There’s something to be said for spending a day being a tourist in your home city; when was the last time you did it? We rush around, disappearing below ground for our journeys, missing so much of what our wonderful London has to offer. As the thought of a sightseeing bus tour with a gaggle of tourists has never quite appealed, luckily there’s another option.
is London’s first self-drive sightseeing tour, a revelation for those who want to try something different. From just £24 per person, you can pick up your very own convertible Smart car - or 4-seater with clear roof - complete with your own personal virtual tour guide. The journey is full of fascinating facts, insightful nuggets, while the pre-programmed satnav leads you through the winding streets of the West End, past some of London’s most popular sights.
I picked up a car last weekend to head out on a tour and was instantly enthralled. While it was odd driving an automatic for the very first time, I soon got used to it, though driving in central London is certainly an experience in itself; watch out for pedestrians, I never before realised how kamikaze they are in throwing themselves into the path of traffic…
With 90 minutes to complete the tour, there’s ample time to stop off for a coffee or a spot of shopping if it tickles your fancy, and as it takes you down Bond Street, past Fortnum & Mason and through Covent Garden, there’s no shortage of shopping to choose from. Driving through Horse Guards and cruising down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace was definitely a highlight, but every moment of the tour was a delight.
It’s a genius idea, and an invaluable tool if you have people visiting from out of town who fancy seeing a slice of London without spending a day traipsing round the streets. Though having said that, even as a Londoner who thought she knew the area pretty well, I was seriously impressed. Whizzing around the top sights in just 90 minutes is a gem. Hopefully in the future there may be more tours added, it would be great to see one taking in the City; based as they are in Park Lane I imagine there are some logistics to where the tour would start and end but it’s certainly a model that has legs (or should that be wheels…?) to go places.