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Art Deco in Bloomsbury Walking Tour By Yannick Pucci Review

Art Deco in Bloomsbury Walking Tour By Yannick Pucci

I think for many people (myself included) Art Deco is an architectural style associated more with American cities than with London. Yet, look around just a little bit and you'll find Art Deco buildings popping up all over the place, including several dozen Tube stations and London Underground's Headquarters at 55 Broadway.

However, it always helps to have a guide to show you the buildings and tell their stories. So it was great to go along on Yannick Pucci's Art Deco in Bloomsbury Walking Tour (Architecture in the Machine Age) because he has such an obviously passion for Art Deco architecture and history.

Unsurprisingly, given the tour's name, the focus is on Art Deco in Bloomsbury. I was already quite familiar with Bloomsbury before going on the tour and thought I knew a bit about Art Deco as well. Going on Yannick's tour demonstrated how much I'd been missing on both counts.

His tour is a wonderful combination of factual information, along with interesting anecdotes about the people who built, worked in and/or lived in the various buildings along the route. I was impressed with how much I learned about the architecture of the area in just over 2 hours.

Since tour guides generally like to protect their trade secrets, I won't reveal too much of what's included on the tour itself, you'll just have to go find out for yourself. However, I will say that if you have even the slightest interest in either Art Deco and/or Bloomsbury you should go on Yannick's tour. One of the best values in London at only £8 per person (or just £6.50 for students and seniors).

You can book his tours via Eventbrite here, follow his blog London Unravelled and follow on twiter @ypldn.

Here is just a small sample of what you may see along the way:

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Vic Norman’s Dragon and Flagon London Pub Tours Review

Beer mats inside pub #2 of the tour

Beer mats inside pub #2 of the tour

Despite London's pubs closing at an alarming rate, there are still a minimum of 4,000 to choose from. So how do you find a good one?

Well Vic Norman's solved at least part of the problem with his Dragon and Flagon walking pub tours.

The concept is simple: meet at a station on a Friday evening (private tours available on other dates), find Vic (not difficult as he had bright red hair when I met him), let him take you to 5 or 6 pubs. As an added bonus he'll give you drink recommendations at each pub and also tell you a bit of London history along the way.

In my experience London tour guides generally fall into either the entertainer or professor category. Vic is very much the entertainer and is quite the personality. While he certainly knows his history and will point out many interesting things along the way, the main focus is the pubs. This is for the best though, as after 2 or 3 pints most people won't be listening to the history part anyway.

So if you're looking for an in-depth historic lecture or conversely a straight no nonsense pub crawl, these tours are not for you. However, if you're looking for a tour with nice mix of history, pubs and drinking then I certainly recommend giving Dragon and Flagon London Pub Tours a try.

On a lovely sunny Friday 3 weeks ago, I went on his A Tale of 3 Bridges Tour. Now I won't spoil it by revealing everything that's on it, but I did manage to take a few photos using my new Nexus 5 phone (so apologies if the quality is not that great).

Outside St. Paul's with Vic  (with red hair) and other tour members,

Outside St. Paul's with Vic (red hair) and other tour members.

St. Paul's and the Thames

St. Paul's and the Thames

Pub #1

Pub #1

The Golden Hinde

The Golden Hinde

The Thames

The Thames

The Monument

The Monument

The City

The City

Old Billingsgate Fish Market

Old Billingsgate Fish Market

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

The Queen's barge?

The Queen's barge?

The Final Stop

The Final Stop

Dragon and Flagon London Pub Tours cost £10 per person and tour dates are available on on the website. Be aware that these are walking tours so sensible walking shoes are recommended.

Full Disclosure: Vic generously offered to allow me to come on his tour free of charge with no obligation to write anything about it. I genuinely enjoyed it and would say it's well worth the money if you're in town when he's holding his next one.