Small Car Big City is a company that offers privately guided tours around London City in Classic Mini Coopers, no less!
Before we got in the car, we were handed this.
|no uniform , no ride!|
“We’re about to rob a bank”, our driver and guide declared. Hmm, that’s not really on my bucket list, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t give it a try!
So in the middle of the street, we changed into these bright blue Mario Brothers overalls plus painters cap. It was very , very comfy. Well due to time constraints we decided to forego the bank robbery, but instead went on The Italian Job tour. (hence the costume, complete with the gold nugget!)
This is probably one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in London. Time Out publication even included this as of of their 101 Best things to do in London list. Well in MY list, this counts as the second most fun thing to do (first would be the London Dungeons tour) in London!
Being abit of a speed junkie, I was over the moon when our driver and guide Alastair, adeptly and swiftly weaved us in and out of the HUGE buses, into the cobbled and narrow streets, at the same time having a sort of mini-race amongst the 3 mini coopers we were in!
And while doing all of the above — Alastair didn’t even miss a beat telling us ALL about London City. The history, the current happenings, what’s happening in this and that area, where best to shop, eat, drink–everything that is Not in the usual tour guide script!
This company was set up by Robert, who was driving the red cooper. They all share in the operation, and all are passionate, driven young lads who will offer you REAL, updated and useful knowledge about the city.
So how many times have you seen the Victoria Memorial in London? Probably a dozen times, especially from tour buses going round and round the area.
But there’s nothing quite like approaching the Victoria Memorial and the gates of Buckingham Palace from a view inside the mini-cooper. I hate to use this cliche, but everything is larger than life when you’re in a small car!
Pros: a unique view of London city like no other vehicle can offer (be it boat or bus), fast, exciting and one of a kind. If you are up for no-fuss, real and useful (in terms of where to go) information given to you casually, this is it, my friends. It actually felt like we just befriended some very cool London locals who very kindly went out of their way to give us a chat and helpful tips about their city!
Cons: probably not for all ages or personality. If you are the ‘serious’ traveller who requires a proper tour with a proper guide and a proper spiel of each landmark, then I suggest you take the Big Bus Tours.
As they currently only have a handful of cars ( these are mini-coopers , not holdens), they probably would not be able to take a Huge group (like 20 or more).
Conclusion: If you are travelling with your mates around London, I highly suggest you do this. This also makes for a good corporate team-building activity. This tour just took about 90 minutes (although they have tours that last up to 8 hours long for the mini cooper enthusiast! Do check them out as they have varied tours for all interests) so this won’t really eat much of your time.
Tip: Be camera ready! Because tourists and locals alike will be taking photographs of you. YES, you. Well they want to take a photo of the mini cooper obviously, but you will be in that shot as well so don’t forget to SMILE! In the 90 minute tour we did, I’ve lost track counting how many times our faces will appear in someone’s family vacation album.
Thank you to Etihad Airways for this surprise Small Car Big City Tour!