Thursday, 3 May 2018

LONDON ROCK TOUR


Well hello again! Another music related post for you all today, this time though, it’s a review with a bit of a difference. I’m not going to be reviewing a band, an album or a gig, but instead the ‘London Rock Tour’, which was a tour my Husband and I went on last summer. It’s essentially a tour of all the rock and roll ‘landmarks’ in London, from Pink Floyd’s studio to Abbey Road. If this sounds like your kinda day out, then read on!

We met bright and early at The Original Tour Reservation centre just off Piccadilly Circus and met our tour guide, Lee and all the other people who’d be joining us on the tour. Lee was just fab and made sure to get to know a bit about everyone as he ticked our names off the list. There were people from all over the world on our tour and Lee made sure to find out everyone’s names and where they were from and managed to remember these details all day! So, introductions done, we headed off at 9am to begin the tour. 

We all jumped into the minivan (with band logos and branding printed all over the sides, love) and before we set off, Lee asked each couple or group what their favourite British bands were so he could personalise the tour slightly. Though there are places they go on every tour, he said he’d try to find at least something of some relevance to everyone’s favourite band or artist, which I thought was a great touch.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember every single thing we saw and in what order we saw them, but I’ll do my best to cover what I can without giving away too many details for those who’d like to take the tour. What I do remember though, was thinking that I should’ve been taking notes! Lee had such a depth of knowledge about the London music scene and he was fascinating to listen to. The way he told stories of great British bands and their history was so natural, you could tell this was stuff he really cared about, not just words learnt from a script. You could call out the name of any British rock musician and Lee would have a story to tell. Something I particularly loved was that he’d play music from each of the artists we were discussing at the time, which re-ignited my love for many bands I’d not really listened to since my Dad used to play me all his favourites when I was a tiny kid! 


Another particularly great aspect of the tour was that it wasn’t just a ‘look at this recording studio from the window of the bus’, we actually got off the bus several times to look around and even went inside a few places to explore. One in particular was ‘Regent Sounds’, a guitar shop that used to be Regents Sounds Recording Studio where bands including Black Sabbath, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks had all once recorded singles or demos in their early careers. This studio is on Denmark Street, or ‘Tin Pan Alley’. While we were there, we also saw a site that used to be a coffee shop where David Bowie was among their regular customers. Those into music will know that Denmark Street has some of the most musical history that London has to offer, that’s why it was a particularly interesting and somewhat sad part of the tour, as Denmark Street isn’t what it used to be and lots of renovations around the area are slowly changing one of London’s most historic musical streets. The history of the area was just fascinating to learn about though and it was definitely a highlight of the tour.


Among other things, we saw Paul McCartney’s London office, the school that the kids singing in ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ by Pink Floyd came from, David Bowie’s blue plaque at Trident Studios and Amy Winehouse’s house in Camden. Again, with all of these, we spent a little time there, in some cases being shown around the area and in others just being told about all the history and things that went on there. Again, I won’t go into the details too much so as not to ruin the surprises of the tour for anyone planning on going, but each and every place had such amazing stories attached to them and Lee knew every detail! Even driving around the city, he’d point to a doorway and tell you a quick anecdote about Paul McCartney, or to a shop to tell you what it used to be. It’s amazing how much history is hidden within our city just about everywhere you look!


The final stop on the tour was the famous Abbey Road studios and Abbey Road crossing from the Beatles album of the same name. Lee made sure everyone got the iconic crossing photo and that we all got plenty of time to browse around the studio gift shop to pick up souvenirs. 

The tour lasted three hours with a break at a coffee shop in the middle and I can honestly say there wasn’t a dull moment. If you’re into Rock Music and want to learn more about and fully appreciate the history of it in the Capital, I couldn’t recommend this experience enough. It’d also be great for those new to the city as you’ll visit some parts of London that aren’t necessarily typical tourist spots, but are worth seeing none the less!


If you are interested, you can book the tour here through viator, tickets are £35 each and worth every penny (though I am biased!). 

Thanks so much for reading if you've made it this far! If you have any questions or would like to know more about what went on on the tour, please do head to my Twitter or Instagram, I’d love to chat!
x

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