Would greatly appreciate suggestions for a private hire tour for 3 ladies, I being one of them. I have been to London numerous times, but would like to visit with 2 "first time visitors" to London. To take a bit of the Tour Guide pressure off myself, I would love to find a firm or an individual, who would drive us three to 'top tourist sites', perhaps 2-3 days of this, so that we could make the most of a less than a week stay in London. I could handle 2-3 days as "guide", as would stay in South Kensington, and museums and Harrod's would be highlights. I am thinking that a private hire tour guide with auto, could save me lots of time by zipping us around to Parliament, Changing of Guards, Tower of London, etc. I can get us to Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's, and out to Kew Gardens. Appreciation for guides used privately, that you might recommend - Suz
I understand your need to get some time off from being tour guide. I don't know a private guide to recommend, but I've had great luck with London Walks http://www.walks.com over many visits to London if that might work for you. They last about two hours, are easily accessible by tube, and the quality of the guides is usually excellent. There are so many to choose from, I could easily find two a day I would like to do. By the end of the week you could cover a great chunk of London and have the added benefit of a number of Londoners' personal recommendations for pubs, restaurants, and other activities.
You want to make sure any guide you choose is a genuine Blue Badge Guide. Choose from this website:
Fill out the form on this page. It asks you to choose how you want to take your tour; walking and public transportation tour, driving tour, coach tour:
You can also look at this page, and see the guides. Click on their photo, and see their profile. You may find you want to choose one of these guides.
If you are going to hire a car to take you on a tour around London, my own preference would be that it is a London black cab. Their drivers are trained in "the Knowledge", all the history and sights of London and must pass a test on this and knowing their way around the streets of London. Doing a day or two day tour with a black cab will be horribly expensive, however. And you won't see as much as going with a Blue Badge Guide or a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour.
Another way to get a great tour around London is a Tour Bus that goes by all the most famous tourist sights. There is a host, or narrator, telling you what the sight is that you are passing by, and its history. You will want to sit on the top floor of the bus, because you can see the sights better than seeing them from street level, peering out the window of a cab.
This is the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour. One of the companies that does it best is the Original Tour. They go by all the "must see" sights of London. And you can hop off anytime you want, look around a sight, then get back on the next hop-on bus that comes by. The tickets are good for 24 hours. You can also buy a ticket that is good for 48 hours.
I would use the hop-on-hop-off bus as a way to give you a tour around the city, but regular red double-decker buses are the way to go for just traveling around London every day. In addition to the tube, that is.