Power and Scandal: Private Walking Tour of the City of London

  • Instant Confirmation
  • Private Tour
  • 2 hr

Explore the historic financial district of the City of London, where modern skyscrapers tower over medieval streets and ancient buildings.

Itinerary Details

Operated by: Travel Curious

Explore the 800-year history of the City of London, the global financial heart of Britain, with its melee of medieval streets, iconic skyscrapers, and historic buildings, and hear tales of the most notorious financial fraudsters through the ages. On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of your expert private guide.
  • See the major landmarks of the city like the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England, nicknamed the ‘old lady of Threadneedle Street’.
  • Visit the vibrant Leadenhall Market – popular with city workers for lunchtime drinks.
  • See the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral alongside skyscrapers like the Gherkin and the Cheesegrater.
  • Hear how Lloyd’s of London began as Lloyd’s coffee house and the important role of the coffee houses in the financial district. 
  • Learn about historic scandals of fraudulent trades, offshore banks, shady syndicates, and hoodwinking Ponzi schemes. 
  • Learn about the extraordinary story of the thieves of Threadneedle Street: American forgers who nearly broke the Bank of England in 1873.
  • End back at Threadneedles Hotel, where we encourage you to try their famous G&T at Wheeler’s Bar!

With its eccentric mix of historic buildings and iconic skyscrapers, the City of London is a unique district in the heart of London with a history dating back over 800 years. Learn about the financial institutions that drive the City and hear the dramatic stories of fortunes made and lost through fair means and foul. 

Learn of the rise and fall of the East India Company, forged banknotes by American fraudsters, the Lloyd's of London insurance scandal of the 1990s, the Poyais scam of 1825, and the South Sea Bubble implosion. 

Discover the origins of the East India Trading Company – a mercantile powerhouse that made a fortune on the back of the slave trade. Learn about the illegal sales of opium in China and the endemic corruption that led to its demise. 

Entering Change Alley, your guide will describe the street as it stood 300 years ago - a crowded alley, filled with traders, rumour, and wild financial speculation: the collapse of the South Sea Bubble, a slave-trading business that shook Britain to its core.

Learn about the rise of Lloyd’s coffee house on Lombard Street – a popular place for sailors, merchants and shipowners to gain their shipping news and discuss business and trade. It then became its own insurance business: Lloyd’s of London. It is now infamous for the huge scandal of the 1990s in which many lost millions. 

End back at the Threadneedles Hotel, with the scandal of the thieves of Threadneedle street - an attempted heist by American robbers that would have ruined the City. Perhaps enjoy a well-earned G&T at the Wheeler's Bar.

Tour duration
2 hours

Type of tour
Walking tour: no transportation is included

Tickets included
No tickets required 

Other inclusions
Food, drinks, and gratuities are not included

Suitable for
Couples, Friends, History Buffs, Intellectually Curious

Attractions along this route:

London Bridge
One of the most important and historic landmarks in London, with a surprising history.

Leadenhall Market
Dating back to the 14th century, it was known to be a meat, poultry and game market. Now, walk through a number of boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

The Gherkin
It was once the site of the former Baltic Exchange before being destroyed by IRA bombs. It is now the home of Swiss Re reinsurance.

East India Company
Today's current Lloyd's of London Building occupies what was once the former site of the East India Company - itself famous for the wealth and corruption it brought Englishmen returning from its service.

Southwark Bridge
The Southwark Bridge connects The City of London with Southwark. At the time it was built, it further integrated the warehouses and industry south of the river with The City's financial district.

The Royal Exchange
The Royal Exchange is one of The City's most iconic buildings, built over five centuries ago and formerly housing London's first stock exchange.
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