Safestay, has teamed up with The Destination Junkies, a brand new London walking tour group which specialises in the South Bank area and its surrounds, to offer exciting, quirky and gritty walking tours of London.
With three walking tours each week, Safestay has drawn on the expertise of local South East London lad Paul Robertson, aka 'TaulPaul', to skilfully and playfully guide Safestay guests and non-guests alike through some of the more colourful parts of South London; from London Bridge and Elephant & Castle to Borough Market, the Southbank and Westminster Bridge.
In between, TaulPaul will entertain and inform with historical stories, quirky tales and funny anecdotes to bring this fascinating area of London to life.
Here TaulPaul reveals his Top Six attractions in South London:
The Tate Modern has to be one of my favourite South Bank attractions. The former power station dominates the South Bank’s skyline and I personally love the building on its own. To think it is made up of over 4.5million bricks is just staggering. For this reason I feel that the building itself is a piece of art so it's ironic that it is now the Tate Modern, home to displaying the very best in Modern Art from around the world. As a lover of art/photography myself I love to wander around the huge building for inspiration - I always find myself getting drawn to the bottom of the main tower and looking up at it and the sky – it makes you feel all a bit ‘giddy’.
The South Bank’s Book Market is one of London’s best kept secrets. Tucked under Waterloo Bridge it is one of the only outdoor second hand and antique book markets in Southern England. I have spent many hours over the years scouring the tables and tables of books, I just can’t help but stop for a browse every time I pass by – usually to the annoyance of my girlfriend or friends I’m with at the time. It is open come rain or shine and is a great place to pick up a book to read in one of the many bars/cafes on the South Bank.
The London Eye is also another must do attraction. It was built to celebrate the turn of the millennium and to think it was only meant to turn for 5 years then be dismantled is a testament to itself. London spent and wasted a lot of money on buildings and projects for the Millennium celebrations but the London Eye proved so popular it stands proud to have become one of the most iconic London attractions after the decision was made to keep it. I’ve been on it several times and what with the typical British weather being so unpredictable each visit has given me a different view of our beautiful city of London.
The Undercroft / Skate Park is an area of the South Bank under threat at the moment due to the new Festival Wing which is a project looking to redevelop the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery. In the past this area has always been a major point of discussion as to what it should be used for. Since the 1970’s it has been an area which talented skaters, BMX bikers and graffiti artists of all ages have claimed as their own.
I personally love the space as it’s a real urban location of today's London that offers a lot in the way of bringing together many of the activities that have become hugely popular in London & around the world today.
The commercial world love to use these activities such as skateboarding, BMXing and graffiti (check out the best street art from London) to promote themselves yet feel it's ok to now move this self made community because of the land value. Money talks eh!!!! The area always draws a crowd whether it be tourists or us Londoners who love to stop and watch these slightly crazy but never the less massively talented people pull off tricks and skills you would never have thought possible to do with a skateboard, BMX or even a tin of spray paint. SAVE THIS SPACE!!!
The Street Performers at the Jubilee Gardens are always entertaining. These talented people are dedicated to putting a smile on people faces and I love the hustle and bustle of people laughing and looking puzzled as to how some of the performers hold their poses for such a long time without even so much as a blink.
Finally I have to mention The Anchor Tavern pub. After a hard day's work walking the tour and talking for nearly 3 hours non-stop I often feel the need to quench my thirst with a quick cold refreshing pint – “well come on who wouldn’t”. The pub itself is shrouded in history and dates back to the early 1800’s, its location on in Southbank means during the summer it's great to sit outside and watch the world go by – failing that sitting inside when it is wet and windy outside makes you feel all cosy and it can be a struggle to leave!!! Hiccup!!
Come rain or shine, the walking tours run from Safestay at Elephant & Castle on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00am. Prices are £5 per person and the tour lasts 2 1/2 hours.
To book your London walking tour, call Safestay on 020 7703 8000 or visit www.thedestinationjunkies.co.uk