Europe. Paradoxically it was also London at its richest! Richest in terms of its artistic expression and social ferment and human mix. It’s the London of revolution (we’ll see the building where Lenin, Trotsky, Gorky and Stalin touched down); of sieges and battles; of Isaac Rosenberg and Mark Gertler; of the greatest Indian poet of them all; of the Liberty Bell (and Bi-Centenary Bell) foundry; of the Krays and the Elephant Man; of the best ethnic restaurants in London; of the 13th-century White Chapel and synagogues and mosques. And astonishingly – despite the attentions of the Luftwaffe – much of the “fabric” is still there. Best of all, it’s “real people’s London” – and they’re still there, too.  Guided by Adam, Matthew and Steve F.


The Unknown East End will take place at 2.30 pm. Meet your guide just outside the Whitechapel Road exit of Whitechapel Tube. N.B. the Walk ends on the corner of Fournier and Commercial Streets, which is convenient for Liverpool Street Station and Aldgate EastTube and Spitalfields Market. 


This family booked a private Unknown East End tour with guide Adam

“I just wanted to say that I did The East London Walking tour guided by Matthew today. Matthew was fantastic- so engaging and full of knowledge. He was able to tell the stories in such a magical way. Just wanted to pass along how great he was”  Caitlin

“London Walks was the first – and is the best – of the walking tour firms” Fodor’s Great Britain

“Best City Walk The Unknown East End, London. Explore the paradoxical nature of London’s East End: once the worst slum in Europe, but now one of the richest areas in terms of artistic expression.” The Telegraph

See the East End with an Expert. Harry is one of the best tour guides I’ve ever met. Sunday afternoon we joined his tour of the East End and learned about the lives of the waves of immigrant groups who have called this area home, These cost-effective tours really are a good way to get to know a city, its history, its people, its architecture, sites of note, and so on. I will plan to take at least one of their tours whenever I am in London.” Iranewyorkparis  New York City, New York

“I’ve lived in London a long time before leaving to live in Brighton but I HAVE to tell you about this tour – it is fantastic! I learnt so much about this fabulous part of London. Our guide was fabulous, SO knowledgeable and friendly. The tour goes through some of the most fantastic places in the East End of London. My fellow tourists were both local as well as from elsewhere and we all enjoyed it so much! It was also incredibly reasonable. You need to be happy to walk for 2 hours, but my gosh does the time fly – we just didn’t want it to end. This company do various tours, this one was just fantastic! Going through Spitalfields and Brick Lane this is an essential East End gem! I RECOMMEND it to Londoners and foreigners alike! You’ll come away with a new view of this part of London!”  Laura A.  Brighton, U.K.

The Unknown East End My favourite. It covers all sorts including successive waves of immigration, radical politics of all shades and the Elephant Man. It isn’t the prettiest part of London but is one of the most interesting.”  David  Basingstoke, England

“We live outside London and were spending a “tourist in your own city”- weekend and found the leaflet the day before, so we didn’t know much about the London Walks. We just showed up at Whitechapel Tube station and so was about 20 others. Harry knew what he was talking about! He told interesting stories, he answered all kinds of questions from us, and he was very knowledgeable about the past and present of the area. He often added a personal touch, adding his family-stories in, and that made the walk truly enjoyable.”  Frodefox  Teddington, United Kingdom



Here’s a 3-minute clip from the Travel & Transitions shoot of The Unknown East End Walk.


“Men who learned their first lessons about poverty at Toynbee Hall went on to help reshape 20th century Britain. They included the great imperialist Alfred Milner, the socialist and historian R. H. Tawney (one of the creators of the Workers’ Educational Association), the very influential editor of the liberal Westminster Gazette J. A. Spender, the economist and civil servant William Beveridge (whose contribution to the development of social insurance and the modern welfare state is unequaled), the brilliant civil servant and educational reformer Robert Morant (the key figure in the development of state education), the future Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee, the social investigator and great civil servant Hubert Llewellyn Smith (the creator of the 1911 Unemployment Insurance Act and, with Beveridge, of Labour Exchanges).” Stephen Inwood

“The further we penetrated into this Whitechapel, the more our hearts sank. Was this London? Never in Russia, never later in the worst slums of New York, were we to see such poverty as in the London of the 1880s.”  Yiddish theatre actor Jacob Adler, writing of the period 1883-1884


If you can’t make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Unknown East End walks do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Unknown East End Walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We’ll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Niamh or Peter or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they’re good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing.


A private London Walk makes a marvellous (and unusual) gift – be it a birthday or anniversary or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that’s special. Memories make us rich.


“If this were a golf tournament every name on the Leader Board would be a London Walks guide”


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14 reviews for The Unknown East End

  1. Daniel Jaramillo

    Matthew is a great guide. Deep knowledge of London’s architecture and urban history, combined with a witty storytelling.

    We enjoyed the tour very much.

  2. Katherine A

    We took the Unknown East End tour with Steve today and highly recommend it. Steve has lived in the area for decades and knows so many interesting anecdotes about the history and buildings and changes over time. We especially enjoyed his stories about how different waves of immigrant cultures left their mark. A great experience.

  3. Julie

    We did the Unknown East End Tour yesterday with Matthew. He certainly knows his history! Dates, names, the different dialects kept us entertained on our 2 hour tour, which seemed to fly by. We have been in the city for 5 days, done 4 tours, this was by far the very best. When we return next month we will most likely do another London Walk Tour and recommend them to anyone else coming to town.

  4. Simon Cummings

    We’ve done over a dozen of these walks and this was one of the best ones. Our guide, Adam, was superb. Although, I’m from London I don’t know this area that well as it is slightly off the tourist trail. However, it has a fascinating history and is not without its aesthetic charms. Well recommended.

  5. Laura Hayden

    One of the great elements about London Walks is going to places that you wouldn’t otherwise stumble across. Such was our visit to the unknown East End with the consummate guide, Adam. He is as well-versed as he is personable. We secretly cheer when we realize he’s the guide du jour because he’s well spoken, moves at steady pace—not too fast and not too slow, and is a joy to listen to. He helps to place the area in context with respect to history from ancient to modern. We see so much through his detailed oriented eyes that every location comes alive in vibrant color. Great walk. Great guide.

  6. Chris and Paul Goldsmith

    We had an amazing walk on October 1st with Steve. Really informative and great fun too. Thank you Steve for a great afternoon.

  7. Scott Gibson

    Steve was amazing! – really bought the area to life. 10/10

  8. Catherine R

    We did the tour with Matthew today who shared his knowledge of big and little stories of the East End with passion and a real talent. Even our 12 years old son was captivated!

  9. Steve Skidd

    Matthew’s mastery of English accents from Soho to Bermondsey to Brooklyn turned an afternoon rain-sodden tour of East London into delightful entertainment. He generously shared his encyclopedic knowledge of history while patiently fending the never-ending incursions from the local street urchins.

  10. Debo

    Adam is hugely entertaining. I think the area is visually less appealing than the sites of most other walks I have done with LW.

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