Who we are
(And what we stand for)
Undiscovered London goes back to the days when Sam and Marco were filling in at a London youth hostel.
Sam was (and still is) working on a book, having recently returned from adventures travelling the world and working as a Winston Churchill Fellow and foreign correspondent for the New Statesman in Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Marco was gigging around the UK and Continental Europe as frontman of the band White Man Kamikaze (now frontman of a new band They Uncultured), making short films and writing ridiculous sitcoms.
Helping out in the hostel was a way for Sam and Marco to help pay the rent, while staying in touch – however vicariously – with the travelling world they both loved.
During this time, they spoke to a lot of frustrated travellers who were fed up with winding up at the usual tourist trap bars. It seemed there was no easy way for travellers to meet people, party and get to know some really good pubs and clubs at the same time.
Marco and Sam had a brainwave. They realised they could do something to bring all these great people from all over the world together, while having a good time, listening to great sounds and earning some extra pocket money.
After a couple of months spent meeting with and slowly winning over the movers and shakers at Camden’s leading music venues, the Camden Pub Crawl was born!
Small at first, just a handful of people partying around Camden a couple of nights a week, listening to local bands and drinking by the canal and in the Stables Markets, slowly word began to spread… The Camden Pub Crawl was one of the best (and cheapest) nights out in London – a perfect way for locals and travellers from all over the world to meet, thrown together for a night in Camden. More and more people started showing up.
Until one Friday night things exploded. Suddenly there were more than a hundred people all waiting expectantly to do the Camden Pub Crawl. Marco and Sam looked at each other, and ordered a stiff drink.
Things have changed since then, with new tours, our own illustrated London guide and a bigger crew, but the idea is still the same: to show people a great time, treat them like friends and provide a locals’ insight into London – our home, and one of the great cities of the world.
Our Free London Walking Tour is designed to be the perfect introduction to London history and the area often referred to as “Royal London” (because of all the royals, aristocrats, scheming politicians and associated hangers-on who can be found loitering in private members clubs, palaces and government buildings in the area).
In two hours guests on our Free Walking Tour can marvel at famous historical attractions including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, the Changing of the Guard, Big Ben (pedants: yes, we know that’s the name of the bell, not the tower!), St James’s Palace, Downing Street and more, while learning about the history, listening to stories and being entertained by our tour guides (many of whom are classically trained actors).
The tour is run on a tips only basis so that everyone (locals and travellers alike), regardless of the budget they are on, can join us on a stroll through London’s most majestic neighbourhood, while being informed, amused and meeting new people.
Our Camden Walking Tour is no ordinary walking tour – guests are treated to live acoustic music performed throughout the tour by our talented musicians. They also have the opportunity to wander through the world famous Camden Markets, sampling the food while hearing how music icons including Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones and many more made Camden Town the world capital of rock n roll. The soundtrack to Camden is a who’s who of music talent and we’re proud to introduce people to the area where Undiscovered London has its roots.
Our East London Street Art Tour takes people off the beaten track to experience London’s alternative art scene. The East End has become the home of street art in London. It is also famous for its wonderful curry houses and cultural diversity, having been shaped for centuries by successive waves of immigration (French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution, Jews fleeing pogroms in Poland and Russian, Bangladeshis fleeing war and, most recently, well-healed hipsters fleeing the rigours of adulthood).
And that’s just the beginning. We have more walking tours and pub crawls coming soon.
Above all, we believe in treating all the people who come out on our tours or work with us really well, having fun, and doing our bit to make the world a little better.
We’ve raised money for Breaks for Kids, the Japanese Tsunami Red Cross Appeal and University College London Hospital. Our most recent charity event was the 2015 National Hostel Football Cup. More than 100 players from youth hostels all over London and beyond took part to raise money for disadvantaged children in London. Plans are already being made for the fifth annual National Hostel Football Cup in 2016 — and we’re confident it’s going to be the biggest yet!