East London holds plenty of fascinations from past to present, making it the ideal place to explore with a local tour guide.
As London’s skyline has taken an even more vertical aspect, the City has crept further east, chewing at the edges of Brick Lane. Yet beneath the skyscrapers, the area’s rich history is still palpable, from the old gangster haunts of the Kray twins around Whitechapel, and the profusions of street art and South Asian food around Brick Lane, to the hedonistic nightlife of Shoreditch. This diversity is represented in the vast selection of great East London tours available, five of which you can learn more about below.
East London Jack the Ripper Guided Walking Tour
Jack the Ripper was one of the original true crime conundrums. And while it could easily be said that the plethora of ripper tours in East London run the risk of mythologizing and romanticizing his heinous crimes, this tour does an excellent job of shining light on the victims and on the failing investigation that never caught the serial killer. Your tour guide will take you to some key East London landmarks along the way, including Spitalfields Market and Petticoat Lane. Daily departures. From £15 per person.
Alternative London 2-Hour Street Art Walking Tour
East London’s street art is ubiquitous; you’ll see it wherever you walk. It’s also among some of the best work in the city, but knowing exactly where to find the best murals can be tricky because a lot of it is tucked down unassuming alleyways. On this two-hour walking tour, you’ll discover the work of roughly 40 street artists around Shoreditch and Brick Lane. Alternative London, who run the tours, also host a separate street art workshop on weekends, where you can try your hand with a can of spray paint. From £18 per person.
Gangster London Walking Tour with Actor Vas Blackwood
Fans of movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels will naturally have a fascination with East London’s criminal underworld. And this very special guided tour is led by Vas Blackwood, the actor who played Rory Breaker in the movie. See locations closely linked to East London’s slice of vice, including pubs associated with the Kray Twins and learn about the misdeeds of London’s most notorious criminals. Tours run a few times a month, on Saturday afternoons only. From £25 per person.
Working Women of the East End Walking Tour
One of East London’s best-loved tours offers a unique and important version of history that has often been overlooked: women’s history. The tour explores the instrumental impact that influential women of East London have had through the centuries, such as the social reformer Miriam Moses. It looks at how history has been transformed by suffragettes and individuals willing to stand up for what’s right. This tour also gives voice to the victims of Jack the Ripper, putting their stories first. Tours last around two hours and are available most days. From £30 per person.
London 3-Hour Secret Indian Food Tour
Another thing that East London is famed for is its excellent South Asian cuisine. Although Brick Lane is the name best associated with a fantastic curry, the quality can vary quite wildly, which is why this excellent culinary tour is the solution. Follow your guide over the cobbled streets to sample a range of curries, Indian beer and sweets, such as gulaab jamuns, at the best restaurants. Tours last around three hours, are available daily, and all food and drink is included in the price. From £85 per person.