Day 1

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Pocket Guide -

First head to North Lon­don and the seren­ity of High­gate Ceme­tery. You can walk its east side freely (Karl Marx’s tomb is here), but the west is by tour only (high­gate­ceme­tery.org; £12) – its cat­a­combs and obelisks re­veal the Vic­to­ri­ans’ odd fix­a­tion with Egypt and dy­ing like a pharoah.

Next, make your way to Aldgate tube for Un­seen Tours’ Brick Lane walk (see ‘The es­sen­tials’). From the Na­tional Front to street art, in­te­gra­tion and Jack the Rip­per, tour guide Pete pours out two hours of in­sight and so­cial his­tory in a paean to the for­got­ten of Lon­don. Be­neath White­hall lie the thrilling Churchill War Rooms (iwm.org.uk; £21; pic­tured top), where hun­dreds once lived and worked in se­cret dur­ing the Blitz. Walk its nar­row halls and dis­cover how staff bore bombs, rats and the PM’S foul moods – Churchill loathed noise; even the type­writ­ers had to be ‘silent’. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into a long-hid­den his­tory. Fin­ish in a kayak on the Thames on an at­mo­spheric Big Ben by Night tour (kayak­inglon­don.com; £42), savour­ing a moon­lit an­gle on the cap­i­tal ( in­set) few oth­ers see.

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