Lonely Planet Writer

Fancy a cycling gin safari through Dickensian London?

There’s now a novel way of exploring London’s long-standing love affair with gin: a vintage cycling tour that will take you to some of the city’s best gin spots, with a little bit of Dickensian charm thrown in for good measure.

Tally-Ho Cycles offers a different perspective on London. Image by Tally-Ho Cycles

Tally-Ho’s Cycling Gin Safari is an afternoon tour that takes you through London‘s hidden gin delights. Expert tour guide Jack Harris explains to Lonely Planet that the tour “tells the story of London through it’s turbulent history with gin, combining gritty tales, tasty drinks, and tracing an easy-going cycling route across London’s stunning 19th and 20th century architecture.”

Jack Harris (centre) and his fellow tour guides. Image by Tally-Ho Cycles

The tour kicks off in Lambeth, where guests will meet the tweed-wearing Harris before being set up with a vintage Pashley bike. First stop is a boutique gin distillery beneath the railway arches in Bermondsey where you’ll sample some gins on offer as well as learning about the craft and artistry that goes into creating the perfect gin.

You’ll then glide on through Dickensian London, cycling through the old industrial wharves that Charles Dickens used as inspiration for Fagin’s Den in Oliver Twist. Along the way, you’ll stick to quiet streets and cycle lanes as you zip through East London’s lesser-known nooks and crannies. The tour includes visits to some of the city’s most popular food markets, including one that is over 1000 years old, where you can fill your basket with artisan treats. On the way back to Tally-Ho’s HQ, there’s time to try your hand at spray-painting in an authorised graffiti zone.

Guests will see first-hand the work that goes into selecting the perfect botanicals. Image by Tally-Ho Cycles

Harris has a wealth of gin knowledge and your tour will be peppered with some fascinating tidbits. We don’t want to spoil anything for you but expect to hear gin-infused tales that take you way back to the days of William of Orange right up to today’s craze with gin and its modern creative expressions.

Tally-Ho Cycles offer a number of cycling and walking experiences throughout the year but the gin tours have proved to be some of the most popular. “Most of our experiences combine urban exploration with pubs, street art, and a taste of London from a local perspective whilst meeting like-minded people,” says Harris. The team regularly operates the gin tour as a private event for corporate groups, hen parties and singles networking groups.

Guests relax during a Tally-Ho Cycles tour. Image by Tally-Ho Cycles

The tour kicks off at 2pm on Saturdays and runs for three-and-a-half hours. It costs £45 (US$58) per person and the price includes bike hire, gin tastings, full G&Ts and a spray-painting session. Tours can be booked here.