Occupy London Tours is a free tour company, run by volunteers, who want to throw open the secretive world of finance and politics for all to see.
The tours are designed to be informative, entertaining and – most importantly – accessible. Our aim to is to enable people from London, the UK and all over the world to engage with the financial system and its impact on their lives. Check out our Gallery for a taste.
The tours offer a critique of the status quo without being politically affiliated.
We currently run three tours, two monthly and one fortnightly, for free:
Approx. 2 hours. Meet Canary Wharf tube, main exit (MAP). Look for the top hats!
Most people have never been to this revamped dockland in East London, yet the home of the financial services industry touches our lives everyday. In this tour we narrate the financial crisis of 2007/8 as we visit the banks, ratings agencies and accountancy firms clustered around Canada Square and discuss what – if anything – has changed since. You’ll visit the last resting place of the infamous Lehman Bros, make your very own ‘credit default swap’ and find out how to create money out of thin air…
Approx. 2 hours. Meet at St Paul’s Cathedral steps (MAP). Look for the tour guides in top hats with umbrellas!
The City of London tour tells the story of England’s smallest city (really!), the history of money in the heart of London and the City’s role in the financial crisis of 2007/8 and thereafter. You’ll hear about the hidden powers of the City of London Corporation, tales of rebels who have challenged it, and why the Queen has to ask permission to enter the Square Mile.
Approx. 2 hours. Meet Green Park (MAP). Look for the tour guides in top hats with umbrellas!
This tour takes you into the mysterious world of ‘shadow banking’ and charts the links between unregulated finance and our politics: from enigmatic Tory funders to Mitt Romney’s private equity firm and the company which lists ex-presidents and prime ministers on its payroll. Includes a visit to ‘hedge fund alley’ – not for the faint-hearted…
WHO ARE WE?
We are not professionals: neither professional tour guides, nor professional economists. We are ordinary people who seen the effects of financial crisis in our lives and our communities – and want to do something about it. Developing these tours has been a process of self-education, and we hope that we can share some of what we’ve learned with others.
IS IT REALLY A TOUR?
Yes. It’s not a lecture. It’s not a protest. It’s a tour. One of the problems with the way that finance is talked about is that it seems to happen up in the air, outside of place. We want to start conversations about it in the places where it happens – the places that, as London residents, we can see from our windows and walk past every day.
Our tours are thoroughly researched so you can expect plenty of hard facts, but we try not to make it too heavy – there’s lots of lighter moments along the way. You don’t have to know lots about politics or economics. We’ll adjust the tour depending on who comes along. And often the most interesting things you’ll learn will be from other people on the tour…
WHO COMES ON THE TOUR?
Anyone and everyone. We’ve had people from all ages and backgrounds: tourists, students, and people from all sorts of different walks of life, including the odd banker. The only thing that everyone has is curiosity.
We’re not connected to any political party, we’re not going to try and sign you up for anything or tell you what to think. All we want to do is start a conversation, and while we have our own opinions, one of the best things about the tour is the range of different viewpoints that people bring along. The tours we enjoy most are the ones that develop like a conversation, not a monologue – so please come and join in!
- To offer a free and entertaining eye-opener into the world of global finance and London’s place in it, focusing in particular on its relationship with the political class and political institutions and its impacts on the everyday lives of ordinary people.
- To encourage wide public engagement with important economic and political topics often under-reported or placed off-limits by mainstream education, media and culture.
- To engage the broadest possible spectrum of people in the most accessible manner.
- To inspire people to take further interest and action in alternatives to the unjust economic order currently prevailing in the UK (and globally).
- To inspire similar groups elsewhere (whether tours or other innovative public education ideas).
- To contribute to a wider movement to establish a peaceful, equitable and stable economic system, to which the structure and dominance of financial institutions presently constitute a major barrier.