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

Duration: 1h and 45min
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, have little interest in history 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)

Welcome! I’m Justin. This is the newest of the 5 tours I lead in London, which together have gathered over 900 reviews averaging 5 stars.

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: 

  • Saville Row: Famed for its tailors, who make high-end suits for the world's wealthy.
  • St James Street: Street hosting old money, new money and dirty money clubs along with a Russian oligarch's trophy building frozen by the UK government after Putin's invasion of Ukraine. 
  • Burlington Arcade: Central London's longest and most beautiful shopping arcade dating back to 1819. 
  • Pall Mall: The heart of London's "old money" club land, where royalty, aristocrats, politicians and civil servants mix.   
  • St James Square: One of the capital's most exclusive squares. Home to the East India Club, the private members only London Library and famous think tank Chatham House.
  • St James Palace: The oldest royal palace in London: the venue where the King greets new ambassadors when they arrive in London. 
  • Marlborough House: Commonwealth Headquarters. HQ of ex and current British colonies club, the latter group of which have turned themselves into the world's largest dirty money laundering network.
  • Berry Brothers: London's most exclusive and oldest wine merchant, which also hosts a hidden alley and pocket square.
  • Piccadilly Arcade: A beautiful arcade of shops fronted by fashion icon Beau Brummell. 
  • Berkeley Square:  Famed for the UK's luxury private-members only night club Annabel's, and some of the most blingy restaurants on the planet including Sexy Fish and Bacchanalia, plus the hedge funds, private equity shops and family offices that drive the global dirty money machine 

The tour will end back on Regent Street, a short walk from both Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus underground stations. 

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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    Victory House, 99 Regent St., London ...
    Victory House, 99 Regent St., London W1B 4RS, UK
    View on map

    I will be outside the Veeraswamy Indian Restaurant (you can't miss the huge flag outside) at 99 Regent Street near the junction with Vigo Street, a five minute walk from Piccadilly Underground Station (Exit 2) on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines. I 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
    Savile Row

    Exclusive street of tailors, where the super wealthy buy their suits

  • 3
    Outside visit
    Burlington Arcade

    Spectacular shopping arcade that dates back to 1819. The longest high-end traditional shopping arcade in London

  • 4
    Outside visit

    Iconic shopping street that hosts London's Ritz Hotel (famed for afternoon tea), Fortnum & Mason (food emporium) and London's oldest bookshop Hatchards

  • 5
    Outside visit
    Piccadilly Arcade

    A beautiful arcade of shops fronted by fashion icon Beau Brummell

  • 6
    Outside visit
    Jermyn Street

    While the wealthy buy their suits in Saville Row, they then get their shirts on Jermyn Street. Also home of an iconic cheese shop

  • 7
    Outside visit
    St James's Square

    One of London's most exclusive squares: home to the East India Club, the members only London Library and one of the world's oldest think tanks Chatham House

  • 8
    Outside visit
    Pall Mall

    A street full of old money private members club from the Athenaeum to the Oxford & Cambridge Club

  • 9
    Outside visit
    Marlborough House

    HQ of the British Commonwealth: a club of Britain's ex and current colonies, the latter group of which (know as British Overseas Territories and British Dependent Territories) are now the epicentre of the world's dirty money laundering network

  • 10
    Outside visit
    Berry Bros. & Rudd

    London's most exclusive and oldest wine merchant, which also hides one of London's oldest alleys
 and pocket square

  • 11
    Outside visit
    Christie's London

    One of the top three auction houses in this area along with Sotheby's and Phillips. Paintings here can sell for hundred's of millions

  • 12
    Outside visit
    St James's St

    Home to old money, new money and dirty money members clubs, exclusive shops and a Russian oligarch building frozen by the British government after Putin's invasion of Ukraine

  • 13
    Outside visit
    Old Bond Street

    Home of fashion brands from around the world. An epicentre of bling

  • 14
    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 private equity shops, hedge funds & family offices that drive the global dirty money machine

  • 15
    Outside visit
    Regent Street

    The tour ends back on Regent Street, close to the Michelin 3-star restaurant Sketch (one of 19 Michelin restaurants in the area) and a short walk to either Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus underground stations

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

51 ratings
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Glen 14 Apr 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Apr 2024
Fantastic tour by Justin
Andres 03 Apr 2024

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Travelled in couple - Apr 2024
Excelente tour, para descubrir el lado negro de la historia y de la ciudad, que siempre es importante recordar. Un tour para entender los secretos escondidos de Londres.
Wendy 31 Mar 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in group - Mar 2024
Justin is very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. He does an excellent job explaining history and economic and financial concepts in ways that everyone can understand. He also used excellent visual aids that helped when sharing statistics, titles of recommended books, and historical maps of the areas we were walking around. He really helps bring the information to life. It does really make you question how the wealthy contine to avoid paying their fair share. Everyone should take this tour.
Isabelle 25 Mar 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in group - Mar 2024
Die Tour war großartig. In schönsten britischen Englisch hat uns Justin erklärt, warum London so wohlhabend ist, warum es an jeder Ecke Luxus-Läden gibt und wo die wirklich Reichen einkaufen gehen. Wir haben schönste Viertel gesehen, viele erstaunliche Geschichten gehört und London ein bisschen besser verstanden. Wir können von der Tour nur vorschwärmen und sie jedem ans Herz legen, der von London mehr als den Big Ben sehen möchte.
César 19 Mar 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Mar 2024
Great tour. Justin shares valuable knowledge about both the past and present of the wealthiest areas of the city: St. James and Mayfair. This tour let you understand the importance of London as an international financial center, even better than visiting the City. We learned about the most exclusive private clubs, different levels of exclusive shopping… and how London has become a hub for money-laundering…
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Who is this tour for?

Non suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
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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