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Old Money, New Money, Dirty Money in Mayfair & St James's: London's Super Wealthy (not suitable for children)

Duration: 1h and 30min
Languages: English
Guru: Justin
Quality Verified Registered on March 08, 2023

Want something a little deeper than the London popular culture tours? I'm a former teacher, economist, analyst and a lover of history, books and ideas. If you just want to take photos to put on social media and don’t really like walking, then PLEASE BOOK A DIFFERENT TOUR!!! If you are intellectually curious and like to think, then let me take you through the streets of London, from the City (the old Roman town of Londinium), to Southwark on the south bank of the River Thames and then to Covent Garden, Soho, Mayfair & St James’s (5 different walks in total). I'll explain how London came from being a European backwater in the 1500s to the largest city in the world in the 1800s. Today, London surpasses New York in diversity and has become a playground for the rich. From clean money to dirty money, I'll tell you the back story behind London's rise, not just the official version! The good, the bad and the ugly: you'll hear about it all.

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  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free
  • Accepts electronic payment
    This tour allows payment by electronic means or credit card

Tour description

Old Money, New Money, Dirty Money in Mayfair & St James Tour: London's Super Wealthy (Not Suitable for Children)

The Mayfair & St James district of London boasts the highest concentration of billionaires in Europe. Some got their money honestly, some not!

Traditionally, this part of London was home to royals and aristocrats along with the nouveau riche of Empire (the sugar-and-slave plantation owners of the West Indies and senior East India Company employees, rich from looting India and China).

Today, the old British elites are being sidelined by a tsunami of new money arriving from all over the world as London becomes the second-home capital of the world's mega wealthy.

While Britain has lost an empire, it has instead found a new role as butler and fixer to anyone who will pay. In the process, dictators, tyrants, oligarchs, plutocrats and kleptocrats have been welcomed with open arms into the UK's capital city.

But some friendly advice! If you just want to just take pretty pictures to put on social media and have no interest in history (and don't really like walking much), I am the wrong tour guide for you! My tours attract people who like ideas, history and books. If that is not what interests you, book another tour :) 

You do get a chance to take some great photos, but also I hope you get to "think" a little about what this area of London represents as well! 

Also, this walking tour is not suitable for children unless they are older teens interested in history, politics, economics or international affairs. 


Still reading? OK, this is the tour's heart. 


I'll navigate you through the natural habitat of many of the richest people on the planet, centring on St James, Berkeley and  Grosvenor squares. 


You will get to see the traditional "old money" haunts, but I'll also point out the $200 million homes and $30k-a-month apartment complexes and private members clubs beloved by the "new money" (often dirty money). And you'll see the places this new global mega elite go to shop, eat and play.

You'll also learn how the web of hedge funds, private equity companies and family offices based in this area put both clean and dirty money to work around the world: tax free of course!

Highlights of the tour include: 

  • St James Square: Home to the East India Club and the London Library
  • Pall Mall: The heart of London's "old money" club land, where royalty, aristocrats, politicians and civil servants mix.   
  • St James Palace: The oldest royal palace in London: the venue where the King greets new ambassadors when they arrive in London. 
  • Berry Brothers: London's most exclusive and oldest wine merchant, which also hosts one of London's oldest hidden alleys
  • Piccadilly Arcade: A beautiful arcade of shops fronted by fashion icon Beau Brummell. 
  • Berkeley Square:  Famed for the UK's most exclusive night club Annabel's, and some of the most blingy restaurants on the planet like Sexy Fish and Bacchanalia, plus the world's largest private equity company
  • Grosvenor Square: Originally home to the American and Canadian embassies, now both bought out by a sea of money from the Gulf, Russia, China, Indian and beyond. 
  • Mercato Mayfair: A fabulous street food hall situated in the Grade 1 listed St Mark's church. 


The tour will end a few minutes away from the wonderful indoor food hall Mercato Mayfair and a short walk from Bond Street Tube Station (Elizabeth & Central lines) on Oxford Street. 

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Highlights

What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    218-223 Piccadilly, St. James's, Lond...
    218-223 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9HR, UK
    View on map

    I will be outside the Criterion Theatre on the south side of Piccadilly Circus near the statue of Eros and will be wearing a hat or cap and holding a yellow umbrella. Piccadilly Circus underground station is on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo underground lines.

  • 1
    Outside visit
    Piccadilly Circus

    Traditional meeting point of Londoners in the centre of the city.

  • 2
    Outside visit
    St James's Square

    Home to the East India Club and the London Library

  • 3
    Outside visit
    Pall Mall

    The heart of London's "old money" club land, where royalty, aristocrats, politicians and civil servants mix.

  • 4
    Outside visit
    St James' Palace

    The oldest royal palace in London: the venue where the King greets new ambassadors when they arrive in London.

  • 5
    Outside visit
    Berry Bros. & Rudd

    London's most exclusive and oldest wine merchant, which also hosts one of London's oldest hidden alleys

  • 6
    Outside visit
    Piccadilly Arcade

    A beautiful arcade of shops fronted by fashion icon Beau Brummell.

  • 7
    Outside visit
    Berkeley Square

    Famed for the UK's most exclusive night club Annabel's, and some of the most blingy restaurants on the planet like Sexy Fish and Bacchanalia, plus the world's largest private equity company

  • 8
    Outside visit
    Grosvenor Square

    Originally home to the American and Canadian embassies, now both bought out by a sea of money from the Gulf, Russia, China, Indian and beyond.

  • 9
    Outside visit
    Mercato Mayfair

    A fabulous street food hall situated in the Grade 1 listed St Mark's church.

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

37 ratings
4.9
By category
Professionalism
4.95
Fun
4.84
Expression
4.97
Quality
4.97
Route
4.89
Generic
5 stars
34
4 stars
3
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0
Lea Saric 18 Feb 2024
London

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Feb 2024
Very very interesting and amazing tour! Extremely knowledgeable and fun guide, we really enjoyed all the talks including history bits, economy, all the useful info and explanations. Seeing this part of London- Mayfair really felt like entering into a different world (of super wealthy). Would absolutely recommend.
Slava 05 Feb 2024
Sofia

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Feb 2024
Amazing interesting tour!
Virginia 31 Jan 2024
Reading

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Jan 2024
Justin was a very knowledgeable and engaging guide and we really enjoyed the tour. Keen to go on some of his other tours in the future.
Meena 27 Jan 2024
London

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Jan 2024
Was a fantastic tour for people who really want to know about places and not see the usual. He's the greatest.
Marta 21 Jan 2024
Porto

The tour guide was very fun and gave us very valuable information and tips ;)
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Who is this tour for?

Accessibility
Non suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Groups
Does not accept large group reservations.
Pets
Not suitable for pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
A minimum of 4 people is required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Electronic or credit card payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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